Online Consultations

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Image of hands at keyboardIn addition to offering face-to-face consultations, we also provide online consultations. Online consultations are ideal for writers who might be traveling or away from campus, for those who might be engaged in distance learning courses, as well as writers who might prefer to work digitally. These online sessions work similarly to our face-to-face consultations–they’re 50-minute collaborative sessions with our trained Writers Workshop Consultants, who will assist you wherever you are in the writing process. Typically, each session will begin with a brief conversation about what you’re working on and your goals, so it’s helpful to come to your session with 2-3 priorities in mind, given where you are in your writing process and what you hope to accomplish before you submit your work. Online sessions use a combination of video / audio capabilities, online chatting, and a shared workspace to facilitate conversation and collaboration. We recommend the use of laptops or desktops over tablets and having headphones to facilitate our conversations.

Watch this tutorial video for more information on making and attending your online appointment:

Learn more about how our online consultations work:

Make an Online Appointment:

  1. Login to your Writers Workshop account. Create an account if this is your first time making an appointment.
  2. Update 3/23/2020: All Writers Workshop appointments are online. To make an appointment:
  3. Select the university status that best fits your affiliation with the University from the drop-down menu near the date: undergraduate, graduate student, faculty or staff.
  4. Select a time by clicking on a white box at the time that works best for you.
  5. Fill out the appointment form:
    • When you’ve selected a time, an appointment form will open.
    • You’ll notice that the “Meet Online?” box will automatically select “Yes. Schedule Online appointment.”
    • Fill in the required information, as noted by the red asterisks. If you require specific accommodations, please be sure to indicate what they are when you fill out “Please provide any additional details related to your writing goals for this appointment.”
    • Confirm the information, and then click “Save Appointment.”

Screenshot of Appointment Form

Your Online Appointment:

  1. Before your online appointment:
    • Five to ten minutes before the start of your appointment time, sign back into your Writers Workshop account. We strongly recommend using Firefox or Chrome as your browser; the online system will not work with Internet Explorer or Safari.
    • Find your appointment and click on it.
    • In the appointment window, click “Start or Join Online Consultation.”

Screenshot of "Start or Join Online Consultation" Prompt

  1. During your appointment:
    • When you join the online session, a new screen will open. Take a moment to read the instructions about the tools available in the online platform.
    • Activate video and audio by clicking on the camera icon in the top right corner. Screenshot of the online appointment interface, including the whiteboard, chat box, and key icons
    • You should be able to see the Consultant when you join the session or soon after. It may take a minute or two to get video, audio, and/or the text chat to work appropriately. Please be patient during this process, and indicate in the text chat if you are not able to see or hear the consultant. If your consultant is not visible or has not said anything through the WCOnline chat after five minutes into the appointment, you should call the Writers Workshop front desk at (217) 333-8796.
    • You have multiple options for sharing your text: You can attach your assignment prompt or paper when you make an appointment, upload a file when you join the session, copy/paste your text into the whiteboard in the middle of the screen, or share a link to another medium or platform (like GoogleDocs or Zoom).
  2. Troubleshooting during your online appointment:
    • If you lose your internet connection, don’t worry. Reconnect and then rejoin the session like you normally would. Most tech issues can be resolved by closing and then reconnecting with the session.
    • If you have trouble with your connection, check your web browser: WCOnline works best with Chrome and Firefox. It does not work with Internet Explorer or Safari.
    • If you have a poor connection, try using audio only and disabling the video. You can also disable audio and video and use only chat.
    • If you don’t have video or audio, check that you have enabled your computer camera and mic, and that you have not muted the sound on your computer.
    • Be aware that if you copy/paste or upload files/documents into the whiteboard (the working space in the center of the screen during the appointment), the formatting of documents may change. To get around this, you might ask your consultant if you can use a different shared workspace (GoogleDocs, for example).
    • Google Hangouts can be a good alternative to WCOnline when you’re having tech issues. For instance, if you don’t have a computer mic but want to have audio for your appointment, our consultant can send you a Google Hangout link to an audio call that you can answer on your phone. You will want to download the Google Hangouts app ahead of time. (We ask that our consultants avoid giving out their personal phone numbers, and we have only one phone line for the Writers Workshop.)
    • Call the Writers Workshop at (217) 333-8796 to let your consultant know that you’re having technical difficulties and try to troubleshoot. If your consultant appears to lose their connection, please be patient, as they’ll reconnect as soon as possible.
  3. After your online appointment
    • If you worked on the WCOnline platform, you can download your text (including changes made) by clicking on the “export” button and choosing the type of file you want to download.

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