Despite the transition to online classes, the Center for Writing and Speaking remains open. Instead of face-to-face appointments, however, the Center is utilizing two types of online appointments that students can choose between.
Dr. Talia Argondezzi, the director of the Center, feels that so far the online appointment format has been going well. Argondezzi explained, “We have two options available: eTutoring appointments, in which students can attach a file to their appointment and the Writing Fellow sends them written feedback by the end of the appointment, and online appointments, in which both the student and the Writing Fellow log onto the system at the same time, look at a shared screen with the paper on it, and chat about it.”
So far, Argondezzi has seen positive outcomes with the online format. “I’ve been able to read the feedback the Writing Fellows are offering during each appointment, and I think it’s been extremely insightful and potentially very helpful as students revise their drafts,” Argondezzi said. “Our next step will be to collect some data on how students perceive the online service, and to find out how many students follow up with further questions or other clarifications after their eTutoring appointments.”
The switch to a digital format for Center appointments for the remainder of the semester has also allowed Argondezzi to further consider the possibility of continuing a variation of the online format in the future. “When Ursinus returns to face-to-face classes, I do think we’ll continue online support in some capacity,” Argondezzi said. “We’ve always hesitated to go online in the past because the face-to-face format is such a beloved part of the writing center experience. It’s not only more friendly, but often more efficient, to be in the same room at the same time as your Writing Fellow: then you can ask questions, clarify your meaning, and genuinely collaborate in the revision process. And the Writing Fellow can notice, in real time, when they make a suggestion that’s clear and when they need to rephrase or rethink what they’re saying.”
Taking into account the benefits of face-to-face appointments, Argondezzi also recognizes the positives digital appointments can bring. “But we’ve always been mindful that the in-person format presents difficulties to some students,” Argondezzi continued. “Some students have mobility limitations that make it challenging to get to Olin 302, mental health concerns or pragmatic communication disorders that make in-person consultations uncomfortable, or schedules that are incompatible with the Center for Writing and Speaking’s hours. For those students, we’d like to continue to make a limited number of online appointments available.”
“The ultimate goal is to make the Center for Writing and Speaking as nimble and accessible as possible,” Argondezzi stated. “We’d like to provide the highest quality consultations to our students without leaving anyone out.”
Students interested in making an appointment with a Writing Fellow can go to the link: https://ursinus.mywconline.net. For more information about the Center’s online options and how to make an appointment, students can visit the Center website: https://www.ursinus.edu/offices/center-for-writing-and-speaking/online-appointments/.