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 2020

We are pleased to be able to continue to offer coaching in writing and language learning during the Spring Semester. Learners will be able to make appointments for live online coaching sessions or asynchronous writing coaching on our scheduling system. Please see “How to make an appointment” section below for detailed instructions.

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.

Asynchronous Writing Coaching

Asynchronous writing coaching is offered for Session 4, Spring 2020 semester. You can submit any course-related assignments or writing projects to a WLS coach for feedback. Please note that asynchronous coaching is only appropriate when you have written a draft, not for brainstorming or other pre-writing activities. If you need help in the pre-writing stage, please make an appointment for a live online session with a coach. Also note that asynchronous coaching is limited to one submission per week per student. You may find instructions on how to submit a draft in the section below.

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 a live online appointment:

  • Select “Writing and Language Studio” when prompted to choose a schedule.
  • Select 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 15 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.
  • At the time of the appointment, log back in to the system approximately five to ten minutes before the start of your appointment. Then, open your appointment by clicking on the orange block, and enter the online meeting room by clicking "Start or Join Online Consultation." (The meeting room will take some time to load. If you have trouble loading the page, try using a different browser or turning your VPN off.)
  • If connection fails, please try the following troubleshooting guide to help you establish connection:
    • Turn your VPN off.
    • Use a different browser.
    • If you have trouble with audio/video, make sure you have selected "Yes" or "Allow" so that your browser can share your webcam and microphone. If needed, make sure your camera and microphone are not being used by another program on your computer.
    • Reopen the appointment window in case you have been timed out
    • If you still cannot access the meeting room, please contact your coach, whose email address is available in the appointment confirmation email.
  • After the session, your chat transcript and whiteboard content will be saved in this online meeting. You can always view them by opening your appointment and go to “Start or Join Online Consultation." You can also download any notes written on the whiteboard during your session, which your coach can help you with.

To schedule an asynchronous appointment (available for Session 4, Spring 2020 Semester):

  • Select “Asynchronous Writing Coaching” when prompted to choose a schedule.
  • Find the current date, and click on an open slot (in white color) under a listed coach.
  • Fill out the appointment form and attach the following document(s):
    • The assignment prompt and any other instructions you received for the assignment (Word document, pdf, or jpeg). You may also type them in the appointment form instead.
    • Your draft with specific comments indicating the feedback that you want (Word document only). We recommend using the “Review” function in Word to insert your comments.
  • You will receive feedback on the specific questions you asked within 24 hours for drafts submitted between 9:00AM Monday and 8:00PM on Thursday, China time. For requests submitted later in the week, you might not receive feedback before 9:00AM Tuesday morning.
  • You will receive an email notification when the feedback to your submission is uploaded by your coach. The feedback may be in the form of written comments, audio or video comments, or a combination of written and recorded comments.
  • Important guidelines for submissions:
    • You MUST add comments to your draft with specific questions/requests/comments for feedback (see list of examples on the WLS Sakai site). Coaches will spend a maximum of 45 minutes providing feedback on a draft, so please limit the number of comments you insert to your most pressing concerns. 
    • Rejections: Submissions with no specific comments or questions will be rejected. Rejections will be notified via email.

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?

For synchronous meetings, you may sign up for a 30-minute or a 45-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.

For asynchronous writing coaching, coaches will spend a maximum of 45 minutes providing feedback on a submission. You will receive feedback on the specific questions you asked within 24 hours for drafts submitted between China time 9:00AM Monday and 8:00PM on Thursday. For requests submitted later in the week, you might not receive feedback before 9:00AM Tuesday morning.

When can I sign up for appointments?

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. Asynchronous coaching is limited to one submission per week per student.

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.