Oregon State University’s Online Writing Support (OWS) provides written feedback via email (asynchronous) and 50-minute Zoom appointments (synchronous) to writers across all OSU campuses and locations. The Online Writing Suite serves OSU students, staff, faculty, and alumni, but we encourage you to review the FAQ below before scheduling a consultation.

Request an OWS consultation through our scheduling platform:   

    Schedule an OWS Consultation

Because seeing something in action is sometimes better than reading about how it works, we’ve created this brief video that shows you how to use our website to request feedback. In addition, we've answered some FAQs below. 

Writing Center overview

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Any OSU community member can submit writing for written feedback or schedule a Zoom appointment. This includes students, faculty, staff, and alumni. However, graduate students working on dissertations, theses, IRB applications, grant applications, manuscripts, and other advanced graduate projects should connect with the Graduate Writing Center for support. Additionally, we are happy to support OSU alumni, but we limit alumni to two consultations per term during the year following graduation. Contact [email protected] for questions about how the OWS can best support you in your writing needs. 

No, you don’t need to have a complete draft to request written feedback or to make an appointment. In either modality, you can ask for help getting started with an assignment, brainstorming ideas, and planning out your process. In fact, we recommend visiting early in your process and later as you develop your draft or work on revision. For written feedback just be sure to upload a document where we ask for a draft (an outline, a brainstorm, etc.) as well as the writing assignment prompt and describe in detail the kind of assistance you would like from the consultant. If you are primarily wanting help with brainstorming, we encourage you to try out a Zoom appointment so you and the writing consultant can think together in real-time. 

You can request written feedback on up to three writing projects (or three drafts of the same project) per week. 

You can make Zoom appointments as often as you like. We welcome repeat writers as we enjoy being a part of your writing process. You cannot schedule an appointment more than two weeks in advance, but we invite you to work with us often. 

All OWS consultations will receive an email confirmation after the appointment occurs or after the feedback has been sent to you—usually the next morning. If your instructor requests confirmation that you sought assistance from the OWS, you may forward or capture a screen shot of the confirmation email. 

For Zoom appointments, check your junk mail folder if you do not receive your confirmation within two hours following your appointment, and email [email protected] if you cannot locate the confirmation email in your in box or junk mail folder. 

For written feedback, it may be sent the next morning, but you can email [email protected] if you have questions or concerns. 

You can submit any kind of writing, as long as it doesn't exceed 25 double-spaced pages (around 6,250 words). Ideally, for longer projects, you should be prepared to request several written feedback consultations, each focusing on a different section of the project, so the consultant can offer more targeted feedback that might be more useful than feedback on the entire document. Graduate students who are working on dissertations and theses, IRB applications, grant/fellowship applications, and other advanced writing projects will be referred to the Graduate Writing Center for support. 

On the OWS consultation request form, you will be prompted to select a day by which you’d like feedback. You can expect to receive feedback by midnight of the day you selected, but we can often send feedback within 24-36 hours. We encourage you to schedule feedback earlier than your deadline so you’ll have a chance to revise and submit another draft for additional feedback, but if you need feedback immediately, you can always stop by the Studio in the Valley Library or schedule a Zoom consultation. 

We focus our feedback on global concerns, or "big picture" elements. These include organization and structure, thesis or focus, audience and purpose, argument and support, etc. Writers who want help with grammar, syntax, usage, etc. are encouraged to schedule a 50-minute appointment via Zoom or visit the Studio in the Valley Library. The OWS is not an editing or proofreading service. We cannot repair mechanical errors or rewrite your draft. We will not evaluate your writing as "good" or "bad" or predict what grade you will receive. Our most valuable contribution to your writing process is facilitating your thinking around writing elements like audience, purpose, organization, structure, and focus. 

Feedback is sent to the email address you provided in your appointment request. Please always use your Oregon State University ONID email address. Check your junk mail folder if you do not receive feedback by the date you expect it, and email [email protected] if you cannot locate your feedback email in your in box or junk mail folder. 

When you receive your feedback, you'll have the name and email address of the consultant. You can—and are encouraged to—email them with any follow-up questions you may have. 

Writing consultants can help you with any type of writing project or task. Course-based tasks might include brainstorming for an assignment, crafting a thesis statement or introduction, supporting an argument, organizing an essay, finding and incorporating research sources and more. We can also help with writing outside of coursework like application materials (e.g., personal statements, resume/cover letters, scholarship essays), presentations, letters, emails, blog posts, and discussion board posts for Ecampus courses.  

During your appointment you’ll have a conversation with a consultant about your writing project. Your consultant may explain how they can support your writing process, ask questions about your goals and writing so far, and review the document with you. While they won’t edit your document, they can review sections with you, talk through questions, explain rhetorical patterns, and help you identify next steps in your research and writing process.

Our consultants are typically moving from appointment to appointment with only a 5-10 minute break, so they are unable to review drafts prior to an appointment. Instead, during the consultation, they look at your draft with you if doing so fits with your needs. The conversation around your draft can be very valuable without a full, extensive review of the draft prior to an appointment. 

With our written feedback: Submit as early as possible and provide the OWS with as much information as you can. This includes details about the assignment itself, as well as your top concerns and questions. It is up to you to tell the consultant what kind of feedback will be most helpful to you at this point in your writing process. We encourage you not to include a request for proofreading in your appointment form.  

For an appointment: Come to your appointment with the assignment, prompt, or tasks you’re working on and whatever you have written so far. Think ahead about where you want to focus your time and attention. Consider making a list of questions you hope to answer in your appointment. If you’re stuck on a certain area or know you want to improve part of your writing based on previous feedback, that is helpful to share with the consultant. 

If you previously used the Writing Center for grammar appointments, please note that for Fall 2021, grammar support is offered within the 50-minute appointments we have available. Those 50-minute appointments can be used to focus on a number of goal areas a writer may have, and if a writer would like to focus on grammar, editing, punctuation, or proofreading, they can indicate that in their appointment request form. Over the next few terms, we will continue to develop and build out our support services for multilingual writers.