The Writing Center is a place on campus dedicated to supporting writing. Our most popular service is one-to-one feedback sessions. In those sessions, writers work with tutors on their specific project. Writers set the agenda for the appointment through communicating what they need help with. Tutors offer critique, praise, and suggestions, and yet writers make the final decision about how a project is written or revised.
The goal of a feedback session is to move a writing project forward and to teach the writer something about writing within the 50-minute allotted time. It is not and cannot be the goal for a session to produce a perfectly polished project or for a writer to only write in perfectly polished prose for perpetuity based on one or two or even twenty appointments.
Writers at all levels make errors; the Writing Center will help writers recognize and correct errors - particularly when we recognize a pattern of errors. However, good writing is not (just) the avoidance of error. As such, we also work with writers on organization, structure, format, argument, evidence, citations, genre, conventions, tone, and design.
We don’t promise students and we won’t promise faculty that a student will produce a “perfect” paper after a visit to the Writing Center. We do promise attentive, focused discussion of the writer’s paper which will hopefully propel the project forward. The work is incremental, but deep learning always is.
How do I tell my students about the Writing Center?
We are happy to come to your class for a class introduction. You might also include this language on your syllabus and Canvas site:
One key to improving your writing is getting feedback and revision suggestions on your text during the writing process. The Writing Center at Ball State offers free writing feedback sessions (online or face-to-face) to all students on essays, reports, reflections, research projects, web content, lesson plans, slideshows, poster presentations, resumes, and other digital or print texts. You can make an appointment by going to www.bsu.edu/writingcenter, stopping by Robert Bell 295, or by calling 765-285-8370.
Can I require all of my students to go to the Writing Center?
We typically have fewer than 200 appointment slots in any given week and generally operate near capacity. If you have a large class, it is unlikely that we can accommodate all of your students within the same week. Moreover, students who are required to come sometimes do not do so willingly, do not ask questions, do not actively participate, and leave after a few minutes thereby wasting an appointment slot another student might really need.
We recommend instead that you (a) make writing center attendance optional, (b) require they attend once during the semester but do not specify what week, or (c) work with us to bring a few tutors to your class for a peer workshop instead.
How will I know if my students use the Writing Center?
We leave it up to students to determine if they want you to know. If they do, they’ll tell us and we will email you a session summary. (We do not sign or stamp papers.) If a student says they have attended and you did not receive an email, ask them to contact us and we will resend.