This past fall, for the second time, I had my tutors-in-training respond to Dr. X's 099 students' practice exams. It was a great experience for my students and for me as their instructor. One of the hardest things about training tutors is that you cannot observe them very often, not 100% of the time. For the most part, you train them, you quiz them, you run practice drills in class, and then you let them tutor real actual 099 students in-person, in a cubicle at the Writing Center, and then the tutoring students write about what they did, essentially telling you for themselves how they did, how they felt, what strategies they used. The ability to summarize this effectively shows alot---but still, one wants to be sure they are doing the most effective job possible, given the vulnerable state of Basic Writing students. What's great about having tutors work online is not only that they have more time to think through what they want to tell an 099 student about his/her writing, but that they get to say to me, "hey professor, can you read what I'm saying here and tell me if it sounds right?" This gives me a chance to help them figure out exactly how to say what they want to say. And this ALSO seems to help them in their overall efforts to find the language they will need in the face-to-face tutoring in the cubicles at the Writing Center.
Having the blogging component added to this tutoring course has been extremely helpful. I feel very sure it has made the ENG 220 course better. I wouldn't teach the course without the blogging component now! I see it as integral.