Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
About the Writing Center,
by SJ Alexander and Kaijsa Calkins
but Were Afraid to Ask
As a new student, you may
be pleased to learn that there is a resource to assist student writers
in the Information
School, the Engineering/iSchool Writing Center (EiWC). You may have questions
about what the Writing Center is, and what it can do for you. We have compiled
a helpful list of questions and answers to get you in the know.
Q: What is
A: The Engineering/iSchool Writing Center is a collaborative service
offered by the College of Engineering and the Information School. The
EiWC’s purpose is to assist student writers. It is a place that you can bring drafts of papers, outlines, or just ideas for papers to discuss with a student peer tutor. Our goal is to help students hone their skills to become more effective writers. The process is like handing a paper to a friend and asking, “Does this make sense? Am I supporting my arguments effectively?”
Who can use the EiWC?
A: Students in all iSchool programs can come to the
Engineering-iSchool Writing Center. Informatics undergraduates work with
the peer tutors in the
Engineering Annex location. MLIS (including law library students), MSIM
students, and PhD
candidates work with the graduate peer tutor in the Mary Gates Hall location.
Day students may schedule appointments to see the tutor in person, and
evening and distance students may arrange for online tutoring.
Q: Who should use the EiWC?
A: Everyone! It is very difficult to identify unclear passages or other
problems in your own writing. A tutor is a friendly “extra set of eyes” who can help you find an effective way to present your ideas through your writing. At the recent all-iSchool orientation, we asked the faculty to raise their hands if they let someone read over their writing before submitting a document for publication. Every faculty member present raised a hand.
Q: How do I make an appointment?
A: You can make an appointment on the EiWC webpage. The EiWC is linked
off the main iSchool page under the “Services” tab.
Or you can go directly to the EiWC page. Click “appointments,” then fill out the simple appointment request form. You may choose an open time and date that works best for you.
Q: How do I prepare for an appointment?
A: The best way to prepare is to bring your assignment description and
an outline or draft of what you’ve been working on. If you haven’t
started a draft, try brainstorming and bring your notes to your appointment.
No matter where you are in your writing process, the tutor will work with you
and help you get to the next stage.
Q: What will happen during the appointment?
A: When you arrive at your appointment, the tutor will ask you about
your assignment and what kind of help you are looking for. Together,
you and the tutor will
identify your primary concerns. The tutor will ask questions and
offer feedback and suggestions.
You are encouraged ask questions and jot down your ideas as you go.
You and the tutor will work together to develop writing strategies
that will work for
Ultimately, you make the final decisions about your writing; the
tutor is there to offer suggestions and support.
“After being out of school for five years, I wasn't sure I could
still write a school-worthy paper. The WC was extremely helpful in
getting me back into academic writing. The tutor helped me clarify
my ideas, themes and thesis. She helped me to smooth transitions,
write introductions and conclusions. Most of all, it was important
to know that I wasn't alone in the writing process. I could ask for
help from a competent and caring person.”
--Jenn Carter, ALISS president,