Using WriteLab for Asynchronous Learning in Your Writing Center
Writing centers are an essential student service at every university. In our recent post called Using WriteLab for Synchronous Learning in Your Writing Center, we provided insights into using the WriteLab app during remote sessions with tutors. But what if you want to offer your tutoring services outside of real-time online sessions?
As your Writing Center continues to grow in popularity, some students might be too busy at critical times—leaving them unable to drop-in or connect online for synchronous learning. If this is the case, an asynchronous approach using WriteLab can help solve this problem.
Asynchronous Online Writing Instruction
The asynchronous approach can be broken down into simple steps:
- The student shares their essay draft with a tutor at your Writing Center directly within the WriteLab app.
- A tutor reads the draft and provides typed feedback. They can also review WriteLab’s feedback on Concision, Clarity, Logic, and Grammar and offer additional comments.
- The student can review the feedback on their own when the tutor is done—and begin taking informed revision steps.
- The student has the option of resubmitting their draft again after addressing the WriteLab and tutor comments.
This easy and accessible process is very similar to how students share their essays with peers. Learn more about how instructors can leverage digital peer review in their classes.
Independent Learning During the Writing Process
On their own, students can run a draft of their essay through WriteLab. Instructors should encourage this practice as the feedback students receive asks questions and offers suggestions, but does not tell them what to do. Students can even dismiss comments that they feel aren’t helpful. This approach encourages students to become self-sufficient writers. Students can also review their work in the app before meeting with a tutor to help them get a better idea of what they’d like to focus on during the one-on-one session.
Can Writing Centers Be More like Math Labs?
Coordinators and tutors know that the math tutoring services on campus tend to have more activity. Students come to the labs to study; help each other with problems; access books and worksheets; and work one-on-one with tutors. It would be great if you could cultivate a similar social and collaborative atmosphere in your Writing Center.
While it takes time to build a strong writing center with a great reputation, the first step is to encourage students to come even if they don’t want to see a tutor. Create open workspaces and community tables with computers. Ask students to pick up worksheets and grab handbooks off of shelves. Lastly, encourage them to run their drafts through WriteLab. Even if students simply come to the computer and use the app for independent learning—they might start a conversation with another student about their work or assignment. While we tend to treat writing centers like libraries where talking is discouraged, students should be able to collaborate and work together to solve problems.
WriteLab can save tutors time and help writing centers serve more students. Like writing center tutors, the software simply gives students the tools they need to critique and polish their work, ultimately becoming independent writers on a journey of consistent improvement.