Student - April 17, 2020

Wageningen Writing Lab helps students with their writing assignments in times of corona

Milou van der Horst

Students struggling with writing assignments is nothing new, but the corona crisis is creating new challenges. Wageningen Writing Lab has started supporting students with their new Virtual Writing Train.

‘Writing your thesis or doing a PhD is lonelier than ever. The library is closed, and breaks with fellow students are also off the table,’ says Sofia Wolfswinkel, peer tutor at Wageningen Writing Lab. ‘ Besides, we are al still becoming accustomed to online education and tutoring.’ Furthermore, being at home might be unexpectedly pleasant, which can lead to students putting off writing. In short: The corona crisis has given rise to new challenges, in addition to the existing issues of finding the common thread, motivational issues or fear of failure.

Extra motivation in the shape of individual coaching is more than welcome. It is now available in the form of the Virtual Writing Train. ‘In the Virtual   Writing Train, students check into a virtual classroom at 10 am each day,’ Wolfswinkel explains. ‘We start the day off by discussing short and long term goals. After that, everyone goes on to work on their assignment individually. During the breaks, we get back together. At the end of the day, we discuss what went well, and what did not.’ There are also breakout rooms, where students can discuss what issues they face amongst themselves. Participants can also request an individual session with a peer tutor.

Wageningen Writing Lab helps students in their writing assignments through workshops, group sessions and one-on-one discussions. Peer tutors help students move ahead by asking relevant questions, with a primary focus on the writing process.

The Virtual Writing Train was launched last week. Wolfswinkel: ‘The first response is positive. The Writing Train provides students with footing and recognition.’ However, Wolfswinkel is hoping more people will enrol. ‘I think the number of people that are struggling is higher than usual.’

Participants can register per day. A reason for registration is not needed. ‘Even students with small issues can register,’ Wolfswinkel stresses. ‘Students with a lack of motivation, discipline issues, stress or procrastination issues are more than welcome. But also students who simply want to improve their writing skills.’

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