University News

Writing Center launches new online scheduling system

Students can now create and cancel Writing Center appointments through the center’s website

By
Staff Writer
Monday, September 16, 2013

The Writing Center schedules approximately 4,500 one-one-one student conferences each academic year. The online system will automatize confirmations and reminders for students’ meeting requests.

The Writing Center transitioned to a new online sign-up system this fall, allowing students to schedule appointments directly through the center’s website instead of by emailing the coordinators.

The Writing Center collaborated over the past year with Applications Developer and Analyst Jason Orrill to create a new electronic sign-up system to save time on both the students’ and administrators’ ends.

Under the previous system, “the appointment books were basically set up in Google Docs, and the notifications were either sent out by myself or the receptionist,” said Writing Center Coordinator Janet Peters.

The new system allows students to log into their applications using their Banner IDs and passwords and view an online appointment book, Peters said. Available time slots are blank, while taken ones are filled in. Students can mark when they are available for appointments by selecting their desired time slots.

Students are asked to fill in certain required information — the type of writing they want to discuss, the subject area, document length and the part of the essay on which they wish to focus — directly below the scheduling calendar.

The new form also allows users to request a specific Writing Center employee, Peters said. Upon making the appointment, students receive an automatic confirmation email summarizing their appointment information. Another reminder email is also automatically sent to students 24 hours before their appointments.

The change in sign-up systems has not been widely publicized to students, but many who have used the new online system said they found it to be a marked improvement to the email-based one.

“I love (the new system),” said Joshua Jackson ’16, who added that he had “dreaded” scheduling appointments with the Writing Center last year. “It was really unorganized and you had to wait for them to respond to you. The new system takes a lot less time and is way less work.”

Jessica Velasquez ’15 used the Writing Center last year and found no issue with the old sign-up system, she wrote in an email to The Herald, but she added that she would also like to see how the new system works. “I used the Writing Center for almost every single major paper I had,” she wrote. “I’m very interested to see how (the new system) works now.”

Students can also cancel appointments through the scheduling application, Peters said. Before, they had to call or email to cancel their appointments.

“We average 4,500 conferences in an academic year,” Peters said. “This new system is much easier and much more streamlined for everyone.”

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