Audrey Wick, Cengage Faculty Partner and full-time English Professor at Blinn College in Texas, shares her experience with NetTutor and how it’s improved engagement and collaboration with students.

Student engagement and collaboration are important in an academic environment, especially to help students produce quality writing. Part of the writing process involves students being able to obtain, understand, and use feedback. To help them do this, I incorporate NetTutor through MindTap. It’s #JustOneThing I can do with my developing writers.

Qualified tutors on NetTutor work in on-ground centers in Florida and Arizona to provide digital feedback. They give my students a rich, informed voice of writing expertise to help them develop their skills while my students never leave their virtual classroom space.

NetTutor sessions are not editing sessions; instead, tutors provide feedback in a supportive frame driven by each student writer. A student chooses an area of focus for feedback from any two of the following:

  • Thesis statement
  • Organization
  • Grammar and Mechanics
  • Word Choice
  • Sentence Structure
  • Sentence Variety
  • Transitions and Fluency
  • Paper Format
  • Citations and References

Then a .pdf file of the rough draft is uploaded, so in-text as well as typed paragraph comment feedback can be offered by the tutor within 48 hours.

In my online class, students upload a file of their draft in two places: a dropbox for NetTutor and a dropbox for me. As the instructor, I can then also see my students’ progress, and I do mandate a rough draft submission as part of a student’s overall assignment grade. This helps curb procrastination and papers composed in haste before a final draft due date.

Because students can use NetTutor up to six times during the semester, they have ample opportunities for feedback, including the use of more than one session per major assignment. I have found that NetTutor helps my students produce more effective, more polished academic essays.

NetTutor also helps previously marginalized populations feel included in my online classroom, like out-of-state students, homebound students, and those taking the class for dual-credit high school purposes. These students cannot physically travel to our college’s on-ground writing center, so NetTutor meets their needs.

NetTutor is convenient, and it supports my students’ academic writing process. It’s #JustOneThing you can try using too!