“Why OWLs” is a timely question, but it’s one that as yet eludes definitive answers. What I’d like to do, therefore, is give you the chance to visit several OWLs for yourself and to browse through issues surrounding their creation and use.
The Internet, an electronic network linking computers throughout the world, invites teachers to explore its uses for writing instruction because it is a text-based environment. Users communicate by writing messages that travel out onto the Internet, read the prose in its vast pool of resources, and gather information from those resources for their own writing.
Online conferencing, including both synchronous and asynchronous exchanges, started in the composition classroom and moved to the writing center. Writing centers, no longer limited to face-to-face encounters, have begun exploring the potential of electronic conferencing.
Although writing centers have used computers for over a decade now, they have used them primarily in autotutorials (computer-assisted instruction) and for word processing. These applications reflect the influence of the process movement in composition studies and the writing center’s commitment to the individual writer.
The Writing Center Consultation Project is a collaboration between the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) and the Oak Ridge campus of Roane State Community College (RSCC) in Tennessee. Undergraduate RSCC students e-mail drafts of their essays to graduate students at UALR who then return the drafts through e-mail along with comments.
It has always seemed to us that all writing takes place in a kind of virtual reality involving one’s vision, one’s ideas, and one’s voice. When viewed in this manner, creating a writing center in Cyberspace is not a particularly alien concept.
Daedalus Interchange, an online synchronous conferencing program, fits well with writing center tutor training philosophies that are based on the social and dynamic construction of knowledge with each member of a community having a voice.
Keywords cyberspace writing centers, online writing centers, Online Writing Lab (OWL, )tutoring online, computers in writing centers, Internet resources in writing centers, electronic writing services Abstract As increasing numbers of writing centers consider instituting Online Writing Labs (OWLs) as adjuncts to existing tutorial services, careful planning decisions must be made about the nature, purpose, and …
Writing centers have the freedom, flexibility—perhaps even the responsibility—to fly a bit freer into the future and to test the waters of new ways to interact with writers. One of those ways, which some of us are now exploring, is electronic tutoring, that is, connecting to stu-dents in other locations via computers.
The recent advent of on-line computer network tutoring, however, raises an important question about tutors’ interactions with students who are having this conceptual kind of writing difficulty. The Online Writing Lab (OWL), a new service of the Purdue University Writing Lab, for example, provides students across campus with the opportunity to ask questions about writing and then to receive a response from a tutor, usually within a day.