BLOG: Assignment Review to the Rescue
By: Kassie Lamoreaux
Let’s say your English teacher asks you to write a narrative essay. You took notes in class and you feel like you have an understanding of the required genre, but after drafting a page or two, you’re not sure if you really do.
Or, maybe you’ve been asked to write a research paper in the American Psychological Association (APA) style. It’s your first time citing sources in this style guide (you’ve always used the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. You try your best, but you’d like someone to look it over, and make sure you’ve got it right.
The writing process can be challenging for many students. That’s why we at Upswing have writing tutors online, ready to help you. But what if you’re really busy and you feel like you can’t set aside 30-60 minutes for a live online session? Well, you’re in luck.
What is Assignment Review?
Assignment Review is Upswing’s asynchronous tutoring platform. Instead of meeting with a live tutor, you submit your draft to our queue and within 24-48 hours, a tutor will review your draft, write you back, let you know your writing strengths, and give you ideas for improvement. That way, you can feel confident revising and turning in your final version to your teacher.
How Does It Work?
First, make sure your college is a partner of Upswing and that they are contracted to have Assignment Review as part of their services. After that, it’s simply a matter of:
- Navigating your way to our Assignment Review form
- Filling out the form
- Attaching your assignment instructions and draft
- Clicking submit
Your submission goes into a queue where our writing tutors can grab and respond to it at their convenience. Please note that the queue only tells us how many are waiting for a review. We won’t see your full submission until after we commit to reviewing it. As soon as a tutor (possibly me) snags yours, you can expect to hear from them within 24-48 hours.
There’s a private message box between you and your writing tutor, so if you forget to include something (e.g. tell us you’re supposed to cite in MLA, not APA), you can quickly let us know. You can also attach any other helpful documents after submitting.
How Do I Get the Most Out of My Review?
- Fill out the form completely – In the description box, for example, never simply say “writing” or “essay.” Remember, at Upswing, we provide tutoring for more than 60 colleges. There are literally thousands of writing assignments from thousands of teachers with specific requirements. The more you can tell us about your specific writing task, the more equipped we will be to give you the best ideas for improvement. This increases your chance at getting a good grade.
- Attach your assignment instructions – Again, this helps your writing tutor have a clear picture of what you’re working on. You may also want to include the due date so we can gauge how much revision you may be able to handle before you have to turn it in.
- Don’t submit at the last minute – If your assignment is due tonight at midnight, asynchronous tutoring may not be for you. True, you might hear back from a writing tutor in the first few hours, but maybe not. Besides, even if you do, you should give yourself time to revise based on the suggestions you’re given. You don’t want to do a sloppy job on your revision!
Do as much as you can before submitting – We don’t expect perfection. But it’s a good idea to reread your draft before submitting. If you do the best you can – as much as you can – you’re more likely to get a review that highlights areas you didn’t know you could improve on.
Why Assignment Review?
Asynchronous tutoring isn’t a new concept, but, especially after the pandemic, it’s on the rise. Students are juggling more than they ever have before. Live-sessions (online or in-person) with a writing tutor is the ideal way to help you truly master the writing process. However, working with a tutor asynchronously can be a better fit for some students. The live-sessions can go so quickly sometimes; it’s nice to be able to sit down with a copy of your tutor’s suggestions so you can digest them better. Students are often distracted by pets, kids, and unreliable internet connections, which can make attending a live online session difficult.
I enjoy doing assignment reviews because it allows me to think through my suggestions even more carefully. I also like including additional resources (e.g. video links, images, webpages, handouts), which I may not have time to share during a live session. My favorite part about doing assignment reviews is knowing that I’m reaching students who may not have otherwise gotten the help they need.
So, the next time you think you’re too busy to get help from a writing tutor, guess again! Upswing’s Assignment Review is here to help.
Kassie Lamoreaux has been an Upswing writing tutor since 2015. She has 15+ years of experience tutoring writing and 8+ years teaching English as a second language and freshman composition.