CJ Robinson, Reporter
A new online booking system for the Pierce College Puyallup Writing Center will replace the current system, which is located on a single computer in the center itself.
This new system comes with many added features including the ability for students to create appointments from any device. It offers online tutoring and case notes for individual students. It’ll be implemented this summer as a soft launch after many years of the current system, Writing Center Program District Manager Keith Kirkwood said.
“I think it’s just going to provide better access for students,” Kirkwood said. “They’ll be better able to think ahead because they can do it online or on their phones, even. Right now, we’ve just been limited by the fact that people have to come in or call and we have to make the booking ourselves, so it’ll just be much easier for people.”
The cloud-based software, WCONLINE, is specifically tailored to writing centers. A yearly subscription, including technical support, costs $715 and comes from the institutional budget.
Kirkwood chose this system because he had experience with it at the University of Puget Sound and is familiar with it.
“I know what it is and I know what it does,” Kirkwood said. “It has a lot of things behind it as well, like the capability for tutors to write case notes after consultations so that we can keep track of what a tutor does with a particular student. We already have a sense of what a student is working (on) in their writing.”
If another tutor has that student, they can see what’s previously worked on, Kirkwood said. This also grants the ability for tutors to reflect on a time spent with a student and what they can work on when guiding a student in a similar session.
Another feature is online tutoring, Kirkwood said. This includes video “face-to-face” interactions and submitting papers to be reviewed. The writing center will be testing these additional services in the fall.
Data analysis is another benefit of the system, he said.
“It has nice little graphs and pie charts and thing so you can see, on the fly, with live data process, how you’re doing any given day or week or month,” Kirkwood said. “It’ll help us deliver a better service to students if we know who is or isn’t coming through here.”
Currently, students are preregistered in the system, so signing in for the first time is fairly simple, Kirkwood said. For WCCENTER, students will need to go through a brief registration process to be entered in.
Students can access this new system through links on the writing center website, which can be found on the resources tab under tutoring on the Pierce College website.
“I’m really excited for the online booking system,” tutor Bailey McGuire said. “It’ll just be more helpful for us as tutors and them for students.”
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