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Nov 23, 2015

The University Writing Center Goes Virtual: Introducing the New Tutor Chat System!

Unable to make it to the writing center? Only have one quick question about commas? Not sure if your concerns require a full tutoring session?

Senior Katie Utne staffs the UWC Tutor Chat system
Senior Katie Utne staffs the UWC's new Tutor Chat system

The University Writing Center has a new solution to these dilemmas: an online chat system.

Due to high demand for tutoring services, the UWC has launched a new chat feature that allows students to access writing advice and tutoring services from any location—the library, just outside their next class, or even at home in bed. As a descendant of the JMU Libraries’ Ask The Library chat system, this tool enables students to have real-time conversations with writing tutors online. JMU writers can ask questions, copy and paste in bits of text, or even attach links to complete documents via Google Drive. This type of interface works well for questions about citations, punctuation, or just about how tutoring services work. The system can be utilized as the student needs, and all inquiries are welcome.

UWC Director Jared Featherstone says, “We’re hoping the Tutor Chat system will serve students who wouldn’t otherwise have been motivated to come in, because maybe they just have a quick question, or maybe they feel anxious about publicly talking about their work. An option like the online chat system might help them feel more comfortable.” The system could be especially useful for commuters or busy students who can’t find an appointment time that works with their schedule.

Of course, the chat system isn’t meant to replace the in-person sessions. Our face-to-face services are still available, but the chat tool might be a helpful starting place or an introduction to tutor services. So, the next time you encounter writing troubles, give the tutor chat line a buzz. We’ll (virtually) be there to help.

- Helena Schanz | Peer Tutor | Staff Writer








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