Online Writing Lab reopens

The College Tutoring Center’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) recently reopened after undergoing a hiatus since the fall of 2006. OWL, first developed by Purdue University, is a Web resource that allows students to submit a draft to OWL and get feedback from a College tutor within 24 hours.

According to an e-mail from Diane Gruenberg of The Writer’s Place & Tutoring Center, OWL’s goal is “not doing the drafting/revising/editing for students, and respecting the student’s ownership of her/his writing.” OWL primarily provides help in the areas of proper grammar usage, developing an argument, citation styles and avoiding plagiarism.

Students can submit a whole draft to OWL instead of just segments. “(OWL) lets students submit a draft and ask for specific feedback about that draft,” Gruenberg wrote. This resource is meant to complement the face-to-face conference sessions at the writing center. “OWL provides a supplement when the in-person appointments were filled at peak times,” such as during midterms and finals weeks, Gruenberg said.

However, this resource closed down in fall 2006 “partly because of budget concerns and partly because of staffing limitations,” Gruenberg said.

But the Web site reopened recently due to high demand for tutors in the Writer’s Place at peak times. “We sometimes have to turn students away who come in for help when (we) have run out of daytime and early evening appointment times,” Gruenberg said. “With the OWL re-opened, we can offer students some feedback on their drafts.”