The goal of the Writing Center is to help you develop your writing and to help you further develop as a writer. We do this through one-on-one sessions.
Faculty and peer readers are available to help all members of the Drexel community with writing and writing projects. In-person appointments are available at the Writing Center and Drexel libraries. Online appointments are also offered. Information about appointment availability and locations is available on our schedule.
Appointments are available with both faculty readers, who are members of Drexel's teaching staff, and peer readers, who are undergraduate students that have undergone training to become writing tutors. Faculty and peer readers can help by providing feedback and encouragement as writers develop topics, evaluate drafts, make decisions about formatting, and revise for clarity.
Things to know about meetings with Writing Center readers:
- Readers do not correct, grade, proofread or edit a writing project for you, but will help you to think about the project and ways of revising and improving your work. Readers can help you develop ideas, understand how to work within a particular rhetorical situation (including considerations of audience and genre), consider ways of integrating evidence to support and demonstrate your thinking, and revise your writing for clarity. In final stages of a project, readers can guide you as you proofread and copyedit your work, and can help you understand issues of grammar and usage, as well as determine correct formatting for citations.
- Come prepared: Readers recommend bringing (or attaching, for online appointments) the assignment or any guidelines you want to discuss, as well as any documentation on the project (rubrics, prompts, etc.). Before your appointment, consider what questions you have, or what aspects of your project you'd like to discuss.
- A single appointment may not be long enough to address all of your questions about a writing project. For some projects, readers may recommend focusing on only part of the project in a single appointment; readers often recommend that writers schedule follow-up appointments as they revise, and many writers find it helpful to meet with a reader at several points during a writing project.
- Email consultations are not offered. The one-sided nature of reviewing a paper independently and making unilateral suggestions is not an effective environment to develop as a writer. Synchronous appointments, in-person and online, are much more effective at fostering a meaningful exploration of writing.
- Consider how you work best. Before making an online or in-person appointment, consider how you work most effectively. If you don't think that you would be able to conference well through an online appointment, you would probably be better served coming to your appointment in person.
When you reserve in-person or online appointments with readers, you'll be asked to answer several questions to help us understand what you're working on and how we can best help you. This helps you to think about the writing project you’re working on and provides important information for the reader with whom you'll be working.
At the Writing Center we offer two types of appointment: In-Person Appointments and Online Appointments.
In-Person appointments take place face to face at one of our locations. We find these appointments are often the most effective because they allow for a discussion on writing to happen on a much more personal level. Be sure to pay attention to the location of your appointment; usually it immediately follows your reader’s name. For example, a tutor in the Writing Center would be listed as John (MacAlister 0032), while a tutor in the library might be Jane (Hagerty 127).
Online appointments are the newest addition to Writing Center services. Online appointments take place entirely through the WCOnline system; they are accessed through a link in the appointment window. No downloads are necessary, but you should make sure that your browser and Java are fully up to date. We generally recommend using either Chrome or Firefox as your browser because there are often issues with Safari. Although the reader and writer are apart during the appointment, the session is still conducted as a conversation between reader and writer. Both view the same work, which is uploaded by the writer and can be examined and revised by both the writer and the reader.
All scheduling at the Drexel Writing Center is done through a browser-based scheduling service called WCOnline. Through WCOnline you have the ability to create, modify, and cancel appointments. This can be done at any time up until the appointment is scheduled to begin.
The WCOnline homepage for Drexel includes a login screen; if you have not used the Writing Center before you will have to register an account, register here, in order to access the schedule. In addition to the username and password, you are allowed to select which schedule you wish to look at. WCOnline automatically defaults to the Peer Readers schedule, but there are also schedules for Faculty Readers, Fellowship Applicants, and Graduate Support. The Fellowship Applicants schedule is only for those who are applying for fellowships, and only graduate students are allowed to make use of the Graduate Support schedule.
The schedule is displayed as a large grid, with readers listed on the left side and times displayed along the top. There are five different colors on the grid, each of which represents something different:
- Purple: This is a blackout meaning during these times appointments are not available with this particular reader.
- White: This is an opening during which an appointment is available with a particular reader.
- Red/Blue: This is an appointment that is not available because it has been already been reserved.
- Red represents an online appointment.
- Blue represents an in person appointment.
- Gold: This indicates that the appointment is reserved for you. Only your appointment will appear as a gold block.
In order to reserve an appointment, click on a white block. This will open a new window. In this window you fill out a profile of what you are working on. The profile isn’t only for recordkeeping; it can be helpful to prepare your tutor in advance for your session. Be sure to click “Save Appointment” when you’re finished entering the information. If the appointment saves successfully, you’ll be taken to a new screen telling you so and you will receive a confirmation email. After refreshing the schedule, the time you reserved should appear as a gold block.
If you chose to conduct your appointment online, you will access the session through the window you made the appointment in. Sign into the WCOnline page and click on the gold box. There will be a red link that says “Start or Join Online Consultation” which will connect you to the Reader and your session can begin.
For a more complete guide on how to make an appointment as well as how to join online sessions, download this PDF.
Do I need to have a finished paper to come in?
No you don’t need to have a finished paper, a drafted paper, or even a paper at all. The Writing Center is happy to help you no matter what stage of writing you’re at. Whether you need to put the finishing touches on your work or you’re still brainstorming, the readers at the Writing Center are more than happy to help.
Is an online appointment just as good as an in-person appointment?
In order to provide our services to those who might not be able to come to an in-person session, our online system was recently upgraded to use microphones and webcams during a session, similar to a Skype session. Meetings take place with the same readers who would conduct in-person sessions.
How do I know where my appointment will be?
The location of your appointment immediately follows your reader’s name. For example, a tutor in the Writing Center would be listed as John (MacAlister 0032), while a tutor in the library might be Jane (Hagerty 127).
Can I make more than one appointment?
Yes, students are allowed to make up to two appointments per week. They can be scheduled at any available time is most convenient for you, so long as the second appointment does not directly follow the first. On the Graduate Support Program, writers can only have one appointment per week.
Will my reader review my grammar?
Potentially, however we often find that grammar is not the most pressing concern when working on improving writing. Our readers are trained to focus on broader issues, like making sure that there is a strong thesis guiding the paper, coherence throughout the paper, clarity, and so on. It is usually more appropriate to address grammar near the end of the writing process, and even then it is not always productive to focus strictly on grammar.
Do readers at the Writing Center copyedit papers?
Rather than copyedit, at the Writing Center we prefer to help you revise your paper. Copyediting involves looking for mostly surface level details, and an appointment is usually better spent examining and improving deeper aspects of a paper instead of just polishing the surface. Also, appointments at the Writing Center are cooperative experiences, and copyediting is a very one-sided process. The paper may be improved slightly, but copyediting leads to very little growth as a writer. Readers may be able to give you tips to help you edit on your own, but they will not edit your paper for you.
Do I need to be present while the reader goes over my paper?
Yes, appointments at the Writing Center are conducted as conversations. Your reader will involve you in the process, and their understanding of your writing as well your own understanding will be advanced through discussion. By working together with someone, you can appreciate aspects of your writing you may otherwise miss if you were just going through the paper on your own.
Do you only review essays?
Many of our appointments focus on formal essays, but we’re more than happy to review any written work with you. Students often bring in drafts, presentations, reports, or just come in to brainstorm and plan how they will write their essays.
Will the Writing Center be able to help with papers like lab reports?
Yes, tutors are trained to help in all disciplines. Additionally, not all readers are English majors. Although some readers do study English, the majority comes from other majors across the university, such as business and engineering. As a result we have a very broad experience base to draw upon.