FHSU Writing Center goes digital to help students


Each year hundreds of students seek out the assistance of the Writing Center at Fort Hays State University. To better serve them, the center has implemented an online scheduling system offered through its website.

Previously, scheduling was on paper, and students would email or call the administrative staff to set up an appointment.

"As you can probably imagine, it gets very difficult to schedule people when you have students emailing at midnight and asking to get an appointment for 10 a.m. the next morning," said Lisa Jones, Thornton, Colo., graduate student, "especially when the paper schedule is kept in the office and we have no way of knowing."

The Writing Center, run by the Department of English, is currently housed on the first floor of Forsyth Library. It offers free tutoring services to any FHSU student, faculty member or alumnus at any point in the writing process.

"One thing we are trying to emphasize this year is that we are not an editing service," said Tyler Weiser, Salina graduate student. "We are here to make better writers, not better papers."

Jones said, "Our primary focus is identifying patterns of error in student writing and giving the tools and techniques to become better writers. In the last two semesters since we have moved upstairs, we have actually had small difficulties keeping up with the demand, especially with the large international population."

Jones said there is always a great need for tutors with the international students, but a "lot" more teachers are requiring students to receive help and, she said, there is a higher level of interest among students in learning how to write better papers.

"We are also working on digitizing all of our resources, and we will be putting those up on our website that will hopefully be linked up to the home page so that students can access all of our handouts from home as well," said Jones

Currently, the Writing Center website is not hosted on FHSU servers because of an upgrade to the university site. In the process of redoing the Writing Center page, administrators were unable to integrate the new page into the FHSU site, a problem that Jones said she hopes is quickly fixed.

The Writing Center also began offering "Grammar Crash Courses" on Wednesday evenings.

"We meet for one hour, and we discuss one topic of grammar," said Jones. "Topics range from distinguishing the difference between adjectives and adverbs to using commas. We give students resource materials and a run-down of the rules. Then, they peer review and workshop any piece of writing that they are currently working on."

Jones said that the workshops are intended to give students another time to come in and work with one another strictly on editing.

"This came about because we had a lot of students coming in and saying 'Well, just edit my paper,' which is not our goal," she said. "We actually want to teach students how to become better writers, not just fix their papers."

The Writing Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 9 a.m. to noon on Fridays; and Monday through Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Appointments can be made at https://sites.google.com/a/mail.fhsu.edu/fhsu-writing-center/.

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