At IWCA 2018, there were 10 OWC-themed presentations. Use the tabs below to find presentations on each day of the conference.
FEATURED SESSION: Read a summary of our OWC SIG
Thursday, October 11
12:00 – 1:15pm (Session 2): “Fighting for the Silenced: How to Protect All Writing Voices in Asynchronous Online Sessions”
Location: Georgia 9
Presenters: Makhye Cannon, Sydney Johnson, and Nicole Lawrence, St. John’s University
Four undergraduate consultants of color, hailing from the one of the country’s most diverse universities, will facilitate a discussion on ways to safeguard clients’ writing voices within asynchronous, online sessions. Following the work of Vershawn Young, they will recount challenging/silencing experiences, both inside and outside of writing center walls, and prompt attendees with questions about the best methods to tackle these demanding sessions and societal pressures. How do we protect writers’ voices within such an impersonal space? Where do we draw the line between conforming to academic language and protecting individual identity?
2:00 – 3:15pm (Session 3): “‘Apply This Comment to the Rest of Your Draft’: Scaffolding in Tutors’ Written Feedback”
Location: Georgia 3
Presenters: Susan Lawrence, Courtney Massie, and Tetyana Bychkovska, George Mason University
The speakers report on their close look at the written feedback tutors provide to writers in online asynchronous tutorials. In particular, they focus on tutors’ written scaffolding moves—comments in which tutors provide feedback and explanation in the context of one or two passages in the draft, then invite writers to apply that feedback throughout. Questions addressed include these: Are tutors providing comments that enable writers to apply feedback going forward? What features characterize such comments? And are writers actually transferring feedback offered in one portion of the draft to another as they revise?
Friday, October 12
12:00 – 1:15pm (Session 7): “Creating Safe(r) Places: The Writing Center as Advocate for Student Voice in University Policy Making”
Location: Atlanta 5
Presenters: Chrissine Cairns, Melody Pickle, and Amy Sexton, Purdue University Global
Writing centers often help students learn about ethical use of research and possible plagiarism issues in their writing, and in doing so, help them discover their own unique voices and contribute to academic conversations. What happens though, when the Writing Center is given the opportunity to do more and become a voice for student writers? In this presentation, our Writing Center staff discuss how our work with student writers has moved beyond our tutoring roles to become authors and shapers of institutional policies in ways that have enabled us to be allies and advocates for students across the university.
1:45 – 3:00pm (Session 8): “Identity-building and Inclusion in Writing Center Online Spaces: Strategies and Research”
Location: Georgia 4
Presenters: Nicholas Reich, University of Miami | Jaclyn Wells and Jessica Robbins, University of Alabama—Birmingham
This panel presentation raises questions about how writing centers can use their online spaces to perform and deepen their work in identity-building and inclusion. Three presenters will connect two major projects from their writing center. The first promotes queer and trans inclusion via changes made to the center’s website, online scheduler, and social media pages. The second is an ongoing research project that uses surveys to investigate client response to consultant online identity.
4:45 – 6:00 pm (Session 10): “Rolling with the (Digital) Punches: Toward a Flexible Online Tutoring Pedagogy”
Location: North Ballroom
Presenter: Kathryn Dean, Georgia State University
As we consider the place of writing centers in our changing university contexts, we must ask who our writing center serves and how. As a writing center, how can we actively seek to include students who may not live close enough to make visiting our center a possibility? How can we still demonstrate our purpose in a digital environment? Drawing on my experience with WCOnline’s tutoring platform, interviews with tutors, and UX focus groups, I will outline common concerns with online tutoring and how we can adjust our practices to serve our diverse student bodies, inviting those who may not be able to share our physical space to reap the benefits of collaborative conversations on writing. At the same time, this research recognizes the role of the tutor in creating an adaptable environment to address the diverse and increasingly digital needs of our students.
4:45 – 6:00 pm (Session 10): “Applying Technology in Writing Centers through Dialogue Bots”
Location: North Ballroom
Presenters: Judy Sansom and Jessica Shields, Fort Hays State University
This presentation introduces the emerging bot technology which can serve to expand outreach efforts within writing centers. The traditional face-to-face writing center consultation is an irreplaceable pedagogy; however, with the varying demographics of campuses, the use of this platform would work in conjunction with writing centers to serve writing needs through automated online correspondence. We will offer a brief demonstration of our prototype bot, FIONA (Formulated Interactive Outreach Narrative Assistant), and discuss our current progress with beta-testing. We invite attendees to ask questions and engage in an interactive discussion focused on developing new technology within writing centers.
Saturday, October 13
10:15 – 11:30am (Session 12): “Creating Equity and Access: Online Writing Centers in the 21st Century”
Location: Georgia 3
Presenters: Megan Boeshart, Old Dominion University | Jenelle Dembsey, Miami University | Sarah Prince, Walden University
The U.S. DOE recently reported that the majority of college students are now classified as nontraditional, suggesting that post-secondary education is becoming more diverse and must provide more adequate institutional support. In this panel, four writing center professionals will share the shape, role, and offerings of their online writing centers, with careful consideration of their varying institutional contexts, student demographics (including nontraditional characteristics), financial support, and staff. Lastly, the presenters will discuss their visions for increasing access for all students and mitigating barriers for 21st century student bodies.
11:45am – 1:00pm (Session 13): “Rethinking Asynchronous Online Tutoring”
Location: Georgia 5
Presenter: Troy Mikanovich and Greer Murphy, Claremont Graduate University | Mark Pedretti, Providence College | Marcus Weakley, Claremont Graduate University
Asynchronous email tutoring has grown in popularity as an expedient way to reach students in the digital age, but it also challenges conventional writing center pedagogy by altering the dynamic of tutor and tutee co-presence. This panel interrogates some unexamined assumptions accompanying the rise of asynchronous tutoring. Drawing on data, practices, and experiences of one writing center with a robust asynchronous tutoring program, the papers in this panel explore empirical evidence for best practices in this modality, consider challenges and adaptations required to make it effective for L2 students, and propose bold ways of maximizing its multimodal instructional potential.
11:45am – 1:00pm (Session 13): “‘That There-ness Aspect’: Tutor Embodiment in the Online Writing Center”
Location: Georgia 11
Presenter: Anna Worm, Florida State University
This presentation identifies key concerns for embodiment in online writing center work, particularly from the perspective of tutors. I draw from my case study research of tutor embodiment in online audio-visual-textual (AVT) tutoring sessions to argue that attention to embodiment in the design of and training for online writing center work offer opportunities to interrogate the assumptions and values of a writing center and to address concerns of power and embodied identities, including but not limited to gender, race, and ability.
2:45 – 4:00pm (Session 15): “Powerful Personalized Presence: Studying Online Feedback Effectiveness and Community Building”
Location: Georgia 4
Presenters: Abbe Breiter Fineberg, Melody Pickle, and Amy Sexton, Purdue University Global
Student engagement and effective feedback practices are essential, especially in an online writing center. While our writing center has consistently demonstrated how it builds online community and personalized presence, creating connection through online, asynchronous feedback services, it has struggled to demonstrate the usefulness of this online feedback. In this presentation, we explain the results of our study which surveyed students to determine how and if they were implementing their personalized video feedback.