Class Visits (Fall 2020)
If you would like someone from the Writing Center to visit with your class, we will be happy to do so via Zoom or Microsoft Teams. To arrange for such a visit, please contact the Director of the Center, Denise M. Rogers, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Writing Center is always happy to visit with classes over Zoom or Teams. Visits to the Center are best scheduled in the first weeks of the semester, when there is less likelihood of disrupting tutoring sessions. Visits can be especially effective if they are scheduled right after students are given the first paper assignment; we can then invite students to make an appointment with us before they leave the Center.
To keep our tutors and the students who vist us safe, we are not able to visit classrooms to talk to your students about the services we offer.
Please schedule visits to the Center with the Center's Director, Denise Rogers, at email@example.com
Required Visits/Bonus Points--A Writing Center No-No!
We discourage teachers requiring visits, whether face to face or asynchronous, or offering bonus points for visits for these reasons:
1. We never want clients to feel that a trip to the Center is a punishment for doing poorly on an assignment. The Center is the place where good things can happen, and we want our clients to feel that they are taking positive steps by coming to the Writing Center. We have found that clients who are required to come to the Center for tutoring can be difficult--sometimes impossible--to reach. Instead of requiring a student to visit, we suggest that you conference with the student about the student's writing issues, and then perhaps bring the student by for a visit with us. Sometimes just walking a student over to the Center can foster a positive relationship between the teacher, the student, and the Writing Center that alleviates the need for required visits. During the pandemic, you might consider introducing a student to the Center by sending a student the link and introducing them to the Director by means of an email (cc the Director).
2. Bonus point assignments tend to backfire on the teacher and on the Center in that students become focused on the points rather than on the tutoring. We know they can seem like rewards for good behavior, but students more often than not come into the Center asking us to sign a paper or give them a note just so they can get the points. They tell us they don't need tutoring--they just want the points. We won't falsify a tutoring session, so we can end up in an argument with a student who wants us to sign off on a piece of paper, or we can end up tutoring a student who resents being tutored. These typically do not end well for either the tutor or the student.
3. We have a small staff; bonus points and required assignments for an entire class can mean between 15-30 hours of tutoring, since our appointments run 50 minutes. We don't want to shut out clients who want to be tutored in favor of clients who don't want our services. Oftentimes students who attend only to meet a requirement or to get bonus points end the session early, taking up an appointment time that could otherwise be used by a client who really needed or wanted an appointment.
Some Resources for Teachers
The following is a brief annotated list of pertinent sites with topics ranging from teaching ESL students to preventing plagiarism:
- Teaching with Writing: This Web site from the University of Minnesota provides help with designing writing assignments, responding to and grading writing assignments, writing with sources (and preventing plagiarism), workign with non-native speakers of English, and other aspects of teaching with writing.
- Strategies for Preventing Plagiarism: This site by Robert Harris, author of The Plagiarism Handbook, looks at the causes of plagiarism and strategies for preventing and combating plagiarism.
- Purdue University Online Writing Lab: This Web site has a wealth of resources for both students and teachers. In addition to help with matters of grammar and mechanics, the Purdue OWL also provides help with APA and MLA style and different types of writing assignments.
- Excelsior OWL: This Web site has resources not only for students but for teachers, too (see the three tabs at the top of the page). They have a multimedia presentation on Avoiding Plagiarism that instructors will find to be helpful.
- Grammar and Punctuation (University of Bristol, UK): This is an easy to use Web site with basic rules and examples. Do remember this is a British web site and some of the conventions are different than they are in English (but some TESOL writers will be familiar with British rules).