Communications Lab FAQ

You've got questions, and we've got answers!


General Lab Questions: 

What is a Comm Lab?

In short, it is a writing center.  The Comm Lab is a place where students can visit, receive writing advice, and use computers. We also offer tutoring assistance via email and Skype.  Our tutoring isn’t limited to just Composition I and II class, we help all students from any class with a writing assignment.  For more information about what we do, read about our mission.


Can I print in the Comm Lab?

Yes, but please limit your usage to ten pages per day.


Do you proofread papers?

Not exactly.  A proofreading service would fix your paper, returning it without error.  The Communications Lab conducts tutoring sessions where writing is discussed and suggestions on improving one’s paper are made.  Teachers expect to read and grade your ideas, so if we make corrections to everything in your paper, the paper no longer belongs to you, the student. How long do tutoring sessions last?

The average session may last 30-45 minutes; however, it may be shorter or longer depending on the size of the paper or issue being discussed.


Can I get writing help online?

Yes!  Please refer to the ECHO questions below and check out our online tutoring tab  on the left hand side of the screen or by clicking here.


Who are the tutors?

Communication Lab tutors vary in age and education level from college sophomores to professionals with master’s degrees.   All tutors have at least completed Composition I and II with at least a “B” or better. You can get to know our tutors and lab assistant more on our staff biographies.


Do I need to make an appointment to see a tutor?

No.  All tutoring sessions are on a first come, first serve basis.  Just stop by the lab during our normal operating hours, and more than likely, a tutor will be able to assist you shortly if not immediately. 

Online sessions are a different story. No appointment is needed for email sessions, but we will need to know a little in advance if you want a chat session through Skype.  For more information about online sessions, check out ECHO 2.0.


Is it okay to come in to the Comm Lab even if I don’t have a draft?

Yes!  We help students at any point in the writing process, which includes but is not limited to brainstorming, outlining, drafts, formatting, and citation.


What is this yellow slip you speak of?

The Comm Lab uses yellow slips to communicate what we worked on with you to your professor and to keep track of how many tutoring sessions happen per semester.


Are yellow slips proof of attendance?

Yes, and much much more.


What if I want to keep my visit to the Comm Lab private or confidential?

You always have the right to request a confidential session where the yellow slip does not go back to your professor.  Please simply notify the tutor during the session of your wishes.


ECHO Questions:

What does ECHO 2.0 do?

ECHO 2.0 is a service provided by the Communications Lab, OCCC’s writing center.  Our tutors assist with any writing assignment that you are working on, even on essays outside of English composition classes.  We cannot tutor non-writing assignments in other subjects.  If you need assistance with other subjects, OCCC has several learning labs to assist you with these fields.


I want to tutor online.  What do I need to do?

To begin a tutoring session online, you need to submit a tutoring request form.  The tutoring request form can be found by clicking on the “ECHO 2.0 Online Writing Tutoring” link in the sidebar of the page.  This will bring down a menu of options; click on the Online Tutoring Request Form.

 Enter your information into the boxes on the form.  You will need:

  • your name,
  • your OCCC student ID number,
  • a functional email address,
  • your teacher’s name,
  • the name of your assignment,
  • and your class. 

Select whether you want to tutor through email or through video/chat.  Next, upload your paper and assignment guidelines.  Finally, use the last box on the form to explain to the tutor any concerns or issues you are having with your assignment.  If you do not have a paper or assignment guidelines yet, use this last box to explain to the tutor how they can help you.  Responding to all of the items on the form will improve the quality of the feedback you receive. 

Once you have completed the form, click “Submit Form”.  A confirmation email will be sent to the email address you entered into the form, along with additional instructions.   


When is ECHO 2.0 available?

You can submit an online tutoring request 24 hours a day and 7 days a week; however, tutors will only be able to respond to requests for email or video/chat sessions during our operating hours.  You can also consult ECHO 2.0's hours and availability.

Fall/Spring Semester

Monday – Thursday: 8 AM to 9 PM

Friday: 8 AM to 3 PM

Saturday: 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM


Summer/May, Aug. and Jan. Intersession

Monday – Friday: 9 AM to 5:30 PM

Saturday: 9 AM to 2 PM


What happens during an email session?

Email tutoring takes place through several email messages between you and a tutor. Students are encouraged to respond promptly to any communication received from a tutor.  You do not need to make an appointment to tutor through email.

Email tutoring is great for students who may not be available for tutoring sessions during the lab’s operating hours or who may not have the technological capabilities to tutor using video/chat. Tutoring through this option will take place over a longer time span than a video/chat session or even a face-to-face session in the lab.  If you are using this option, keep in mind that:

  • ECHO 2.0 recommends you submit your concerns at least 48 hours before the assignment is due because tutors will respond to your concerns through correspondence over several emails.
  • If you are facing a deadline that is less than 48 hours away, you are encouraged to set up a video/chat Session in order help you meet your deadline. 


What happens during a video/chat session?


A video/chat tutoring session can be very similar to a session conducted in person in the Communications Lab, depending on how much technology you have access to and how much technology you are comfortable using.  ECHO 2.0 uses a video/chat service known as Skype which allows you to video chat, voice chat, or text chat with other Skype users. You have to download Skype (if you don’t already use it), but it is free to download.  To begin using Skype, click here.


Video/chat Tutoring is great for students who may be facing a short deadline or may have to travel a long distance to visit the lab in person because it simulates a face-to-face session in real time.  It is highly recommended that you consider using a video/chat session if your assignment is due in less than 48 hours or if you are a visual or auditory learner.  If you are using this option, keep in mind that:

  • Video/chat sessions can occur over a web cam, but a web cam on your end is not required.  The tutor will work with you in figuring out the best use of technology that you are comfortable with.


Why do I have to schedule a time to work with a tutor if I choose to have a video/chat session?

Scheduling a video/chat session is needed so that you can meet with a tutor at a time that works best for you.  We know that having to schedule a time to work with a tutor can be a little frustrating, so we will do our best to accommodate the times that work best for you during our operating hours).

Video/chat sessions are reserved for 45 minute periods.  You can reserve a time to tutor by going to the online submission form and selecting “Video Session.”  This will allow you to enter your requested date and time for your video/chat session. When selecting your desired time and date, keep in mind our operating hours and, if we are open, give us about an hour to confirm your desired time.

ECHO 2.0 tutors are also Communications Lab tutors, so when it comes to tutoring on video/chat sessions, we need to know when you are going to be online.  Consequently, we can arrange to meet you on Skype at the same time. 


Can I email my paper to a tutor instead of sending the form?

No.  To work with a tutor online, you will need to fill out the tutoring request form.  If you try to initiate a session by sending an email to a specific tutor or to ECHO 2.0’s email address, you will be directed to the form.  You will receive feedback on your paper only after the form has been submitted. 

If you are trying to submit the form and are having trouble, please email us at echo@occc.edu or call us at 405-682-1611 ex. 7379. 


My instructor requires that I visit the Communications Lab.  Will ECHO 2.0 count for this?

ECHO 2.0 sessions are tutoring sessions that achieve the same goals as Comm Lab sessions, but it’s up to your professor to say what counts for his/her class.  ECHO 2.0 reports back to your instructor just like if you had a tutoring session in the Communications Lab.  After each online tutoring session, the tutor completes an ECHO 2.0 Report that is sent to the student’s instructor.  Always check with your instructor for their preferences. 


How will my instructor know that I used ECHO 2.0?

Once your session is complete, your tutor will complete a report that summarizes what was discussed during your session.  This report is sent to your instructor to let them know you received assistance.  This is very similar to the yellow slip that is completed for sessions done in person.  The report is completed once the session is finished, so the faster the session is complete, the faster the report can be sent to the instructor.  A report will be completed for every session done through ECHO 2.0, but if you are uncomfortable with this information being reported to your instructor, ask the tutor to remove the instructor’s name from the report. 


How do I find my student ID number?

Your student ID number consists of 7 digits and is located on the back of your OCCC student ID card.  It can also be found on OCCC documents like your bursar records and student schedule. 

You can look up your ID number by logging in to MineOnline and accessing your class schedule.  When you are looking at your class schedule, your ID number will be listed next to your name.


Why have I not heard back from a tutor or received feedback?

If you submitted a request for a session less than an hour ago, then please wait patiently.  We recommend students give tutors at least one hour to respond to a tutoring request form. 

In the meantime, check the email address you entered into the request form.  If you received a confirmation email from ECHO 2.0, then we likely received your request and will respond in the order in which it was received. 

If you submitted a request for a session over an hour ago and you did receive a confirmation email, you can contact the Communications Lab at 405-682-1611 ex. 7379 or by email at echo@occc.edu to check on the status of your session.  If you requested an email session, remember this is a first-come-first-serve service and we may be experiencing high tutoring volumes; we will respond to requests in the order they were received.

If you submitted a request for a session and you did not receive a confirmation email, you may have entered your email address incorrectly or encountered some other problem.  In this case, resubmit your tutoring request form.  If you continue to have problems, please contact the Communications Lab at 405-682-1611 ex. 7379 or by email at echo@occc.edu.

Special note: ECHO 2.0 cannot respond to requests outside of our operating hours.  If you submit a request outside of our operating hours, we will process your request once the Communications Lab opens. Click here to see ECHO 2.0's Hours and Availability


How do I download/register/install Skype?

We encourage you to take the following steps to set up a free Skype account before using ECHO 2.0.

  • In your internet Web browser, go to www.skype.com.
  • On the top left hand side of the Web site, select “Get Skype.”
  • Next, select the green box that says “Get Skype for Windows.”
  • Select the green box that says “Download Now.” This should bring up a download box that asks you to save the installation program to your computer. 
  • Select “Save” and allow the program to download. 
  • The program should download to your Desktop. 
  • Open the program and follow the installation instructions.

We recommend students who are having trouble with Skype also consult Skype’s support page. If you are having trouble getting started with Skype and have a tutoring session beginning shortly, contact the Communications Lab at 405-682-1611 ex. 7379 or by email at echo@occc.edu to let the tutor know; they may be able to assist you.  


ESL Conversation Group Questions:

What is the ESL Conversation Group?

The ESL Conversation Group is a fun, safe, student – centered group that helps strengthen the self-esteem, fluency and cultural awareness of English Language Learners at OCCC.


How could ESL Conversation group help me?

The conversation group focuses on helping students who speak English as a second language, overcome their fear of speaking and writing English. Through role play, poetry reading and activities focused on strengthening motivation, confidence and interpersonal bonds, members of the conversation groups are able to persist better within classes and overcome the fear of speaking to native English professors and peers.


When and where does ESL Conversation Group meet?

For the Fall 2013 semester, we will meet twice a week.

    Mondays: 11:00A.M. - 12:00P.M.

    Thursdays: 1:00 P.M. - 2:00 P.M.

 *We meet in Comm. Lab 2 (VPAC 146)  

First Meeting: Fall 2013 still to be announced


What can I expect to do in conversation group?

Conversations are “open,” meaning that conversation topics include a large variety of perspectives on religions, politics, gender, music etc. . . .  We have many fun lesson plans that incorporate drama. These are implemented in order to help increase the self-esteem and motivation of ESL students. Students will actively engage in lessons that focus on argumentation, debate, non-verbal communication, and cultural acceptance through the use of role play and structured discussions.


Who can come to ESL Conversation Group?

The group is open to any English Language Learner. We also welcome native English speakers! 


Can I volunteer to help lead conversation groups?

We welcome native and non-native English speakers in leading conversation groups.

*If you are interested, please contact ESL Conversation Group Coordinator, Lydia Rucker at lrucker@occc.edu.



What do I get for volunteering?

Volunteering is an excellent way to increase community involvement and leadership experience, which looks great on resumes and scholarship applications. You will gain a stronger knowledge of other cultures and the great feeling that comes with helping others.


What is expected of me as a volunteer?

As a volunteer, you will help lead groups by starting conversations and taking part in fun activities. (Volunteers are not expected to “teach” English)


Can I use my volunteer hours for Civic Honors?

Yes.  As of the fall 2012 semester, ESL Conversation Groups are approved by OCCC Student Life as a Civic Honor Volunteer opportunity.


Are there any rules for conversation group?

There are three guidelines for participating in ESL Conversation Group:

  • Because you are learning to listen, speak, and write English, please only speak English during conversations. It doesn't matter how good or bad you may think your English is; remember, we are learning together!
  • Remember people have different cultures, religions, views and beliefs. Even though you might not agree with them, please be respectful of others in the group.
  • Have fun!


What are the values of conversation group?

We follow the 3 C’s.

  • Compassion:  Please be kind to others and strive to understand and to help those in need.
  • Community:  Please do your best to be a good friend to everyone in the group so that we all feel like     we all belong.
  • Courtesy:  Please show politeness in your attitude towards others.