The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Writers Workshop

The Writers Workshop now has online tutoring available!

To better support writers who are unable to attend face-to-face tutorials on campus, the Writers Workshop is now offering limited online sessions. All of our online appointments are synchronous, which means that they happen in real-time using video and audio components. You don't need any special software (though a webcam and mic will help -- otherwise, you'll have to rely on a chat function); just make an appointment through our online scheduling system. Click here for more information about how to make an appointment.


Because the Writers Workshop wants to better understand how tutorial methods that have been proven effective for face-to-face consultations may be adapted to an online format, we will be asking writers to participate in session observations, post-session surveys, and interviews. The information we collect will help us make adjustments to our services to more effectively work with writers. If you make an online appointment, you'll find more information about the study on the scheduling site, and your tutor will also briefly talk with you about it. You can also find more information below.


Making an Online Appointment

  1. Login to the Writers Workshop’s Online Schedule

  1. Select “Online Appointments” from the location drop-down list. Schedule drop-down

  1. Select a time:
    1. To select a time, double left click on a white box at the time that works best for you (most Writers Workshop online appointments take place between 3:00 - 7:00).

  1. Fill out the appointment form:

    1. When you’ve selected a time, an appointment form will open.

    2. Fill in the required information, as noted by the red asterisks. If you require specific accommodations, please be sure to indicate what they are when you fill out the “What would you like to work on?” box.

    3. Confirm the information, and then click “Save Appointment”.

appointment form
  1. Attach a file/document to the appointment:

    1. Once you save the appointment, you will see a prompt to attach a file/document: “If you would like to attach a file to this appointment, click here.”
    2. Clicking on “click here” in the prompt will open another window in which you can attach a file/document. Follow the prompts, then click “Upload File”. You can attach multiple files, but you will have to do so one at a time: once you select the “upload file” option, the window will refresh and you can select another file to upload. The Writers Workshop recommends uploading files in a .doc or .docx format.

    3. If you’d work on a different medium or platform (like GoogleDocs or Prezi), be sure to include that information in the “What would you like to work on?” box.

attaching a file

Instructions for Your Online Appointment:

  1. Joining your online appointment:

    1. Five to ten minutes before the start of your appointment time, sign back into MyWCOnline. We strongly recommend using Firefox or Chrome as your browser; the online system will not work with Safari.

    2. Find your appointment and click on it. (It will be yellow.)

    3. In the new window, click “Start or Join Online Consultation”.

  1. During the appointment:

    1. When you join the online consultation session, a new screen will open. Take a moment to read the instructions about the tools available in the online platform. Activate video and audio by clicking on the camera icon in the top right corner.

      Online session
    2. You should be able to see the tutor when you join the session or soon after. It may take a minute or two to get video, audio, and/or the text chat to work appropriately. Please be patient during this process, and indicate in the text chat if you are not able to see or hear the tutor. If your tutor is not visible or has not said anything through the WCOnline chat after five minutes into the appointment, you should call the Writers Workshop office at (217) 333-8796.

    3. Most of the time, your consultant will ask you what you’d like to talk about during the appointment. It’s most helpful if you can come with a list of 3-4 priorities for the session, to help organize the session and make it flow more smoothly. It’s extremely helpful to attach any assignment prompts when you make the appointment or come prepared to copy/paste prompt text into the whiteboard in the middle of the screen.

  1. Troubleshooting during the online appointment:

    1. If you lose your internet connection, don’t worry. Reconnect and then rejoin the session like you normally would. If it takes you more than five minutes to reconnect, you should call the Writers Workshop at (217) 333-8796 to let your consultant know that you’re facing difficulties. If your consultant appears to lose their connection, please be patient, as they’ll reconnect as soon as possible.

    2. Be aware that if you copy/paste or upload files/documents into the whiteboard (the working space in the center of the screen during the appointment), the formatting of documents may change. If you want to edit text with your tutor, you might ask your consultant if you can use a different shared workspace (GoogleDocs, for example).

  1. After the online appointment:

    1. All sessions must be concluded at ten till the next hour (so if your appointment begins at 3 pm, it will wrap up at 3:50 pm), to make sure that the consultant has time to prepare for their next session. Your consultant should be keeping an eye on the time, but be sure to mention any specific concerns when you have at least ten minutes left in the session, to make sure that you can address them.

    2. After your session, your consultant will email you a link to a short survey. Please take a few minutes to fill it out. The Writers Workshop will use this information to improve and make changes to our online appointments based on your feedback. We’d also love to hear from you in an interview!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):