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Visiting the Online Writing Center

The writing center consultants at National University work with students at whatever level of skill and at whatever point in the writing process. All are encouraged to make regular use of this service.

Some students come to the writing center with a clear idea of what they want to work on and some know they want to strengthen their writing but don't really know where to begin. With one-on-one conferences with writing center consultants students begin to devise their own plan of action: they figure out the concrete, manageable steps they need to take in order to improve their writing.

For example:

Student A emails the writing center with the assignment from the course instructor and then, on the phone, confesses that he has a crippling case of writer's block. Working with the writing center consultant, the student analyzes the assignment and begins to draft an outline. He makes an appointment for later in the week to review a draft of his paper.

Student B emails her research essay to the online writing center to determine whether the research is sound and the language clear. Through her email interactions with the online consultant, she decides that the essay is not argumentative -- an explicit requirement for the assignment. Student and consultant come up with strategies for revising the essay to make it argumentative.

Student C knows she has argued clearly and convincingly on her position paper, but she's been told that she needs to work on commas. She shows her paper to the writing center consultant via iLinc's document sharing, and together they identify some comma-usage errors on the first page. The writing center consultant explains the proper usage, tells the student what the error is called, and then shows her how to look up the correct usage in a writing handbook. The two then continue checking the remainder of the paper for proper punctuation.

Student D struggles to write clear paragraphs because English is not his first language. He tells the writing center consultant that he needs help with grammar. With the writing center consultant, he determines what errors appear most frequently. He then reviews those grammar rules, practices on some exercises and returns to his writing to apply what he's learned and to make appropriate changes.

When you visit the writing center, please keep in mind that the writing center is not a repair shop where you take your broken papers to be fixed by the grammar mechanic:

  • First of all, the paper may not be broken, but may only need polishing.
  • Secondly, it is our goal to help you with your paper by giving you the tools to enable you to convey your meaning in writing.
  • Thirdly, grammar may indeed be a topic that's covered, but first the consultant will help you determine whether or not you've addressed the assignment question, whether you've organized your thoughts in a coherent way, and whether you have offered support for the points you are trying to make.

The consultants in the Online Writing Center look forward to working with you!

Visiting the Online Writing Center

National University is a member of the National University System.