Incorporating a Writing Tutor in Your Course

A How-To Guide for Faculty

To make the best use of the Course Tutor program, it is important for faculty to have an understanding of the goals of the program and a clear idea of how it will work with their courses.

The Basics 

The Course Tutor program aims to support Wesleyan faculty in the teaching of writing by assigning undergraduate peer tutors to individual courses.  Though this mission may be fulfilled in a variety of ways, Course Tutors work to support students in their writing for courses and to support faculty in understanding and addressing their students’ writing needs.  

Course tutors receive a stipend for their participation and enroll in a .5 credit tutorial administered through the Writing Workshop.  Tutors undergo a short program of intensive training and engage in ongoing professional development over the course of the semester in bi-weekly check-ins held during common hour. 

Tutors are expected to work 5 hours per week during the regular semester.  Their responsibilities do not ordinarily extend into reading and exam periods.

Important First Steps

To make the best use of the Course Tutor program, we suggest strongly that before the semester begins, you meet with the undergraduate tutor assigned to your course. At this meeting, you should:

Provide the course tutor with all relevant documents—e.g., your syllabus, assignments, grading rubrics, and any other course materials that will help them stay on track in supporting your students.

  • Discuss with the writing tutor the ways in which you anticipate they will support students in writing for your course.   
  • Clarify how you expect the course tutor will spend their five working hours per week (e.g., meeting with students, holding office hours, reviewing drafts, attending class sessions, holding workshops).
  • Get your tutor’s best contact information—and add to your syllabus, Moodle page, etc.
  • Invite your course tutor to class at the start of the semester and plan to introduce the tutor to students in the class.
  • Plan to meet with the tutor at least once during the semester to get a sense of your students’ needs and the work your Course Tutor is doing. 
    • This is a great way to get a sense of how students are handling the workload and writing assignments in your class!

Further Possibilities

In addition to asking your course tutor to meet with students to review drafts and assignments, you might consider some other options. E.g.,

  • Ask your Course Tutor to run a class session or portion of a session on a specific writing-related topic such as a peer review, introductory paragraphs, incorporating sources, etc.
  • Ask your course tutor to speak to your class for 5-10 minutes about resources offered through the Writing Workshop.
  • Include in your course positive incentives for your students to meet with the Course Tutor. E.g., give students extra credit for meeting with the Course Tutor; allow students to revise essays for improved grades if they meet with a Course Tutor; require students to meet with a Course Tutor for some particular task or assignment, etc.
  • As part of an assignment, or as a stand-alone assignment, ask students to write a reflection essay that explains the work they did with the course tutor and the choices they made in their essay/writing process because of it.
    • Lauren Silber, the Assistant Director of Academic Writing, can provide you with an example of a feedback reflection.
  • Consult with Writing Workshop staff on other options and on best ways to collaborate with a tutor for a successful course.
    • Lauren Silber, Assistant Director of Academic Writing
    • Sean McCann, Director of Academic Writing
    • Isabel Steckel, Ford Fellow