Writing Coaching | Duke Kunshan University

Writing Coaching

WLS writing coaches provide writing support to all Duke Kunshan students, staff, and faculty. Our writing coaches come from different academic backgrounds and are familiar with a variety of writing styles and formats. Although our writing coaches are not editors, they can help with any stage of the writing process, from initial brainstorming, to structural revisions, to putting finishing touches on a final draft.

Note for Spring 2022

We are pleased to be able to offer both face-to-face and online coaching in writing and language learning during the Spring Semester. Leaners can make appointments in our scheduling system. Please see “How to make an appointment” section below for detailed instructions.

 We offer coaching on graduate school application essays, fellowship application essays/proposals, and written signature work products. For coaching on fellowship application writing, please make an appointment with Prof. Harper Staples at least 48 hours in advance and be sure to attach your draft in the appointment form.

How to prepare for your writing coaching sessions

We are happy to help you wherever you are in your writing process. Keep in mind that our coaching sessions are more productive when you have specific goals that you are working towards. Please think carefully about what you want to work on and select from the items on the appointment form. You may add more specific information or questions about your goals, needs, or issues to the appointment form for your coach to see before your session.

Important guidelines for writing coaching

Our goal is to help you develop the skills you need to examine and improve your own writing. Therefore, we do not provide editing or proofreading services. We also ask that you not make an appointment to talk about a writing assignment just before the assignment is due. Writing is a process that takes time, and you will need time after a coaching session to reflect on the things you discussed with your coach and to revise your writing. Therefore, it is best to meet with a writing coach at least a day before your assignment is due.

WLS policy on authorship and coaching

The Writing and Language Studio believes in the importance of helping writers develop their own ideas and voice. Our writing coaches will only assist students with texts that the students have written themselves; we will not help people work on texts that they themselves did not write.

What this means for you:

  • For collaborative writing projects, coaches will only address parts of the text written by the writers who attend the coaching session.
  • For all kinds of writing, coaches will not work with students on texts written in whole or in part by third parties.

How to make an appointment

To make an appointment, please visit our online scheduling system.

This quick tutorial will help you schedule an appointment online:

  • Log into the system with your NetID and password. If you do not have a NetID, please contact us at DKU_WLS@dukekunshan.edu.cn;
  • If you haven’t registered an account with the WLS yet, you will need to fill out the registration form to complete registration;

To schedule an appointment:

  • After logging in, you will be taken to the default schedule: Writing and Language Studio (Spring 2022). Other schedules are available through a drop-down list at the top of the page. Please make sure to use the correct schedule:
    • Writing and Language Studio (Spring 2022): Coaching on writing and language learning.
    • CSL Tutoring (Spring 2022): Required tutoring sessions for students enrolled in Chinese courses.
  • Select English Writing as the coach type from the box at the top of the page.

  • Time blocks in different colors show the availability of our coaches: White blocks are available time slots, blue blocks are booked time slots, and black blocks are unavailable time slots. Each block represents 30 minutes. Appointments can only start at :00 and :30.
  • Click on a white time slot for the time at which you want to meet with that coach.

  • When you click on a white time slot for a specific coach, you can view that coach’s bio in the appointment window.
  • Fill in the form, and save the appointment.
  • If you are making an appointment for face-to-face coaching, please plan on arriving at the appointment approximately five minutes early.
  • If you are making an appointment for online coaching, please click the Zoom link in your coach's bio approximately five to ten minutes before the start of your appointment. Your coach will admit you from the Zoom waiting room at your appointment start time. If you are more than 10 minutes late to your appointment, your appointment will be considered missed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I sign up for a coaching session?

You may sign up for a coaching session through our online scheduling system.

What kinds of sessions can I sign up for?

You can sign up for writing coaching or for language coaching in Mandarin Chinese, English, or another language listed in the online scheduling system. Language coaching sessions could focus on, for example, speaking and listening, presentation skills, pronunciation, reading, vocabulary, and/or grammar. For languages that are not listed in the system, you are welcome to sign up for an “Other Languages” coaching session, in which the coach can provide general guidance on learning plans, goals, and strategies for a language that they may not have expertise in.

How long are the coaching sessions?

You may sign up for a 30-minute or a 60-minute coaching session. All coaching sessions include time at the end of the session to review and summarize the work that was done. For example, a 30-minute session includes a maximum of 25 minutes for coaching, with 5 minutes for the coach to complete a session summary with the learner.

When can I sign up for appointments?

Appointments must be made at least 5 hours before the start time. You can make appointments up to 14 days in advance.

How often can I have coaching sessions?

At this time, you may sign up for one coaching session per day.

What should I prepare before my coaching session?

Our coaching sessions are more productive when you have specific goals that you are working towards. If you haven’t set any goals, we can help you do so. The appointment form will also guide you towards identifying one or more goals for your session. For writing coaching sessions, we are happy to help you wherever you are in your writing process. First-time users of the WLS for language coaching (not English writing) should ideally have an initial consultation with the WLS Coordinator before signing up for a session.

Can I get help on a class assignment in a coaching session?

If you have questions about or need help understanding a class assignment, the first thing you should do is talk to your professor. If you need additional help on a class assignment, you may bring the assignment to a coaching session. Coaches will provide you guidance on the skills you need to complete the assignment, or feedback on presentations, but they will not complete,  edit, check, or proofread assignments for you. If you would like a coach to help you with a writing assignment, please schedule an appointment at least four hours before the assignment is due so that you have enough time to work on the writing after the coaching session; it’s best to schedule your writing appointment at least a day before the writing assignment is due.

Can the writing coaches proofread/edit my essay?

We are happy to answer specific questions about an essay that you are working on. However, we do not provide editing or proofreading services. Our goal is to help you develop the skills you need to examine and improve your own writing.

I need to show my professor that I attended a coaching session. What can I do?

At the end of your coaching session, your coach will work with you to write a brief summary of your session. This summary will be emailed to you, and you may share it with your professor if you want to.

If I meet with a WLS writing coach, will I get an A on my paper?

WLS coaches can help you develop your writing skills, but they cannot guarantee your grades on writing assignments. Because DKU courses and writing assignments have a wide range of learning objectives, it is not possible for writing coaches to assess your writing assignments or give any indication of what grade you might receive. If you want to know more about what the expectations are for A-level work on any of your assignments, talk to your course professor.

Can the WLS help me change a grade I received on a writing assignment?

Courses at DKU and writing assignments have a wide range of learning objectives. Your course professors are the ones who will determine how they assess your writing assignments and give you grades. Just as one professor can’t change grades for a course they are not teaching, WLS coaches also can’t grade your papers. Our coaches will not comment on grades you receive on your papers. We can help you determine how to respond to feedback you receive on your writing, but if you need help interpreting the feedback you receive from a professor on an assignment, or if you have a question about a grade you have received, you need to talk to your course professor as they are the one who has determined the learning objectives and expectations for their assignments.