Apologies for the delay...
In reading Pemberton's article on consulting over hypertexts, I was initially confused. I will admit...I don't really know what he means by "hypertext". When I thought of the online consultations that take place in the writing center I assumed they would all be electronic versions of face-to-face consultations. It hadn't even occurred to me that people might bring in HTML and web design as pieces of writing, and something they wanted help on. Realistically, I don't see that happening too often, at least not in our Writing Center. But as Pemberton points out, technology is expanding and we should be ready to meet it's new challenges should they come along. I think it's a good idea to be prepared, but that we should also keep in mind that most assignments we see in the Writing Center will probably be the writing we are accustomed to working with.
In the case of this typical style of writing within the online consultations, I don't see a need to go into extensive training. While the process is different, these are still consultations, and the main goal remains to work with the client on their writing, regardless of how we are communicating. I don't feel that the way we converse with our clients will change vastly once we move to a computer, nor do I feel the writing will be significantly different simply because it was sent as an e-mail. The only change I see that may happen to a client's writing is that they will review it a little more carefully, perhaps, before sending it in. That seems like a positive thing to me. I agree with James Inman's statement, "Consultants' general knowledge about textuality and investment in asking questions, listening carefully, and other non-directive pedagogical approaches is all they need to help clients, I believe, no matter the nature of their visits to the writing center." That summarizes my own view: while the process of the consultation may be slightly altered, the online consultations have the same goal as the face-to-face variety. We all want to help our clients write better, and since we are the same people who consult face-to-face and on the computers, we use the same skills and strategies in both situations.
Looking over The Guidelines for SWS.online, I feel that there is a good balance of familiarizing ourselves with the technology used for the service and guidelines for using it. I don't think we should try and change the way we consult simply because we can't see our client. It is interesting to see how we do the online consultations here at our own writing center; I wonder how differently the consultations are done at other writing centers. Our procedures seem to be perfect for the situation, but I bet there are many different ways that online consultations are approached.