Fall 2020 Services for Students

We help undergraduate and graduate writers at any stage of the writing process—from choosing a topic to drafting and revising—for any writing project. During an appointment, we will talk with you about your goals, review your writing, and have a conversation about what next steps you might take. We help writers learn more about everything from thesis statements and organization to grammar and citation methods.

Make an Appointment!

We enter this Fall 2020 semester faced with the acute stresses posed by COVID-19 and systemic anti-Black violence, as well as the challenges associated with university life, including completing coursework and assignments, making progress on longer-term writing projects (such as dissertations), and maintaining a form of work/life balance amid all of these moving pieces. In continuing to offer our full array of Writing Center instruction entirely online, it is our goal to support you in these efforts, wherever you may find yourself.

If you are a Madison-area resident, UW-Madison alum, or UW-Madison staff member looking for information on Madison Writing Assistance (MWA), our community-based writing program, please follow this link.

For information on how we have adapted our core services for the Fall semester, we invite you to read on.

Virtual Meetings connect students with Writing Center instructors through real-time, face-to-face appointments in WCOnline, our online appointment system. Virtual Meetings offer the following means of connection and collaboration: (a) a shared whiteboard where your instructor and you can view and comment on your writing; (b) small screens to enable conversation through shared video/audio, and (c) a chat area for synchronous, written conversation. The whiteboard and chat area remain accessible to you after the appointment, and you can revisit your feedback at any time. 

Virtual Meetings are recommended if…

  • You’ve enjoyed meeting in person with Writing Center instructors in the past.
  • You want a chance for real-time collaboration and conversation with a Writing Center instructor. 
  • You hope to talk with a writing instructor about an ongoing or longer project. (You may also be interested in a Writing Mentorship.)
  • You would like to book your appointment up to 14 days in advance.
  • You would like to meet with a particular instructor.
  • You have a reliable internet connection.

Learn more about Virtual Meetings.

Written Feedback enables students to schedule appointments for receiving written comments and suggestions from a Writing Center instructor. After uploading your draft into WCOnline, along with information about your assignment or writing project, you will receive written feedback from a Writing Center instructor by 8:00 p.m. on the day of your appointment. This feedback will remain accessible to you after your appointment, and you can revisit it at any time in WCOnline.

Written Feedback appointments are recommended if…

  • You’ve enjoyed working with a Writing Center instructor through email in the past.
  • You’d like to schedule feedback with a particular Writing Center instructor.
  • You’d like feedback on the day of your appointment.
  • You’d like to book your appointment up to 14 days in advance.
  • You’d like to book an appointment, but you don’t yet have a draft ready to  upload.
  • You prefer this modality of instruction.
  • You live in a different time zone that makes scheduling a Virtual Meeting difficult or impossible.
  • Your internet connection is unreliable.

Learn more about Written Feedback.

Flexible Feedback is intended for students who have more flexibility about when they need to receive feedback. You can schedule Flexible Feedback through WCOnline up to two days in advance, upload your draft when making the appointment, and then an instructor from our team will offer written feedback in the form of comments and suggestions for revision within two to three business days of your scheduled appointment.

Flexible Feedback is recommended if…

  • Your “feedback-needed-by” date is flexible.
  • You are open to working with any Writing Center instructor on a first-available basis.
  • You have a draft ready for feedback when you make the appointment.
  • All of our scheduled appointments are already booked.
  • You live in a different time zone that makes scheduling a Virtual Meeting difficult or impossible.
  • Your internet connection is unreliable. 

Learn more about Flexible Feedback.

Drop-In Hours will be available for 30-minute, same-day, virtual appointments. These will operate in place of our in-person satellite locations in residence halls, libraries, and multicultural student centers across campus. Drop-in hours are intended for undergraduates who need same-day feedback on short writing assignments. Drop-in hours will be offered Sunday through Thursday beginning in Week 4 of the semester (or  Sunday, September 20).

Drop-in Hours are recommended if…

  • You’re an undergraduate student. 
  • You want a chance for real-time collaboration and conversation with a Writing Center instructor. 
  • You would have visited one of our prior satellite locations in residence halls, libraries, and multicultural student centers. 
  • You are working on a course assignment or smaller project that does not require multiple sessions with an instructor.
  • You are seeking same-day and/or last-minute feedback on a writing assignment.
  • You have a reliable internet connection.

Learn more about Drop-in Hours.

Other Writing Center Services and Opportunities

Below are some additional core services that we offer students in addition to our one-to-one appointments.

Each semester, the Writing Center offers an array of 50+ instructional workshops led by Writing Center staff and instructors. Workshops are offered free of charge for graduate and undergraduate students, UW-Madison faculty and staff, and other university affiliates. During the Fall 2020 semester, all workshops will take place in a virtual format! For more information, and to register for individual workshops, click here

Writing groups offer students space and time each week to maximize their productivity. Each meeting begins with individual goal setting and sharing and ends with brief discussions about writing strategies and accomplishments. The bulk of each meeting, however, is devoted to structured writing time so that you can make substantial progress on your writing projects. We offer writing groups for both graduates and undergraduates.

If you’re working on multiple papers, a master’s thesis, dissertation, or other extended writing project over the course of the semester, you may want to set up a Writing Mentorship with the same instructor every week or every other week via a Virtual Meeting. If you’re interested in learning more, please visit our linked page or send an email to Lisa Marvel Johnson.

Need help logging into the WCOnline scheduler? Are you unsure about when to quote a source and when to paraphrase? Is some grammatical rule causing you to lose sleep? Or do you just want to know how the Writing Center can help you?

Type out a quick question via our new Chat Service. Help is on the way! Chat hours are available Monday through Friday during the Fall 2020 semester and will be available Sunday evenings beginning September 20.

Want to learn more about reading poetry, using gender-neutral pronouns, writing lab reports, citing sources, or another writing-related topic? In our Writer’s Handbook, you will find many instructional materials we’ve developed for our Writing Center teaching.

Please note that all of our Fall 2020 services are virtual. We look forward to returning to in-person instruction in the future!