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What to Expect from Online Appointments

We offer two types of online appointments, chat and email. Click on one of the appointment types or scroll down the page to read more details about each one:  

Real-Time Chat Basics

How It Works

When you choose the real-time chat option for your appointment, you will be online at the same time as the consultant. You can log in from any computer, any location. Simply go back into the online scheduler and click on your appointment block. The screen with all of the information you filled in when you made the appointment will show up. You will see a link to start or join the chat, right under the description of the different types of appointments. Click on that link to enter the chat.

When you link to the chat, you'll see a screen split into a couple of different boxes. In the big box on the left, you can copy and paste your document into it. Or you can choose to import your paper by browsing for it. Try whichever method seems faster.

Your consultant will join you in the chat if he/she isn't already there. Like any typical chat, in the top box to the right, you can see what each other is writing. The bottom box to the right is where you type in what you want to say.

As you and the consultant write back and forth about the paper, you can both also write in the paper itself. You can revise as you chat. Your chat comments and your revisions to the paper will be color-coded so you can easily track the conversation and revisions. You can clear the color coding if you like with a simple click on the color wheel icon at the top.

When you are done--or even as you go--you can save the revisions. This is useful if you want to track the changes. You should be sure to save the file at least at the end. You can also export the file so that you have it back with all of the changes you made. Even if you don't export it at the end of your session, you should be able to go back into the appointment session and look at your chat any time after the chat is finished. The scheduling system keeps it in the files for you to refer to.

The chat session generally works like a face-to-face session in all other ways. The consultant will ask you a couple of questions to get started, so that you and the consultant are on the same page, so to speak. She or he will ask you things like what the assignment is, when it is due, and what you want to work on. If you aren't sure what you want to work on, the consultant will offer a couple of suggestions after you read the paper together. Remember that you can work with the Writing Center at any stage of the writing process--post a full draft if you have it, but you can also get help with brainstorming, organizing, research, and more.

Real-Time Chat: Working through the Session

Appointments are either 30 or 60 minutes long, depending on what you signed up for. (It's probably a good idea to sign up for a 60 minute chat the first time, so you get comfortable with how it works, and for papers longer than 4-5 pages.) You'll spend the majority of the time working through the paper together and chatting back and forth about the content. The consultant will ask you more questions to help you figure out what the best revisions are, depending on what stage your paper is at. If you are at the editing stage, at the end of the writing process working on things like punctuation and grammar, the consultant will identify any patterns of error and suggest which patterns to work on. She or he will point out specific types of error, ask you about what you already know about them, explain them, model the right answer, and work with you as you find the next errors and learn to correct them. The consultants aren't going to edit the paper for you; instead, they help you learn to proofread and edit.

Real-Time Chat: Wrapping It Up

At the end of the session, the consultants will ask you to summarize what you worked on together and what your plans are next for your paper. It always helps to be explicit about plans; then you know what is left to you to finish after the session is over. Remind the consultant if you would like a copy of the session notes that he or she is putting into the scheduler; these can be sent to your instructor, an adviser or coach, or to yourself.

If You Are Late or Can't Come

Please show up for your chat at the start of your appointment time. We will wait for you for up to 10 minutes, but after ten minutes we mark you as a no-show in the scheduler and start working with anyone else who is waiting for help. If you know you can't make your scheduled time, please log into the scheduler and delete your appointment before it starts.


Email Consultation on the Paper

How It Works

When you choose an email consultation on a paper, you are essentially making an appointment for your paper, not for you. You don't have to come to the Writing Center or be online at the time of the appointment. But you do need to make sure your paper has been attached (uploaded) to the scheduler.

Here's how it works: After saving the appointment time, you need to attach your paper using the yellow folder icon at the top of the main schedule page. If you have successfully made an appointment, your appointment time will show up when you click that yellow folder, and you can then browse for your paper and upload it. Please save your file as a .doc or .docx; our computers can't read .wps or Pages documents. You can go back into the scheduler and attach your paper any time before your appointment starts; you don't have to do it right away when you make the appointment (just don't forget later!).

During your actual appointment time, the Writing Center consultant will use the 30 or 60 minutes that you signed up for (choose 30 minutes for shorter papers, 60 minutes for papers over 6 pages long) to review your paper and insert comments. The paper will be returned to you via your email at the end of the appointment. Please note that this is not a chat; the consultant will simply review the paper per your specific requests for feedback as indicated in the reservation form and will send it back via email. This service is available to any SMSU student.

If Your Paper Isn't There at the Beginning of the Appointment

Please make sure your paper is uploaded at the start of your appointment time. We will email you if we don't see your paper, but if it isn't in the system, we will have to mark your appointment as a "no-show" in the scheduler and start working with anyone else who might be waiting for help. If you know you won't have your paper ready to be reviewed at your scheduled time, please log into the scheduler and delete your appointment before it starts.

Last Modified: 8/10/22 11:19 AM | Website Feedback