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by Abby Bardi
(Coordinator, Writing Center)

Everyone knows that Prince George’s Community College has an outstanding writing center, staffed by faculty who offer students help with every stage of the writing process. However, the fact that the Writing Center offers free online tutoring for any student enrolled in a credit or non-credit course is still a well-kept secret. For the many semesters that we have offered this service, we have papered the campus with posters describing it, but very few students actually use our online tutoring on an ongoing basis.

With the burgeoning of online courses, students who are off-site clearly need to be able to get the same help with their writing that face-to-face students get. We would like to see more PGCC students take advantage of our services. Here are some facts about the Online Writing Center that you can share with students:

Who are the online tutors? Right now, we only have one tutor, known as Cyberscribe. We will continue to add tutors as the need arises.

Is the online tutor on the faculty? All Writing Center tutors are on the faculty.

How does online tutoring work? We ask that students paste their work into an email. Due to the constant threat of viruses, we do not accept attachments.

Where should the email be sent? The address is

Is there a link to this address on the Writing Center Web page? Of course there is! We think of everything.

What kind of help will the tutor give? It depends on what the student asks for during the appointment. We are a learning-centered service, so we ask that the student communicate what kind of help he or she needs. We can help students generate ideas, hone thesis statements, polish paragraphs, smooth sentences…. In short, we can help with any aspect of the writing process.

Is there anything Writing Center tutors will not do? We do not edit students’ papers—in other words, we will tell students where the problems are, but we will not give them the language to use instead. Our philosophy is that Writing Center tutoring is teaching, not editing—which is one of the reasons we have only faculty tutors.

Will Writing Center tutors wash windows? No, we do not do windows. But, we will help students write about window-washing.

Whom may we contact for more information about online writing tutoring? Email Abby Bardi at (301-322-0598)—or you may contact Cyberscribe at


The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 19, No. 3

Spring 2004