Kyle Harley, Kaplan University Writing Center Tutor
With the very recent change and continued success of our Writing Fundamentals program here at the university, our English Language Learner’s program required a bit of a face-lift. After meeting with prior heads of the ELL program, we all came to the conclusion that, well, we are a bit in the past. The success of the program in years gone by cannot be ignored, of course. The folks who headed such a massive project deserve all the credit in the world and then some. That said, though, it was our collective effort to mainstream the project to adhere to what we strive for most in the Writing Center: a streamlined, simple experience geared toward student success. Much like the model that we currently employ in the Fundamentals program, the process for ELL submissions, for professor or student alike, will now be easier than ever.
In the near future, I, along with the rest of the Writing Center staff, will begin training to better assist our ELL students in the coming months. Our ELL referral process will now mimic the submission process of our Paper Review service that thousands of students currently take advantage of. Students and professors will soon be able to attach the draft to a JotForm, which is the standard we use in Paper Review, submit the draft with their detailed concerns, and receive assistance via a thorough review and an invitation into Live Tutoring to better acclimate students with our services. Our goal with all of our students revolves around exposure. Sometimes we must “walk” them into the tutoring service to initiate the continued interaction. This, now, does not change for any of our students. Each and every one of our tutors, even before we begin specialized training, can easily assist our ELL students at this very moment, but we want to extend our reach further.
To accomplish this, we really just wanted to make the process simple. Long gone are the confusing e-mails back and forth between student and tutor. To put this into perspective, imagine having to type a detailed e-mail back to another individual in another language—better yet, one that you are currently struggling with. As a student, how simple does that sound? From my neck of the woods, that sounds like a pure nightmare, and I am mentioning all of this in my native language, even simpler on my end. Our response, after viewing both the pros and cons of our old system, resulted in trimming the excess from the program. Each student will still receive just as much assistance as before. In fact, because of how the program is designed, the student will receive more help than ever before. Our new, simplified workflow allows for ELL students to benefit in a variety of different ways:
- First, the student or professor submits the work via a very familiar form already employed in Paper Review. Because of the way the site will be designed, the form can not be submitted unless a sample of the writing is uploaded.
- Next, the student will receive a detailed review of his or her work, accompanied with a video discussing the issues within the draft; again, this is very similar to our current Paper Review process.
- After receiving their review, students will also receive an extended invitation to Live Tutoring to better acclimate themselves with the pre-existing services.
- After the initial meeting with the tutor, the student will then be encouraged to return to Live Tutoring whenever he or she seeks writing assistance.
Because of this impending change, I genuinely encourage professors to take advantage of this service once it goes live. Please check our English Language Learners page for this incredibly exciting change. If the success of our streamlined Fundamentals program foreshadows what will come from this ELL transformation, I only suspect that our retention rates across the university will increase drastically for these fantastic students. They certainly deserve the elevated and specialized attention.