Guidance for Extra Credit
At the Writing Center, we love extra credit! Sometimes, even students who value Writing Center support just need that little extra push to make an appointment. A little bit of extra credit can be just the push they need (although it shouldn’t function as a hail-mary for otherwise failing students).
It is extremely helpful for students who work with tutors to have a clear sense of your priorities for their improvement. If you have seen drafts of the assignment already or noticed patterns in their writing prior to a new assignment, empower your students to ask for the help they need by providing them with a small set of skills to focus on first (ex. “I want you to improve your thesis and topic sentences before you work on grammar”).
The best way to encourage your class to work with tutors is to demonstrate when in your own writing process you might seek various kinds of feedback from a skilled reader. Remind them that reader feedback is a natural part of the writing process for writers at all levels.
Sample Statment for Extra Credit
After receiving my feedback, I encourage you to work with tutors at the Writing Center to implement my suggestions for improvement. You may earn 5 points of extra credit for the final draft of each major essay by working with a Writing Center tutor to improve the structural, stylistic, or mechanical components of your draft. To earn that extra credit, you must request that the tutor send me a copy of the post-session report, which should indicate which assignment’s draft you worked on.
Guidance for Required Visit Assignments
If you choose to require a visit to the Writing Center as a graded part of your course, please keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Encourage students to make multiple visits to the Writing Center, but please do not require more than one Writing Center visit per course. Students who feel forced into repeat visits rather than choosing to come back to the Writing Center on their own do not tend to make good use of our tutoring services.
- Tell students that those who revise their work usually get better grades, but please do not make visiting the Writing Center a portion of a particular assignment’s grade. Doing so can give students the impression that a tutoring session is just a box to check. Rather, consider creating a separate assignment that encourages students to reflect on their use of this essential academic support service, like the ones below.
- Please remind students that Writing Center tutors focus on overall skill development using the assignment on hand, rather than simply proofreading that specific assigned writing.
Sample Required Visit Assignments
To succeed in this class, you’ll need to continue developing your writing skills, and to do so, you must visit the Writing Center at least once this semester to work on one of the following skills:
- _____ Style
- Proper Incorporation of Quotes and Source Material
- Thesis Statements and Topic Sentences
- Sentence Boundaries and Punctuation
- Active and Passive Voice
- Reading a Scholarly Article
To earn credit, please include a description of the skill you worked on and what you learned about that skill in your post-session report and request that the tutor send the report to me. You must also reflect on the experience in your weekly Learning Journal on Blackboard. This assignment is worth 2% of your final course grade.
Composition or WID Assignment
Successful students take advantage of all of their academic support resources, such as office hours, mentors, deans, and tutors! Since this class focuses so thoroughly on developing your writing skills, this is the perfect opportunity to practice using Writing Center services.
For this assignment, you will need to visit the Writing Center to work with a tutor at least once this session. You may work on any writing skill or any paragraph/ essay assignment for this course (other than this one), but you should not work on an assignment for another course. Work with a tutor for at least 30 minutes, then write a multi-paragraph reflection (minimum 200 words) on the experience. That reflection should address:
- How did you decide which skill or assignment to work on with the tutor?
- What were your goals for the session, and how did you articulate those goals to the tutor?
- What specific strategies, techniques, or concepts did you review with the tutor?
- What could you do next time you work with a tutor to prepare for the session better?
After completing the First Look session on academic support services, which include the Writing Center, you hopefully realize that successful students use all of the resources that your tuition provides — not just your professors and class time! Moreover, asking for help and feedback on your work is a natural component of academic life, not a sign of weakness.
To practice identifying when you should seek out support from these resources, you must work with a Writing Center tutor at least once this semester to as part of your writing process for one of our three major essays. When you visit, what you work on, and which assignment you discuss with the tutor is your choice, but your consultation with the tutor should focus on developing the skills you need to succeed in this course (ie. sessions focusing on work for another course will not count).
To earn credit for your Writing Center visit, please ask the tutor to send me the post-session report, and as you fill out that report at the end of the consultation, work with the tutor to outline concrete and detailed “next steps” (ie. not just “Come back to the Writing Center!”). Your visit and this report are worth 50 points towards your final grade.