MALS Online Writing Center

A Resource for Interdisciplinary Writers

Intended Use, Terms, and Conditions

of the MALS Writing Center

The MALS Online Writing Center exists to provide current MALS students at ETSU a supplemental resource to enrich their experiences with writing and the writing process while enrolled in the MALS program. The MALS Online Writing Center is not a remediation center for students; rather, it is a supplemental service for students on a voluntary basis, although on rare occasions students might, as a condition of admission, be required to use the services of the writing center in order to give them the greatest opportunity for success in the MALS program. Students will be exposed to the concept of the writing center and familiarized with its services in MALS courses such as 5000 and 5400, but their interactions with the consultant do not constitute a portion of their grades in those courses.

As a MALS alumn, the writing consultant is intended to be a peer consultant who has herself successfully completed all of the kinds of writing and research requirements current MALS students are asked to do in their core coursework; she will not provide diagnostic writing services or prescribe remedial courses of consultation and assessment. The writing consultant is not an instructor and will not "grade" students on their work; she makes no guarantee that her services will impact the outcomes of any course or assignment for any student. Under no circumstances will the writing consultant discuss a student's work with his/her instructor for any course. In the case of a student who is required to work with the writing consultant as a condition of admission, the writing consultant will only confirm with the program director that the student has or has not made the required contact.

In accordance with its intended uses, the writing center/writing consultant will track student usage as follows: 

•        The total number of students who consult with the writing consultant each month, broken down by date and time in order to determine peak usage periods and help drive scheduling of office hours during times most convenient for students*

•        The kinds of services students make use of (or types of questions or writing concerns they seek help with) during their sessions with the writing consultant, compiled on monthly and yearly bases in the aggregate*

•        The method of contact (e.g., email or chat request) that students use to communicate with the writing consultant*

•        The number of page views and the total usage of the Web site as tracked by (although this cannot be directly correlated with MALS student usage because the site is not restricted)

•        The number of page views, comments, and followers of the writing consultant's blog as tracked by (although this cannot be directly correlated with MALS student readership because the blog is not restricted)

•        Student requests for additional information to be added to the Web site and the implementation decision for each request.

The center will NOT track usage in these ways:

•        Student consultation with the writing consultant by name or other individually identifying details

•        Correlation of types of services or questions with individual student names or other individually identifying details

•        Requiring as part of coursework that students indicate when they have sought consultation with the writing consultant, unless the entire class is required as part of a writing assignment to have a consultation with the writing consultant. In such cases, the writing consultant will report to the instructor whether a student has made the required contact, but will not disclose the content of the consultation or any recommendations made as a result of it.*

This is in order to preserve a significant level of student/consultant confidentiality and avoid stigmatizing a student who seeks the assistance of the writing consultant by implicitly marking him or her as weak or inadequate and singling him or her out by name. The writing center is intended to be a positive, supplemental, and voluntary service to address the needs both of students who need additional support for their writing skills and those who simply want a second set of eyes to respond to already strong work. In the case of students who are required to consult with the writing consultant as a condition of admission to the MALS program, only tracking that the student has met with the writing consultant at least a minimum number of times (as determined by the MALS program director) will be done. All other data related to those students will be tracked only in the aggregate, as it is with all students.*

*Per the ETSU IRB, aggregate gathering and reporting of data from services such as the writing center is appropriate; individual tracking of data that might identify students by name or other identifying details would require IRB approval for research involving human subjects.
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