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 in YCCD and attending a class with a reading or writing requirement either online or at any district campus or center. This includes those taking English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, those enrolled in online courses, and students attending Beale, Sutter, Woodland, Lake, or Colusa campuses.

What are we doing during the Coronavirus pandemic?

For now, all our tutors have moved online. That means you can log in anytime during normal work hours via Zoom. You can book one-time appointments using the Appointments link to the left. We will maintain this arrangement until further notice.

Writing & Language Development Center remote tutoring

In an online appointment you work in a private breakout room with a tutor. You share your screen, so if you have a draft of a paper (such as in Google Docs, Word, Canvas, or your email) you can share it with the tutor and get feedback and ideas. You will share the assignment prompt the same way. If you are doing a close reading analysis or working with a difficult article, you can share those and get clarification and ideas.

You need a computer with audio input. A camera is useful but optional. (If bandwidth is an issue you may even choose to mute your video input to favor the audio.) If you join us through our Canvas site, YC Writing Center, you don’t need to do anything extra with Zoom. Just enroll (yccd.instructure.com/enroll/4FWW94), go to the course, click ConferZoom and open Zoom when it asks you to. Join the Event in Progress. We will be here to say hi!

An alternative to Zooming is to use the upload links on YC Writing Center to upload your draft and assignment prompt for asynchronous feedback. We try to keep a 24-business-hour turnaround time. You may upload five assignments per semester.

Do I need an appointment?

You may not need an appointment (depending on time of day and our staffing levels), but you may make an appointment 24 hours or more ahead of time. Log in to search for an available tutor at yubacollege.tutortrac.com using your student ID and password. All the appointments you will see are one-time appointments.

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

For regular, recurring appointments, or if you have difficulty making a one-time appointment online, stop in the online session and ask a staff member for help or email or Kelly at kcunning1@yccd.edu.

Use this link to get to live help on the WLDC online Canvas site: https://yccd.instructure.com/enroll/4FWW94

What about drop-ins?

Drop-ins are usually available. We always prioritize appointments over drop-ins.

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

Can I work independently?

You can work independently; you still need to sign in and sign out. However, our data shows that students who regularly work with writing consultants pass their English classes at significantly higher rates than students who work on their own. For the 2017-2018 school year, for instance, 93% of those who worked regularly with WLDC writing consultants passed their English class. About 73% of those who worked independently in the WLDC did so.

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 classmates; 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. To get the most out of your appointment, show up on time. Your writing assistant may need to go to class or to his or her next appointment when your appointment hour is over. If you don’t show up within fifteen minutes, 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 find and correct them.

If you wish, we can also show you how to use Kurzweil 3000 text-to-speech software as a proofreading tool.

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 prioritize and 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 a focus for the session. When you are not actively working on a draft, you and your writing assistant should be reviewing the classroom discussion, looking at the current set of readings, and talking about them. It is seldom the case that you “don’t have anything to work on”!

It is a good practice to bring your assignment in soon after you get it, even before you start writing. You will think more clearly and be more productive if you give yourself the time to think–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 any 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)
  • Kurzweil 3000 text-to-speech software, an auditory-visual way to read, compose, or proofread
  • Jaws, a screen reader for the visually impaired
  • A private accessible station equipped with Kurzweil, Jaws, and Dragon as well as a dedicated scanner

What if I’m in an online English class and can’t come to campus?

The Canvas site for your online English class should have a link to our Canvas-based online writing center, YC Writing Center. If you don’t see it in your Canvas dashboard, click WLDC Online Tutoring, left, for the enrollment link. Follow the instructions on the YC Writing Center Canvas site to submit both the assignment and your draft. Tell us where you are in the writing process and what your specific concerns are. We aim to return feedback within 24 hours, but there may be delays around due dates when many other students are 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 the web site and on flyers posted around campus. Past workshops have included these topics:

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