There are lots of different types of writing and lots of formats to keep in mind depending on what type of assignment you are given. This page will help you keep everything straight.
OWL: Online Writing Lab from Purdue University is the source for getting help with writing.
Here is some help for your different type of writing assignments if you get stuck:
- Writing a Letter (more help for writing a Business Letter)
- 10 Steps to Writing an Essay: This site, "How To Write an Essay: 10 Easy Steps," offers a ten-step process that teaches students how to write an essay. Links to the writing steps are found on the left, and additional writing resources are located across the top. A Guide to Writing Different Types of Essays.
- Have to write a Literary Criticism but aren't quite sure what that is? Here's a brief overview.
- Writing Prompts & Journal Topics
- Writing a Short Story
Before submitting any written assignments, please review this resource on Proper Formatting. WARNING: When you submit your online assignments you are better off typing it in Google Docs or on your computer and then copying/pasting it into the submission. If for some reason you take more than a few minutes to make your submission, the site will sense inactivity and log you out. If this happens while you are typing you will lose your work (additionally, if you lose power or internet access you will also lose your work. Typing on Google Docs or on some computers will auto-save).
Because course components focus on written composition, we will be making a special effort to formalize most of your writing. That means a limitation on things like smilies, slang, acronyms, sentence fragments and things like that (I reserve the right to add to this list at any time). This is the kind of thing better suited to email, Facebook and Twitter. While there are discussion forums in this course, I will still expect a little more formality than you may be used to online. Standards in the forum will be somewhat relaxed, but proper grammar and spelling will still be expected.
Many of you are used to a very particular style of writing, one that has been drilled into you from the time you were in Middle School (perhaps earlier! Maybe you even still have teachers who tell you to do it. They are wrong!) It includes things like making sure your essays have five paragraphs; telling the reader what you are going to talk about later in your paper (Don't do this! Your introduction should provide some interesting ideas, conclusions or assertions which you will later explain, prove or defend in that section.); or that you end your essays by stating, "In conclusion..." Let me be the one to tell you before it's too late that college professors hate that (many of them anyway). They'll say things like, "Don't tell me it's your conclusion, I can see it's the last paragraph, I know it's your conclusion!" They also tend to hate it when there are sentences that act as filler and don't add anything to the overall essay. On a related note, your conclusion should also not contain phrases like, "So as you can see, there are many similarities and differences between X and Y." That doesn't mean anything either. It adds nothing to your paper. Here's what you should write in your conclusions at this level:
- End your essays with a summary of your assertions
- Come up with something you believe about why
For example, don't ever say something like, "This essay is going to be about..." Just come out and say what you're going to say. If you think that you could take a sentence out of your paper and it wouldn't change anything then by all means, do it!
Avoid using any general statements as well, they don't mean anything. If you want to write, there are many reasons for and against blah, blah, blah. Don't. It doesn't add anything to the discussion.
I happen to dislike those types of things as well, but I won't yell at you for doing it, I'll just point it out and ask you to consider a better way. It's time for your writing to grow and I think this course will help you with that.
End of rant, you may now move on