The Writing Center offers:

  • one-on-one assistance with reading, writing, and ESL 
  • a staff of PPCC faculty, instructors, professional tutors, and peer tutors
  • a location at all campuses
  • online tutoring via email and real-time chat

In addition, the Writing Center can assist with:

  • reading and writing projects in any discipline
  • critical thinking
  • topic focus
  • content development
  • organization
  • research strategies
  • documentation of sources
  • study skills

Students can make appointments for the Writing Center, either by phone, email or in person.  (Plan ahead, we are often busy.)

Tutoring sessions are:

  • thirty minutes in length
  • designed to give the student skills for use on their current and future assignments
  • oriented toward using other resources, such as handouts, online exercises, and reference materials
  • supported by PPCC network computers
  • supplemented by special topic workshops

We open on the first day of classes each semester, and we serve the college through the last day of regular classes. Our operating hours are posted on all campuses and on the Writing Center Hours page.

Our Mission

Our goal as a Writing Center is to help students become better writers by modifying the way they think about writing.

Concepts

Three central concepts guide all of the services we provide here in the writing center:

Writing as Inquiry

Many people think of writing as an act of transcription; you have an idea in your mind and you simply transcribe it on paper. Research and the experience of real writers, however, show that the act of writing is an act of learning, a process of discovering new ways to look at our worlds and our places in them. When writing is an act of inquiry—when it starts with dissonance and questions, rather than pre-fashioned answers—writing becomes a process of learning. Hence, a central goal of the Center is to help you think about and experience writing as a mode of inquiry and discovery.

Writing as Process

In the Center, we aim to stress the process of writing—inventing and developing ideas, planning, drafting, revising, and editing. Our instructors will help you develop more awareness of your writing process, offering you a variety of strategies for improving that process at every level.

Writing as Collaboration

Writing is a social act, and whether you’re writing in an academic community, business community, or creative community, all writing is (in one way or another) collaborative. Learning to write with others, to respond to others’ writing, and to write for specific audiences are vital goals of the service we provide. It is our hope that the Writing Center will be a place where sharing ideas, generating and working through conflict, and engaging in a spirit of collaboration prevail.

What we do

Staffed by PPCC faculty, instructors, professional tutors, and peer tutors,the PPCC Writing Center offers a full range of one-on-one assistance with reading, writing, critical thinking and study skills. We serve students and faculty at all campuses, and we offer online tutoring via email (owl@ppcc.edu), Second Life, and Skype as well. For reading and writing projects in any discipline, the PPCC Writing Center can help in a variety of areas including critical reading, topic focus, content development, organization, research strategies, documentation, and editing.

Students who visit the PPCC Writing Center, either by appointment or drop-in, should bring with them all materials needed for their current paper or project, including at least:

  • A copy of the instructor’s assignment guidelines,
  • Any relevant notes, prewriting, or working drafts, and
  • Resources such a textbooks, journal articles, and/or class handouts.

What happens in the PPCC Writing Center?

  1. We welcome the student, and if we are already conferencing with another student, we'll try to find the time to quickly set a convenient later appointment.
  2. We may ask students to wait until our current conference concludes, and sometimes we ask new arrivals to fill out our Session Planner to help guide the conference. Sometimes faculty refer students for assistance using our Referral Form.

    During a Conference
  3. Our tutors will ask students to explain the assignment, providing the instructor's written instructions so that tutor and writer may ensure that we both understand the assignment.
  4. We look over the student's notes, paper or project draft, asking the student to determine what to cover in each 30 minute conference session.
  5. We may ask students read their papers (or a section) out loud, or we may volunteer to read aloud so that students may hear how the text sounds. Reading aloud often helps writers find passages that need attention, and reading aloud often helps students discover revisions on their own.
  6. When others are waiting, Writing Center tutors may try working with several students either in small groups or individually, asking a particular writer to work through already-identified revisions or edits while moving on to help other writers, floating from writer to writer. This can be quite effective for writers with quick questions about concrete issues such as punctuation, mechanics, manuscript conventions, computer use, or documentation.
  7. Often our tutors take notes as students brainstorm ideas, recording the students’ own vocabulary for their use in drafts and revisions as we work to help writers more clearly explain their point or the relevance that they see in a source quotation or a relevant text passage.
  8. Towards the end of the session, tutors may summarize the session and ask students to share what they may have learned. We may note topics or issues that we may not have addressed in the session.
  9. Then we will usually suggest setting a follow up appointment at one of our four campus locations.

We encourage writiers to make regular appointments throughout the course of the semester, and we always recommend getting an early start on reading and writing projects. The Writing Center offers assistance with reading, writing, and critical thinking -- the kind of assistance and coaching that is designed to emphasize and reinforce each student’s control over and responsibility for improving their skills as reader, writer, and thinker. We believe that this emphasis will help student write better papers, and we know that our responsibility is to HELP STUDENTS HELP THEMSELVES! Accordingly, Writing Center tutors never grade papers, and we never evaluate students, teachers, or assignments.We cannot guarantee perfect papers, and we cannot copy edit anyone's writing.

We do guarantee that WE CARE ABOUT YOU, and we guarantee that we will do our best to HELP YOU help yourself to succeed at PPCC.