When Chat and Email are not Enough: Developing Real-Time, Interactive Online Writing Center Tutorials


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When Chat and Email are not Enough: Developing Real-Time, Interactive Online Writing Center Tutorials is a well researched English Language and Literature Master’s Thesis topic, it is to be used as a guide or framework for your Academic Research.


As new technologies have become available to facilitate online writing tutorials,
university Writing Centers have begun to use these technologies to better serve online

WPAs now face new difficulties serving remote student and faculty
populations, whose native language may not be English, through interactive online
tutorials across international borders.

Determining the best practices and technologies for real-time, interactive tutorials and implementing these practices are issues that have not been given much attention in recent scholarship, but are vital to best serve growing international campuses.

There are a few key concerns with ESOL tutoring that must be addressed when
considering the implementation of real-time, interactive online tutoring; for example,
comprehension of oral English becomes a major problem during online sessions.

However with the help of truly integrated technologies students can not only see and hear the tutor, but these technologies also allow a platform for written communication and modeling. Other very real concerns with real-time, interactive online tutorials are fiscal hardships of universities and the faculty and tutor training with the new technologies.

By utilizing low-cost, sometimes free, online tutoring platforms, universities can achieve a truly interactive, revenue neutral OWL. Furthermore, despite the time required to train faculty and tutors, the training offers an opportunity for growth in Writing Center theory and online pedagogy.

The current study examines the feasibility of developing revenue neutral online  writing tutorials for international students studying at international branch campuses.

Preliminary data shows that less than half of US universities hosting international branch campuses currently coordinate with or offer online tutoring to the students on these campuses.

With the mounting pressure to ensure quality across international borders, it is clear that there is a growing population of under-served students on international campuses. Writing Center Directors and WPAs must use the technologies available and train culturally sensitive tutors to serve these students.


Over the past few decades, American higher education has been quickly spreading
across international borders. With the movement, has come mounting criticism about quality assurance, and US Writing Centers play a vital role in ensuring that all graduates from American universities, whether domestic or in other countries, meet the standards in written proficiency that are established by accreditation agencies and the universities.

Although the number of international branch campuses is not yet statistically significant,
the development of real-time, interactive online writing lab (OWL) tutorials will benefit
the quickly growing international student population greatly.

Literature Review

One of the earliest pieces of scholarship on OWLs, “Online Writing Labs (OWLs): A Taxonomy of Options and Issues,” was published in 1995 by Muriel Harris and Michael Pamberton.

Harris and Pamberton explore the contemporary practices and technologies being used by newly developing OWLs, including those at their own institutions.1 In the study, Harris and Pamberton identify four types of online writing center sessions and classify them according to the level of tutor/student interaction and time displacement (146).

Using the following chart Harris and Pamberton outline the four basic mediums of computer-based writing center sessions2

Additional information


Master's Thesis


English Language and Literature

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