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Training For Tough Tutorials

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About the Project

The designers want your experience with this project to be as pleasant as a good peer tutorial, when practice and theory merge effortlessly. We hope that our suggestions for effective tutorial strategies will not be seen as mandates. Readers should not look for a "fix-it shop" approach here; our Writing Center and WAC Program adhere to North's dictum that peer tutoring should produce better writers, not better papers. Students in sections of Composition Theory and Pedagogy at the University of Richmond designed this project.Filming

The materials here were not meant to replace our face-to-face training in the Writing Center; instead, the exercises simulate the most common "difficult" tutorials we encounter. We hope that the project will enable tutors at Richmond and elsewhere to experience common frustrations of such conferences and to develop workable solutions. Our Writing Center and WAC program are "sharers" rather than "seclusionists," to use Jane Cogie's terms. Our reports to professors emphasize the collaborative nature of the peer tutorial: tutors and writers meet to discuss a project; the faculty member gets a report--with notes from the tutor and writer--and a chance to ask tutors or me any questions. Through the Web and other methods of publication, WAC and the Writing Center make faculty aware that their peers consider work with a tutor a sign of motivation, not of laziness or lack of ability. As you use the project, we hope to get your feedback as well. We test the videos (currently all MP4 format) on a variety of PC and Mac browsers. Contact Dr. Essid ( to report bugs.

For each of the tutorials, we have a set of videos and a paper from the mock tutorial and an interactive writing exercise. At various points in the tutorial, readers will be asked to make decisions about what they might do at that moment. The Web browser will then show a likely outcome. At every step of the way, readers can review earlier video clips and other materials. Teachers and tutors might be interested in a "behind the scenes" look at the project. This section of "Training for Tough Tutorials" includes story-boards and other notes from the project scenarios. We invite your feedback on this project as it grows. If we have acted in the spirit of good computer-assisted pedagogy, these videos and materials will supplement, never replace, the rapport that develops in one-on-one meetings between peers.

Copyright Policy:

Creative Commons License.

This project is licensed for Creative-Commons, non-commercial, no derivative use, with attribution.


Project Concept by Joe Essid, UR Writing Center Director, & Dona Hickey, Associate Dean of Arts & Sciences. First-edition coding by Joe Essid and video editing by Matt Perrine. Filming by Julie-Ann McMillan and Matt Perrine. 2009-10 site redesign by Kathleen Lietzau. 2016 updates to videos & code by Nellie Searle & Joe Essid.