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Writing Lab

Welcome to the UD Writing Lab!

The Writing Lab now offers both on-campus and online sessions! To sign up for an on-campus session, find sign-up sheets outside Braniff 304. For an online session, follow this link. For further instructions regarding both on-campus and online sessions, see below.

 

Hours of Operation

On campus, the Writing Lab is open Sunday through Friday, according to the following schedule:

Sunday: 6-10pm

Monday – Thursday: 10am-4pm; 6pm-10pm

Friday: 10am-2pm

The Online Writing Lab is open 4-8pm, Monday through Thursday. (While available to on-campus students, please be advised that these hours are the only ones available for online-only students. If you are able, we'd love to see you in person.)

A student may sign up for one thirty-minute session per paper, per day.

If you are having trouble signing up for a Writing Lab session, please email the Writing Lab at writinglab@udallas.edu or the Writing Lab Director, Daniel Spiotta, at djspiotta@udallas.edu.

 

What is the Writing Lab?

The Writing Lab exists to help students improve their mastery of the skills of composition — invention, organization, and style. At the Lab, we want to help students become better writers by attending, together, to the crafting of specific papers. Focusing primarily on the student’s development, we neither edit nor proof-read papers; instead, we aim to help the students discern areas for improvement, and to guide them into the next stage of that growth. All the tutors in the lab are doctoral students here at UD. We welcome papers of all kinds, not just Lit Trad papers; we work with students on papers from across the Core, including scientific writing, as well as on applications to various scholarships and programs.

 

General Guidelines for Any Visit to the Writing Lab 

In order to minimize points of contact, we are asking that students share an electronic version of their papers with the Writing Lab for all sessions (not just the virtual ones). Please share a copy of your paper via Google Docs with writinglab@udallas.edu, no less than 10 minutes before your session is due to start. Following this procedure will help reduce the inefficiency that tends to accompany virtual meetings.

When sharing your document, please give your file a title that will make it easy to recognize. An example of such a format would be your surname and the date of your session: "Spiotta Oct. 7"

Please note that your session's fruitfulness will correspond to your own preparedness. So please come with specific questions about your draft or outline, and prepare yourself to think and learn about the arts of grammar, logic, and rhetoric. Your tutor will not create a thesis for you (that would constitute plagiarism!) or provide your provisional thesis with textual argumentation. Instead, he or she will help you to develop your thoughts about the subject as you present it in your paper.

Note, too, that your session is only 25 minutes long, if on campus, and 20 minutes if online. Due to the conversational nature of this kind of learning, you should NOT expect to work through an entire paper in one session. Instead, you are more likely to focus intently upon a few areas of improvement. 

Important Note: In order to maximize this time, please handle the logistical operations listed below BEFORE your session is to begin. 

How to Make an Appointment

  • Sign up: There is a large corkboard just near the English department on the third floor of Braniff. On this board, there are sheets of paper indicating the available times for an in-person session. Simply write your name and the name of the professor who assigned the paper you are working on into one of the available spots. Write yourself a note, so that you can be sure to make your session!
  • Upload your documents: send copies of your documents to writinglab@udallas.edu. To streamline your session, complete this step BEFORE your session begins. You need to share:
    • Your paper (the most recent draft!)
    • The prompt for your paper (if you have it)
  • Sign in: Follow this link to sign in. To make your session as efficient as possible, please complete this step BEFORE your session begins.
  • Come: at the time you signed up for.
    • If making an in-person visit, bring either a laptop or a hard copy of your paper to the session so that you and your tutor can see the same words, punctuation, formatting, etc.
    • For an online session, open the invitation to the Google Meet video conference you will have received in your inbox. When your tutor is ready to see you, he or she will join the meeting as well.
  • No shows: if for any reason you cannot make the session you signed up for, please erase or scratch out your name from the sign-up sheet as soon as possible, or cancel the Google Meet appointment on your Calendar. If you have not done so half an hour before your session was scheduled to start, and you fail to come, your name will be written onto our Wall of Shame! Any student who, without seasonable notification, fails to attend three sessions will be banned from the Lab for the rest of the semester.

 

 

 

Sharing Your Document with Your Tutor (do this ahead of time)

1. Open your Google Docs [located in your Google "Suite of Apps" immediately to the left of your Account drop-down in the top right-hand corner of your email. Or go to docs.google.com]. 

2. Once in Google Docs, open the file folder icon ("Open file Picker") beneath the row of document templates, and next to the "AZ sort" options button. In the "Open a File" feature, select "Upload," and then either drag your file to the open space provided, or select the blue tab titled "Select a file from your device." 

3. Once the file is opened in Google Docs, select the blue button in the top right-hand corner titled "Share." Input the Writing Lab's email address: writinglab@udallas.edu

General Writing Lab Rules: [MODIFIED FOR THE REST OF THE FALL 2020 SEMESTER] 

1.  A sign-up sheet outside the Writing Lab is used to sign up for an appointment.  That sheet will be posted mid-day Thursday for the following week.

2.  Undergraduates are limited to one 30 minute slot per day per assignment.

3.  Students should bring a paper copy of the professor's prompt.

4.  Students must bring a paper copy of the student's draft or outline--not just a lap top--to be discussed. 

5.  Tutors are not allowed to edit, review, or critique take-home, out-of-class exams without the written consent of the exam-giving instructor.

6.  Tutors will comment on grammar, syntax, organization, and/or argumentation of the draft presented.  Their task is to show where the paper needs to improve, not to re-write the paper.  For that reason, tutors will point out consistent errors in grammar and syntax, but not correct them all.  Similarly, tutors will point out problems with evidence use or information flow, but they will not generate the paper's argument, evidence, or information. 

 

Should you have any questions regarding the Lab, please do not hesititate to reach out to the Director:

Mr. Daniel Spiotta
Adjunct Instructor of English and Writing Lab Director
Writing Lab: Braniff 304
Email:  djspiotta@udallas.edu

 Writing Lab Resources

Marking Guide with links to explanations of Common Errors and exercises to help you correct those errors.

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