Announcement | CWCA/ACCR’s Forum on Writing Centres and ChatGPT (and other AI)

May 8, 2023
12:00pm – 1:30pm EDT

Please join this open, participatory discussion about how writing centres are integrating, responding to, and guiding students and instructors on ChatGPT and similar large-language model (LLM) Artificial Intelligence.

Discussion Facilitators:
(Chair) Clare Bermingham, PhD
Director, Writing and Communication Centre, University of Waterloo
President, CWCA/ACCR
Brian Hotson, MTS
Senior Manager, Program and Impact Evaluation, Dalhousie University
Michael Cournoyea, PhD
Instructor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto
Zoe Mukura, OCELT
Language Instructor, Saskatchewan Polytechnic


  1. Welcome
  2. ChatGPT & LLM AI Overview / Q&A
  3. Breakout session 1: Participants self-select based on topics
  4. Breakout session 2: Participants self-select based on topics
  5. Shareback / Q&A

Announcement | Get involved in the CWCA/ACCR!

Get Involved

CWCA/ACCR Board of Directors

Join the CWCA/ACCR in one of the many open board positions this year:

    • Vice President
    • Secretary
    • Francophone Representative
    • Membership chair
    • Digital Media Chair
    • Members-at-large (x2)

Position descriptions are available in the CWCA/ACCR’s bylaws. Different positions do have different time commitments. For the most part, you are free to make what you can of the opportunity. The board meets monthly for 90 minutes. Continue reading “Announcement | Get involved in the CWCA/ACCR!”

CWCA/ACCR Elections: Consider a role on our board

By Clare Bermingham, President, CWCA/ACCR

Elections are coming up at the CWCA/ACCR AGM in May, and we have several board positions that will be open. Writing centre people are the best people! And CWCA/ACCR is composed of an awesome group of folks who are invested and passionate about supporting and advancing writing centre work.

Have you considered a position on our board?

I know what you’re thinking…

You’re worried you haven’t been working in writing centres for very long.

Many board members began volunteering with CWCA/ACCR when we were relatively new to writing centre work. It’s a great way to make connections, get support in your role, and become more engaged in research. There’s no such thing as too new! I was brand new when I attended my first CWCA/ACCR conference in 2014, and I was encouraged to stand for election as Secretary only a couple of years later. I had no idea what to expect. I was excited to land within a community of people who were talking about a range of questions and issues, from ideas for training peer tutors to antiracism in writing centres. They were self-reflective, curious, deeply committed to student learning and student experience, and not afraid to share their own learning journeys.

Are you worried you won’t have the time?

The commitment isn’t a huge one, depending on your role and what projects you get engaged in. Think 5-10 hours a month, on average. That’s like 10-20 minutes a day. It’s a cup of coffee, a washroom break, a… well, you get it. And the returns are so worth it.

What returns?

What do you need as a writing centre professional or researcher or tutor? What support are you missing? What resources do you wish you had a few years ago, or even yesterday? Being a member of the CWCA/ACCR board is an opportunity to create those supports and resources for colleagues and student members across the country. It’s the chance to hear what people need and then find ways to deliver.

From conferences to book discussions, from workshops to panels, the range of projects that board members work on is exciting and fulfilling. I find the work so enriching for my own professional role. I’ve learned a huge amount from colleagues, and I’ve upgraded my skills in meeting facilitation and project organization. Honestly though, it just feels great to know that we’re contributing to the professional experiences of our members, regardless of where they are in their careers or learning journeys. For me, it’s been exciting that the work of the board in the last few years has overlapped with my commitment to equity, antiracism, and decolonization and reconciliation. Having the opportunity to help make space for conversations and actions on these topics and help reduce barriers to participation in the field, is something that I’m very grateful for.

What are you interested in? There will likely be ways to connect these interests to your board work and engage with others interested in similar things.

You’d love to hear what positions are up for election this year?

I’d love to share! Find out more about the following positions by reading the descriptions in our by-laws. You can also contact me or the current member in any role.

  • Vice-President
  • Secretary
  • Francophone Representative
  • Digital Media Chair
  • Membership Chair
  • Members-At-Large

CWCA/ACCR Statement on corporate, automated, online tutoring tools

Approved by CWCA/ACCR Board of Directors: December, 2022.

Access an accessible PDF of the Statement on corporate, automated, online tutoring tools.


In recent years, members of the Canadian Writing Centres Association / Association canadienne des centres de rédaction (CWCA/ACCR) have noted an increase in the activity of producers of corporate, automated, online tutoring tools (CAOTTs) attempting to position themselves within higher education institutions in Canada. Many of these companies articulate such outcomes as improved writing skills, student retention, and student experience. The CWCA/ACCR shares and supports these goals, but we find that they can be far better achieved by institutional writing and learning centres within their local contexts.

Position of CWCA/ACCR

It is the position of the CWCA/ACCR that attempts to replace local, human writing tutoring and support with CAOTTs is a fundamental error. Further, any use of these tools as a supplement to writing services should be considered only with the support of and in consultation with writing centre professionals within the institution, informed by the literature of writing centre studies.

It is the position of the CWCA/ACCR that CAOTTs are not helpful or useful as a replacement for institution-based writing tutoring or instruction, whether online or in-person. CAOTTs are, in fact, a detriment to effective academic support for students, faculty, and their institutions, and CWCA/ACCR sees the use of CAOTTs as a form of social injustice.

Technological innovation

Writing centres have been at the forefront of the development and use of technology in higher education, beginning with computer-aided instruction (CAI) in the 1960s. The first dedicated CAI in a writing centre was at Michigan Technological University in 1977 (Palmquist, 2003, p. 396). Since then, writing centres have evolved to employ various technologies through the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s (See, for example, Burns, 1980; Coogan, 1995; Inman & Sewell, 2000; Wargo, 2018), including the Purdue Online Writing Lab, created  by Dr. Muriel Harris, godmother of writing centres in North America, and David Taylor in 1994 (OWL Fact Sheet, 2022). The COVID pandemic accelerated and expanded the use of technology in writing centres since 2020 (See, for example, Canadian writing centres respond, 2020; One year on…, 2021; Two years on…, 2022; Rempel, & Friesen, 2022; Wisniewski et al., 2020). Writing centres embrace and use technologies for supporting student writing when they add value to the experience for students, enrich learning, and do not pose a risk to students’ privacy or rights. Some CAOTTs may have limited usefulness for students when integrated into students’ writing processes within or alongside writing centres (Zhang et al., 2020); however, inaccuracies, algorithmic deficiencies, forms of social injustice, and other concerns, as discussed below, lead us to urge caution in their use.

Best practices

The following are best practices of the CWCA/ACCR—and of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA)—from the literature on writing centres praxis and administration that are foundational to successful writing support. These foundational aspects of writing centres cannot be guaranteed when using a CAOTT, aspects that can only be carried out by local writing centres within institutions.

  • Tutors and instructors who work within writing centres should specifically reflect the demographic, ethnic, linguistic, and disciplinary diversity of the student population within that institution (CWCA/ACCR, 2021; IWCA, 2007, 2015).
  • Peer tutors should be selected to work in a writing centre based on performance in courses that require writing and should be endorsed by instructors (IWCA, 2007, 2015).
  • Tutors and instructors should receive appropriate, comprehensive, ongoing training via methods suitable to local context (CWCA/ACCR, 2021; IWCA, 2007, 2015).
  • Tutors and instructors should be evaluated by administrators of their institution and should receive feedback about the effectiveness of their work (IWCA, 2007, 2015).
  • Tutors and instructors should be encouraged to participate in professional development activities, including publication opportunities and participating in local, regional, national, and international conferences (CWCA/ACCR, 2021).
  • The writing centre should participate in academic and/or administrative program review processes within its own institution (CWCA/ACCR, 2021; IWCA, 2007, 2015).
  • Institutions and writing centres also have a duty and a responsibility to be accessible to all students (CWCA/ACCR, 2021). Many CAOTTs are only available to students over the age of 18 (Terms of use, 2022), and many students do not have access to technology, creating social injustice based on race and economic disparity (Gonzales, Calarco, & Lynch, 2018; Vogels et al., 2020).

Sociodigital justice

A significant aspect of the injustice of CAOTTs is the use of student data by CAOTT corporations (Bell & Hotson, 2022; Hotson & Bell, 2022; Zuboff, 2015). Students often have no choice or do not know they have choice when confronted with a request by a faculty member or institution to subscribe to an online support tool (e.g., Grammarly, Studiosity, Turnitin). Tools such as Grammarly track students’ internet use even when they are not completing work for their studies. The Grammarly browser plug-in “surveils and intervenes in their languaging practices across all contexts of online communication—from personal email to Facebook to comment forums—regardless of whether they’re writing for the purposes of the course or for personal or professional reasons” (Bell & Hotson, 2022). CAOTTs have the same practice: for example, the tutoring tool, Studiosity, collects students’ “year of study, date of birth, postcode, student status, entity/institution name, type of entity/institution (e.g., school, library, university), business address, details of sporting and other extracurricular commitments (if required to assist with scheduling)” (Privacy and cookies policy, 2022). They also reserve the right to change their user agreement at any time: “From time to time, Studiosity may vary unilaterally the terms or conditions on which it provides the Services” (Terms of use, 2022), without input from students, faculty, institutions, or government. These terms and activities, designed for financial gain, constitute “surveillance capitalism” (Zuboff, 2015).

When using CAOTTs, student writing, ideas, and opinions—their knowledge production through their writing—is held by a corporation outside students’ or their institutions’ purview. Corporations providing vital institutional services cannot be trusted to protect student data (For example, see CEO of exam monitoring software Proctorio apologises for posting student’s chat logs on Reddit (Zhou, 2020)). Regarding the use and protection of students’ knowledge production, Studiosity’s user agreement, for example, is vague:

The Receiving Party [Studiosity] shall only disclose such confidential information to those of its employees, agents and subcontractors who need to know it for the purpose of discharging the obligations of the Receiving Party under the Contract, and shall ensure that such employees, agents and subcontractors comply with the obligations set out in this clause as though they were a party to the Contract.

There is no definition of “agent” or “subcontractor,” whether these are employees of Studiosity or if they are separate corporations, entities, or individuals. While it is indicated that these agents and subcontractors adhere to Studiosity’s user agreement, who monitors these agents and subcontractors and their use of student data is not stipulated.

Governmental monitoring

Exposure of student work beyond the educational institution is especially fraught for international students in Canada whose education activities may be subject to monitoring by their home governments. (China: Government Threats…, 2019; Confucius Institute U.S. Center…, 2020). Foreign governments have an interest in the activities of students studying abroad, especially monitoring any activities in opposition to repressive and intolerant regimes (CBC News, 2019; Furstenberg, Prelec, & Heathershaw, 2020; Gil, 2017; Mandour, 2022; Marczak et al., 2018); Canadian institutions have a duty to protect the international students they recruit as community members, protection that CAOTTs are not mandated to provide and cannot ensure.

Student labour

Any replacement of local student labour with CAOTT labour is unacceptable to CWCA/ACCR members. Providing students with opportunities for employment is a significant aspect of Canadian writing centres within their institutions. This employment is important for students’ financial security. Also, student tutors are provided with important learning opportunities and experience, which CWCA/ACCR views as a vital aspect of the institutional work of writing centres, as tutors’ learning is connected to their local learning context and extended throughout their tenure in higher education outside the classroom (e.g., institutional experiential learning programs; opportunities for research, publication, and conference presentations, contributing to the field of writing centre studies). For some CWCA/ACCR member writing centres, student employment is a directive.

Outsourced writing centre labour may not follow federal and provincial labour codes, institution union agreements, institutional human resources policies and practices, or provide a living wage (Living Wage, 2022).


Bell, S., & Hotson, B. (2022). “A podcast would be fun !”: The fetishization of digital writing projects. Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie, 32, 4–31.

Burns, H. (1984). Recollections of first-generation computer-assisted prewriting. In W. Wresch (Ed.), The computer in composition instruction: A writer’s tool (pp. 15–33). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.

CBC News. (19 February 2019). ‘China is your daddy’: Backlash against Tibetan student’s election prompts questions about foreign influence. Retrieved from

CWCA/ACCR position statement on writing centres in Canada. (2021). The Canadian Writing Centres Association / association canadienne des centres de rédaction. Retrieved from

Canadian writing centres respond to COVID-19 – March 17, 2020. (2020). Canadian Writing Centre Review revue Canadienne des centres de rédaction, 1(6 Winter 2020). Retrieved from

China: Government threats to academic freedom abroad. (2019). Human Rights Watch. Retrieved from

Coogan, D. (1995). E-mail tutoring, a new way to do new work. Computers and Composition, 12, 171–-81.

“Confucius Institute U.S. center” designation as a foreign mission. (2020). U.S. Department of State. Retrieved from

Furstenberg, S., Prelec, T., & Heathershaw, J. (2020). The internationalization of universities and the repression of academic freedom. Freedom House. Retrieved from

Gil, J. (2017). Soft power and the worldwide promotion of Chinese language learning. Multilingual Matters.

Gonzales, A. L., Calarco, J. M., & Lynch, T. K. (2018). Technology problems and student achievement gaps: A validation and extension of the technology maintenance construct. Communication Research, August, 1-38.

Hewett, B. L., & DePew, K. E. (Eds.) (2015). Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction (B. L. Hewett & K. E. DePew, eds.).

Hotson, B., & Bell, S. (2022). Friends don’t let friends Studiosity (without reading the fine print), The Canadian Writing Centres Association / association canadienne des centres de rédaction, 4(1 Fall 2022).

Inman, J. A., & Sewell, D. N. (Eds.). (2000). Taking flight with OWLs: Examining electronic writing center work. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

IWCA position statement on two-year college writing centers. (2007, 2015). International Writing Centers Association. Retrieved from

Mandour, M. (2022). Transnational repression undermines academic freedom in Western universities. University of Minnesota. Retrieved from

Marczak, B., Scott-Railton, J., Senft, A.,  Razzak, B. A., & Deibert, R. (2018). The kingdom came to Canada: How Saudi-linked digital espionage reached Canadian soil. The Citizen Lab. Retrieved from

Living wage. (2022). United Nations. Retrieved from

OWL facts sheet. (2022). Purdue Online Writing Lab. Retrieved from

One year on: COVID snapshot of writing centres in Canada. (2021). The Canadian Writing Centres Association / association canadienne des centres de rédaction, 2(3 Spring 2021).

Palmquist, M. (2003). A brief history of computer support for writing centers and writing-across-the-curriculum programs. Computers and Composition, 20(4), 395–413.

Privacy and Cookies Policy. (2022). Studiosity. Retrieved from

Rempel , C., & Friesen, H. L. (2022). Benefits and challenges of Zoom tutoring during the Covid-19 pandemic. Discourse and Writing/Rédactologie, 32, 370-393.

Terms of use. (2022). Studiosity. Retrieved from

Two years on: COVID snapshot of writing centres in Canada – University of Alberta’s Centre for Writers. (2022). The Canadian Writing Centres Association / association canadienne des centres de rédaction, 3(3 Spring 2022).

Vogels, E., Perrin, A., Rainie, L., & Anderson, M. (2020). 53% of Americans say the internet has been essential: Americans with lower incomes are particularly likely to have concerns related to the digital divide and the digital “homework gap” (Vol. 30). Pew Research Center. Retrieved from

Wargo, J. M. (2018). Writing with wearables? Young children’s intra-active authoring and the sounds of emplaced invention. Journal of Literacy Research, 50(4), 502-523.

Wisniewski, C., Regidor, M. C., Chason, L., Groundwater, E., Kranek, A., Mayne, D., & Middleton, L. (2020). Questioning assumptions about online tutoring. The Writing Center Journal, 38(1/2), 261-296.

Zhang, J., Zorluel Özer, H., & Bayazeed, R. (2020). Grammarly vs. face-to-face tutoring at the writing center: ESL student writers’ perceptions. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, 17(2), 33-43.

Zhou, N. (1 July 2020). CEO of exam monitoring software Proctorio apologises for posting student’s chat logs on Reddit. The Guardian.

Zuboff, S. (2015). Big other: Surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 75-89.

Join the CWCA/ACCR Board of Directors!

CWCA/ACCR members enjoy an evening social during the 2019 annual conference in Vancouver

Serving as a member of the CWCA/ACCR board is an excellent way to contribute to the community’s continued development, develop cross-country connections, and add to your professional CV.

There are a variety of roles for volunteers to undertake. Offer your expertise with organizational skills as Secretary, your social media and web design prowess as Digital Media Chair, or your enthusiasm for social networking as Membership Chair (see below for the full list of open positions). Continue reading “Join the CWCA/ACCR Board of Directors!”

Announcement || CWCA/ACCR 2021 Conference CfP – Transformative Inclusivity: Social Justice and Writing Centres

8th CWCA/ACCR Conference

CWCA 2020 logo

Transformative Inclusivity:
Social Justice and Writing Centres

May 17 – 21, 2021

Virtual Conference

“[A] culture of access is a culture of participation and redesign”
–Elizabeth Brewer, Cynthia L. Selfe, and M. Remi Yergeau

Conference Context

For our 2021 conference, the Canadian Writing Centres Association / association canadienne des centres de rédaction welcomes proposals on any writing centre-related subject, but particularly proposals that consider and/or critique frameworks of inclusion, access, and accessibility. These themes may be related to anti-racist work and Indigenization at writing centres, to our recent experiences arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to writing and writing centre theory, pedagogy, praxis, programming, administration, research, physical and online environments, advocacy, or activism.

Writing centres have committed to making their spaces and services accessible, inclusive, and democratic, not least to students and tutors from marginalized backgrounds (Geller et al., 2007; Greenfield & Rowan, 2011; Hitt, 2012; Lang, 2017; Martini & Webster, 2017). Even as COVID-19 has inflected, sharpened, and foregrounded systemic inequities, the Black Lives Matter movement, Indigenous movements for social justice such as 1492 Land Back Lane and Idle No More, and the Disability Rights Movement have called upon us, with greater urgency than ever before, to expand the definition and the scope of access, and revitalize writing centres as social justice projects. Continue reading “Announcement || CWCA/ACCR 2021 Conference CfP – Transformative Inclusivity: Social Justice and Writing Centres”