Faculty and Instructor FAQs
The Writing Lab offers support to faculty and classroom instruction through face-to-face writing consultations for students, classroom workshops by request, and individual faculty consultations about writing assignments and discipline-specific writing concerns. The FAQs below can help faculty effectively use the Writing Lab and encourage students to make the most of their visits. Please also see “Information for Students” for additional policies for the Writing Lab.
Should I require my students to visit the Writing Lab?
While we recognize the benefits of our writing consultations, we strongly discourage faculty from requiring students —either one student or an entire class—to visit the Writing Lab for any reason, including for extra credit. We cannot guarantee to accommodate every student’s request for an appointment, and students who manage to secure an appointment may not use the session effectively, as some of them may come only to fulfill the requirement to visit. Also, requiring students to visit can be seen as a punitive action, and students are less likely to view the Writing Lab as a helpful resource.
If I shouldn’t require a student to visit, how can I encourage visits?
You can add a statement in your syllabus encouraging students to visit the Writing Lab to get feedback during any stage of the writing process. You can request the Writing Lab to give an in-class workshop on any aspect of writing, which often encourages students to visit the Writing Lab for additional assistance. Additional information about syllabus statements and workshops can be found below.
Our Writing Lab consultants can provide a brief overview of the Writing Lab to your class at your request, and First-Year Composition instructors may schedule Lab Tours during the first two weeks of each semester. For more information or to schedule a tour or brief overview, please call 494-3723.
Do you have an example of information about the Writing Lab that I can add to my syllabus?
Feel free to copy or customize the following statement:
Many students believe the Writing Lab exists only for writers who need “extra” (or “remedial”) help; however, having another set of eyes can help all writers strengthen their ideas and focus. Even the most accomplished writers need feedback. The tutors in the Writing Lab can work with students at any stage of the writing process, from planning and drafting to editing and polishing strategies. Writing Lab consultants work with undergraduate and graduate students from every department on any piece of writing from class assignments to job search documents. For more information, please visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu or call 494-3723.
You may also feel free to include the following QR code for the Purdue Writing Lab in your syllabus, or to print it off and to display it on your office door:
You may also include the following QR code for a link to the Purdue Online Writing Lab (Purdue OWL):
Will the Writing Lab send proof of a student’s visit to faculty?
By students’ request only, the Writing Lab will send notification of consultations to faculty and instructors. We do this by sending a copy of our Post-Tutorial Notes, which describes what took place during the consultation, including information about what areas of writing were addressed. We can only send notification for consultations and cannot provide information related to other types of visits, such as conversation groups or in-Lab workshops. We regret that we cannot sign any other documents verifying a students’ visit to the Writing Lab for any reason.
How can I request a writing-related workshop for my class?
Instructors and faculty can request writing workshops for their classes online at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/classroomworkshops. We offer several standard workshops but would be happy to customize any of our existing workshops, or create a new workshop, based on your needs. Please allow us at least two weeks’ notice to schedule any workshop. Faculty are required to be present during workshops because students benefit from their instructors' input and presence during these interactive sessions.
One of my students is a terrible writer and doesn’t understand the basics of grammar and punctuation! How can the Writing Lab help?
Although Writing Lab consultants won’t proofread or edit documents for students, they can address sentence-level concerns such as grammar and punctuation. You can encourage students to visit the Writing Lab for additional assistance, and you can also refer them by using the Writing Lab’s referral form. Students can bring the form to their first visit.
I’ve assigned a take-home exam. How can I let the Writing Lab know that my students are allowed to get feedback on this assignment?
In order to provide feedback on exams, we must have written documentation specifying that students can get help from the Writing Lab. This documentation can be included on the exam instructions, syllabus, or on a separate document written by the instructor or faculty member.
Where on your website can students submit papers for feedback from a tutor?
At this time, we do not offer online tutoring and will not accept entire documents for feedback. However, we offer a free service called OWL Mail that provides answers to short writing questions including those about grammar, mechanics, and citation styles. This service is available to anyone in the world, and our tutors generally respond within a few days. We are unable to respond during university holidays and breaks. For more information, a list of commonly asked questions and their answers, and question submission page, please visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/contact/owlmailtutors.
What accommodations do you provide for students with documented disabilities?
Accommodations are provided to students with documented disabilities on a case-by-case basis and may include additional time during consultations, consultations in a quiet space, or use of specialized software, such as Kurzweil, a text-to-speech program. Students are encouraged to schedule an initial writing consultation and discuss helpful strategies and resources with tutors before any accommodations are arranged.
I’m not a writing teacher, but I’d like to incorporate more writing in my courses. What advice can you offer?
Pedagogical advice about general writing, discipline-specific writing, and writing across the curriculum, varies based on context. Faculty interested in learning more about incorporating, designing, or revising writing assignments in any field or discipline can contact Dr. Linda Bergmann for more information.
Do you only work with undergraduate students?
We gladly work with any graduate student, undergraduate student, faculty member, or staff affiliated with Purdue’s West Lafayette campus.
How can I help prepare my students to have a productive session in the Writing Lab?
To ensure that students make the most of their sessions and receive the best feedback possible, please remind students of the following:
Bring any assignment sheets, textbooks, notes, and relevant materials to the session. Often, students will have one impression of an assignment, and the syllabus or assignment sheet may request something else. Writing Lab consultants can help the student determine if a document follows the instructions for an assignment. During a session, tutors and students may need to refer to ancillary materials and textbooks for further information.
Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule an appointment, and give yourself time to revise after meeting with a consultant. Students unfamiliar with the Writing Lab or even the writing process mistakenly assume that they should wait to have a completed draft before visiting the Writing Lab—and that consultants will only fix sentence-level errors. Writing Lab tutors address many aspects of writing, often starting with global concerns. Students who meet with a tutor the day (or even the day before) an assignment is due may not have sufficient time to devote to necessary revisions.
Students are encouraged to visit the Writing Lab early in the writing process. Consultants can help students get started with an assignment by offering strategies for brainstorming and even research. And students are welcome to meet with a tutor more than once before a document is due. In fact, we encourage this, as our consultants can provide advice throughout multiple drafts.
Finally, since the Writing Lab can be busy, especially toward the end of the semester, students may not be able to schedule an appointment at a convenient time. The sooner that students call to schedule an appointment, the more likely that students can find days and times that fit their schedules.
Additional advice for students can be found at our Student FAQs page at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/policies.
Must students schedule appointments in order to meet with consultants?
Students are not required to make appointments, but we highly encourage students to schedule in advance. Although same-day appointments are available, they begin filling quickly, starting at 8:30 am each day. Occasionally, a student might be able to walk in and be seen by a tutor, but drop-ins become less available during the semester. Students can call 494-3723 to schedule a session. They are limited to one scheduled appointment and one same-day appointment per week.
Students are also invited to use the Writing Lab’s evening satellite locations in the Hicks Undergraduate Library and in Meredith Hall. These locations are drop-in only, so students can simply visit without making an appointment.
What is the difference between the Writing Lab and the Online Writing Lab (OWL)?
The Writing Lab is the physical location that offers writing support to the Purdue University West Lafayette campus. The Writing Lab provides one-on-one consultations, workshops, ESL conversation groups, and other services. The OWL is a digital extension of the Writing Lab, but it is also a website that contains a repository of writing support materials. While Writing Lab services are available only to students, faculty, and staff at Purdue University, the OWL and its corresponding OWL Mail Service, is available to anyone in the world. To learn more about the mission of the Writing Lab and the OWL, please visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/writinglab/mission.