Much of the scholarship on writing centers narrates the stories of writers and their texts as told by tutors, administrators, and researchers. In an effort to bring writers’ voices to the forefront, this empirical study examines the types of questions and concerns writers have about their writing as submitted through the Purdue Writing Lab’s OWL Mail, an online, asynchronous question-and-answer email platform.
In recent years, scholars within the writing center community have urged for improved research practices within the field. Lore and experience have long been the field’s guiding influence.
This study analyzed the effects of live academic support sessions on online graduate students’ interaction with the course content. This was accomplished through qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. In-depth interviews with eight purposely selected online graduate students provided the textual data.
Currently my high school writing center tutors are delivering asynchronous sessions, offering three hours a day of live face-to-face dialogue, and committed to the discussion that is writing. To admit that my tutors are high school students, grades nine through twelve, should not surprise you in that we’ve all seen a movement pushing for writing centers to appear at the secondary level, but what might surprise you is that my high school students are also online learners.
In part 2 of this post, the author details the piloting of screencast software as an additional tool the writing center is using in their e-mail feedback to students. He reports positive anecdotes from students who received the screencasts, but poses some important questions about the efficacy and use of screencasts in writing centers.
Those of us lucky enough to teach in a classroom or tutor in a writing center recognize how much learning can happen in a 30-minute conversation. Spending those same 30 minutes writing comments on a student’s paper can feel like we’re teaching only a fraction of what we’re capable of, and yet writing these comments is an enormous part of our work!
In the Fall of 2005, three other consultants and I implemented a synchronous online tutoring pilot program at the University of Pittsburgh Writing Center. Developing the program challenged us to acknowledge student expectations and adapt our services in response.
On-line writing tutorials are evidence of the advance of computer technology into the “safe” space of the writing center. Swirling conversations about writing operate there in a seemingly time-less, space-less space.