IWCA 2019

Use the tabs below to find OWC-themed presentations on each day of the conference. If your presentation is not listed below, please contact us at submissions@onlinewritingcenters.org.

In the event of time or room changes, please refer to the official conference schedule.

Last Updated: October 2, 2019


Featured Session: OWC SIG

Time: Saturday, October 19, 12:15 – 1:30pm EST

Onsite Participation: Room Union A

Virtual Participation: Zoom. Register to attend our SIG virtually! Save your confirmation email with the link to join the session.


Thursday, October 17

10:25 – 11:40am EST

“‘It Is Just as Effective and Much Easier’: A Comparative Study of Face-to-Face and Synchronous Online Tutoring” [Session B5]

Location: Delaware A

Presenter: Carolyn Wisniewski

Limited empirical research has compared the pedagogical qualities of face-to-face and online writing tutorials. This presentation will share results from a mixed-method study of face-to-face and synchronous online tutoring. Drawing on interview, observation, and survey data, the researcher will discuss how conversational rapport, session phases, and tutoring strategies were similar across settings. However, conversation content differed, as online tutorials devoted more words to micro-level and fewer to macro-level issues. Students’ perceptions of both tutorial environments were positive, with most writers reporting their goals had been met. This presentation concludes with implications for ongoing assessment and future research.


1:15 – 2:30pm EST

“The Art of Feedback: Reactions within the Writing Center” [Session D8]

Location: Delaware C

Presenters: Ayoko Djisseglo, Ariana Antonelli, Kiera Gnatz

This research aims to evaluate the difference in constructive feedback between online feedback versus paper feedback forms. In addition to evaluating these, we will assess how both tutors and writers respond to such feedback. Exploring this art of feedback in the Writing Center can reveal valuable information on different reactions. This research can also better our understanding of the individuals that make up the Writing Center environment and their voices.


3:15 – 4:30pm EST

 “It’s Not Paint-By-Number: Echoing the Style of Campus-Wide Academic Integrity Training at the Writing Center” [Session E3]

Location: Franklin B

Presenters: Leandra Hess, Courtney Bates

After this private, comprehensive university in the Midwest implemented campus-wide academic integrity training, the Writing Center realigned its own style to match the artistry of that training. By adopting its rhetoric as a common touchstone of campus culture, tutors replace the cops-and-robbers approach. Learn more about the results in this shift in style. Such changes take practice, and this presentation shares a faculty-led exercise that helped tutors detect and address potential violations. After that exercise, an undergraduate tutor surveyed her peers to capture their feelings about implementing these strategies in face-to-face and asynchronous email appointments.

“The Art of Perception, Emotional Intelligence, and Silence in Online Tutoring Sessions” [Session E6]

Location: Delaware A

Presenters: Bethany Meadows, Kat Greene, Kyle Pratt

Many writing centers have synchronous online tutoring sessions. In this panel of three tutor-scholars, we seek to examine how we can break new ground to construct valuable interactions with our clients. In this innovation of artistry, we will specifically look at how tutors can paint their online tutoring canvases. We examine how online tutoring affects how clients perceive gender, how tutors can navigate online sessions with emotional intelligence, and how silence can be used as a “paintbrush” in their rhetorical toolbox. Our panel strives to understand tutors as robust online artists in their centers.

Friday, October 18

11:10am – 12:25pm EST

“Empowering Artists in the Writing Center Through Student/Tutor Agency and Empathy” [Session H12]

Location: Union E

Presenters: Kristi Polidore, Katia Arco, Morgan Bonanno, Eric Scholz

In this interactive round table session, four graduate student consultants will bridge together our findings in our 2018 IRB approved research study– where we deconstructed tutor feedback we received from a commercial online tutoring platform– to explore practical methods and feedback strategies which can incorporate more empathy and writer agency into both our Writing Center’s synchronous online and face-to-face writing sessions.We deconstructed an online tutoring platform to better understand student/tutor relationships in a distance tutoring model. We feel there is importance in helping to create better writers (artists) and not simply polished content.

“Digital Interface as a Canvas: Thinking About E-Tutoring like Artists” [Session H13]

Location: Madison

Presenters: Noah Smith

This roundtable asks writing center administrators and tutors to collaborate as artists and imagine into being the kinds of online feedback for writers we believe would best suit the missions of contemporary multiliteracy centers, setting aside the constraints of e-tutoring we may have grown accustomed to taking for granted. Attendees are invited to help sketch an ideal e-tutoring platform with other scholars, using both their inventiveness and personal experiences to prepare strategies that will start productive conversations with others at their home institutions. Participants will leave with some clear places to begin thinking creatively about e-tutoring interfaces and practices.

“(Not)Throwing the Baby Out With the Bath Water: A Discussion about Creating a Sustainable Online Program” [Session H16]

Location: Marion

Presenters: Brenda Tyrrell, Kate Francis, Kyle Smith, Mikel Prater

This workshop first traces a writing center’s initiative to create a more sustainable and accessible online appointment system. Then, it offers a sustained examination of approaches to evaluating various platforms, and concludes with an open dialogue with participants about their own practices, receiving any feedback and suggestions from other programs, and a garnering of troubleshooting advice for all writing centers.

“Considering the Art of Synchronous Online Tutoring Consultations” [Session H17]

Location: Knox

Presenters: Diana L. Awad Scrocco, Courtney L. Werner, Mary Rademacher

This panel considers the affordances and constraints of online chat tutoring: we examine to what extent our consulting art ought to mimic best practices of face-to-face consultations and to what degree digital language enables tutoring dialogue. We analyze synchronous online consultation transcripts from one writing center to evaluate how we create consultation masterpieces via consultation patterns and arcs, approaches to teaching and tutoring, and the role of digital language in tutors’ feedback. We conclude that tutors can artfully employ positive elements of face-to-face consultations and netspeak during chat sessions to reach students in a space where many feel most comfortable.


12:35 – 1:50pm EST

“Speaking by Design: Online Video Consultations for Student Speakers” [Session I4]

Location: Franklin C

Presenters: Julia M. Medhurst, Florence Davies

At the Texas A&M University Writing Center, our mission tasks us with helping “graduate and undergraduate students practice the habits of mature composers of written and oral communication.” While we felt that our writing services were doing a fair job of meeting student needs, we believed that we needed additional support for speaking. To further our mission, we decided to extend our campus reach by offering online consultations where consultants review students’ speech videos, a move that allows us to integrate multimodal consulting strategies in design (New London Group, 1996) and helps us diversify our consultation offerings in a move toward achieving equity. Moreover, we took into account the literature in communication pedagogy that points to the effectiveness of students receiving feedback on a recorded speech (Bourhis & Allen, 1998).Thus armed, we moved to create a platform where consultants could flex their artistic skills by providing this kind of online feedback. After taking into account our center’s constraints–money, time, and maintenance–we decided that the best method of delivering this service was integrating a link to our online scheduling system where students could share self-recorded videos via Google Drive (where TAMU students have access to unlimited storage) or Youtube. Once the process was solidified, we turned to consultant training and advertising our new service. We will discuss the details of these processes through the course of our presentation and provide a reflection on what worked well and what could be improved.

“Fording the Distance: Telephone Tutoring at the Center of Laboring Students” [Session I4]

Location: Franklin C

Presenters: Amy Nejezchleb

The results of a preliminary study will be presented, a foundation for why telephone tutoring enables writing center professionals to empower non-socionormative students who labor while enrolled in college. The study involves seven participants who chose telephone tutoring over remote options, helping to motivate those who do not use traditional methods and contributing to the improved experience of students in the writing center. Interviews identified the demographics of these students and their reasons for tutoring via telephone. This study builds on applied research in writing center studies and proposes a method for delivering accessible education to students without barriers.

“To Create or to Imitate?: Balancing Art and Artisanry in Building an Online Writing Center” [Session I4]

Location: Franklin C

Presenters: Meghan Velez, Alex Rister

This presentation will share one institution’s experience building VECTOR (Virtual Environment for Communication Teaching, Outreach, and Research), an online writing and communication center from the ground up, without a physical writing center as its predecessor. While the literature now offers strategies and best practices for adding online components to a writing center’s offerings, less attention has been paid to building and maintaining fully online writing centers. The presenters will share how, as artists, we have imagined and designed our virtual environment while, as artisans, we utilize existing online writing center research as well as knowledge of our own unique institutional context to imitate what already works.

“In the Eye of the Beholder: Examining The Student Experience of Asynchronous Writing Feedback” [Session I5]

Location: Franklin D

Presenters: Matt Sharkey-Smith

While writing centers increasingly offer asynchronous online writing consultations, these interactions are often challenging to assess because they provide few of the typical indications of student experience—verbal responses, tone of voice, body language—afforded by live consultations (face-to-face or synchronous online). To better understand the student side of these consultations, the Walden Writing Center conducted a mixed-methods research project focusing on students’ writerly self-efficacy and their responses to semi-structured interview questions. This session describes our research process and presents what we learned about how our students experience this mode of online writing instruction.

“Using Google Sites to Build Interactive Instructional Tools in an Online Writing Center” [Session I8]

Location: Delaware C-D

Presenters: Robert Campbell, Sally Smits Masten

In an online Writing Center environment, offering web-based tools to address skill gaps while strengthening student agency is critical. This presentation details the process of using the Google Sites platform to design an interactive APA Style guide that facilitates students’ proofreading process through quick self-assessments, examples, and colorful visual elements. In Writing Centers with high utilization, self-paced interactive tools such as this provide a key means of just-in-time support that still prioritizes the student’s agency and skill-building.

“Co-Teaching Strategies in an Online APA Open Door Session” [Session I8]

Location: Delaware C-D

Presenters: LeAnn R Nash, Robert Campbell

Co-op teaching strategies can help facilitate an open-door style learning session for students in an online environment. This presentation looks at how we use co-op strategies in an Adobe room to present information, share resources, and provide examples to students to build their competency and confidence in citing sources used in their coursework writing tasks. The large number of student questions in such a session and the technological challenges in an online classroom pose a unique set of obstacles for instructors, but alternating voice, text, and screen-sharing modes in an organized way allows instructors to maximize the impact of this online mode. With the right approach, the online open-door style learning session can be a valuable piece of the Writing Center’s offerings.

“‘I Am’ Statements in Online Sessions: How Writers Craft Identity & Agency” [Session I14]

Location: Fayette

Presenters: Charitianne Williams, Vainis Aleksa, Kim O’Neil

How do writers develop strategies to exercise authority in the rich linguistic environment of the online tutoring conversation? In this panel presentation, we examine writer disclosures of identity, the potential intention and effects of these disclosures, and the writer’s development of what discourse analysis calls “competence,” or, the authority to navigate and direct the online tutoring conversation. We wonder: is the writer’s role in each session a unique work of art? Or the result of craft, generating a limited edition print in a series developed over time?


2:30 – 3:45pm EST

“Dancing for the Audience: Analytics in the Writing Center” [Session J5]

Location: Franklin D

Presenters: Melody Pickle

In 2018, our fully online Writing Center began tracking all of our writing center services using online analytics data. This session will describe the types of analytics collected, how we partnered with our data science team, and how this research has launched larger changes and additional research within the university. In this first step towards a more quantitative method, we share the journey into telling the story of our tutoring art by using data science.

“Using Content Analysis and Text Mining to Examine the Effects of Online Asynchronous Tutoring on Revision” [Session J11]

Location: Union D

Presenters: Susan Lang, Kathleen Gillis

Does more frequent tutoring change revision processes? In this session, we present initial results from a content analysis of student revision practices. Specifically, we examined five years of data, including drafts, submitted assignments, tutor comments, and instructor comments, from students who were taking first-year writing courses and using asynchronous online tutoring three or more times per semester. Additionally, we examined a comparable group of students who did not use writing center services or did so only once per semester. Our discussion will encompass both revision process and the methodologies used to examine the student writing and comments.


3:55 – 5:10pm EST

“Benefits of a Blank Canvas: Forced Appreciation of Our Art” [Session K7]

Location: Delaware B

Presenters: Heidi Marshall

In response to recognition that a traditional writing center model would not adequately respond to online student needs at the TCSPP Online Campus, we launched a pilot program, “Enhancing Dialogic Feedback for Improved Student Self-Regulation,” in which we bring the writing center to the online classroom. Through this pilot, we toe the line between required and student-initiated feedback, revealing our tutoring art both to audiences that would have sought it out and to audiences that would not have otherwise known its benefits. By leaving our writing center space and entering into a space normally reserved for student-faculty interaction, we are able to enhance not only the appreciation for writing center work, but also the dialogue surrounding it.

“Who Has the Compass?: Navigating Online Writing Center Feedback” [Session K15]

Location: Madison

Presenters: Amy Nejezchleb, Vanessa Petroj

To measure the efficacy of asynchronous writing center feedback, we conducted a study that included essays submitted by 10 graduate students in the Bellevue University Online Writing Center. We investigated what areas are addressed in the revision process while striving to meet the students where they are in a writing center session. Consequently, the investigators considered whether the student decides, the consultant determines, or the rhetorical occasion dictates the overall objectives of a session. While the total number of submitted essays was 150, this preliminary study looked at three aspects of 15 essays (10%).

Saturday, October 19

8:00 – 9:15am EST

“Exploring the Collaborative Partnerships Between an Online Writing Center and an Online Undergraduate Completion Degree Course” [Session L14]

Location: Union E

Presenters: Christine Zabala

This session will chronicle the pilot stage of an emerging partnership between a fully online writing center and a newly developed online undergraduate completion degree course. The session will focus on the planning, scaffolding, and tutor training stage of this collaboration, with a brief discussion of preliminary findings from the first few months of the partnership. This session is unique in that it discusses the creation of a new collaboration for the online writing center, as well as its focus on a writing center located within a school of education.

“Promoting Student Engagement and Consultant Artistry Through Facilitative Feedback” [Session L14]

Location: Union E

Presenters: Laura Hardin Marshall

Asynchronous consultations come with challenges: building rapport, avoiding authoritative remarks, and reducing the time required to type recommendations, among others. This session will share strategies to mitigate such challenges, namely through appreciative and facilitative feedback, with an accompanying consultant handbook of time-saving, pre-written positive comments and open-ended, option-giving questions that put students in control of their projects. This handbook is designed to maximize student participation in conversation, especially when the writers are not present; it has become a living collection of templates consultants can use in order to engage students in online consultations and the subsequent revision process.

“Online Composition Fellows: Building a Program through Synchronous Engagement” [Session L14]

Location: Union E

Presenters: Ricky Finch

Writing Fellows embedded in Composition class is not a new concept. Furthering that, Writing Centers embrace opportunities to embedded tutors in a variety of classroom spaces and disciplines. Writing Fellows who occupy online spaces often find difficulties navigating class discussion boards, communicating with the class, and engaging in a meaningful way. As student continue to flock to online classes, writing fellows work in online spaces can be a resource for student success. Engaging students synchronously through weekly class workshops creates an additional tool for Writing Centers to use when assisting online students.

“The Art of Online Conversations” [Session L18]

Location: Marion

Presenters: Elizabeth Bowen

As technology allows conversation to extend into the online realm, the virtual anonymity of the computer screen can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, it allows people to engage in global conversations from anywhere, yet this same anonymity can sometimes hinder avenues of communication. This Roundtable will explore ways to facilitate effective online discussions in different contexts, for example online discussion groups, asynchronous online tutorials, and social media discussions to name a few.


9:25 – 10:40am EST

“‘Hi, No Worries at All!’: Rhetorical Listening as Expression of Emotional Knowledge in Online Synchronous Writing Conferences” [Session M7]

Location: Delaware B

Presenters: Neal Lerner, Kyle Oddis

Emotions play a strong role in tutoring writing for both students and consultants. To better understand this role, we analyzed writing conferences conducted in synchronous, online format, drawing on the concept of “rhetorical listening” (Ratcliffe 1999) in which tutors and students engage in a mutual learning process by “listening for the (un)conscious presences, absences, unknowns” (Ratcliffe 1999, p. 206). In this session, we will describe our study–its questions, methods, results, and analysis. Ultimately, we hope to build a model of “rhetorical listening” in online synchronous writing center sessions, focusing on the key role of emotional knowledge.


12:15 – 1:30pm EST

“Online Writing Center Special Interest Group” [Session O10]

Location: Union A. Or register to attend our SIG virtually!

Presenters: Sarah Prince, Beth Nastachowski, Jenelle Dembsey, Megan Boeshart

This SIG is for writing centers working with or thinking about working with students online as either a partial or fully online writing center (OWC). During its second year at IWCA, this SIG will be structured in two parts: First, we will report back on current and upcoming initiatives, including the OWC Community website, our on-going virtual conversation hours, a special issue of ROLE on OWCs, and our efforts make this SIG an IWCA standing group. Second, attendees will participate in small-group discussions on the benefits and challenges specific to OWCs, including ways OWC tutors and professionals can better connect.

“Using an Artisan Mindset to Scaffold Responses to Online Submissions” [Session O13]

Location: Union D

Presenters: Jen Denzin, Liz Colson, Marz Riggs, Paige Haddas, Jolie Kretzschmar

In this workshop session, student consultants from Saline High School will share email templates and flyers they’ve created to help scaffold valuable online feedback. We’ll also host smaller discussions to help work through our remaining questions: What types of feedback did students hope to receive? What did we provide? Can our feedback foster asynchronous conversation? We’re hoping to learn and share with others. How do other centers respond to online submissions? What scaffolds do you use?