Online Writing Lab (OWL)

The UWRF Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a virtual space where students may receive friendly, competent assistance to help them improve as writers.  The OWL provides assistance during any stage of the writing process and provides interactive feedback to its clients through synchronous and asynchronous tutoring sessions. The UWRF OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers a variety of online reference materials for students. The Department of English also offers writing assistance in the University Writing Center.

The OWL staff consists of trained undergraduate students from a variety of majors - tutors who help students learn to write more effectively on their own. The OWL is not a proofreading, rewriting, or correcting service, or a guarantee of better grades.

How do I use the UWRF OWL?
If you choose to take advantage of the Online Writing Lab, you will:

  1. Self-register for the OWL in Canvas, one time only, by following this link:
  2. Read the announcement detailing how to submit your paper.
  3. Once your paper is submitted, receive feedback three business days later.
  4. Revise and improve your writing.
  5. Visit the OWL whenever you'd like writing feedback.

Who can benefit by using the OWL?
Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in classes from all subject areas may visit the OWL for assistance during all stages of composing (inventing, revising, editing).

When may students use the OWL?
Students may submit their work to the Online Writing Lab at any time; however, we encourage students to submit their work at least three business days before expecting feedback. Student work must be assigned to a tutor, and that tutor must be given adequate time to read and respond. Students may also meet with tutors online, in real time, to discuss their work once the tutor has prepared feedback.

Why should students use the OWL?
We understand that asking for assistance with your writing may be difficult. Many of us assume that we should be able to write well without much effort. The truth is that almost everyone feels anxious about writing and that nearly everyone's writing needs objective feedback and positive reinforcement. The Online Writing Lab is one place to get that kind of assistance.

Writing involves many steps: re-thinking, re-stating, organizing, re-organizing, expanding, deleting, re-explaining, and so forth. Writing is time consuming and sometimes frustrating.  Our suggestions for receiving the best help from this Online Writing Lab include:

  • Consider submitting a rough draft. We will read it, ask questions, and help you focus your ideas and expand your development.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to submit your work in order to receive feedback before your assignment is due. The OWL needs at least three business days to respond to your request for writing feedback.
  • Read your feedback carefully, thinking about the suggestions the online tutor gave you. Revise your work.
  • Consider meeting with your online tutor in the Elluminate chat area so that you may ask questions and discuss your work in some detail.
  • Visit the OWL and/or the University Writing Center on a regular basis, so that you will continue to grow as a writer.

"But I only want my punctuation checked," you say.  Our experience has demonstrated to us that students often have anxiety about WRITING. Students frequently assume that flawless punctuation equals fine writing. Effective writing means good ideas are carefully explained. Our interest in serving students is to help you express ideas strongly and clearly. We are not a proofreading or editing service; we are trained consultants - experienced writers - who would like to help you do your best.

Contact Us

English Department
M-F 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
241A Kleinpell Fine Arts