Visiting the Online
Writing Center

Osvaldo A. Class of 2019

What to Expect

The Writing Center tutors at National University work with students at every step of the writing process, from brainstorming ideas to polishing a final draft. All students are encouraged to make regular use of this service.

Some students come to the Writing Center with a clear idea of what they want to work on, while others know they want to strengthen their writing but don’t really know where to begin. Through one-on-one conferences with Writing Center tutors, you will begin to devise your own plan of action, figuring out the concrete, manageable steps you need to take in order to improve your writing.

For example:

Student A emails the Writing Center with a writing assignment from his course instructor and then, on the phone, shares that he has a terrible case of writer’s block. Working with his Writing Center tutor, the student analyzes the assignment, brainstorms some ideas, and begins to draft an outline. By the end of his first session, he feels relieved and capable of making progress on his assignment. He makes another appointment for later in the week with the same tutor to review a draft of his paper.

Student B shows her research essay via Zoom’s document-sharing tool to an online Writing Center tutor to determine whether her research is sound and her language clear. Through her interactions with her tutor, she makes an important discovery: this draft of her essay is not argumentative, which is an explicit requirement of the assignment. The student and Writing Center tutor come up with strategies for revising the draft to make it argumentative. The student decides to make another appointment for later in the week to discuss the role of research and language choices she’s made in the new version of her essay.

Student C knows she has argued clearly and convincingly in her position paper, but she’s been told that she needs to work on commas. She shows her paper to the Writing Center tutor via Zoom, and together they identify some comma-usage errors on the first page. The tutor tells the student what the errors are called, explains the applicable conventions of North American comma usage, and then shows her how to look up the generally accepted usage in a writing handbook. The two then continue reading the student’s draft to find more opportunities to use punctuation in reader-friendly ways.

Student D, an English language learner, makes an on-site appointment with a Writing Center tutor. During his appointment, he tells his tutor that he struggles with flow; his professor has told him his sentences are “choppy.” Working through his paper with his tutor, he learns how to combine sentences and add explicit and meaningful connections between his ideas. After his appointment, he continues to practice these new strategies. At his next Writing Center appointment, he reviews his new work with his tutor and discovers that he’s making real progress. He decides that during his next appointment, he’d like to learn more about strategies to use outside sources in his writing and successfully avoid accidental plagiarism.

As these scenarios demonstrate, the Writing Center is not a repair shop where you take your broken papers to be fixed. Our goal is not simply to help you polish your writing, but to help you determine whether or not you’ve fully addressed your assignment instructions, organized your thoughts in a coherent way, and offered support for the points you’ve made. We aim to help you with your papers by helping you acquire the tools you need to communicate in writing as clearly, appropriately, and effectively as possible.

The tutors in the Online Writing Center look forward to working with you!

Writing Center Staff Agree to:

  • Be professional and helpful
  • Respect students’ authority over their own writing
  • Respect the learning process
  • Be judicious in offering suggestions for revision
  • Arrive on time for their appointment
  • Maintain an environment free of harassment, stalking, threats, abuse, insults, or humiliation. This includes but is not limited to demeaning written or oral comments of an ethnic, religious, sexist (or sexual orientation), or racist nature; and intimidations or unwanted sexual advances
  • Abide by all rules and regulations published by the University

Students Who Visit the Writing Center Agree to:

  • Respect the writing tutors and respond to them in a courteous manner in all modes of communication: voice, text, email
  • Respect the tutorial process.
  • Be receptive to suggestions and strategies for working with the tutor
  • Take responsibility for their own writing process and for what they turn in to their instructor
  • Make every effort to cancel appointments that they cannot attend. Students who miss more than two appointments in a course month without cancelling them may be prevented from making further appointments that month
  • Arrive on time for their appointment. Students who are more than 15 minutes late may lose their appointment time
  • Maintain an environment free of harassment, stalking, threats, abuse, insults, or humiliation. This includes but is not limited to demeaning written or oral comments of an ethnic, religious, sexist (or sexual orientation), or racist nature and intimidations or unwanted sexual advances
  • Abide by all rules and regulations published by the University and agree to be subject to disciplinary actions as described in the General Catalog

Failure to adhere to this code of conduct may result in loss of access to the Writing Center.