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WriteAway Benefits and Responsibilities
Last Updated: July 2016
The BC eTutoring Consortium is a collaboration by BC post-secondary institutions working together to create an online learning support service. The service is supported by an application called eTutoring hosted by BCampus at Simon Fraser University. eTutoring is an online tutoring platform developed by the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) that allows tutors to work online with students synchronously and asynchronously.
WriteAway is the first online learning support service to be offered by the BC eTutoring Consortium. Through the WriteAway service, learners at participating institutions connect seamlessly to a network of tutors and resources for asynchronous (i.e. not in real time) writing assistance. Oversight for the consortium is provided by the BC eTutoring Concept Committee.
WriteAway is coordinated by two public bodies on behalf of the participating post-secondary institutions: BCcampus which provides funding, technical expertise, and operational support, and the BC Electronic Library Network (BC ELN) which provides project management and collaborative service development.
This highly successful service can only continue to be as healthy as its partners. The following information is intended to ensure that the WriteAway service remains strong and balanced amongst participating institutions.
Benefits to Learners
Effective writing skills are critical to success at the post-secondary level and beyond. For many learners, these skills are also very challenging to master. WriteAway provides valuable benefits to learners as they develop their writing abilities.
- Quality Feedback: Trained tutors give feedback and guidance intended to provide opportunities for the learner to develop better writing skills, rather than focusing simply on writing a better paper.
- Additional Opportunities for Learning: WriteAway tutors often have 'teachable moments' with learners; these are occasions where additional resources, for example pointing a learner to a citation manual, are suggested to support the learner's progress.
- Greater Success: According to the Business Council of British Columbia's 2010 survey What are BC Employers Looking For? 83% of employers noted that writing was a key skill they sought in all new job hires. Improved writing abilities will allow learners to achieve greater success not only academically but also in their future careers.
- Greater Access: Collaboration across BC's post-secondary sector extends writing support services that are currently offered at many institutions. WriteAway provides a highly accessible service at point-of-need for learners on or off campus.
- Convenience: Distance learners and those who engage with studies online and off campus will benefit from the quick and convenient support they need, where they need it: online.
Benefits to Institutional Participation
There are a number of key benefits to institutions participating in the collaborative WriteAway service:
- Extends Service: Many institutions in BC offer writing support services that are heavily used by their students, and thus have reached their limits. WriteAway creates a collaborative service available more hours per week than any single institution could provide.
- Increased Expertise: Through cross-institutional collaboration, WriteAway enables a strong community of practice. Expertise and knowledge is shared, and the whole community benefits as a result.
- Equity of Service: WriteAway increases equity through the post-secondary system by providing a service that supports learners at both large and small institutions, and in all geographic regions.
- Participation in the Use of Emerging Technology: WriteAway is supported by the eTutoring platform, developed by the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium (CTDLC) and hosted in BC by BCcampus. Participating institutions have an opportunity to engage in the use of new educational support technologies in a supported, locally hosted environment.
- Coordinated Infrastructure: The WriteAway Administrative Centre and BCcampus are responsible for developing infrastructure and coordination of the WriteAway service. Institutions benefit from the time and cost savings afforded by this central coordination and support.
- Support for English as an Additional Language Learners: English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners may struggle with the writing requirements of their coursework. WriteAway provides another point of support for these students.
This section outlines the roles and responsibilities of the BC eTutoring Consortium and participating institutions.
The BC eTutoring Consortium will:
- Provide standard criteria to be used for tutor selection for WriteAway
- Provide platform training for WriteAway
- Provide centralized platform licensing and project management to minimize costs and maximize efficiency
- Provide centralized support, marketing and communications infrastructure
- Liaise with platform vendor and host to facilitate shared service
Participating institutions will:
- Designate a primary institutional contact to the WriteAway service
- Hire, monitor, schedule and supervise the institution's WriteAway tutors. All tutors hired meet WriteAway Tutor Competencies.
- Ensure that all the institution's BC eTutoring coordinators and tutors have agreed to and signed all applicable privacy and confidentiality agreements, as well as the BC eTutoring Privacy and Confidentiality Agreement
- Provide a yearly WriteAway Service Support fee as determined by the BC eTutoring Concept Committee and set out in the current WriteAway Service Support Fee Model
- Meet their committed number of tutoring hours per term. The WriteAway Administrative Centre will provide guidance on the minimum number of hours expected per institution.
- Manage their own institution's student accounts in the BCcampus eTutoring platform
- Update the institution's BCcampus eTutoring platform login page each semester or as required
- Create and maintain institution's Learning Support Services page that WriteAway tutors will use to assist students at participating institutions
- Market the availability of the WriteAway service to the campus community
- Report back regularly to the institution's administration and faculty on the benefits and impact of the WriteAway service at the institution
Data Description & Usage
This section outlines the use, protection and storage of data needed by the BC eTutoring Consortium to provide online learning support services to participating institutions.
The BC eTutoring service (e.g. WriteAway) requires the data elements listed below for student accounts for the online tutoring service and to track student use of the service. Students create their own accounts and enter their own information upon agreement to the BC eTutoring Terms & Conditions.
Student information required to create account:
- Post-secondary institution
- Student name
- Institutional Email address
- Cell phone
A Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) was completed for WriteAway in 2013. Participating institutions that wish to view the PIA are asked to contact the WriteAway Administrative Centre at firstname.lastname@example.org
Acknowledgement of and Agreement to Responsibilities
By participating in WriteAway (i.e. creating a WriteAway institutional login page, advertising the service, staffing WriteAway), institutions are understood to have read and agreed to the above responsibilities. Participating institutions will provide one-year notice in advance to the WriteAway Administrative Centre for discontinuation of participation in the BC eTutoring collaborative service.