Coffee and Commenting: Time Management

Last quarter we chose to focus Coffee and Commenting on time management. Coffee and Commenting is a professional development event that all UCWbL tutors are required to attend once each quarter. Writing Center Tutors have often experienced the panic of being faced with an eight page Written Feedback and only an hour to complete it. In general, our natural inclination is to do all that we possibly can to help a writer which includes commenting and striving to fix everything that we see within a paper.

While these intentions are good, we also have to think of what their effect will be on ourselves and the writer that we are giving feedback to. It seems that giving more feedback on everything that we see would be the best method, but in reality, that can often be perceived as convoluted and confusing to the writer.

The second component is that often we do not have enough time to comment on everything that could be revised within a draft. A draft can always be improved and there will always be something more to comment on. If we, as tutors, set our sights on making a writer’s essay perfect, then we have set for ourselves an impossible task. Especially if we only have an  hour to do it. Instead, let’s keep our focus on the most effective way to improve writers and texts.

There are a couple of activities that we participated in during this past Coffee and Commenting to help illustrate the importance of time management as well as some strategies to use to deal with time management.

Follow the directions below to participate in the Coffee and Commenting activities and brush up on your Time Management skills:

  1. Agenda Items
    1. First, find an old draft of your own or borrow a draft of a project from your friend.
    2. Follow this link when you are ready:
    3. The video through this link will have nothing on the screen, you simply need to listen to it while you interact with the draft that you have pulled.
    4. The video will have directions on instructions for a five minute Written Feedback that you will complete.
    5. Once you have finished, reflect on the experience. What was easy/difficult about that experience? How can you relate this to a Written Feedback appointment?
  2. Interview Activity
    1. Follow this link when you are ready to complete the activity.
    2. Using the same draft from the last activity, you will be completing a summary comment.
    3. You only have a limited time to do this. You must play the video from the link above and you will have the length of the video to complete your summary comment.
    4. After the video finishes, proceed to the tab where it is open. There will be a quiz on the material that you listened to.
    5. After you submit the quiz, reflect on this activity. What was easy/difficult about that exercise? How could you relate this to completing your Written Feedback?
  3. Point Charts
    1. For this activity, you should pull a different draft of a writing essay from the one that you used before. Two to three pages would be the suggested length for this activity.
    2. You will have ten minutes to complete this Written Feedback.
    3. But there’s a catch: your goal is to accrue as many points as possible.
    4. The points are according to the chart which can be found here.
    5. Once you have your draft and the point chart,  you can start your ten minute timer and try to get as many points as possible.
    6. When you are finished, post how many points you got in the comments below!
    7. Reflect on this experience. How can this experience be related to the Written Feedback that you do daily? What was your strategy for getting as many points as possible? Was this effective or not? What was easy/difficult about this exercise? What about these reflections can you apply to a time management strategy?