University Writing Center Update: Fall 2013

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 10.52.47 AMEver since the new University Writing Center (UWC) opened its doors to students last April, the energy and excitement for writing has been high. The Fall 2013 semester marks the first full semester the UWC will be open for students, faculty and staff, and with a new space, new changes.

The UWC’s staff grew to 26 undergraduate and graduate consultants from across disciplines. Eight of these consultants took a 3-credit Peer Tutoring Course last spring. The Peer Tutoring course was offered for the first time as a Special Topics course in the English department and will be offered again Spring 2014. Consultants from the course explore writing center theory, tutoring practices, and philosophies of learning and writing in collaborative space.

Because of our physical growth and staff growth, we are excited to offer Sunday night hours. We will be open for face to face and online appointments from 5pm to 9pm on Sundays. During the week, we will be open 9am to 9pm Mondays to Wednesdays, 9am to 5pm on Thursdays and 9am to 2pm on Fridays. Students are encouraged to make appointments with our online schedule system, but we welcome walk-ins as long as consultants are available.

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Our virtual presence also grew and changed this semester. In Summer 2013, the UWC piloted synchronous online tutoring. This fall, we welcome all students in DE courses to take advantage of our synchronous online tutoring. Students sign up for an Online appointment, and they are able to chat in real-time with a consultant as well as upload their paper onto a shared whiteboard where the consultant and student can collaboratively work to develop the paper. Additionally, the UWC is happy to reveal its new website. Of particular interest to students are our video tutorials that walk students through making face-to-face and online appointments.

During the fall semester, a number of big events are happening. On September 13, seven consultants are traveling to Meredith College for the North Carolina Writing Center Network Consultant Retreat. On September 23, the UWC is hosting a grand opening event for students that’ll include a consultant-led ribbon cutting. The UWC and UWP will feature writing related workshops in the Digital Studio leading up to the ribbon cutting event.  In November, 6 undergraduate consultants are presenting at the National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing and have been awarded ECU travel grants from the Office of Undergraduate Research. The UWC was also awarded a $500 research grant from SWCA that’ll be used this semester for professional development from the consultants. Finally, looking toward the spring semester, the ECU UWC is proud to host the Southeast Writing Center Association conference.

We hope, that with your help and your students help, the excitement for writing continues throughout the year.

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UWC Director, Dr. Nikki Caswell

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Changes at the University Writing Center

Dr Nikki CaswellThe University Writing Center (UWC) is open to all students, faculty and staff at ECU. Our staff consists of undergraduate and graduate students from across the disciplines and we are ready to help your students with their writing. We can help with all types of writing, including research papers, observation reports, resumes, and more. Also, please let your students know we can help with writing at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to proofreading. Students in DE courses can take advantage of our services by using our Online Writing Lab.

One of our changes in Fall 2012 was to move to an online appointment based system for our face-to-face sessions. We are happy to announce that the Online Writing Lab has also moved to an appointment based system. After listening to our students last semester, we found that appointments would help students (and us) keep track of submissions and would allow us to tell students when they would receive their feedback. We felt this would allow students to better plan out their writing process. Students in DE courses can schedule an appointment on our OWL/DE schedule (at any point in the semester), upload their paper (in the appointment itself) and then re-download the paper at the end of the session. Students do not have to be near a computer during the hour of their appointment, so they can sign up for any time. The OWL is still an asynchronous based system. We ask that students submitting to the OWL provide us with their questions and concerns about the piece of writing. Then, the consultants are better able to tailor their feedback to the concerns of the writing. Just like the face-to-face sessions, the OWL is not an editing service, but a space for students to receive reader-response feedback and direction on how to improve their writing. More detailed directions and a Prezi to share with your students can be found on our website. Continue reading