Friday, February 28, 2014

Today's APA Workshop

Hi, all,

Special shout out to those 10 hardworking students who showed up for this afternoon's workshop. There's nothing tougher than trying to understand and use a new citation system, and a majority of the folks who attended today described themselves as beginners or novices when it comes to APA.

Here's a free tutorial about APA basics from APA (the American Psychological Association) themselves: just click here to access the tutorial.

Happy writing,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Everyday Thoughts From the Writing Center: We Learn As We Go

I would be lying if I said I knew absolutely everything about writing. I think many people have a misconception of writing tutors being fairy god mothers who will just wave a magic wand to correct the paper without any visible effort. This idea is completely false. Being a writing tutor takes a lot of effort, not only by trying to assist a student on his or her paper, but also by trying to learn new and different material on a regular basis. We do not know everything and we are often alongside the student learning WITH them, rather than just telling them how to correct it. I have seen this apparent in my own time in the Writing Center.

Last semester, I had the chance to work with a nontraditional student who was in the Nursing Program. She came in to get help with an assignment that was supposed to be in APA style. It was an assignment that had been returned with an incomplete grade because her professor was very strict on citation. I was really nervous at first, because I myself was not that comfortable working with APA and knew she would need a lot of help to get a full grade on the assignment. I told her I was not very familiar with APA, but she and I could work together to figure it out. The first session we did together lasted the full one hour, and we did not even get to cover three full sources. I was worried after the first session she would not return, because I did not feel like I helped her that much. However, she returned a few days later, not for a specific assignment but just to learn more about how do to APA citation. Over the next couple of weeks she probably came in a total of four times solely to work on learning APA style. I knew the sessions were not only benefiting her, but they were also extremely beneficial for me because I was learning a style that I was not comfortable with. After working with her, I felt much more comfortable working with an APA paper; I no longer cringe with I see “John Smith-APA style” on the schedule. I now feel comfortable addressing APA papers. Even if I still have to refer back to the book sometimes, it is still not as frequently as I did before
-Kaitlyn Daignault

Everyday Thoughts From the Writing Center: Less is More!

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received from an English professor is that less is more. When it comes to writing a paper, especially a paper with a required word count, it is easy to get caught up in adding fluff. Adjectives are great, but when you begin to write sentences that just seem to go on forever in a continuous loop of just repeating the same information and ideas that are the same as the notions that you've continuously postulated over and over again ad infinitum in slightly different forms and casts and configurations and styles and modes and specific fashions, then it just turns into an endless loop of saying the same concepts and theories and erudition in an infinitely long loop of repetitious nonsense and extrapolation of the sort of same cerebration and excogitation that you've predicated previously that just begins to completely lose its meaning and context and imperative connotation and by the end of the sentence just ends up not making sense anymore to the point where it's absolutely impossible in any coherently justifiable way to efficaciously determine what it is that you were actually trying to say in the first place. Readers don't like that. Content is far more important than trying to sound smart by forcing vocabulary or by stretching sentences to the point of incoherence.


Monday, February 10, 2014

Need Help Off Campus?

The Writing Center is located in Baird Hall, Room 206. They also offer help for students who don't make it to campus as often.

The Writing Center can communicate with you via Skype video conference calls, and even regular telephone calls! All that we ask is that you provide some key information to help us help you! This information includes:
  • Your name
  • Skype name/ phone number
  • instructor's name
  • course name
  • details of the paper/ assignment
  • due date
After an appointment date is set, we will ask you to email a copy of your assignment sheet and draft to for your online security, please email us from your RSU student email account.

Here is a testimonial from RSU's own Kyndal Irwin:

"I am so glad the writing center has an option to send in your paper instead of having to meet with them in person. I commute from Tulsa and I am not on campus every day so it's much easier for me to email it to them. And they were very quick to get back with me! Later that evening I received an email back with feedback on my paper. It was very easy, fast and extremely convenient for me!"

Helpful Tips on MLA vs. APA Formatting

In all college writing, a big stressor can be correctly formatting citations. Whether it be APA or MLA it can be a tedious and confusing process.

Students are welcome to use the Writing Center to their advantage and get some awesome explanations and tips on how to cite properly.

The Everyday Writer is a book that some of you may have, it is really helpful. If you do not have a copy of The Everyday Writer, purchasing one is a great place to start! It is available at the bookstore but also available in the Writing Center for students to refer to at anytime. Stop by and see us!

Still feeling a bit confused? No worries, the Writing Center staff is not only more than willing to help but they are also very knowledgeable.

The Purdue Owl website also has some helpful information. You can access their site at

To schedule an appointment with the Writing Center give us a call at 918-343-7838.

Happy Writing :)
-Dakota Gainer

Got a case of the word vomit? Tips on how to organize your writing...

Sometimes the mere thought of writing a paper can be overwhelming. With long papers and research assignments, the hardest part can simply be getting started.

Large amounts of information can be overwhelming especially trying to figure out how to condense your research and ideas into a shorter paper. I used to think that a 12 page paper was incredibly long, but the more research I did and the more knowledge I gained the more I realized I would need all of those pages, if not more.

The next problem is realizing where to start, finding a focus point and elaborating cohesively. The Writing Center has been my saving grace on more than one occasion to help me organize ideas.

It is helpful to have some idea of what you want to do before consulting the Writing Center for help in order to get the most out of your time.

Some strategies that have really helped me to excel in the writing process are jotting down some initial ideas. I might make an outline similar to the circle webs you may have had to do in middle school. Start with a central idea and branch off with a few related concepts that you want to cover.

The next thing I usually do is to create a rough draft and and re-read it a few times, tweaking it little by little to make it the best I can. After that point is when I'd visit the Writing Center and create a final draft with the help of the tutors.

Keep in mind that the Writing Center can help with other assignments not strictly papers. Whether you need help organizing your thoughts for an exam, or preparing a capstone project or class presentation, the Writing Center is here to help.

Happy Writing,
Dakota Gainer