HFA - College of Humanities & Fine Arts view HFA submenu
Writing Center

Preparing for Your Tutoring Session

The UMass Writing Center offers 45-minute tutoring sessions to all UMass students, faculty, and staff in person and via Zoom. Here are some tips and best practices for your tutoring session. Please note that we will be operating as a paperless Writing Center.

Registering and Booking an Appointment

You will need to register for an account on WCOnline, our appointment and scheduling system. Once you’ve created an account, pick a day and time that works for you with any of our tutors. We strongly suggest that you use your UMass email for this account. 

Drop-in Appointments

While we strongly encourage booking appointments ahead of time, our tutors are also available for drop-in appointments on a space-available basis. When you visit the Center, speak with an admin at the front desk to book your drop-in.

Starting Your Tutoring Session

To start an in-person tutoring session, visit the Writing Center in the Learning Commons and give your name to the admin at our front desk. We are located on the lower level of the Library, across from the Digital Media Lab.

To start an online tutoring session, you can do any of the following:

  • Check your email and look for your Confirmation or Reminder email from WCOnline. Click the link in the email to join our virtual Meeting Room.

  • OR at your scheduled day and time, log into WCOnline and go to your booked appointment (highlighted in yellow). Click on the appointment, and go to the tutor’s bio. Click the link in their bio to start your tutoring session. All appointments will be conducted via Zoom. Please make sure that you have enabled your Zoom account, and that it runs on your device. 

Going Paperless

When you’re working with your tutor, you will probably need to share your writing with them in order to work together. Due to ongoing public health precautions, we require that clients share their work in a digital, paperless format, even during in-person appointments. Our system has multiple options for file-sharing.

For in-person sessions:

  • Bring a laptop or tablet: If you have your work available on your personal device, bring that with you to the Center. Only you will handle your device, but tutors will be able to look on while sitting next to you. You could also share the document with them through GoogleDocs or another platform, and they’ll work on their own device while discussing your writing with you.

  • Use one of the Center’s computers: If you have your work saved to a cloud or on a flashdrive, you may use one of the computers we have at the center to access your document. 

For Zoom sessions:

  • GoogleDocs: If you’re working on GoogleDocs, you can use the Share function. Open your document, click ‘Share’, and select ‘Change to anyone with the link’, and Copy the link into the Chat so your tutor can see it. We strongly recommend using this option for ease of collaboration and the ability to save comments and changes on both ends.

  • File Transfer via Chat: Once you’ve been put in your Breakout Room, you can use the Chat function to send your paper, assignment sheet, or any other materials you need to your tutor.

  • ScreenShare: If you would prefer not to send an electronic copy of your file to your tutor, you can still work together through Zoom’s Screen Sharing. This means that both you and your tutor can see your paper, but you will have full control over scrolling, editing, and highlighting. To start Screen Sharing, hit the ‘Share Screen’ button at the bottom of your Zoom window, and select your document for sharing. 

While Zoom will work on mobile devices like phones and tablets, we strongly suggest using a laptop or personal computer to have access to all of Zoom’s features, and to be able to work in multiple tabs or windows. 


If you have questions about the UMass Writing Center, please email writingcenter@acad.umass.edu.