Writing centers have the freedom, flexibility—perhaps even the responsibility—to fly a bit freer into the future and to test the waters of new ways to interact with writers. One of those ways, which some of us are now exploring, is electronic tutoring, that is, connecting to stu-dents in other locations via computers.
The recent advent of on-line computer network tutoring, however, raises an important question about tutors’ interactions with students who are having this conceptual kind of writing difficulty. The Online Writing Lab (OWL), a new service of the Purdue University Writing Lab, for example, provides students across campus with the opportunity to ask questions about writing and then to receive a response from a tutor, usually within a day.
In the spring of 1993 I got this great idea: why not turn a writing tutorial into an actual writing tutorial? So often writing center tutorials have nothing to do with the act of writing. Students read aloud, make conversation, do some editing or planning. but rarely compose or communicate in writing.
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.
Keywords Email, Personal computers, Writing instruction, Written composition, Computers in education, Tutoring, Writing teachers, Writing, Written correspondence Abstract Describes different kinds of student correspondence over the writing center network at a state university. Argues that the interaction between student and text via machine promotes good writing and improved motivation, even when the subject matter is …