ENGLISH 494: Writing and Tutoring

Spring, 2002

Guidelines for Writing Center Commentaries


Overview. After the second week of class, you will begin to visit the Writing Center for an hour or so each week for most of the rest of the semester and to write three commentaries based on your visits to the Writing Center. During your visits you will observe Writing Center tutors at work, talk with them about their work, and perhaps talk to students who have come to the Center for help with their writing. Your Writing Center Commentaries should grow out of these observations.

Each week, those students who have written commentaries for that week will post them to the class WebCT site by Monday. Everyone in the class will then be able to read those commentaries. Please come to class each Tuesday having read the commentaries posted for that week, and be prepared to discuss them. Over time, these commentaries will become a crucial part of our discussions about writing and tutoring in this class. I consider this assignment one of the most important activities you'll engage in throughout the semester in this course.

Back to top of page.

Content. In your commentaries, you should write about issues, questions, and concerns that grow out of your observations and conversations in the Writing Center. You may wish to pose questions about the strategies a tutor used during a tutorial you observed. Or perhaps a tutorial you observed raised questions or concerns for you about the role of a tutor or about how to approach a specific difficulty in student writing. Or some issue regarding writing and the writing process may arise out of a conversation you had with a student or tutor. Any such issues that emerge from your time in the Writing Center are appropriate topics for these commentaries. And where it is relevant, try to connect your observations with our readings, class discussions, and other course assignments.

What is perhaps more important than the specific issues or questions you address in your commentaries is your reflection on or discussion of those issues or questions. You should think of these commentaries as an informal but careful and substantive inquiry into tutoring. They should provoke our careful, critical thought about what we do as tutors.

Back to top of page.

Length. Commentaries should be about 500-600 words (approximately two double-spaced pages) in length. Please take this length guideline seriously and do not write overly lengthy commentaries, since your classmates will be reading several commentaries each week. Keep your audience in mind.

Back to top of page.

Format. All commentaries will be posted to the course WebCT site, where they will be accessible to the other members of the class. You should save your copies on disk in whatever word processing format you are using (preferably Microsoft Word).

Back to top of page.

Deadlines. Writing Center Commentaries will be due approximately every three weeks, beginning in the fourth week of the semester (see below). Be sure to submit your commentary (by posting it to our WebCT site) by Monday of the week it is due (unless you are instructed otherwise). We will spend class time discussing the issues raised by these commentaries.

Back to top of page.

Schedule. Each student in the class is assigned to a group for the purpose of scheduling deadlines for the commentaries. The groups will be:

Group 1

Jodi Brooks
Tanya Davis
Cecilia Dmitrash
Phil Devillamil

Group 2

Laurie Drellos
Anthony Estrada
Shane McGowan

Group 3

Kristen Montgomery
Jennifer Normandin
Richelle Oakley

Group 4

Catherina Schaaf
Jessica Stienstra
Oliver Wright

Commentaries are due according to the following schedule:

February 12: Group 1
February 19: Group 2
March 5: Group 3
March 12: Group 4
March 19: Group 1
March 26: Group 2
April 2: Group 3
April 9: Group 4
April 16: Group 1
April 23: Groups 2 and 3
April 30: Group 4

English 494 Main Page | Course Schedule | Course Requirements