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MTSU Writing Center adds ‘document drop tutoring’ ...

MTSU Writing Center adds ‘document drop tutoring’ to help students with limited internet

As the virtual spring 2020 semester winds down, some students find themselves caught up in the digital divide.

To bridge the gap for students whose internet availability is limited and who may not be able to access real-time tutoring online, MTSU’s University Writing Center is adding “document drop tutoring” to its range of online services.

Dr. Erica Cirillo-McCarthy, Department of English, director of University Writing Center

Dr. Erica Cirillo-McCarthy

“We have found that many of the students who use our services do not have the broadband necessary to maintain a real-time tutoring session with audio/visual,” said Erica Cirillo-McCarthy, the center’s director.

A student can fill out an appointment form through the center’s webpage and attach a piece of writing and an assignment sheet to it. After an appointment for a specific time is scheduled, a tutor will review the writing and any student concerns within a 45-minute time period. The tutor will upload feedback at the end of the session and send a client report form to the student via email.

“I think it’s efficient for students because they do not have to be present during an assigned time, which allows them more flexibility,” said Max Lichtman of Murfreesboro, a senior English major working as a tutor.

Another tutor, Connor Methvin, said document drop tutoring is particularly effective for students who have made progress on their rough drafts.

“For students who need peer review or worry about their points being made clearly, document drop is a phenomenal tool for that additional direction,” said Methvin, a master’s degree candidate from Rockvale, Tennessee.

In March, the University Writing Center instituted online sessions that enable students to communicate with tutors in real time with or without audio/visual technology. Lichtman said he thinks document drop offers certain advantages, especially for the student whose connectivity is unreliable.

“While in-person and live online tutoring sessions offer the ability to converse and collaborate in real time, it’s possible that some pertinent information may become lost during or after the session,” Lichtman said.

With the final day of the semester coming up on May 7, deadlines for submissions of writing are looming. Methvin said students will get the attention they need.

“I want them to leave the writing center feeling that they have the guidance and resources to know they can succeed,” Methvin said.

In fact, the center is hiring more writing tutors for the fall 2020 semester.

“We hire both undergrads and graduate students from any major who are eligible to work hourly,” Cirillo-McCarthy said. “If you plan to teach after graduation or want to teach abroad, working as a writing tutor is a wonderful experience to put on your resume.”

For more information, contact Cirillo-McCarthy at erica.cirillo-mccarthy@mtsu.edu or go to www.mtsu.edu/writing-center.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)


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