Marcus Kim


Bachelor of Science, Computing Science Specialization, 1st Year

Course: CSL 100 (Fall 2021) with Instructor Randelle Nixon

Who was your community partner and can you describe the project objectives? 

I worked with The Learning Center Literacy Association (TLCLA) an organization that provides free supplementary classes to adults, with a focus on the development of literacy and numeracy skills. The Learning Center is located in an economically vulnerable area in the city and many students who study at TLCLA would not have access to education otherwise. My role within TLCLA was to be an assistant tutor, who would help with the operations of classes, as well as do one-on-one personal tutoring. During the semester, I tended to classroom technical difficulties and taught the primary instructor of the class how to resolve common computer issues once my placement was complete. I also assisted an adult student with their prep for the GED exam, a high-school-level certification. 

What was your biggest takeaway from your CSL placement? 

This placement cemented my belief in the value of open-mindedness, both in the willingness to consider unfamiliar ideas and in the desire to constantly expand one’s view of the world. Regarding the exploration of the unfamiliar, it struck me how unalike the realities of my placement and my expectations turned out to be. I found the experience to be more valuable than I had anticipated, in that the environment at TLCLA was very unfamiliar to me. Particularly, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that my greatest value to an educational organization was not necessarily to educate. In assisting primarily in the Learning Center’s operations, I learned that the methods with which one can support their community are many and unique. I hope to gain a further broadened understanding of my community in the future, as I have during this placement. I believe it is necessary to accept unforeseen circumstances with open arms. 

How can you apply any newly gained knowledge/skills to your future endeavours (courses/employment/volunteering)?

I believe open-mindedness to be a quality that is beneficial to much more than community service. During employment, I would like to attempt to take on responsibilities that are outside of my comfort zone. Doing so will both demonstrate self-initiative, and allow me to chance the possibility of discovering a new personal interest, as my CSL placement had. Additionally, I have found working within the community to be a truly rewarding experience. Especially within the field of education, as I value the opportunity to assist in another’s self-betterment. As a result, I hope to enroll in EDU 100: Contexts of Education next winter semester. I would like to be involved in community service in the field of education again in the future. 

What are some of the ways that COVID-19 has affected your community partner or your placement? 

Many of the technical difficulties we faced were a direct result of the sudden transition to online learning. The class I participated in was, at the time, just beginning to experiment with a hybrid format, where it was previously taught in person. To ensure a quality experience and education for our students, I resolved issues related to both the class Zoom meeting, as well as local devices like microphones and cameras. Due to our unique circumstances, I would argue that my role was akin more to technical support than to tutoring. Regardless, I am glad to have been able to assist TLCLA, and the community, in any way possible.