Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Online Writing Tutorials: A Comparison of Two Programs

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Online Writing Tutorials: A Comparison of Two Programs

Article excerpt

In an attempt to bring the Writing Lab to students no matter where they were, Dr. Muriel Harris (former director and founder of the Purdue Writing Lab) and David Taylor (in Educational Computing) started the world's first Online Writing Lab (OWL) in 1994. As a first step, Taylor redesigned the e-mail server and developed the gopher and Web sites. Their goal was to provide a resource for students who sought writing help but couldn't make it into the Writing Lab on campus during operating hours. Since that time, the OWL has become a complement to classroom instruction, a supplement to face-to-face tutorials, and a stand-alone reference for thousands of writers worldwide.

The OWL has grown into a popular Web site, receiving over 31 million hits from over 125 countries in 2005-2006. OWL tutors answered 3,175 writing-related queries via e-mail, and over 12,000 users are subscribed to the Purdue OWL News, a free weekly e-newsletter.

A newer developing program is the Effective Writing Center (EWC) at University of Maryland University College (UMUC), a global online university that serves adult part-time students worldwide through a variety of highquality educational opportunities. UMUC's Effective Writing Center is designed to assist all UMUC students and faculty members in finding resources to help students improve their writing. Undergraduate and graduate students can submit writing assignments for feedback from expert, trained advisors. In addition to an array of writing-related services-from reviewing student papers to providing class guest lectures to the UMUC community-the EWC presents faculty development workshops. Topics include information literacy and writing and fair use of Web-based research materials (presented in collaboration with the UMUC Information and Library Services), using writing assignments to coach student learning, and responding to student writings versus grading them. …

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