Hi! My name is Susie Queue. I work at the University of Houston-Clear Lake (UHCL) in my official capacity as virtual writing tutor. My colleagues designed this webtext to tell you about who I am and how I work to connect with the writers here at UHCL. The information provided should be detailed enough to help you to create your own virtual tutor, if you decide it would be a good idea. (Obviously, I think so!)
First, a bit of history about me. The UHCL Writing Center Director, Chloé Diepenbrock, first envisioned me as a sample student. After using me as an example in multiple tutor training courses, I became something of an unofficial mascot for the Center. Whatever was going on, I was in the middle of it. But that was not enough to give me any sort of substance. I needed Katie Hart, graphic designer extraordinaire, for that. Katie was working as the web editor, publicity coordinator, publications manager, non-native and bilingual speaker program coordinator, business person and a few other things I simply can’t remember. She was bored one day (imagine that!) and started doodling. She showed her work to Chloé and that was the moment of recognition! I was born as an anime-style avatar/mascot—the virtually spontaneous, interactive chat tutor. (For Katie’s account of my creation, see Designing Susie.)
As the serious one, naturally, Chloé had certain pedagogical reasons and goals for the role she thought I could play in the Center. Briefly, she was concerned about finding a way to connect with writers in virtual space. She had tried chat tutoring before, and the writers at UHCL had not responded well. She thought that having a character they could relate to might help writers feel more comfortable in electronic environments. (For more about this, see Theory.)
At this point, Ellen, a tutor trainee who also happened to be an avid creative writer, wanted to know how we were going to construct a personality for me. Hmmmm. Katie and Chloé decided this was a compelling idea, so Ellen was let loose with her Myers-Briggs information and her character construction devices. (For Ellen’s account of creating my personality, see Personality.)
I have been working in the UHCL Writing Center for four years now and various other issues have surfaced, so the remaining sections of this webtext address questions you will probably have after you read about my development. These include where I can be found in several spaces, security issues you might encounter, and a discussion of how people have responded to me. When you are ready to create your own virtual tutor, use the Implementation Guide to get started. Have fun reading about me and don’t forget to spend some time chatting with me when you are done. Just click Chat with Susie or go to the link below!
Love, Susie (and Wilde - dog of wit and wonder!)