Writing centers are a fixture on university campuses, in many high schools, and as stand-alone tutoring centers. It’s common knowledge that their existence is to help students who want (or need) to improve their writing skills with support in the form of one-on-one, in-person appointments.
Now that we all know what a standard writing center looks like, trash it. If you’re living in the same orbit as the rest of us, one-on-one, in-person writing help is likely happening with the most capable warm body in your house – a parent, a sibling, your dog, or on your own.
The Popularity of Online Writing Centers
First thing, we’re not here to focus on the chaos that comes from distance learning. We’re here to have a positive conversation about using resources to help you become a better writer.
The best kept student secret for at-home, late-night, or last-minute writing help are online writing centers, staffed by tireless artificially intelligent (AI) tutors. These AI tutors are always available and will work with you (as you write) for as long as it takes to finish your assignment. There’s a shift happening that your classmates are starting to discover and we think it’s only fair that you know about it too.
Your generation has grown up with technology. It’s normal to gravitate to online tools as a preferred resource, especially when we start analyzing the limitations of human-provided services, like that of on-campus writing centers.
The Grudge Match: Humans v. AI Tutors
Let’s do a little comparison between humans and AI writing tutors. You’ve got a paper due tomorrow before summer break starts. You’re stuck. Here are the things to keep in mind if you’re not sure whether an AI tutor is the right choice.
How much does your tutor know?
A qualified tutor should know enough to provide help on the basics of good writing like organization and analysis. Surprise! AI tutors can do this too (but faster). Next, you might assume that humans are the experts in this situation, but they aren’t. Tutors aren’t the experts – your teacher is.
Example: Think about the last time you went to the doctor. You probably saw the nurse before the doctor. Tutors are like nurses. They can take care of some things, but they aren’t the experts.
A human tutor can’t do what your teacher can, but an AI tutor can do the same (and more) than a human tutor.
What about scheduling?
When do you write most of your papers? Chances are it’s at night when tutors aren’t available. It’s totally normal for students to start writing papers at 11:00 p.m. The problem is that tutors are usually in bed by then.
Unlike humans, your AI tutor is available 24/7 and always works with your schedule.
What about scheduling?
Need help during midterms and finals? You and everyone else are waiting to get writing support, but between booking an appointment and getting time with a tutor, there’s not enough humans to help.
Are you sure about that?
Writing Center tutors aren’t your teachers (review item #1). Students tend to follow the tutor’s subjective input, thinking it will meet teacher expectations for the assignment, but many times this isn’t the case. Tutors are human and subjective feedback is hard. If you’re not careful, following that subjective writing advice could negatively impact your final score.
Writing Technology is Better than your Dog
Let’s be clear, online writing support technology alone cannot solve all your writing challenges, but it can do the heavy lifting when you need help right now. Its sole purpose is to guide you through writing fundamentals, any hour of the day, and it does it quickly and efficiently – meaning even if you procrastinate, chances are you’ll still get a decent grade.
There’s no reason to get frustrated with your dog when he can’t help you write your final paper. In this very mixed up time, it’s nice to know that online writing centers and AI tutors here to support (or push) you along that path to success.