NeMLA 2021 Panel-- Beyond Tech Support: Innovating Support for Undergraduate Writers Online (Roundtable)

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Kellie Sharp, University at Buffalo SUNY
contact email: 

Because writing instructors and writing consultants often work one-on-one with students, we are in a unique position to help students navigate college life and encourage them to use their writing to work through the complexity they see around them. In the wake of COVID-19, many students are struggling to maintain a sense of safety and to find the motivation to continue with their coursework. Writing programs and writing centers have had to pivot quickly to support students in online environments. This rapid transition has highlighted not only the amazing innovations that instructors and consultants have come up with in order to help students, but also the administrative and pedagogical problems to which programs need to respond. Instructing online can often feel like providing tech support and not the kinds of support we usually offer in the traditional classroom setting. Students may feel untethered and as if they are sending their writing into a void.

This roundtable will consider the challenges faced by writing programs and writing centers in order to innovate new ways to support undergraduate writers in online environments. How can instructors, writing program administrators, writing center consultants, and writing center administrators each help undergraduate students navigate the resources available to them? What new resources need to be made available? How do we make sure that students have the support they need such as mental and emotional support, housing, and food security? How do we support students in such a way that they begin to think of themselves as writers and have agency in their research and writing processes?


Potential topics:

-Supporting students from diverse backgrounds

-Linking writing center support with writing instruction

-Trauma-informed pedagogy in the writing classroom

-Supporting virtual student collaboration

-Student-centered pedagogy in the online classroom



You can submit your abstract here (due Sept. 30):


More information about submitting abstracts here: