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News from the Purdue Writing Lab

The Purdue OWL News is an online newsletter addressing readers' writing-related questions and covering events in the Purdue University Writing Lab and the Online Writing Lab at Purdue (Purdue OWL).

The Grammar Gang offers grammar information and answers your grammar questions on their blog, a cross-cultural writing resource endeavor brought to you by the Purdue OWL and the UniSA/Adeliade University Possums.

Purdue Writing Lab Discontinues the Grammar Hotline


September 21, 2011 2:13 pm
By Elizabeth Angeli

Beginning this semester, the Purdue Writing Lab has discontinued the Grammar Hotline. Tutors are no longer available to answer Grammar Hotline calls because of an increase in face-to-face consultations in the Purdue Writing Lab.

However, tutors are still available to answer questions about grammar, mechanics, and citation via email. You may contact the tutors using the OWL Mail Tutor service.

Thank you in advance for understanding.


Purdue Writing Lab Fall 2011 In-Lab Workshops


September 15, 2011 3:07 pm
By Elizabeth Angeli

The Purdue Writing Lab offers free workshops for all Purdue students, staff, and faculty interested in learning about different aspects of writing. No sign-up is required; just show up. All workshops are held in the Writing Lab, Heavilon Hall 226.

Wednesday, September 21, 11:30-12:30 p.m.: "Online Research: Finding and Evaluating Sources"

You know the information is out there—you’re just not sure how to get to it. We can help! Improve your Internet savvy with an interactive tour of the tips, tricks, and tools of the academic research trade. Yes, you can find relevant and reliable sources on the web. 

Monday, October 3, 1:00-2:00 p.m.: "The Research Paper: Developing and Organizing Research"

You have a topic. You may even have some sources. What you don’t have is a research paper that will write and arrange itself! Join us for hands-on activities and discussion that will help you learn to complement, extend, expand, and complicate claims in ways that clearly satisfy assignment goals. Workshops are free for Purdue students, staff, and faculty. No sign-up required.

Tuesday, October 25, 12:00-1:00 p.m.: "Introduction to MLA: Documenting Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism"

Building knowledge versus borrowing knowledge—where do academics draw the line? Attend this free workshop and find out! Become skilled at navigating MLA resources and avoiding the common citation mistakes that can cost you your writerly credibility.  No pre-registration necessary for Purdue students, staff, and faculty.

Wednesday, October 26, 3:00-4:00 p.m.: "Introduction to APA: Documenting Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism"

Memorize all the rules of APA style and formatting? No thanks! Join us for an exploration of the strategies and sources that can help you master APA citation without breaking your brain bank. As a bonus, you’ll get directed practice and a firmer understanding of why citation matters in the first place. Free for Purdue students, staff, and faculty. No sign-up required. 

Thursday, November 17, 10:30-11:30 a.m.: "Presentations: Writing with PowerPoint and the Basics of Visual Rhetoric"

We've all seen it: the world's worst PowerPoint. The last thing we want is to be the author of such abuse! Join your fellow Purdue students, faculty, and staff for a free, walk-in workshop on effective PowerPoint presentation. Learn how to apply the basic principles of visual rhetoric to enhance your success in this widely used mode of communication.

Wednesday, November 30, 2:00-3:00 p.m.: "Learning to Write in English: Spotlight on Grammar and Punctuation"

The words “grammar,” “punctuation,” and “fun” don’t often end up in the same sentence, but knowing the standard uses of the marks and signs of English syntax will help you write more effectively and efficiently; therefore, join us for a low-stress, peer-group discussion and hands-on practice identifying and correcting those all-too-common mechanical errors. Free! No sign-up required! 

For more information, call the Writing Lab at 765-494-3723.


Purdue OWL Welcomes Webmaster Caitlan Spronk


September 9, 2011 10:41 am
By Elizabeth Angeli

Over the summer, the Webmaster position transitioned from Jeffrey Bacha to Caitlan Spronk, the former OWL Mail Coordinator. Here are a few words Caitlan would like to share:

I’m a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition, with specializations in Professional and Technical Writing and Rhetoric, Technology, and Digital Writing.  In addition to working on the OWL, I teach technical writing. Before becoming the OWL Webmaster, I worked as a tutor in the Purdue Writing Lab and was the OWL Mail Coordinator.  As the OWL Mail Coordinator, I really enjoyed interacting directly with users to help them answer their writing questions. Working on OWL Mail provided me with a problem-solving experience that I enjoyed, and seeing the wide variety of writing questions gave me a better understanding of the diversity of OWL users.  I’m glad I’ll be able to continue helping those users in a different way by keeping OWL resources usable, accessible, and up-to-date.

I've been working with websites since a summer camp class over ten years ago, and I am thrilled to be able to apply those skills to the OWL. My approach to web design favors usability, accessibility, and clean, semantic markup, and I hope to continue the tradition of upholding and improving those aspects of the OWL.   As other Webmasters and Coordinators have stressed, users’ needs drive our decisions about the OWL. As such, one area that I hope to develop more on the OWL is increased interactivity and using different mediums for resources, as we've already started to do with our YouTube channel. 

I look forward to hearing from users in my new role.


Purdue Writing Lab Fall 2011 Conversation Group


September 2, 2011 11:55 am
By Elizabeth Angeli

The Purdue Writing Lab's ESL Conversation Groups will be held on the following days in Heavilon Hall 226 during Fall 2011:

Mondays: 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Tuesdays: 11:30am - 12:30pm
Wednesdays: 12:30pm - 1:30pm
Thursdays: 1:30pm - 2:30pm
Fridays: 9:00am - 10:00am

Here a list of the weekly themes for Conversation Group:

Week 1: No Conversation Group
Week 2: August 22 - September 2 -- Food
Week 3: September 5 - 9 -- Money and Finance
Week 4: September 12 - 16 -- Sports and Exercise
Week 5: September 19 - 23 -- Music
Week 6: September 26 - 30 -- Fads and Fashion
Week 7: October 3 -7 -- Travel
Week 8: October 10 - 14 -- Health
Week 9: October 17 - 21 -- Hobbies
Week 10: October 24 - 28 -- Holidays
Week 11: October 31 - November 4 -- Entertainment
Week 12: November 7 - 11 -- Flora and Fauna
Week 13: November 14 - 18 -- Relationships
Week 14: November 21 - 22 -- Open Topic
Week 15: November 28 - December 2 -- Weather
Week 16: No Conversation Group

For more information, contact the Writing Lab at 765-494-3723.


Purdue Writing Lab Fall 2011 Brown Bag Workshops


September 2, 2011 11:36 am
By Elizabeth Angeli

The Writing Lab offers a series of Brown Bag workshops for English 106, 106i, 108 instructors to share pedagogical strategies and materials for the composition classroom. The workshops will take place on Thursdays from 12-1 PM in the Writing Lab (Heavilon 226). Here is the Fall 2011 Brown Bag schedule:

September 29: Invention Strategies for Composition Students (with guest presenter Mary McCall)
October 13: Visual Rhetoric in the Composition Classroom
October 27: Using Literature in ENGL 106 (with guest presenter Sam Wager)
November 3: Peer Review Strategies
November 17: ESL Students in ENGL 106 (with guest presenter Crissy McMartin-Miller)
December 1: Digital Projects in the Composition Classroom (with guest presenters Emily Legg & Adam Strantz)

For more information, please contact the Writing Lab at 765-494-3723. Bring your lunch!


The 10th Purdue OWL YouTube Vidcast


August 22, 2011 9:14 am
By Elizabeth Angeli

We are pleased to announce the 10th video on the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel. Content developer Zachery Koppelmann, who is working with Purdue University's School of Mechanical Engineering's Writing Enhancement Program, develops vidcasts for students in the Mechanical Engineering (ME) 263 course. This vidcast explains how to write memos for the course and is specifically written for students enrolled in ME 263. However, the vidcast may be helpful for students not enrolled in the course because it provides information about the importance of audience while writing a memo. For more general information on memo writing, please see the Purdue OWL's resources on memo writing.

Thanks to Zachery and the Purdue University School of Mechanical Engineering's Writing Enhancement Program for making these vidcasts possible.


Résumé Writing Vidcast


August 9, 2011 12:00 pm
By Elizabeth Angeli

The newest addition to the Purdue OWL YouTube Channel is a vidcast on résumé writing. Content developer Alex Layne composed the vidcast, and she also developed the Interactive Résumé. Many thanks to Alex for contributing to the OWL's résumé resources.


Writing Lab Director Helps Launch JLD Special Issue


July 28, 2011 12:46 pm
By Elizabeth Angeli

Linda Bergmann, one of the founders of the “Grammar Gang," is helping launch a new venture for this international group of bloggers. The Grammar Gang will be compiling a special issue of the Journal of Learning Design, to come out in March 2012, entitled "The Classroom without Walls:  Social Software, Cross Institutional Collaboration and Working across Cultures."  The intent is to examine innovation in higher education, as boundaries between institutions blur and policy makers are constantly challenged to keep up with the amorphous technological landscape.

This special issue of JLD invites contributions which look at:

The Grammar Gang began as a cross-institutional collaboration between Purdue University and the University of South Australia in 2008. Several other institutions have joined since then, and there are now more than 100,000 visitors to the blog each year.

Guidelines for papers can be found here: http://www.jld.qut.edu.au/publications/

Deadlines for manuscripts are 30 October, 2011.

 Contact Andrea.duff@unisa.edu.au for further information.


Tutoring Grammar Resources


July 7, 2011 8:06 am
By Elizabeth Angeli

The OWL has added a new resource to Teacher and Tutor Resources. Tutoring Grammar offers rationales and practical advice for writing centers and tutors when working with grammar during tutorials. Teachers might also find this resource helpful if they are looking for strategies to use when teaching grammar.

Many thanks to content developer Russell Keck for creating this resource. 


The OWL Partners with OpenStudy


July 6, 2011 7:40 pm
By Elizabeth Angeli

The OWL is pleased to announce its partnership with OpenStudy, a social learning network that answers subject-specific questions, including questions about writing. OpenStudy users, whose reliability is rated by other users, answer submitted questions. You may submit a question to OpenStudy by clicking on the “OpenStudy” button on the social networking toolbar found on the bottom of every OWL page.

You may still submit writing-related questions to the OWL Mail Tutors, who will respond to your questions. OpenStudy may provide more immediate feedback, which will be provided by other OpenStudy users.


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