Writing Center Adapts to Challenges Posed by COVID

3 min read

Katie Cerulle ’22

Features Editor

Many students on the Trinity College campus rely on the Writing Center for help editing papers, developing a thesis, or just talking about the topic discover new and creative ideas. Usually, appointments take place in the English building and are a hands-on experience for students to have their compositions reviewed by a peer student trained to enhance and edit papers. This semester, however, the Writing Center had to take a new approach to their usual in-person meetings. Writing associate Summer Dow ’22 discussed the new tactics that the Center has put into place to help students as much as possible. 

The Writing Center has made many accommodations for maintaining COVID-19 safety guidelines. Summer told the Tripod that the Center will continue to host ETutoring appointments as well as through Zoom. ETutoring appointments with associates offer an asynchronous tutoring session—the associate will work on the paper and address the writer’s concerns within a 24-hour window without direct communication. Online appointments via Zoom, in contrast, are synchronous, meaning that the Writing Center has added an online meeting room where students and peer tutors can work on a client’s writing in real-time. 

To address the concerns of the pandemic, Director of the Allen K. Smith Center for Writing and Rhetoric Professor Tennyson O’Donnell has made some additions to his mandatory RHET-302 class for all new writing associates. New course material for writing associates helps tutors adapt to new technological and interpersonal skills. For students hoping to get the most out of their Etutoring or Zoom appointment, Summer explained that, “it is really important to explicitly state what you are struggling with in your assignment and where you want the most attention to be spent during your hour-long session.” Summer advised students to take full advantage of thoroughly explaining their papers and concerns in the “comments” section of the Center’s online sign-up process. 

Despite some initial confusion from students, Summer is confident that online appointments can reach out to the greatest number of students in the most accessible way—particularly for students not currently on campus. Summer stated that, “having students schedule Writing Center appointments for their work is more important now than in any other semester.” She emphasized that the Center is intended to be encouraging and productive for students.

Summer expressed her admiration for the Writing Center, commenting that it “has been a very large support system for me this semester and I am appreciative of the opportunity to give back to the campus community and support first-year students especially in their unique transition into college writing and college life.” Students can make appointments online by visiting: https://www.trincoll.edu/writing-center/writing-center/

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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