Skype Tutoring Preparation

How to Prepare for an Online Session
What to Expect
Make an Online Appointment
How to Download Skype
How to Upload a Document for an Online Appointment

How to prepare for an online tutoring session
When meeting with a tutor via Skype we suggest finding a quiet space with good lighting. If you’ve used Skype in the past you may be familiar with some of the noises the program produces (like a tea kettle whistling or a fan blowing). This noise doesn’t always occur, and in our experience it is manageable; however, it is helpful to reduce outside noise as much as possible. In respect to lighting, we want to see you! This is a face-to-face conference, and we want to mirror as much as possible the experience you would have if you came into the writing center. Therefore, please situate yourself in a well-lit environment.

What to expect
Online conferences run about 45 minutes. We apologize for any technical difficulties that may occur when connecting with your tutor. However, due to scheduling we cannot expand the length of sessions to accommodate connectivity time. In order to better facilitate connectivity we recommend that you login to your Skype account five minutes prior to your meeting time and upload and share your document via Google Drive in advance. (When we originally call to set up your appointment, we can talk you through this process if you need help, so have the draft ready to go if you want us to walk you through the process.)

How to Make an Appointment for Online Tutoring:
If you would like to make an appointment for an online tutoring session please send an email to the following email address: Once again, we are only offering online tutoring to distance-learning students, so please do not request an appointment unless you are enrolled in an online degree program (we will double-check your status).

  1. Name
  2. Telephone number
  3. Skype username (see below)
  4. Online degree program
  5. If you are a graduate student working off-site, list your advisor’s name and email
  6. Writing project you are working on
  7. Due date of the project
  8. Brief description about what you are hoping to gain from the session.

Once we receive your email we will contact you via email or telephone to schedule an appointment with you. For further inquiries please email us at

How to Download Skype (for Windows and Mac):

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the “Join Skype” button in the top right corner of the Skype homepage.
  3. Create an account by filling in your email, profile and username/password information. If you already have an account with Skype, click “Sign In”. Skype only requires you to enter information indicated by a “*”. NOTE: Skype does NOT require you to enter your telephone number, date of birth, gender or city of residence. You do not need to disclose this information in order to use Skype.
  4. Once you have filled in the required information, click “Create Account”.
  5. When prompted, allow Skype to download onto your computer. The next few steps will vary depending on the operating system you’re using (i.e. Windows or Mac). For more comprehensive directions as to how to download Skype onto your computer, go to this address: Here you can also find information about logging into and using Skype for the first time.
  6. Log-on to Skype 5 minutes before your appointment.  Be sure you’ve accepted the Writing Center’s contact request prior to your appointment. 

How to Use Google Drive:
NOTE: It is not necessary to download anything in order to use Google Drive. Below are directions that will help you get to the Google Drive website and help you upload your document so that you and your tutor can work on it together.

  1. Go to
  2. If you already have a gmail account, enter your email and password. Then click “Sign In.” If you do not have a gmail account, you may create an account by using your UMass email address. (To create an account click the red button “Sign Up” located in the top right corner of the page).
  3. Once you are signed in you can upload your document. For example, if you are writing an essay for an English class using Microsoft Word, and you have it saved on your computer, you can upload the document to this account.
  4. Click on the upload icon on the left side of the page located next to the “Create” button.
  5. Click “Files” from the pop up menu.
  6. Now you will need to find your saved document. When you find the document you wish to upload (Windows users, check your “Desktop” and “Documents” folders). Click “Open.”
  7. Once you click “Open,” you may receive an “Upload Settings” pop up. Leave the settings the way they are and click “Start Upload.” If you are successful in uploading your document, you should receive a message that says "Upload Complete." Now your document is on Google Drive. Yay!
  8. Notice that the Google Drive screen is similar in appearance to your email inbox. In order for you to “share” your document with your tutor, click on the title of your document. Your document should now appear in a separate tab/screen.
  9. In the top right corner of the new tab click “Share.”
  10. A “Settings” pop up should appear. In the “Add People” box enter the username In the drop-down box to the right of “Add People” select “Can edit.”
  11. Now you and your tutor should literally be on the same page. This means that both you and your tutor can see and edit your document.

If you need more help, follow this link:





Fall 2012 Hours
Sunday 2pm - 6pm
Monday 10am - 9pm
Tuesday 10am - 9pm
Wednesday 10am - 9pm
Thursday 10am - 6pm
Friday 10am - 2pm

We are located in the northwest corner of the W.E.B. DuBois Library's Learning Commons.