Purdue OWL Engagement
Welcome to the Engagement area of the Purdue OWL. This area houses resources dedicated to - and often developed with - local organizations in greater Lafayette and Indiana. We work with a number of different organizations from the local community: non-profit organizations, Purdue University, industry, and government. The goal of our work is to foster engagement with local organizations and OWL users worldwide.
Engagement is an important part of the Purdue land-grant state university mission, and it is an important part of the Writing Lab's history. We believe the projects included here build on these ideas, and we hope these efforts foster sustained work with local and global partners.
Spring 2012 Semester Engagement Events
2012 22nd Annual Spelling Bee for Literacy benefiting the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) - Saturday, February 25, 1:00 PM at Sunnyside Middle School
Pronouncer: the 2008 National Spelling Bee Champion, Sameer Mishra. Teams of three will compete to win prizes, but more importantly, to have fun helping support LARA and literacy in the greater-Lafayette area. Sponsors include: The Journal and Courier, Wal-Mart, PEFCU, Caterpillar, Sam's Club, Roeing Corporation, Lafayette Copier, Instant Copy, Horace Mann, and the Bison Financial Group.
The deadline for team registration is February 17, 2012. Contact the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy for more information: 765-476-2920.
Tecumseh Junior High School Essay Writing Contest
Partner: Tecumseh Junior High School, Dave Hobbs
Support: Purdue Writing Lab
Overview: Since 2007, Associate Director Tammy Conard-Salvo and Writing Lab consultants have worked with Dave Hobbs at Tecumseh Junior High School in Lafayette, Indiana, to judge an annual essay contest. Mr. Hobbs began this contest as a way to encourage seventh and eighth grade students to think more positively about writing and to help prepare them for Indiana’s ISTEP exam.
Please visit the Tecumseh Junior High School website for more information.
Community Writing and Education Station (CWEST)
Overview: The CWEST (pronounced "quest") is a sustainable, collaborative civic engagement literacy project that works in close cooperation with LARA, a local adult basic education program. Specifically, the CWEST contains GED preparation resources, ESL resources, and workplace and personal finance literacy resources. The goals of the project are to integrate local civic engagement as part of the OWL's mission, to investigate local engagement and public discourse, and to work with LARA in developing helpful literacy resources.
WiderNet/eGranary Digital Library Collaboration
Partner: The WiderNet Project at the University of Iowa
Support: Purdue Writing Lab
Overview: Resources from the Purdue OWL are included in the WiderNet project and in the eGranary server for distribution to organizations and users who have problems maintaining reliable Internet access. The following information is from the WiderNet website: The WiderNet Project is a University of Iowa service organization dedicated to improving digital communications to all communities and individuals around the world in need of educational resources, knowledge and training. We develop and distribute the eGranary Digital Library, a plug-and-play server that provides instant access to millions of digital documents without the need of connection to the Internet.
We also provide resources, coaching, training, computers and educational materials to schools, clinics, libraries and homes with poor digital communication resources.
Purdue Professional Writing Students Engagement and Activism (@sea)
Partner: Purdue Professional Writing Program, Tippecanoe County Historical Association
Overview: The Semester @ SEA emulates elements of a study abroad semester and of a service learning project. Like study abroad, the students work with others in their major, taking a set of intensive thematically linked classes. Following the model of service learning initiatives, the students work locally, engaged with a community organization. For our inaugural project, we worked directly with the Tippecanoe County Historical Association to restructure the exhibits at Fort Ouiatenon in ways that will highlight the Fort’s importance to both migration and immigration in 18th century Indiana and to retain it as a vital space of learning and exploration for visitors and scholars in the 21st century.
Indiana Department of Transportation Civil Engineering Workshop Series (INDOT Workshop Resources)
Support: INDOT, Purdue Civil Engineering
Overview: The INDOT-Writing Lab Workshop Series grew out of a cooperative project between Purdue Civil Engineering, the Writing Lab, and the INDOT Office of Research and Development in West Lafayette, Indiana. Three professors in the Department of English worked with Tommy Nantung, the Section Manager at INDOT, to develop resources to help civil engineers at INDOT write clear, concise, compelling documents. Dr. David Blakesley, Dr. Linda Bergmann, and Dr. Richard Johnson-Sheehan composed a six-week workshop series and led class sessions using PowerPoint presentations and handouts. Tutors from the Writing Lab then worked closely with INDOT engineers on technical research documents for publication within INDOT and in peer-reviewed journals.
One Laptop Per Child "Buy One, Give One"
Partner: OLPC Foundation
Support: Purdue Writing Lab
Overview: The OLPC project began in November, 2007, when the Writing Lab placed its order for an XO laptop, also known as the “$100 laptop,” through the Give One Get One program. The Give One Get One program (which ran through November 26, 2007) allowed donors to purchase an XO laptop and contribute a second XO to a child in a developing country. The Writing Lab’s interest in the OLPC program stems from the OWL’s long history of global engagement and literacy education, which in turn aligns with Purdue’s land-grant state university mission. The Writing Lab wanted to develop a relationship with OLPC and contribute to its program while at the same time ensuring OWL usability on the XO. We anticipate that our large library of educational material may be useful to the millions of students, teachers, and administrators using the XO. We also believe that our graphical and user-centered design will work well with the XO’s child-friendly operating system and interface.
The Writing Lab's OLPC project also informs undergraduate work in professional writing, technology, and engagement. In the fall semester of 2008, an English 421 student group worked with local teachers to develop a feasibility study on using the XO laptop in the greater-Lafayette area. Through this project, the Purdue Writing Lab hopes to connect global engagement and education efforts with local engagement and undergraduate writing pedagogy.
Words on the Go (WOTG)
Partner: Friends of Words on the Go, Creative Writers in greater Lafayette
Support: Purdue Public Radio WBAA FM 101.3 and AM 920, CityBus of Greater Lafayette, Tippecanoe Arts Federation
Overview: Words on the Go is a group of volunteers working in collaboration with staff at CityBus to mount poetry on board our local buses. Our aim is to celebrate language and to encourage the use of public transportation. And in the process of soliciting and showcasing local poetry, we hope to build a rich sense of community. Although poetry-on-the-buses is an international phenomenon, Words on the Go is somewhat unique in its focus on community participation.
Community engagement in the Writing Lab first started as a paper-based handout system organized in filing cabinets. Paper handouts were mailed to users in response to questions about writing, citation, and research. In 1993, these engagement efforts shifted to a GOPHER system (precursor to the Internet) where users could review and download electronic writing resources through FTP. In 1995, the OWL launched on the World Wide Web with html versions of writing resources, and it has maintained an ongoing effort of engagement with the world ever since.
This Engagement area, however, is different from past efforts. Users' feedback notwithstanding, many OWL resources have been developed by members of the Writing Lab or members of the English Department and then disseminated to OWL users. Many projects and resources in this Engagement area have been (or are being) developed with OWL users or members of local organizations. Therefore, work housed here represents a participatory approach to resource authorship (civic invention) that teams users and developers in close, collaborative, and ongoing relationships. We hope you find this section informative and useful.
Past Engagement Events
Spring 2011 Semester
Tecumseh Junior High School Annual Essay Contest. Once again, Writing Lab consultants and Associate Director Tammy Conard-Salvo worked with Dave Hobbs at Tecumseh Junior High School in Lafayette, Indiana, to judge entries for an essay contest. Mr. Hobbs began this contest as a way to encourage seventh and eighth grade students to think more positively about writing and to help prepare them for Indiana’s ISTEP exam.
Students at Tecumseh are asked to respond to an essay prompt similar to what they might encounter when taking the ISTEP. Writing Lab “judges” read more than 90 essays and selected winners in both grades, as well as an overall winner.
This year's winners are as follows: Clayon Slake, Overall Winner, 7th grade (middle); Andrew Walter, 8th grade; Natalie Carrero, 7th grade; Hannah Mowery 7th grade, Teeny Siddiqui, 8th grade. Click here to view a picture of this year's winners.
The following graduate consultants, who are also teaching assistants in the Department of English, served as judges in 2011: Tristan Abbott, Matthew Allen, Patricia Poblete, and Megan Schoen.
The following undergraduate consultants also served as judges in 2011: Kim Adkins (Psychology), Kelli Barnett (Professional Writing), and Laura Stanley (Apparel Design and Technology). Here is Kelli’s take on the essay contest:
My name is Kelli Barnett, and I am a senior double majoring in Professional Writing and Japanese. I have been working in the Writing Lab as a Business Writing Consultant (BWC) since March, but I had been training in the Writing Lab since August 2010. A career in developmental editing interests me, so I’m very glad that I get to help others improve their writing every day.
Last spring, I was presented with the opportunity to help score the essays written by the Tecumseh Middle School 7th and 8th grade students. Along with others, I volunteered to help read the essays because I wanted to help students incorporate good writing techniques in preparation for high school. I really enjoyed reading the essays and was impressed with how well students were already writing. Overall, students seemed to have the basics of good layout and organization down pat, but needed work on elaborating ideas and explaining details. However, these are concerns for much older students and choosing the best essays was a tough call.
I also had the pleasure of presenting the winning students with their awards. On the selected day, a group of people who had participated in the scoring of the essays traveled to Tecumseh Middle School and met up with the students in the school’s library. The students were very pleased to have won and each student was very polite and courteous. I was pleasantly surprised with how well all the students were doing with their writing and the behavior of this small selection of students. I hope that I can participate in the contest again this year.
Spring 2010 Semester
Tecumseh Junior High School Annual Essay Contest. Students at Tecumseh are asked to respond to an essay prompt similar to what they might encounter when taking the ISTEP. Writing Lab “judges” read an average of 140 essays and select winners in both grades, as well as an overall winner. Winners for 2010 are: Elena Basilletti (Overall), Allysha Nordyke (8th grade), Noelle Fisher (8th grade), Baily Risheil (7th grade), Annie Titus (7th grade). To view pictures from the awards ceremony, click here and here. Visit the YouTube video of award winners and some of the essay judges here.
The following graduate consultants, who are also teaching assistants in the Department of English, served as judges in 2010: Matthew Allen, Danielle Cordaro, Kristen Moore, Laurie Pinkert, Caitlan Spronk, Adam Watkins.
The following undergraduate consultants also served as judges in 2010: Julie Haner (Management), Aubrie Harland (Chemistry), Mackenzie Lechlitner (English Education)
Andrew Oloffson (History/English), Kristina Dolezal (Management), Kerissa White (Accounting).
Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) Journal Project: The Art of Learning, the Art of Caring. Purdue Writing Lab staff worked with LARA instructors and students to develop a writing and art journal in connection with National Literacy Month (September) and the National Day on Writing, which was October 20, 2009. You may access the literary journal here.
2010 20th Annual Spelling Bee for Literacy benefiting the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) - Saturday, February 27, 1:00 PM at Jefferson High School
Pronouncer: the 2008 National Spelling Bee Champion, Sameer Mishra. Teams of three will compete to win prizes, but more importantly, to have fun helping support LARA and literacy in the greater-Lafayette area. Sponsors include: The Journal and Courier, Wal-Mart, PEFCU, Caterpillar, Sam's Club, Roeing Corporation, Lafayette Copier, Instant Copy, IFCU, Bison Financial Group.
The deadline for registration is February 19, 2010. Contact the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy for more information: 765-476-2920.
Spring 2009 Semester
19th Annual Spelling Bee for Literacy benefiting the Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA) - Saturday, February 28, 1:00 PM at Sunnyside Middle School
Pronouncer: the 2008 National Spelling Bee Champion, Sameer Mishra. Teams of three will compete to win prizes, but more importantly, to have fun helping support LARA and literacy in the greater-Lafayette area. Sponsors include: The Journal and Courier, Lilly, Wal-Mart, PEFCU, Caterpillar, Sam's Club, Roeing Corporation, Lafayette Copier, Comfort Dental of Lafayette, Instant Copy, IFCU, Lafayette Allergy and Asthma Clinic.
Fall 2008 Semester
Writing Lab Community Open House, October 22, 2008.
Writing Lab Purdue Open House, October 8, 2008.