Rock Valley College

Online Sessions

What to Expect

All face-to-face sessions with Writing Center Coaches take place in the Writing Center, which is located on the ground floor of the Student Center on the Main Campus

  • If a draft or notes for the writing assignment already exists, you should bring that to the session
  • You will check in at the front desk directly across the hall from the Center itself and fill out a session form, indicating whether or not he or she would like the session notes sent to his or her specific professor
  • If you're attending based on a referral and has indicated that upon check-in, your Writing Coach will be notified, and the referral form will be accessed and reviewed prior to the appointment
  • You'll get to meet one-on-one with a Faculty Writing Coach at a table in an open area. Appointments between other Coaches and students may be happening at the same time, in the same general space
  • The session will last for 30 minutes
  • The session is free!

Coaches figure out WHERE the student currently is in the writing process and to what extent the student has been successful in achieving basic goals of the specific assignment AND of writing in general.

Step 1: Comprehension of the Assignment

  • If you bring in your writing prompt, we will review it together

Step 2: Planning What to Write

  • Many times, students come in having already written a draft of their paper and believing the completion of one draft means they are done. But often, in that initial draft, the gravest errors have to do with a failure to fully focus on the given assignment.
    • We try to help you identify the focal point, concept, or main idea of the paper.
    • We want to help you realize that even a ”bad” paper generally has some good. So we will point out what’s already working well and assist them in redirecting their work if redirection would benefit the paper.

Stick Figure with Question Mark/Confused LookStep 3: Writing or RE-WRITING (seeing again)

  •  In this phase we attend to audience, organization, and effective transitions between thoughts:
    • In most cases, the audience is your professor.
    • If the paper lacks focus, a discussion of the your writing process and an introduction to organizational strategies might be helpful.
    • Transitions come more easily when solid scaffolding is in place and a student understands the relationship between his or her ideas.We try to help him or her see that relationship more clearly.

Step 4: Incorporation of Research

  • Research is not a requirement of all writing assignments. However, effectively incorporating research is a critical college-level skill.
  • We help you understand responsible, effective, and correct incorporation of research as well as a balance between others’ perspectives and the student writer’s own ideas.
  • If a paper assignment does not call for research we might not touch on research for the purpose of the specific draft we are reviewing. However, a discussion of researchable concepts may be appropriate and help a student to see the potential of his or her hard work.

Step 5: Revision of Language Usage and Sentence Construction

  • This is one step in the COACHING process that definitely works better face to face, and it is a very useful step with our second-language learners, as well.
    • Reading aloud helps students understand how their own written words sound. It exposes language that may not fully convey intended messages, and also provides a way of talking about “voice” as more than an abstract, academic concept.
  • Imagine how a paper sounds, rather than how it simply looks . . .

Step 6: Polishing and EditingStick Figure with Lightbulb/Idea

  • It doesn’t matter if the grammar in a paper is perfect when the content reads like Swiss cheese. That’s why this step is last. Getting students to UNDERSTAND that truth is often a challenge.
  • You often come to us thinking they only need help with grammar and their paper will be perfect. They want us to fix it for them, and they don’t realize that truly good papers need more than just a grammatical Band-aid.
  • WE DON’T EDIT.  We help you understand style conventions for formatting, we point out patterns of error and strategize how to avoid or fix them, and we look at accuracy when citations are incorporated in the paper.