Virginia Commonwealth University

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Online Consultations

Welcome to the Writing Center Online

Our online consultation service is a great way to have a conversation about your writing or research project if you can’t make it in to the Center.

We are happy to schedule online consultations for any stage of your writing process.  As in the physical Writing Center, you don’t have to have any thing written to use the online service.  You can have an online consultation just to brainstorm ideas and find your best starting points.

Scheduling Online Consultations

You can make an online consultation by clicking on the Schedule an Appointment link, calling us during our business hours at (804) 828-4851, or by stopping by our reception desk (room 4203 of the Academic Learning Commons).  Make sure that you specifically request an online consultation and provide your e-mail address. The link below will provide more details about how online consultations work and what you might expect from them.

How Does it Work?

We use Google Hangout to facilitate online consultations, which occur face-to-face in real time. Further instructions are included in the link below.

What’s the Difference?

In our new and improved online consultation model, we aim to preserve the conversational nature of the writing consultations. Google Hangout makes an online consultation as much like the traditional in-person appointment as it ever has been. We’re excited to offer this service to you and hope you have a good experience with it!

  • Be patient. Online consultations may take a little longer and be a bit slower-paced than in-person consultations if there are any connection issues or technical difficulties. Again, however, with our switch to Google Hangout, these issues should be at a minimum.
  • Be involved. Since this is a face-to-face, real time exchange, both the consultant and the writer will participate. So expect to hold up your end of the conversation!

Students sometimes inquire about online editing and proofreading services, but unfortunately those are not something we offer. Online consultations are, however, great for brainstorming, further developing your ideas, and discussing organization.

Thanks from the Writing Center!

Writing Center Online Instructions

Here are a few instructions to help you prepare for an online consultation.

  • Call (804) 828-4851 during the hours we’re open to set up an appointment. New online self-service scheduling coming soon…stay tuned for details!
  • Tell the receptionist you’d like an online consultation. Again, be sure to specify that it will be an online consultation. Give the receptionist your VCU email along with your name.
  • You will receive an auto-reply message that will confirm receipt of your e-mail and outline what you should expect from an online consultation and how you might prepare for it.
  • Prior to your consultation, please ensure that the following steps are completed at least one hour before your scheduled appointment time:
    1. Activate your VCU Google+ Account. Click on this link if you need help:
    2. If you have an document you want to work with, upload it to your Google Drive
    3. Share the document with the following three accounts:,,
    4. Ensure that your have a stable internet connection and a working webcam and microphone.
  • At your scheduled appointment time, a consultant will send you a Google Hangout invite from one of the three accounts.

Remember that you can have an online consultation even if you haven’t started drafting a document or if you are creating your work in a web format.