We encourage writers to talk with us early and throughout the writing process in order to see the greatest benefits. To get the most out of your consultation, come prepared to actively participate in a conversation about your writing. You’ll need:
- Reasonable expectations: What one or two issues would you like to discuss with the peer tutor? If you have a really long paper, on what part or parts would you like to focus?
- Your assignment sheet, writing prompt, and any guidelines you’ve been given for composition.
- Ideas about or a draft of your writing project in electronic copy. You can bring whatever you’d like: a paper for a course, a personal statement, a cover letter, a blog post, a PowerPoint, a website, a poem, etc.
We have some SyncOWL policies to keep things running smoothly:
- Tutorials run on a first-come-first-serve basis. They last 30-60 minutes, depending on whether other writers are waiting.
- You can’t be required to come. Writers cannot be required to use our services and Peer Tutors won’t sign anything or provide evidence of your visit. This policy exists because peer tutoring works best when writers genuinely want to talk to tutors.
- You’ll be responsible for making all changes to your text. Peer Tutors won’t edit your writing or do the work for you.
- Make sure you’re allowed to submit a take-home exam. Peer Tutors cannot assist writers with take-home exams unless the instructor has given Sweetland written permission to provide assistance. Permission can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Make sure collaborators are present. Peer Tutors can help writers with collaboratively written pieces if 50% or more of the collaborators are present.
If you have questions about the SyncOWL, email OWLtutors@umich.edu for assistance.
Using Sweetland’s SyncOWL is easy. First, sign in to your umich Google account, then go to the Sweetland SyncOwl Google+ page and add “Sweetland SyncOWL” to your Google+ circles. Once you are in a Google Hangout with a Sweetland Peer Tutor, you can talk in real time over video/text chat about your paper.
To see how these Google Hangouts on Google+ work, check out our video tutorial or follow the instructions in the “About” section of Sweetland SyncOWL Google+ page. The instructions are copied for you here:
- Make sure you are logged into your UMICH e-mail account.
- Set up Google+ for your UMICH account if you haven't already done so. You can just click on the "Join Google+" red button at the top of this page and get started, or read this guide for more detailed information: Google+ Handout
- Once you have Google+ set up, make sure you have the Google plugin for audio and video installed on your computer. Click here to install. You only need to install this plugin once on your computer.
- Next, send a request to chat with us by typing email@example.com into the "Chat with..." box and clicking "invite to chat." We will accept your request shortly.
- Once we've accepted your request to chat and we appear in your contacts list, send us a chat message saying you would like to talk to a tutor. If our chat status is set to busy (red), that means we are currently in a session with another student, and will respond to you as soon as we are available.
- When a tutor becomes available, they will send you a chat message with a quick survey link. Fill out the survey link and message the tutor again when you have completed it.
- The tutor will now invite you to a hangout. Click the "Join hangout" link that appears in the chat box.
- Once you are in the hangout window, you and the tutor will appear over video, and you will be able to copy-paste your paper into a view your tutor can see. You can then discuss your concerns and ideas just like you would do in a face-to-face tutoring session!
- The next time you want to use SyncOWL, you can skip straight to the step of sending us a chat message saying you would like a tutoring session. Remember to add us to your circles so you can see our updates!
If you are having problems with the video/audio operating requirements for Google+, click this link for troubleshooting information.
If you have questions about using the syncOWL, email OWLtutors@umich.edu.