Online Consulting: Policies & Procedures

Online Appointment Eligibility

Online appointments are available to students enrolled in online programs and courses at USD.
All other students are welcome to book in-person appointments in the Writing Center.

Asynchronous vs. Synchronous

Online appointments are “asynchronous,” which means that appointments allow online students to receive feedback during a consultant’s scheduled hour without having to be present during the session in real-time. A consultant will hold the session during a scheduled hour in the Writing Center, during which the consultant will record written insights, intelligent reader responses, useful questions, notes to help identify any patterns in writing errors, and suggested rules for amendments. This written feedback, recorded during the consultant’s one-hour assessment of the student writer’s draft, will be sent back to the student writer after the session for the student writer to keep and use to guide the student’s own subsequent edits and revisions to the assignment.



Expect to receive a transcript of written feedback from the consultant that corresponds to the draft sent. This transcript will include important reflections, questions, suggestions, and notes on any error patterns identified, all of which are designed to guide and empower your own subsequent revisions and edits.
Expect feedback that will help you become a better writer yourself. Conversely, do not expect a writing consultant to “fix” or “correct” the submitted draft, as this is against Writing Center policies. Instead, the goal of the online session is to provide you with useful tools and perspectives that enable you to improve your own work and writing approaches overall.

User Guidelines

If you are enrolled in an online program at USD, you may sign up for an appointment online (<-- hyperlink this). Make sure to use the “Limit To” drop-down bar on the schedule to see only the appointments available for online consultation. If you don’t do this, you will not be booked with an online tutor and your session will need to be rescheduled. To complete the appointment request:

1. Fill out the brief intake form that includes a question about your most pressing concern(s) with your assignment.
2. Enter the assignment prompt or assignment description into the space provided.
3. Upload your draft or document.
***Note that the draft can be at any stage of the writing process. From brainstorming and organizing ideas into an outline to polishing a mostly finalized draft, online consultants will provide feedback and questions to help empower your progress.


An online session is most successful when you submit a draft early, with as much lead time as possible. This allows for a follow-up appointment and the chance to gather more writing process experience and feedback prior to the assignment due date.

Be ready to articulate what your greatest concern or most important question is about your assignment or draft. This helps the consultant direct their attention to your concerns.