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Writing Center adapts to COVID-19 restrictions

October 1, 2020 Tags: Covid , STEAM , Stories of Resilience

The need for social distancing has encouraged some innovative approaches to tutoring services. Saint Francis University’s writing center is offering tutoring services through Cranium Café.

Writing Center waiting room example in Cranium CafeCranium Café is a meeting and collaboration platform designed specifically for student support. Once inside the café, both students and the support team can utilize a variety of assets to enhance their collaboration without the need to be in the same room.

The students can access Cranium Café from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Fridays.

For the past five weeks, tutors have assisted students with prewriting, drafting, editing, and proofreading their papers. They have also helped students properly cite source material according to MLA, APA, and Chicago style guidelines. These services are part of the center’s ongoing efforts to enhance students’ learning experiences while continuing to practice social distancing and other preventative measures to maintain students' health and safety.

Information for Students

Any SFU student who would like assistance with his or her writing is welcome to log into Cranium Café at during our online operating hours (11-7, Mon.-Thurs., 11-4 Friday) or schedule an appointment with a specific tutor (including Dr. Thomas) by emailing The services are free.

To access the virtual location, go to the Writing Center’s page on Cranium Café ( and log in with your Gmail account.  (You may also log in through Canvas, LinkedIn, or Facebook or as a Guest.)

You will then see images of all current writing tutoring staff.  Any tutors who is available online will show a green circle next to his or her image.  You are welcome to “knock on the door” of any available tutor. If the writing tutor is not working with anyone else, you will be asked to enter the meeting immediately. If the tutor is meeting with someone, you will be invited to enter his or her lobby to wait for a few minutes until the tutor’s session with the other student has concluded.  Once the tutor is available, he or she will invite you in. If the tutor anticipates being unavailable for longer than a few minutes, he or she will send you a brief message to set up an appointment for a later time when you both may meet.

Once in the meeting, you will be able to talk with the tutor through video chat and share any documents you are working on. Talking with the tutor is similar to communicating through Zoom or Google Hangouts. You will be able to see, hear, and interact with the tutor in real time as you work on your paper.


Writing Tutoring session in Cranium CafeYou may also upload your paper to Cranium Café’s whiteboard as you talk so that both you and the tutor can view your paper and you are able to make changes to your paper with the tutor’s guidance. You may also upload any other materials that you would like to review with your tutor. These might include your paper’s assignment sheet, a grading rubric or checklist, and any other relevant documents.

At the conclusion of your session, you may request the tutor to notify your professor that you visited the center. The tutoring staff will then send an email to your professor confirming your session attendance. The tutoring staff is happy to guide you through any stage of the writing process, from getting started on an assignment to helping you proofread your final draft. We can also assist you with source citations and document formatting according to MLA, APA, or Chicago style guidelines.

The tutors and Dr. Thomas would like to thank Dr. Robin Cadwallader, Dr. Renee Bernard, and Ms. Gabrielle Cronin for their support of the center’s online services.

If you have questions about our online services or any difficulty accessing Cranium Cafe, contact us at

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