Because of high student demand, the Stone Writing Center Online will be open during Thanksgiving break this year.
Assistant Instructor Beth Hattox said many students seek help during certain holidays, which dictates when consultants will be available. The SWC Online provides 24-hour access seven days a week to students who need assistance with writing and research assignments.
“The Stone Writing Center Online is open for business during Thanksgiving, and our instructional consultants will be on duty every day,” Hattox said. “Our submission volume is high during Thanksgiving. In the fall of 2016, we closed our online service during Thanksgiving, and we had a deluge of submissions waiting for us when we returned to work!”
The center does close for some other holidays.
“We closed during spring break last year because only a handful of students wanted writing advice then,” Hattox said. “This summer, we sent comments to students on the actual Fourth of July! During the hot dogs and fireworks, our staff and some Del Mar students were busy writing.”
Hattox said the SWC Online is convenient for those who prefer working online.
“Send writing, wait a while, and then — like magic — our comments and suggestions appear,” she said. “Also, some people are visual learners who learn by reading and perhaps rereading the ideas we send.”
Hattox said the SWC Online teaches writing skills to help students succeed both academically and professionally.
“The Stone Writing Center Online helps students become more effective writers,” Hattox said.
The SWC Online service works with writing in all Del Mar programs.
“No matter what course a student takes, we are ready to go,” Hattox said. “We work with computer science, biology, physical therapy, government, history, English, paralegal studies, psychology, music, culinary arts … the list goes on and on.”
The center does more than just edit students’ writing.
“We also provide assistance with résumés and letters of interest,” she said. “Or, perhaps the student is staring at a blank screen or an empty page, wondering how to begin an assignment. We help students get started, too.”
When it comes to assignments, Hattox said the tutors urge students to send in their drafts early in the writing process and definitely before they turn it in to their instructor for a grade.
“We help students find ways to further fortify their writing,” she said. “In addition, we know MLA! And APA! And Chicago! And AMA! We are experts!”
Hattox said in the online service, a real human being assesses each writing submission, one student at a time.
“These real human beings, called professional writing tutors, have at least a Bachelor of Arts degree in English or a closely related field,” she said. “Many of us have earned our master’s degrees. We know writing.”
Even though the consultants aren’t on duty 24 hours a day, Hattox said some of them are nights owls, and some are larks, so they come close to working around the clock, often sending comments at 1 or 2 in the morning.
“Our online professional writing tutors work seven days a week and we’re zippy,” she said. “Usually, students receive our helpful comments and encouragement in far less than 48 hours. We wish we could be even zippier, but sometimes we are quite popular and need a little more time.”
The writing tutors communicate with students through Canvas.
“Students send their writing along with a short info form in Canvas,” Hattox said. “Our consultants then send helpful replies, also in Canvas.”
Though Del Mar has offered online tutoring for at least 15 years, the SWC Online began in Canvas in fall 2016.
“Only a few dozen students used our online service that initial semester, but the service has grown exponentially.” Hattox said. “Now, we work with thousands of submissions every semester.”
Hattox said the SWC Online received around 2,000 writing submissions in the fall semester last year and they are receiving even more this year.
“The number of online writing submissions continues to escalate,” she said. “So far this semester, the numbers have increased 27 percent over last fall.”
Many instructors encourage, or even require, their students to use the SWC tutoring services.
“When an instructor requires students to use the Stone Writing Center, the students understand how we can help them become more effective writers,” Hattox said. “In fact, many students use our services semester after semester in multiple classes, even when not required. We have scores of repeat customers.”
To use the SWC Online go to delmar.edu/swc and choose the link “Online Tutoring.” Enter the usual Canvas/WebDMC username and password to join.