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AALSS Team Conduct Workshop at the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) Annual Conference

The International Writing Centers Association (IWCA) hosted its 2016 annual conference in Denver, Colorado, where professionals from writing centers around the world exchanged knowledge and experiences in writing center theories and practices. This year's conference, entitled "Writing Center Frontiers," called on the attendees and presenters to challenge writing centers' traditional practices and boundaries and explore new frontiers. AUK's Hanouf Aljuhail, Assistant Director of Learning Support Services, and Hala Botros, Writing Center Academic Support Specialist, attended the conference and conducted a workshop entitled "(Re) Crossing the Virtual Frontier: OWLs Redefined."

The workshop promoted the use of digital platforms for conducting online, real-time sessions with students that expand access and enhance interaction. Through a live demonstration using Zoom, one such digital platform, the presenters encouraged workshop participants to test the possibilities of adding digital platforms to their existing traditional, face-to-face writing center practice. As one more "tool" in their pedagogical "toolbox," the presenters suggested, digital platforms may reduce time and space limitations for many writing centers while simultaneously enhancing the students' experience with the collaborative nature of writing and revision. The workshop also focused on the importance of identifying the specific digital capacities and needs of each writing center, researching various platforms to match needs with platform features, and selecting the appropriate platform for individual writing centers' contexts.

Overall, 527 presenters participated in 315 sessions, covering a wide range of topics in writing center theory and practice. Hanouf described the workshop she and Hala conducted as successful: "Most attendees come from institutions where online learning support doesn't exist or is still in development. Many said they benefited from our thorough research in finding the suitable online educational platform. They also enjoyed the interactive nature of our workshop, where they participated as active users in a ZOOM live session with attendees from Kuwait and the US. They were able to test first-hand the features offered by ZOOM."

AUK ZOOM will launch Writing Center services in Spring 2017. It will enable AUK students to find extended availabilities for sessions with writing consultants during weekdays, evenings, and weekends, from anywhere they have an internet connection. This innovative online learning support service will expand to include Tutoring Center services in Fall 2017.

(Left) Hala Botros, Writing Center Academic Support Specialist; and (right) Hanouf Aljuhail, Assistant Director of Learning Support Services

(Left) Hala Botros, Writing Center Academic Support Specialist; and (right) Hanouf Aljuhail, Assistant Director of Learning Support Services

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 17th November 2016

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2016

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