FAQs

The Writing & Language Development Center (WLDC)  offers student-centered instructional support for Yuba College students in writing at any stage of the writing process. We work with any kind of writing assignment, not just English but also philosophy, history, political science—any academic course with a writing component.

We also support academic reading, offering active reading strategies and tips to increase comprehension, retention, and fluency.

We embrace a particular mission to support English language learners.

Who can use the Writing & Language Development Center?

You must be currently enrolled at Yuba College and attending a class with a reading or writing requirement either online or at any Yuba College campus or center. This includes those taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and student attending at Beale or Sutter Center campus.

Do I need an appointment, or can I just drop in?

You don’t need an appointment; you can just drop in. Drop-in visitors are assisted on a first-come, first-served basis; during busy times you may have to wait a few minutes.

The busiest times for the Writing & Language Development Center are in the middle of the day, from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Can I make an appointment?

Students with appointments have priority over those who drop in. You can make a one-time appointment if you want to be sure there will be someone available to work with you when you arrive. Click Appointments (left) and follow the directions to make your own one-time appointment.

You can also choose a regular weekly appointment, where you are paired with a writing assistant and meet once a week. When you have a weekly appointment, you can still drop in as much as you want between appointments. To make a recurring, weekly appointment, come into the Writing & Language Development Center and ask us.

Would I be working with someone one-on-one?

Most of the time you will be working one-on-one with a writing assistant.

However, we are biased toward small-group appointments, so no appointment is considered exclusive. We like the dynamic of group work. It’s more interesting to hear what your classmates are thinking, planning, and writing than to just listen to the advice of a writing assistant. In a group you tend to generate more ideas and think things through more thoroughly. The result is more thoughtful papers and better writing.

How long do appointments last?

Appointments and workshops last 50 minutes. This should leave you enough time to get to your next class.

What if I can’t make my appointment? What if I’m late?

To cancel or let us know you’re running late, please call the Writing &Language Development Center at 530.740.1709. Students will be considered “no-shows” if they fail to arrive and sign in within 10 minutes of their appointment time.

If you don’t show up within fifteen minutes of your appointment time, you may forfeit the remainder of that hour to a walk-in student. If you repeatedly fail to keep appointments, we will drop the appointment, but you may continue to use drop-in services.

Who are the WLDC writing assistants?

The writing assistants in the Writing & Language Development Center are part-time student assistants and full-time Instructional Associates. Most of our writing assistants are themselves students taking classes at Yuba College. They have either completed or are currently enrolled in English 1A , and they maintain a 3.0 GPA. They have to be recommended by their English instructors, and then they must apply for the position and complete formal training courses (English 40A and B).

Aside from their qualifications and training, the writing assistants are as varied as the student body itself: they pursue majors in health professions, business, administration of justice, veterinary technology, computer science, political science and yes, sometimes even English.

What do the writing assistants do?

WLDC writing assistants offer advice and make suggestions on how you can develop as a writer. We help you identify the strengths and weaknesses of your paper and discuss strategies to leverage its strong points and strengthen its weak ones. We also address questions you have about grammar rules as they relate to your writing assignment.

Typically, the areas we work on are these:

  • Understanding an assignment or writing prompt
  • Finding and narrowing down a topic for a paper
  • Organizing ideas, clarifying thoughts
  • Typing and formatting a paper
  • Revising
  • Searching for and evaluating sources
  • Citing sources in a standard (MLA, APA, Chicago) format

Will you proofread my paper?

No. Because we want to foster independence, we do not proofread or edit papers. However, we will help you improve your own proofreading and self-editing skills by helping you identify error patterns in your writing and showing you how to scan for them and correct them.

If you wish, we can also show you how to use Kurzweil 3000 text-to-speech software to assist your proofreading.

Can I expect to get a better grade?

We do not guarantee or estimate grades. It is the role of your instructor to evaluate your work and assign it a grade. We want you to feel confident that your revised drafts are better than your first draft–that you’re growing in writing proficiency and in authentic competence.

Can I work on a group project in the Writing & Language Development Center?

Yes. All the group members must sign in and out. If your group is large and wants to work on a shared computer, ask us if our wide-screen is available when you come in.

How can I make sure my appointment is as productive as possible?

Figure out what your goals for the session are before you arrive because the writing assistant will ask you what you hope to accomplish that session. For instance, do you want to narrow down a topic, brainstorm your ideas, organize your argument, search for sources?

Bring your assignment in soon after you get it. You will think more clearly and be more productive if you give yourself the time to do so–there’s nothing like extreme deadline pressure to produce a case of writer’s block! Realize that the writing assistant is not an editor, proofreader, miracle worker, or ghost writer; if your paper is imminently due, there is probably little he or she can help you with that will affect your outcome.

Take the time afterward to make the revisions you discuss. If you visit the WLDC well before your paper is due, you will have the time to return or to visit your instructor for additional feedback if you want.

What do I need to bring?

Bring the instructions for the assignment. If you haven’t yet written a draft, that’s fine. If you do have a draft of your paper, bring it. If your instructor has made comments on an earlier draft, bring that. Bring texts, articles, or class notes. If you are working on an application or scholarship essay, bring a copy of the writing prompt.

What do you mean, you offer “technology” help?

Technology help might range from help with accessing your student email or Canvas site to formatting footnotes in Chicago style. Technology resources include these:

  • 10 student computer stations (for academic, language-arts use)
  • 10 laptops for use within the WLDC
  • Kurzweil 3000 text-to-speech software, an auditory-visual way to read, compose, or proofread
  • Jaws, a screen reader for the visually impaired

What is the instructor’s role in effective tutoring?

Instructors provide important context by giving assignments in tangible form, such as on paper or in Canvas. Students may not copy an assignment from the whiteboard accurately, and even if they do, they are almost certain to exclude important context. If you, as an instructor, have an assignment rubric, consider providing it up front. Instructors’ written feedback on student papers is also an important tool in tutoring sessions.

Can the Writing & Language Development Center show measurable effects on success and retention?

Yes and yes. For every school year since we opened in 2007, WLDC users passed their English classes at significantly higher rates, especially when they worked consistently with a writing assistant. For example, for the 2017-2018 school year, WLDC users who came in at least six times to work with a writing assistant on English assignments passed at a rate 20% higher (93%) than those who came in but worked on their own (73%).

Do you have extra activities like workshops or discussion groups?

From time to time, we offer topical workshops. Look for details on our Portal page and on flyers posted around campus. Past workshops have included these topics:

  • Grammar
  • MLA citation
  • Proofreading
  • English final exam strategies
  • ESL conversation
  • Reading discussion groups