Walden University Writing Center -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Recent Posts

Apply Yourself: Using Writing Center Feedback to Develop Your Writing Skills

No comments
If you have ever had a paper review appointment with the Writing Center, odds are your writing instructor has included a comment like this: Please apply my feedback throughout your draft, not only to the pages I reviewed today. This language is reflected on our website as well: In our 30-minute appointments, “we rarely can read through an entire draft, although the majority of our comments will be applicable to the remainder of the draft” (“Following Appointment Policies,” para. 1). We even go so far as to ask students to apply feedback from one paper to another:
Each paper you attach [to a Writing Center appointment] should reflect the advice you received in your previous review(s). If you are not applying feedback from one review to the next, no matter what we have reviewed (i.e., different papers or the same section of a paper), we reserve the right to mark your appointment as missed and return the paper without a review. (“Feedback and Revisions,” para. 1)
Clearly, we feel strongly about this policy – but what exactly do we mean by applying feedback? Why is it so important? And how can you, as Walden students, ensure that you are doing it?

practical strategies for applying feedback to your writing

Our emphasis on applying feedback stems from our mission as a center. Our goal is not to help students improve individual assignments, but rather to help students develop writing skills. In other words, we do not proofread or “fix” papers (hear Brittany and Nik debunk this and other writing center myths in our latest WriteCast episode); instead, we offer instruction to help you become a more confident writer and self-editor, no matter what assignment you are working on.

When we ask you to apply our feedback, then, we are basically asking you to demonstrate that you are learning from our instruction. Because we focus on skill development, it is important that we see students practice those skills from one paper—or section of a paper—to another.

Skillful application of feedback helps you to make the most of your Writing Center appointments and grow as a writer. But how do you do it? Here are a few practical strategies:
  • Critically read your writing instructor’s comments. In other words, don’t just revise your individual assignment and call it a day. Instead, take the time to analyze the feedback and your own writing: Do you understand every comment? (If not, be sure to ask!) Do you recognize the issue that prompted the comment? Do you see any other places in your paper—whether or not your writing instructor commented on them—where this issue crops up again?
  • Revise your paper issue by issue. For example, if your writing instructor comments on topic sentences, review the paragraphs throughout your entire paper to identify all the places where you should add or revise topic sentences. This approach is a bit time consuming, but it is one of the best ways to understand your writing patterns and practice a particular skill.
  • Document your common errors and concerns. Some students keep journals of common grammar mistakes, while others use post-it notes with reminders like “Don’t forget a thesis statement!” Whatever your strategy, having some sort of concrete acknowledgment of your most pressing writing concerns will help you to recognize and work on those issues in future assignments. If you need help identifying these top areas of concern, ask your faculty member or writing instructor for help.
  • When scheduling a new paper review appointment, leave a note for your writing instructor identifying your writing concerns. Are you working on paragraph cohesion? Clear introductions? Passive voice? Verb tenses? Be as specific as possible so that your writing instructor can focus his or her feedback to best help you meet your goals.

We understand how challenging writing can be, and we do not expect students to master a writing skill after an appointment or two. We do, however, ask students to strive to become reflective and self-aware writers, to recognize their writing patterns and develop their skills from one assignment to the next. Give these tips a try to take ownership of your writing and develop skills to carry with you throughout your Walden program and beyond.



author

Kayla Skarbakka
 is a writing instructor and coordinator of international writing instruction and support at the Walden Writing Center. She recently moved to the Seattle area, where she has a lot to learn about seafood, composting, volcanoes, and surviving gloomy weather.
 
Get new posts in your email inbox!

WriteCast Episode 12: 7 Common Writing Center Myths Debunked

No comments
We're coming up on the start of a new fall term, and we thought it would be a great time to explore some common writing center myths we hear from students. This month, Nik and Brittany explain who should use the Writing Center, how to use the Writing Center, and what to expect from your Writing Center experience. Stream or download the episode below, and share your thoughts in the comments!




author

WriteCast
is hosted by writing instructors Nikolas Nadeau and Brittany Kallman Arneson and produced by writing instructor Anne Shiell. Check out the podcast archive for more episodes. 

Get new posts in your email inbox!

Tech Tip: How to Find DOIs for Multiple Articles at One Time

No comments
This tech tip will teach you how to find the DOI for multiple articles at one time using CrossRef. I shared this trick at a recent virtual residency, and it was a big hit with students. Who doesn’t like to save a little time?

Tech tip image

First, prepare your reference list.

Create an APA-formatted reference list with your electronic journal article entries. Do not use hanging indents, though. You’ll need to eventually, but CrossRef won’t accept that formatting.

Next, visit CrossRef

1. Go to www.crossref.org.
2. In the left column, click the Simple Text Query link.
3. If you haven’t done so already, click the link near the top of the page to sign up for a free CrossRef account, which will register your email address in the CrossRef system.
4. On the Simple Text Query page, enter your registered email.
5. Copy and paste the reference entries you created into the text box.
6. Click Submit.

Then, format the entry

After submitting your reference entries, CrossRef will return your list with any DOIs it has found in red text, as in the following example:

Clark, D., & Roayer, H. (2013). The effect of education on adult mortality and health: Evidence from Britain. The American Economic Review, 103(6), 2087-2120. http://dx.doi.org/10.1257/aer.103.6.2087

You’ll need to remove the "http://dx.doi.org" part of the DOI that CrossRef returns. Also notice that CrossRef will remove any italic formatting, so you’ll need to add italics back into your reference entry. To put the above example entry into APA style, you would need to
  • Remove “http://dx.doi.org/”
  • Add “doi:” before 10.1257
  • Deactivate the hyperlink
  • Create a hanging indent
  • Italicize the journal title and volume number

So, your final reference entry would look like this:
Clark, D., & Roayer, H. (2013). The effect of education on adult mortality and health: Evidence from Britain. The American Economic Review, 103(6), 2087-2120. doi:10.1257/aer.103.6.2087

That's it! Now when your reference list contains multiple electronic journal articles, you can search for all the DOIs at one time.

Anne Shiell

Anne Shiell
 is a writing instructor and the coordinator of social media resources at the Walden Writing Center. She also produces WriteCast, the Writing Center's podcast.

Get new posts in your email inbox!

Meet the Newest Writing Center Instructors: Amy and Ellen

No comments
The Writing Center welcomed four new staff members in 2014. Earlier this week, we introduced you to dissertation editors Basil and Dayna. Today, we're welcoming writing instructors Amy and Ellen. If you're a Walden student, you'll likely meet Amy and Ellen again through paper reviews, webinars, and residencies. 

Amy Lindquist
Amy Lindquist, writing instructor

How long have you been working at Walden?
Almost 1 year.
What were you doing professionally before you started at Walden?
I was teaching in a university Intensive English Center where I taught beginner to advanced English language learners from all over the world.
Could you talk about a particular writing challenge you faced and how you overcame that challenge?
I struggle getting started. Whether it be a blog post, a paper for school, or a card to a friend, I always pause and feel like I don’t know where to start. Many times I tell myself that I just need to get some of my ideas out first, so I start writing anything that comes to my mind on a separate sheet of paper or a different document on my laptop. Then, once I get some of my ideas down on the page, I go back and decide on a general outline for my draft. Many times I will tweak whatever I initially wrote or move some sentences around. I need to remove the pressure to write it perfectly the first time and just allow myself to write. It’s all mental.
What do you find enjoyable about teaching or editing writing?
I enjoy seeing the students I work with progress and gain confidence in their skills. In my experience, when I write something I feel good about, I feel a great sense of accomplishment. I want others to experience that sense of accomplishment as well.
Describe your approach to writing in 3 words:
Yoga, coffee, write. (In that order.)

Ellen Zamarripa
Ellen Zamarripa, writing instructor

How long have you been working at Walden?
I joined in July of 2014.
What were you doing professionally before you started at Walden?
I spent the last two years earning my Master’s degree in English Studies and teaching first-year composition at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
“Just do it.” Yes, that is the Nike slogan, but when applied to writing it means just write something down on paper. It doesn’t matter if what you write is poorly constructed or goes off topic. What matters is that you have something to work with, think about, edit, and revise.
What do you find enjoyable about teaching or editing writing?
My favorite thing about teaching is seeing my students have “ah-ha!” moments. As a Writing Instructor at Walden, I may not be able to physically see the students I help have “ah-ha!” moments, but I know they happen. Walden students will often make revisions to their papers based on the feedback they receive from a Writing Instructor, and then come back to the Writing Center for additional guidance on the same essay. When we see that the student has made informed revisions, it is clear they had an “ah-ha!” moment at some point during their revision process. It is such a rewarding feeling to help students better comprehend writing and achieve these “ah-ha!” moments!
What’s one writing accessory you can’t live without?
A highlighter. Whenever I read or write anything, I use a highlighter to indicate areas that I want to find quickly and key words I want to remember. 

Beth Oyler

Beth Oyler, a writing instructor and the coordinator of webinar writing instruction at the Walden Writing Center, conducted this interview.

Get new posts in your email inbox!

Meet the Newest Writing Center Editors: Basil and Dayna

1 comment
The Writing Center welcomed four new staff members in 2014. Some are very new (welcome, Ellen!) and some have been around for a while. They kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions to share a little about them and their approach to writing. Today, we're featuring the newest dissertation editors, and later this week, we'll feature the newest writing instructors. If you're a Walden doctoral student, you may work with Basil and Dayna at a residency or in the Form & Style review. 



Dissertation Editor Basil Considine
Basil Considine, dissertation editor

How long have you been working at Walden?
I started [at Walden] in December 2013, right before the now infamous polar vortex descended upon the land.
What were you doing professionally before you started at Walden?
I worked at Boston University’s College of Arts & Sciences Writing Center before starting at Walden. I started tutoring people in writing as an undergraduate, and although I’ve had several main careers over the years it was always something that I continued as I got my master’s (in sacred music) and doctorate (in music and drama). 
What’s the best writing advice you were ever given?
Don’t state anything that you can’t support, but don’t be afraid to explore questions that you don’t know the answer for.
What’s your most memorable writing victory and why?
My most memorable writing victory was finishing my doctoral dissertation. I learned to speak new languages (Mauritian Kreol, Hindi), learned to read Dutch, and did library and archival research in four countries on five hundred years of history – and then distilled that down into a comprehensible and interesting-to-read dissertation in half a year of dedicated writing. It is my proudest writing accomplishment to date, but one that I look forward to eclipsing.
What’s something that has struck you about Walden or Walden students?
Walden students are incredibly varied, but it is a rare day when specific, targeted feedback isn’t well-received and taken to heart.
Describe your approach to writing in 3 words:
Clear communication matters.


Dissertation Editor Dayna Herrington
Dayna Herrington, dissertation editor

How long have you been working at Walden?
I started at Walden in March, 2014.
What were you doing professionally before you started at Walden?
I worked at Bowling Green State University as the Assistant Director of the ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) Program and a lecturer in the English Department.
Could you talk about a particular writing challenge you faced and how you overcame that challenge?
I tend to be more of a recursive rather than a linear writer. When I sit down to write, I do not necessarily know what I’m going to say next or how I’m going to organize it. If I was assigned to write an outline for a given writing project and to turn it in before I completed a draft, I became completely stuck. I keep this lesson in mind. For some people, constructing an outline before beginning is a way to get them started, and it keeps the writing organized and clear. For others, it becomes a roadblock. It’s important to find a few strategies that work for you individually and be ok that not all of them will.
What do you find enjoyable about teaching or editing writing? 
Each time I read a piece of writing, I learn from it. I like having the opportunity to read about different fields of study and learn new ideas. I also like the feeling of helping students communicate clearly and efficiently and achieve their writing goals.
What’s one writing accessory you can’t live without?
A thesaurus.

Help us welcome Basil and Dayna to the Writing Center!

Beth Oyler

Beth Oyler,
 a writing instructor and the coordinator of webinar writing instruction at the Walden Writing Center, conducted this interview.

Get new posts in your email inbox!