Thursday, September 22, 2011

What I Found

I also feel like I might get a bit repetitive here, since the blog prompt is essentially the same as our blog survey assignment, so I will focus on one area that I talked about at the end of my essay: OWLs.

Honestly, I was shocked at how negative the comments about OWLs were. A lot of tutors complained about them. They said they were literally giving them headaches and even that OWLs were satanic instruments. I really was not expecting this kind of response to online tutoring. Since I have taken the lead on them at the Writing Center, I actually have really enjoyed them, and if I had one complaint, it would be that I struggle to find time to focus on them. I usually do as many as I can during Mondays and Tuesdays and the catch up on Thursdays when I am at work until we close.

Anyway, I was taken aback by the negative responses about OWLs. I know there are drawbacks to online tutoring. It can be hard to know if what we say is going to make sense to the writer or even help at all. It is also difficult not having any kind of back-and-forth communication with our tutees. With that said, I really enjoy being able to think about exactly what I want to say, and knowing that my response will remain there for the student to look at in writing anytime he or she wants to consult it.

I also really enjoy OWLs for selfish reasons. Writing OWL responses helps me hone my own writing skills. It is good practice, and it is a good way to model certain rules and certain concepts for our students. It also helps me come up with “scripts” that can be used offline in face to face tutoring, because I have said something so many times that it is there in a little filing cabinet in my brain, ready to be pulled out and used. No one mentioned this unique perk, and this omission was quite interesting to me.

It was also quite interesting to see just how few entries addressed OWLs at all. I am by no means suggesting that they are more important than face to face sessions, but I do think they deserve some attention and that they are an important part of what we do. In this technological age, we cannot afford to reject online communication and the opportunities the Internet affords us to serve our students. Just like online classes have taken off and helped many students get an education they would not otherwise be able to obtain, online tutoring can help busy and self-directed students get the help they need.


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