We have two primary goals for each tutoring session:
To provide feedback to help you make your draft more reader-based and check that it meets the assignment’s requirements. We want you to leave your session knowing what work needs to happen next.
To help you become an improved writer in some small way. For this reason, your full participation and engagement in the session are needed. Please do not expect a session where the tutor simply tells you what changes to make.
A typical online writing center session lasts between 30 minutes and one hour and focuses on one or two of the following writing concerns, in order of priority:
Understanding an assignment
Understanding/addressing instructor comments on a draft or graded paper
Generating ideas on what to write about
Stating a thesis or clarifying overall purpose
Developing and/or organizing support paragraphs
Improving coherence (connections between sentences and paragraphs)
Making sentences clear and easy to read the first time
Identifying and correcting patterns of error
Addressing style issues such as wordiness, inappropriate tone
Using source material appropriately and fairly; avoiding plagiarism
Documenting sources (MLA, APA, CBE, etc.)
In order to make sure your session is as helpful as possible, please do the following prior to your appointment:
Plan. Think about what you want to accomplish in your session. Make a list of the questions you have about your work so far. Which of the writing concerns listed above are you focused on at this stage? If you are working on first-order (big picture) concerns and have questions, plan to focus on one or two of those in your session.
Have a copy of your assignment and your latest draft (or notes) ready to share on your screen. Have at hand any related materials that might be helpful during your session, including previous drafts, comments from peer review or instructor, notes from class, and sources that you will be using for the writing.
If the assignment is not clear to you, it is often helpful to ask your instructor for clarification before you seek our help. We can help you understand most assignments, but sometimes we will encourage you to see your instructor for further explanation, especially if we are not sure about what is required.
Be prepared to schedule follow-up sessions. One session on a paper may not be enough to address every area of needed revision or editing. By the end of your session, you should have a pretty good idea of what to work on next. Give yourself time to work on the draft and bring it back in for additional feedback.
Have paper on hand to keep track of revision and editing needs during the session. This will help you when you are working on your own and will also help you decide whether to schedule another appointment. You might want to record the session, or ask your tutor to record the session, so that you can go back to it.
Ask you to share your assignment and rubric in electronic form during your session. You can use the screen sharing function in Zoom or upload a file attachment to the Zoom chat area;
Talk with you about your assignment and its requirements - i.e. length, audience, purpose, content requirements, organizational requirements, evaluation criteria;
Seek to come to an agreement with you about how to focus the session on one or two writing concepts/objectives. This will be accomplished by asking you questions about your writing plans, reading a few paragraphs of your assignment to gain a sense of what aspects of the writing seem to need attention next;
Read sections of your draft with you. We might read a few paragraphs silently, or we may ask you to read aloud (this is a good way for you to hear things you’ve overlooked during your draft--gaps in logic, for example, or unclear sentences or fuzzy connections between parts).
Ask you questions about your meaning and intention to initiate a conversation.
Point you to additional resources such as Purdue OWL.