Tyler Junior College’s Writing Lab provides free help to students struggling with writing papers.

“The Writing Lab is open to any student that needs to work on any computer-based assignment,” Kristen Jackson, writing lab coordinator, said “As long as they’re working, they can stay as long as they need.”

The lab provides 14 computers and one black and white printer. In addition to computing equipment, the lab also employs professional and peer tutors to aid in the writing process.

“We can help students from the ground up on their assignments,” Terry Spearman, a professional tutor, said. “Whether it is deciding on a topic, or just adding some finishing touches, the Writing Lab staff is willing to help. We’re not a drop-off service though. The students must be present during the sessions so they can learn.”

Lack of awareness is a problem that the writing lab encounters. Many students have no idea that TJC even provides such a service.

“We have a writing lab? I thought it was just a computer lab,” Justin Charles, a Theater major, said.

Another problem with getting the students to use the writing lab is the perception the students put on themselves. Some students fear that if they go to receive assistance from the lab, they will be viewed as uninformed or unintelligent.

“The services provided should put no stigma on the students,” Spearman said. “The faculty looks up to those who stop by the lab.”

The Writing Lab helps students improve their grammar.

“The students need the help that the Writing Lab provides because grammar is not emphasized today like it should be,” Spearman said. “Students may come across as unintelligent because of a simple spelling error, or structural problem, when they truly are very bright.”

The lab is usually only busy during midterms and finals weeks. Walk-ins are welcomed and encouraged. However, appointments can be set for convenience. Last fall, the lab counted approximately 550 sessions, and 350 of those were repeats from the fall semester.

“A few students have come back and given us personal ‘thank yous,'” Jackson said.

The Writing Lab is located on the bottom floor of Jenkins in room 1108. The hours are Monday -Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. During summer, they are open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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