The UMass Amherst Writing Center offers a limited number of online tutoring sessions to distance-learning students only. To qualify for an online session, you must be enrolled in University Without Walls or another online degree program (not just a single online class) or be a graduate student conducting research out of state. We limit online appointments to distance-learning students because we believe face-to-face tutoring is still the most effective but would like to make our services available to those who cannot make it to campus on a regular basis.
In online tutoring, our goal is to reproduce the experience on the Web that both you and a tutor would have during a face-to-face tutorial. As a result, we employ free internet software that allows us to mirror the face-to-face experience as much as possible: the video chat program Skype (which requires access to a microphone and/or webcam, which come standard on many newer model laptop computers) and the word processing program Google Drive. If you are familiar with these programs, great! If not, that is totally fine too. We’ve provided instructions. Fortunately, both programs are fairly easy to use. Furthermore, in addition to the directions we provide, both Skype and Google offer step-by-step support for new users.
This technology will allow you and a writing tutor to interact live. You will be able to see, hear, and talk to a tutor via the computer. In addition, you will be able to upload your document/piece of writing to Google Drive. This will allow you and your tutor to view, discuss and edit the documents in real time (live). We ask that you upload a document to Google Drive and download Skype at least 24 hours before an appointment. If you encounter difficulty using any of these programs, please do not be discouraged from seeking writing assistance with a tutor. Simply call the Writing Center during open hours and an administrative assistant will help you through the process. Because our writing center firmly believes that writers learn best when collaborating with a tutor and talking about writing, we do not offer email tutoring. Therefore, all work including reading documents, must occur during scheduled meetings.