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 students attending Beale or Sutter Center campuses.

Do I need an appointment?

You need to make an appointment at least one day (24 hours) ahead of time. Log in to search for an available tutor at yubacollege.tutortrac.com using your student ID and password. All appointments are one-time appointments.

The busiest times for the Writing & Language Development Center are  from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

If you have difficulty making a one-time appointment online, you may stop in and ask a staff member if they can help you find one.

What about drop-ins?

Because of increasing demand for services, drop-in sessions will be 30 minutes long and limited to designated times. As always, we will prioritize appointments over drop-ins.

Plan ahead! We strongly encourage you to make a one-time appointment at yubacollege.tutortrac.com.

Will 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 you may be sharing an appointment with a classmate; 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 start at the top of the hour and last 50 minutes. This should leave you (and your writing assistant) 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. If we are unable to pick up, leave a voice mail message. Your writing assistant may need to go to class or to his next assignment when the appointment hour is over, so to get the most out of your appointment, show up on time. If you don’t show up within fifteen minutes of your appointment time, you may forfeit the appointment; we will assign your tutor to someone else.

If you frequently miss or cancel appointments, the TutorTrac system will no longer allow you to make your own appointments online. It may still be possible for staff to make an appointment for you.

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 completed English 1A with an A or B and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. After being recommended by their English instructors, they must apply for the position and enroll in formal training courses (English 40A and B) before they begin tutoring.

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 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 on my paper after working with a writing consultant?

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 be confident that your revised drafts are better than your first drafts–that you’re growing in writing proficiency and 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.

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

First, you may not be able to do everything you want, so figure out what your goals are for the session before you arrive. The writing assistant will ask you to explain 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? Together you will agree on the focus of the session.

A great practice is to 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.

Last, 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 written comments, bring those. Bring texts, articles, or class notes that may be helpful. If you are working on a college 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 if I’m in an online English class and can’t come to the campus writing center?

Starting in Fall 2019, the Canvas site for every online English class will have a link to our online writing center. Follow the instructions to submit both the assignment and your draft. Tell us where you are in the process and what your specific concerns are. We  aim to return marked up papers within 24 hours, but plan ahead as much as possible, especially around due dates when many other students may be submitting.

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 likely to exclude important context. If you, as an instructor, have an assignment rubric, consider providing it up front. Instructors’ written feedback 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 independently (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