Online Consultations

Tips and Guidelines for Your Online Consultation

Here at the Writing Center, we offer online sychronous appointments. Many of these are conducted with our video conferencing tool, WCONLINE, which is often unfamiliar to students. As such, the following information will help you use WCONLINE for your appointment successfully.

To begin your consultation, log in to our online scheduling tool, open your appointment form, and click on the Start or Join Online Consultation link.

Although we can conduct consultations without audio and video, the use of these functions saves time and allows you and your consultant to work more productively. Even if you prefer not to appear on video or use the microphone to communicate, we strongly suggest that you enable both tools; otherwise, your consultant will also be unable to use them. You will still have the option to black out your video screen or mute your microphone at any point during the consultation.

Please note, too, that without a camera, neither video nor audio can be enabled because all browsers check first to determine whether a camera is available. If they cannot access a camera, they make both audio and video unavailable.

Enabling Camera and Microphone
If you have not previously enabled audio and video in your browser, you may see a dialogue box asking you to allow your microphone and camera to operate:


Once you allow these functions, you should be able to see the video and talk to your consultant.

If video and audio are not already enabled and this window does not pop up automatically, some troubleshooting may be necessary. Try the following:

  • Check to be sure the camera is on. Many browsers display a camera symbol in the address bar, independently of any function in WCONLINE, and you might be able to click on that small camera symbol to find the option to share your camera and microphone.
  • Check the browser's or computer's privacy settings to allow a specific browser to use the camera. Depending on the browser and computer, you might need to close other tabs, browsers, or open programs. Some computers give priority use of the camera in specific applications and disallow its use in other applications that may be running simultaneously. Therefore, you may have to close every browser and program, even those unrelated to the online meeting, and try opening the online meeting again.
  • Try using another browser to see if its option to use the camera is easier to find. (This approach will require that you leave the appointment and return to it once you have opened another browser.)
  • Try sharing the camera in another app or program to see if the camera turns on automatically.
  • Check the computer for any on/off switches for the camera, microphone, and speakers.

Once you join your online appointment, you will likely want to display your document, notes, or assignment prompt in the whiteboard space where both you and your consultant can view and manipulate it. You have two options available to display content:

Copy & Paste
The simplest way to display content is to copy and paste your text to the whiteboard.

Alternatively, you may import documents using the import/export icon    in the upper right corner of your screen.

Although the import function retains basic formatting, if you are working with a document that uses complex formatting or includes objects such as tables, you may wish to attach the document to your appointment using the tool at the bottom of the appointment form and paste selected text to the whiteboard as your consultation progresses. This way, the entire document will be visible to your consultant with all objects and formatting, even as you focus on specific sections in the whiteboard space.

Your consultation will be saved automatically and accessible to you throughout the semester. To return to your appointment and view a recording of the chat and whiteboard activity, just open the appointment form, and click the Start or Join Online Consultation link again. The chat window will be visible, and you can click the time slider icon in the upper right corner to go to a screen where you can replay whiteboard activity.