EU Writing Center available for Zoom sessions

Category:  News
Wednesday, September 2nd, 2020 at 2:00 PM
EU Writing Center available for Zoom sessions by Julia Carden
Photo: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels

Traditionally located in the Baron Forness Library, the Edinboro University Writing Center helps students to, according to the university website, “brainstorm ideas, to organize them logically and effectively, to develop and revise your work, to incorporate ideas from research smoothly in your own words, to document them correctly, and to show you how to edit and proofread your work.” The center provides this support for students working in all academic disciplines.

This semester, the library location will be closed, but tutoring sessions will be available through Zoom.

Professor Marti Mando, director of the center, describes appointments as coaching sessions. Tutors assist in “everything that goes into pushing out an assignment given by a professor,” she said.

“The Writing Center is an amazing place to go when you need assistance with brainstorming, organization, grammar, or any other aid in your writing,” said Taylor Freeburg, a tutor at the center.

Although there’s room in the center’s physical location to observe social distancing rules, Mando felt having it open to on-campus students would have been difficult. Before COVID-19, tutors provided a very interactive experience, working side-by-side with students as they both looked at a paper or computer screen. Therefore, she believes it would be hard to work with one another efficiently while complying with university safety guidelines.

According to Mando, transitioning to remote services was the best option. “Zoom is much better than the risk of getting sick,” she said.

When the spring semester initially transitioned online in March, center usage “completely took a dive,” Mando said. However, she is expecting numbers to rebound because students now have a better understanding of the technology the university uses.

Plus, Mando believes that with current circumstances, the center’s role is as important as ever.

“I think the natural complication of online instruction — whether synchronous or asynchronous — is that students might feel the need for more support. Hopefully the Writing Center can provide that to the students who need it,” she explained.

Normally, students would sign up for tutoring services via a sign-up sheet in the library. This semester, though, the Writing Center has a team of seven tutors whose office hours are available on Starfish, which is where you’ll also make appointments (accessible through myEdinboro). From there, students will be sent a link to a Zoom meeting. Announced hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“I would like to think that students may use the Writing Center more now … because they can set up appointments easily with us, on their time,” said Lauren Hiller, senior English major and center tutor.

According to Hiller, tutors are doing everything possible to mirror an in-person experience. They keep their webcams on during sessions to provide a “sense of normality." Documents can also be shared through Zoom, allowing the tutor and student to look at assignments together.

According to Mando, the Writing Center’s priorities are to train and build skills. The director and tutors explained that students often confuse the center with a copy-editing service. The new flyer released at the beginning of the semester states that the center’s “purpose is to help you become an independent writer; we do not simply correct errors or rewrite your work, instead, we teach you critical strategies that you can use to compose effective written papers.”

Julia Carden is a staff writer for The Spectator. She can be reached at edinboro.spectator@gmail.com

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