After a successful test run in the spring, the Writing Center is gearing up for a fully remote fall, and the center is counting on UP faculty to get the word out that writing assistants (WAs) are ready and able to help UP writers throughout the term. WAs can help writers from all disciplines, at all levels, and at any stage of the process, including brainstorming ideas, understanding assignments, outlining, and revising.
Online appointments can be made through the appointment scheduler. When it’s time for the meeting, students simply click on “Meet online” and the 30- or 60-minute appointment will happen over Zoom. Students can also email firstname.lastname@example.org to request an appointment time outside of regularly scheduled available times.
New this year, the center is offering a limited number of “dedicated writing assistants” to work directly with writing-intensive courses. If you’re interested in having a writing assistant assigned to your course (to introduce the Writing Center to your students, meet with you to talk over assignments and expectations, and serve as the go-to writing assistant for any student from your class), please reach out to Writing Center Director Molly Hiro (email@example.com) for more details.
One of the best means of getting students to bring their work-in-progress to the Writing Center is for faculty themselves to encourage them to do so (some professors require at least one visit; some give extra credit to students for using our services). When talking to your students about the UP Writing Center, you might keep in mind the following:
- The center’s goal is not just to inspire better papers, but create better writers. This means writing assistants don’t “fix” papers; they work with students to improve their overall writing skills for this and future tasks.
- Writing assistance isn’t just for students with major grammar or mechanical problems. Instead, the focus is on higher-order concepts such as argument, organization, development, and other areas. Even accomplished writers can make progress on their work in a half-hour session.
- While writing assistants represent most majors as well as the professional schools, they are trained in a semester-long course to work with students from any discipline.
- You may have found that your students weren’t able to find appointment times in past semesters, especially in early fall as we await the newly trained writing assistants to come on staff. That problem has been fixed this semester; the new writing assistants are prepared to begin working earlier in the term—so reassure students that if they want writing help, they should be able to get it!
- When a student meets with a writing assistant to discuss a paper for your course, you’ll get a copy of the conference report—a brief summary of what the student and writing assistant worked on (this is an easy way of keeping track of who visited the WC for assigning extra credit).
- An effective way to familiarize your students with the Writing Center and to demonstrate your support for the center’s services is to invite a writing assistant to drop in to your online classroom to give a 5-10 minute presentation during the first few weeks of the semester. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the day and time of the class you’d like a writing assistant to visit and the center will get back to you shortly.
- Lastly, remember that all Moodle pages have a link to the Writing Center—see the top left corner, under “Learning Resources.”
To foster student writing integrity at UP (i.e., find cases of plagiarism when they occur), consider using the Turnitin function through your class Moodle page. Instructions for using this paper-authentication software can be found 0n the Learning Commons website.
All of your students should possess a common writing handbook—The Pocket Cengage Handbook—as it’s required in their two writing-embedded courses. The Cengage Handbook helps keep our campus on the same page when it comes to grammar, punctuation, citation styles, and basic expectations for essay writing across the university. If you need a desk copy of this reference, please contact the Writing Center director by the second week of the semester.
“As the director of the Writing Program and the Writing Center, I am happy to be a point of contact on all writing-related matters this semester,” says Molly Hiro, English. “Need insight on crafting better writing prompts? Resources for integrating writing instruction into your class-time? Help with language to use when evaluating student writing? I may not have all the answers, but feel free to try me!”
Contact Hiro at email@example.com.