July 17, 2014
Students who need help with writing assignments can get the assistance they need – even at night and on weekends – with just a few clicks on the Internet to the tutors at the Virtual Writing Center at Anne Arundel Community College – one of the first such centers in the nation. The idea for providing tutoring help beyond a face-to-face Writing Center was so unique that it won a 2014 Innovation Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College.
Although originally designed for students taking online classes, the Virtual Writing Center expanded accessibility to the entire student body, enrolling 150 students in its first week. Signing up for the center is a simple four-step process, with voice interactive, online tutoring available from members of AACC’s English faculty. Jessica G. Rabin, Ph.D., professor of English and director of Writing Tutoring at AACC, says students can schedule an appointment with a writing tutor for help with papers in any subject or a reference librarian for help with research, as well as attend drop-in sessions on research methods and source materials.
Rabin and Janice Lathrop, professor and reference librarian, worked with Thiha Aye, director of eLearning and instructional technology and his team of instructional designers, Jennifer Bopp and Nancy Edmonds, to create a system that would be easy for both students and tutors to use.
The Virtual Writing Center operates just as AACC’s face-to-face Writing Center does, with tutors working with students to improve their writing rather than have the tutor correct or copyedit student drafts. That way, students leave a session not only with an essay that will earn a higher grade, but also with a better understanding of ways to reproduce better writing in future assignments.