Writing Center FAQs

1.     What is the Writing Center?

The Writing Center is a place where students can find competent, friendly, individualized, free writing assistance. The Center is open to all students: first-year to graduate students, native speakers of English and English language learners, those new to academic writing and advanced writers. Writing Center tutors are prepared to help students improve their writing and produce more effectively written assignments in all disciplines.

2.     Where is the Writing Center?

It’s in the Bartle Library building: LN 2411. To get there, using the stairs across from Jazzman’s, go up to the second floor, turn left, and follow the hallway past the Harpur Dean’s Office. However, for Fall 2020, all tutoring will take place online: schedule your appointment at http://binghamton.mywconline.com/

3.     How can I contact the Writing Center?

Email wstewart@binghamton.edu. To make or to cancel appointments, go to http://binghamton.mywconline.com/

4.     When is the Writing Center open?

Writing Center tutoring takes place Monday through Thursday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m. while classes are in session (not during holidays, breaks, etc.: our tutors are students, too!). We will offer limited evening sessions, too, starting in Fall 2020.

5.     Who are the Writing Center tutors?

Ours is a peer tutoring model. While occasionally we have graduate writing tutors, most of our writing tutors are advanced undergraduates who excel in their classes, are themselves excellent writers, have undergone a competitive application and screening process, and are either currently enrolled in or have successfully completed a 400-level teaching practicum course that focuses on Writing Center tutoring. Their work with clients is informed by theoretical and practical knowledge specifically developed for writing center tutors. They’re smart, creative, ambitious, friendly, adaptable writers who love to help their peers with their own writing.

6.     Will a Writing Center tutor proofread my paper?

Since the Center’s purpose is to enable the student to write well and communicate clearly, tutors do not merely edit, proofread, or correct papers. Tutors do help writers to recognize and address issues of style, syntax, and grammar—as well as content and organization—so that writers become better editors of their own work.

7.     How can I make an appointment for tutoring?

Requesting a tutoring appointment is easy and fast (although wait times are sometimes long): just go to http://binghamton.mywconline.com/ to create an account, if this is your first visit, and to schedule an appointment during an available time slot. You’ll be asked some questions aimed at helping you and your tutor to make the most of your appointment time.

8.     What happens at an online tutoring appointment?

A few minutes before your appointment, you can just log in to that same appointment to meet with your tutor online. Then you’ll be asked to turn on your camera and mic. If for any reason you can’t do that, there’s also a chat function that looks a lot like texting. Many tutors and clients find it helpful to use both. If you lose your connection, just log back in. You can upload your paper by pasting it into the whiteboard or sharing a google drive link. Remember to export your revised paper at the end of the session; your tutor will help you to do that.

Sometime in the Fall of 2020, our online tutoring software will be integrated with Zoom. Your tutor will let you know when that’s available as an option. Clients have reported high rates of satisfaction with the current software, though, so we’re confident you’ll learn it quickly.

9.     How long do tutoring sessions last?

Each session lasts a maximum of 45 minutes. Students can schedule up to two appointments per week, on different days.

10.     When should I make an appointment?

For two different writing assignments, the same writer might seek support at different stages of the writing process, and at more than one stage of the writing process. From understanding a prompt; to reading a new kind of text; to brainstorming ideas;  to formulating a research strategy; to articulating a thesis; to organizing an argument; to implementing a citation and formatting style new to them; to revising for content and organization; to proofreading and line editing a nearly-finished draft: any of these separate but connected writing tasks might be the impetus to seek writing support.

We encourage students to make appointments well in advance of due dates so that they can make time for further revision after their tutoring appointment. It’s also a good idea to work proactively on your writing rather than to try to develop skills in what can feel like an emergency or crisis situation. Some students make regular weekly or biweekly appointments with a tutor in order to develop rapport with someone who can offer consistent, appropriate help over the semester.

11. What materials should I bring to a tutoring session?

When you make an appointment, you’ll answer some questions that will help you to prioritize what you’d like to address; keep in mind that in a 45-minute appointment, you won’t have time to go through a long paper in much detail, so think about which section or aspect of an assignment you most want help with. Ideally, you’d have handy or be ready to explain instructions for the assignment (the prompt), the class syllabus, research notes/sources, if you have any, and any outlines or drafts you may have written for this assignment. But if you’re just starting to think through the assignment, it’s fine to arrive without a draft. Prewriting is part of the writing process, too.

You can share a draft online with your tutor through the whiteboard feature. (You can upload a draft before your appointment, too, but your tutor likely won’t have a chance to read it ahead of time).

12. What if I’ve made an appointment but need to cancel?

As soon as you know you won’t be able to keep—or no longer need—your appointment, cancel it online (see #3); you must give at least twelve hours’ notice.

Appointments cancelled with inadequate notice, or missed without notice, are recorded as “no-shows”; that’s because another student may be unable to make an appointment during that time slot, and so it’s essentially wasted. If a student twice fails to show up, or does not give adequate notice of cancellation, their account will be disabled for the semester. Excessive cancellations (more than five over the semester) might also result in the disabling of an account, for the same reasons. Students whose accounts are disabled may still be able to access tutoring on a walk-in basis, however. Get in touch with the Director, Wendy Stewart (wstewart@binghamton.edu) if you feel there’s been a mistake.

13. What other responsibilities do I have when I meet with a tutor?

Make sure you’ve completed the documentation you’re asked to supply, whether you’ve made an appointment or arrived for a walk-in appointment. That information helps us to document and improve our service so that our writers continue to benefit from tutoring.

Please be respectful of our tutors’ time: like yours, it’s valuable. If you’ve got an appointment, keep it and log in for your appointment on time; arriving more than 10 minutes late may result in a “no-show.” And if you’re being tutored on a walk-in basis, know that once the tutor’s shift is over, they’re not obligated to stay; if you arrive at the start of a tutor’s 45-minute shift and no one else is waiting, you’ll have 45 minutes. But if you arrive 10 minutes before the tutor is scheduled to leave, then you’ll get 10 minutes of tutoring.

You may be asked to complete an anonymous satisfaction survey after completing an appointment. Please complete it; it helps us to document our service and to improve it.

We look forward to working with you!