Reporting in from NYC’s Writing Center Association meeting at Pace

I attended the New York City Writing Center’s Association at Pace University recently. We had about ten people show up from writing centers around the city. The snacks were shockingly delicious.

We talked mostly about using web tools to increase learning opportunities and student access. We had a long conversation about tutoring sessions occurring through internet chat and how this method seems to achieve our goals much better than through asynchronous email. Unfortunately, WCOnline, the platform that many of us use to schedule and archive, does not have a reliable chat function (although they are working on it) so we embed other chat systems into WCOnline.

Our Pace host Rebekah Johnson showed us their version of WCOnline and how they use chat within it. This was for me a rare opportunity to look at a different writing center’s WCOnline customizations. Unless I am just out of the loop, it does not seem that users of WCOnline are collaborating and sharing their customizations. If so, then every center has to kind of reinvent the wheel each time they want to accomplish something. It would be nice if there were a forum/site where WCOnline users could update each other using photos and screencasts on the customizations and features they’re developing. Who knows? Perhaps the customization made by a different center would be perfect, or close to perfect, for what I’m trying to do.

In other words, it would be nice if everyone’s modifications to their platform were all aggregating together and complementing and contradicting each other, as opposed to each version moving off in its own direction. As it stands, we’re sort of like writers in a writing classroom who don’t share their work with one another. Or, as I said, I might just be out of the loop.

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3 Responses to “Reporting in from NYC’s Writing Center Association meeting at Pace”

  1. learychris,

    myrichco.com site, the site where requests for customizations are submitted by an administrator, has what’s called a “knowledge base.” It is grossly underused – maybe two articles there. But that site might be a great place to submit features of WCOnline present at different individual institutions.

    Joe

  2. Thanks Joe. I’m going to check that out.

  3. We’re planning on subscribing to WCOnline for the first time and I’d love to have a network of other users as mentors. My most immediate concern is how this can streamline my construction of the semester work schedule for tutors. It’s such a nuanced, onerous process when done by hand — so many factors.

    I know I’ll have the site’s tech support, but also value the idea of learning from other center administrators’ experienced.

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