Engaging with the Writing Lab Between Semesters


 

When the Writing Lab at UNYP was first established in 2009, it was designed to operate only throughout the semester while classes were in session and was closed at all other times of the year.  The rationale for the closure was that students who would normally use the service were on holiday, or at least taking a break from studying, and they would be more likely to request help with written work only after the assignments were given by their instructors during the semester.  However, when the Writing Lab was relocated from the Library to an office, the decision was made to remain open between the semesters on a trial basis to determine to what extent students benefitted from the service. Remarkably, there has been an interesting development in usage in the period between semesters for those students who found visiting the Lab during the semester too challenging.

It seems that at UNYP there are major differences in the reasons for students visiting the Writing Lab between the fall and spring semesters and reasons for visiting the Lab while classes are in session. There is a relatively short break between the fall and spring semesters and although many students elect to go on a brief vacation at this time, there are those students who remain relatively close to the University and tend to spend some part of their day on campus.  This is when the Writing Lab receives the most requests for assistance with: curriculum vitae and cover letters for temporary summer or full-time employment applications, motivational letters, research theses, MBA level assignments and other postgraduate projects, whereas during the semester the majority of Lab conferences focus on providing students assistance with recently assigned work.

During the trial period for the last two academic years, the break between the fall and spring semesters has seen increased numbers of students visiting the Writing Lab for a number of reasons.  Since the last day of classes of the fall semester more students have been visiting but most of these students had never visited the Lab during the semester, even though they knew about its existence. Some students have said that they had more time between the semesters to familiarize themselves with the Writing Lab without the added pressure to complete assignments for courses. Other students reported that the Lab hours clashed with their class schedule during the semester, or that they simply did not know that the Lab tutor was able to assist with personal writing projects such as a curriculum vitae and cover letters.

A review of students’ usage clearly reveals that the Writing Lab fulfills a further purpose for students outside of providing students with assistance with written assignments throughout a semester of study.  For one reason or another some students feel inhibited or simply do not have enough time to visit the Writing Lab for a consultation during the semester. The effectiveness of the Writing Lab can be further enhanced by providing service on a more permanent or ongoing basis between semesters to provide students the opportunity to use the service at their own pace. Since its inception, the Writing Lab at UNYP has undergone strategic changes to increase efficiency in an effort to better meet the needs of students. Although additional coverage would be needed, it is recommended that by remaining open between the fall and spring semesters, UNYP would be providing current and new users of the Lab with more access and greater opportunity to benefit fully from the expanded service.

Follow us

Go to top