Arts Writing Centre – How Our Service Works
Please note: Starting in Fall 2020, the Arts Writing Centre offers real-time appointments with students through Zoom. Students do not need to download the Zoom client or to have a Zoom account to participate in our meetings, but some functionality may be limited without a Zoom client or account. Please see “Fall 2020 Virtual Meetings,” below, for more information on how we run our virtual sessions.
How We Can Help
During the fall and winter terms, graduate students from the Department of English are on hand to help students identify grammatical, structural, and stylistic errors in their English essay assignments. The Writing Tutor can help you answer questions such as:
- Where can I find information about how to create a Works Cited page?
- Am I citing my sources properly?
- Is my thesis focussed enough?
- Do my paragraphs have appropriate transitions?
- Do I use the semi-colon appropriately?
Our Clientele and Referral Policies
English writing help is made available to students in first-year ENG courses, with priority given to students in ENG 1100, 1120, 1131, and 1112.
All other students should seek assistance with the Student Success Academic Writing Help Centre (AWHC), located at 110 University Street. For details about AWHC services, visit the Academic Writing Help Centre Home Page.
ESL students experiencing difficulty with English should go to the Official Languages and Bilingualism Institute (OLBI). The Institute has a Resource Centre for occasional help in MHN 02, (phone: 613-562-5743). Another option is to make an appointment at the SASS Academic Writing Help Centre for one-on-one tutoring. See above.
How to Meet with Us
To meet with an English Writing Tutor, you must register using the scheduler during our Tutors’ office hours. Please see https://english.uottawa.ca/tutoring/ for tutoring availability.
Students can sign up to consult with a TA for a maximum of 2 half hour blocks per day with a maximum of 3 full hour appointments per week.
If you want to be certain to meet with us, do not wait until the last minute. Register at least 24 hours in advance to make your appointment.
Drop-ins are accepted ONLY if the Teaching Assistant has no scheduled appointments. However, logistics may require advanced notice. We will email you to confirm whether we are able to offer you a tutoring session during our scheduled office hours.
What You Can Expect During an Arts Writing Centre Meeting
ATTENTION: The Arts Writing Centre is not a proof-reading service. We do not correct your assignments for you; instead, we teach you how to correct your writing errors.
The Arts Writing Centre fosters an interactive environment where you work alongside the Arts Writing Centre Tutor to improve your writing.
In Fall 2020, we offer virtual sessions through Zoom, and will look at documents that you provide to us using the Document-Sharing function. For information on how this works, please scroll to the heading for “Fall 2020 Virtual Meetings”, below.
How We Can Help
Note: we may not be able to cover all of the items below, so come to your meeting with which of these is a priority for you.
- Most importantly, we can assist you with improving your grammar and style. If you bring a marked copy of an assignment, you can direct us to the problem areas that have been pointed out to you. We can help you understand the errors and how you might correct them.
- We can help with essay structure: introductory paragraphs, conclusions, or paragraph development. For example, you may want to strengthen the topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph or you may want to ensure that you have good paragraph coherence. Be ready to identify a particular paragraph, because we cannot read your entire essay.
- We can help with argument: your draft thesis statement, how you introduce your argument, your sub-points, and the order of your ideas (depending on whether you provide us with an assignment sheet).
- We can advise you on development: how your argument flows, the order of your ideas, and transitions between them (depending on whether you provide us with an outline).
- We can help you with formatting: your Works Cited (MLA) or Bibliography (APA) page by guiding you through MLA or APA handbooks, and we will work alongside you to ensure that all the necessary information is included in the proper order and with the proper punctuation.
- We can help with citing and integrating your sources: in-text citations, parenthetical citations, and signal phrases.
- We provide further online reference materials by providing links to online and hard copy resources (grammar books, style guides, MLA/APA formatting tools, etc.)
A Few Clarifications:
- We DO NOT provide proofreading/copy editing, so you must come prepared with a list of problem areas you wish to focus on.
- We are NOT one-stop, comprehensive grammar reviewers. This means that we can neither point out all errors throughout the text, nor can we cover all problems in our sessions. You must be aware of your own areas of weakness enough to prioritize which problem areas on which you would like us to focus.
- Arts Writing Centre Tutors can NOT look at an unmarked essay from start to finish. We can focus on the paragraph, page, or section with which you are most concerned.
- We CANNOT interpret professor’s comments or approve/interpret essay topics. You must contact your instructor for that type of assistance.
- We CANNOT assist at an essay topic brainstorming stage. For effective brainstorming tools and interactive help, you should consult your professor or the Academic Writing Help Centre. We can only offer assistance for students who have completed a draft of written work that can be shared with the Arts Writing Centre Tutor.
- Sessions with an Arts Writing Centre Tutor will NOT guarantee that you receive an A on an assignment! Writing is a skill, and while we can certainly help you hone that skill during our meetings, your grades are earned through the hard work that you put in, independently.
Fall 2020: Virtual Meetings
For Fall 2020, our sessions will be held through Zoom, which allows us to host one-on-one meetings with students, share documents, and provide real-time annotations.
Check your email after you have booked a time. We will confirm your appointment by sending you a link to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Familiarizing yourself with the program in advance will allow you to get the most out of our sessions.
If you would like the best real-time help that we can offer, you will need to share your draft document during the meeting and give the Arts Writing Centre Tutor the ability to make annotations on the work you share with them. If it is relevant, it is also best if you are able to share a copy of your assignment instructions. If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, you may need to have a look at how to enable some of its functions:
Zoom Tutorials on screen and document-sharing can be found at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362153
Zoom Tutorials on enabling and using annotation tools can be found at: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115005706806-Using-annotation-tools-on-a-shared-screen-or-whiteboard
For more general information on how to use Zoom, please click through its available tutorials by navigating to https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697.
For information about the French service, go to this web page: Service d'aide à la redaction.