Frequently Asked Questions
The UWC can assist you at any point in the writing process, from brainstorming to final revisions. We can work with any kind of writing, including personal statements and other non-course related projects.
We use a non-directive, non-evaluative approach to writing. This means we focus on having a conversation about your work and your writing goals. We do not edit, proofread, or rewrite papers.
You may bring your own computer or use a Mac at the UWC.
In general, UT undergraduates can visit up to 3 times per assignment. You may come in no less than 2 hours before the deadline. You may have no more than 1 consultation per day.
Yes, our goal is to help students grow as writers. We want to be supportive of all writers. Our new space has enabled us to expand the accommodations we can offer to students with disabilities. For more information on our accommodations, visit our Accessibility page.
You may schedule a graduate consultation online or by calling 512-471-6222.
While we understand the motivation, there are two reasons we ask instructors not to require consultations. First, we have observed that students who are required to attend are not as motivated and get very little out of a consultation. Second, because we are so busy, sometimes students who want to come to the UWC can’t because the appointment times are taken up by other students who don’t want to be here.
By all means, please strongly encourage students to use our services, but do not require them to come for consultations. If you wish to expose your entire class to our services, request an in-class UWC presentation, or have students attend one of our workshops.
1) We have noticed that some students who come for extra credit are just “here for the points.” Some are disengaged during the session; some leave after only a few minutes. If you plan to offer extra credit for visits, please specify that students need to come prepared to work and stay for the full 45 minutes.
2) Encourage your student to ask us to send you a note about the session. If you do not receive one, you can ask them to send you the copy we sent them. You may also ask us to resend the note. Send these inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3) After consulting with various deans and heads of departments, we recommend that extra credit not exceed 1% of the final grade for the course.
4) Since we may not be able to accommodate every student who wishes to see us for extra credit, you may wish to specify other avenues for obtaining extra credit.
Responding to Student Writing (45-50min)
In the Undergraduate Writing Center, many of our consultants and administrative staff members are also instructors at UT Austin. Accordingly, in addition to supporting student writers, we also offer support for instructors and teaching assistants who are responsible for responding to student writing. Our 45-50 minute Responding to Student Writing presentation outlines strategies that instructors and teaching assistants can use to maximize the effectiveness of the feedback they give their students. Please request your Responding to Student Writing at least two weeks in advance.
Presentation and Workshop Training Sessions (45-50min)
UWC Presentations can train instructors and TAs to deliver any of our presentations or workshops, and can provide supplemental materials, such as Peer Review worksheets or UWC Handouts, to help with the presentation or workshop. Presentation and Workshop Training Sessions are ideal for instructors of multi-section courses who want to offer their students UWC writing support while simultaneously providing their TAs with extra pedagogical training.
Simply decide what presentation or workshop you’d like the training to focus on and request the training session at least two weeks in advance. Visit our Presentations page for more information.
The most obvious form of plagiarism is collusion, where a student has turned in a paper written by someone else. Certainly in cases of collusion, you will want to contact Student Judicial Services to decide how to proceed.
Other things that fall under the general heading plagiarism are instances where students haven’t cited sources properly. In these cases it may be useful to consider the question “Why not?” Citing sources is a learned activity, and students’ learning about it varies. Even students who know how to follow the rules of a particular citation style, such as MLA, probably do not know the appropriate citation methods for all of their college courses. Citation styles can be particularly tricky for students who come from other cultures, which may have different conventions about how authorities are treated in paper, and different assumptions about what audiences know and don’t know. Frequently, students try to document sources correctly but make mistakes.
There’s only one way to be sure students know what to cite and how to cite it correctly in your field: Teach them. If you give them opportunities to try, fail, and get it right before turning in a major assignment, you will have far fewer instances of sloppy citation on a final draft. The UWC can help. If your assignment indicates which style guide students should follow, our consultants can help them learn to cite sources correctly.
Occasionally professors ask us if we can recommend an online tool to check for plagiarism. In our experience, the best tool is Google. Dr. Susan Schorn, Writing Program Coordinator in Undergraduate Studies, has run a number of tests that prove that Google is better at identifying replicated text than TurnItIn and similar products (which also have a high rate of false positives). Rather than running entire batches of papers through TurnItIn, you can copy passages that you suspect may be plagiarized and run them through Google.
The following pages from the websites of the Department of Rhetoric & Writing, University of Texas Libraries, and Undergraduate Studies provide resources to help you prevent plagiarism in your classes and handle cases that arise.