Do you need help with a paper, but can’t make it to campus? The Writing Center has a solution: TutorChat!
Using Google Hangouts, the Writing Center now offers synchronous online tutoring. All you need is a computer with a webcam and microphone, a FlashLine account upgraded to Google+, and headphones. Get all the advantages of a face-to-face tutoring session from the comfort of your home.
To use TutorChat, you will need to upgrade your FlashLine account to Google+ (or use an existing account), and schedule a session using TutorTrac.
Instructions for Upgrading your Flashline Account to Google+
To upgrade your Kent State email to a Google+ account, click on this link: http://www.google.com/+/learnmore/hangouts/
- At the top right there is a blue button that says “Join Google+.” Click this button.
- This will bring up the Google+ sign-in screen. Enter your FlashLine email (@kent.edu) and password.
- This will redirect you to another sign-in screen; enter your FlashLine username and password again.
- The next screen will be the account setup for Google+. Here it will prompt you to enter your name, gender, and date of birth, as well as allow you to upload a photo. Once this info is put in, click “Upgrade.”
- The next screen allows you to add people you know. Look for “KentStark WritingCenter” on the list. If it is not there, that is ok. We can be added later, but we must be added in order to use Hangouts.
- The next screen will allow you add various interests.
- After this, there will be a page that allows you to put in information such as employment and education. While not necessary, adding “Kent State University Stark Campus” will make it easier for us to identify you as a student when we get the notification that you have added us to your Circles.
- Once this page is completed, your Google+ Homepage will appear. If you were unable to add “KentStark WritingCenter” on the “Add People” page, search for us in the search field at the top of this page where it says “Search for people, pages, or posts.”
Scheduling a TutorChat Session through TutorTrac
Once you have upgraded your account, or if you already have an existing Google+ account, do the following to schedule an online tutoring session using Google Hangouts:
- You will need to first schedule an appointment using TutorTrac.
- Go to Kent Stark’s TutorTrac website: www.tutortrac.kent.edu:82.
- Enter you FlashLine username and password.
- Once logged in, click on “Search Availability…” Within the “Center” drop-field, select “Stark Writing Center.” Then click on “Search.”
- When the “Available Time Slots” screen appears, select a time slot that fits your schedule. Be aware that a session cannot be scheduled less than 24 hours ahead of time or more than 7 days in advance.
- Complete your information. Under “Reason” be sure to select “Online TutorChat Session.”
- You may also schedule an appointment by visiting the Writing Center on the second floor of Main Hall in room 202, or by calling us at (330) 244-3299.
Instructions for Online Session
- Log in to your Google+ account about five minutes before your session is scheduled to begin. Be sure to have a working webcam and set of headphones/ear buds with a working microphone. You must use headphones to avoid feedback. We also highly suggest using a laptop or desktop computer for sessions. IPads and other tablets will work too, but we strongly discourage the use of smartphones or iPods, as the screen will be too small for dealing with a paper.
- If you have not done so already, add “KentStark WritingCenter” to your Circles.
- At the time specified one of our tutors will begin a Hangout session with you. A window will pop up on the lower right side of your screen, alerting you that the KentStark WritingCenter is requesting a Hangout session. To begin the session, click on the video icon on the upper left side of the pop-up.
- If this is your first time using Hangouts, it may prompt you to install a plugin. Click on “Install Plugin” and then “Save File” on the box that pops up. It may take a minute or two to download and install. Once the plugin is installed, the screen should automatically move to the Hangout session and ask if you would like to join. Click “Join.”
- At this point the session will begin. The overall structure of the session will be the same as a face-to-face session in the Writing Center. Your tutor ought to ask you about your assignment, and then ask you to read him or her your paper. Be sure to have the document open on your computer. Once you are done reading your paper, you and your tutor will discuss it, focusing primarily on higher order concerns such as thesis, clarity, and structure.
- We will try to avoid using most of the apps on Hangouts, but the one that we will use is Screenshare. This app allows the other person to see what you have on your screen, and is useful for discussing specific aspects of your paper. To use it, click on the icon on the left of your screen that looks like a small green computer screen with an arrow on it. This will bring up a screen that allows you to share either whatever is on your own view of the screen, or to share only what is on a specific program that you have open, such as Microsoft Word or Pages for Mac. We prefer that you open the specific program, as this makes it easier for us to read what is in your paper. If you have any questions about how to use Screenshare, your tutor will be more than happy to answer them during the session.
- If for any reason the session should close, be sure to keep your Google+ account open if possible and your tutor will create a new Hangout and continue the session.
- Once the session is complete, your Tutor will ask that you fill out a short survey about your online session. He or she will send it as a link via the “Group chat” on the right side of the Hangouts screen.
Dr. Jay Sloan
Writing Center Director