On-Campus Writing Resources
Your Professor’s Office Hours
Many new college students don’t realize that all faculty at Colby hold “office hours”–a few hours each week scheduled just for meeting with students–that you may use to talk about a concept, a new assignment, research ideas etc. Going to your professors’ office hours is a good way to learn their expectations and to ask specific questions you might not want to raise in class.
Tip: When it comes to writing assignments, “Could you read this paper and tell me what you think?” is too big a question. Instead, come prepared with a couple specific questions OR ask your professor to review your introduction, the first page of a draft, or your list of research sources.
Farnham Writers’ Center (FWC) Tutors
The Farnham Writers’ Center supports writing at Colby through peer writing tutoring, faculty support, and special events. Trained peer writing tutors will work with you on all aspects of writing from brainstorming to revising a draft to polishing a final project. Writers’ Center tutors use a “non-directive” approach, so they will ask you to remain the owner and expert on your writing rather than “fixing” your paper for you. Peer writing tutors are trained to produce better writers, not just better papers.
The Writers’ Center is on the second floor of Miller Library in Room 206. It is open Monday to Thursday 10:00AM-Midnight & Sunday 2:00PM-Midnight. You can schedule an appointment here.
Many W1s have a dedicated writing tutor, called a Writing Fellow, assigned to the course. Get to know your Fellow! He/she can discuss your assignments and ideas, review paper comments, and help with drafts. Some hold set “office hours,” while others meet students by appointment.
WP112 Expository Writing Workshop
Writing Department faculty coordinate WP112, a non-graded, one-credit course for individualized one-to-one writing help; it is designed for students who would like extra help with a writing-intensive course, theses, or assignments. WP112 students must meet once weekly with the same tutor for a total of ten sessions during the semester.
Colby’s librarians are also an important resource for writing that you might not think of at first. They can be the key to helping you find research and information beyond Google and Wikipedia (which your professors will usually require). They can also tell you about the research databases and books owned by Colby’s libraries, help you create good search terms, and show you how to narrow your search so that you don’t get thousands of results. Colby has three libraries: Miller (Humanities and Social Sciences), Olin (Natural Sciences), and Bixler (Art and Music). Expert librarians work in each building. The libraries’ home page can also help you get started.
For More Information or Questions:
Online Writing Resources
|Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)||The Purdue OWL is the most comprehensive academic online writing resource, with general writing tips, citation help, subject specific guidelines, and ESL/ELL resources. If you need reliable, up-to-date MLA, APA, or Chicago citation advice, this is the place to look. Easy to navigate and well maintained, the OWL is a favorite of the Writing Department staff and Writers’ Center tutors.|
|What is Plagiarism (and how do I avoid it?)||A concise, accurate definition–with self-quizzes–of plagiarism and citation from The University of Southern Mississippi Libraries. This website has a number of short pages to review at your own pace that explain and illustrate acceptable and unacceptable source use and three quick self quizzes to help you test your understanding. A good resource to review if you’re nervous about what to cite in a research-based paper.|
|UNC Chapel Hill Writing Handouts||The Writing Center at UNC Chapel Hill has a great online repository of handouts on topics from research to writing, citations, grammar, assignment types, and discipline stylistics. Though the links are described as handouts, they display as a web page (not a Word doc)…and several link to instructional videos. With extensive and multimedia offerings in an easily accessible format, it’s a great resource to check.|
|UC Davis Science Writing||The UC Davis Science Writing page is an unconventional resource—relying on video responses from UCD professors to common science-writing questions—but covers a lot of ground. Visual or aural learners might prefer this resource to one of the more traditional text-based writing resources.|
|Diana Hacker Pocket Style Manual||Spiral-bound book used for most W1 classes, the manual is a great resource when it comes to citations. The newest version is yellow, and includes new citation tips for digital media (Twitter, blogs, etc.). If you need to use one, the Writers’ Center always has a few, or you can try checking the Diana Hacker website (limited and sometimes hard to navigate).|
|Word Reference forums||Word reference forums can be an invaluable resource for all writers (there are some great threads with phrase and word comparisons/contrasts), and they are especially useful for writers working in languages other than their first. Wordreference’s real strength is in usage and colloquialisms, and in comparing them across languages and dialects. The forum discussions can be overwhelming at times, but the usage advice is always sound.|
|Grammar Girl||Grammar Girl is a subsection of QuickAndDirtyTips.com, and the site has gone through a few interface changes recently that can make it hard to navigate. Nonetheless, “Grammar Girl” Mignon Fogarty has some of the best and most accessible explanations of common usage and grammar issues. While she explains the grammar concepts, she also offers quick and clear tips that make writing so much easier.|
|University of Wisconsin-Madison Writer’s Handbook|