Accessible writing site created

Graphic by Lena Yang

Graphic by Lena Yang

Students at Wilfrid Laurier University will now have access to a professionally-developed, free online writing resource.

Funded through the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, WriteOnline.ca is a site developed to guide users through modules developed for specific types of compositions.

The online services will be accessible at all hours around the globe.

“It’s an online writing resources that lets students learn about and practice their skills in three genres; case report, lab report and reflective writing essays,” said Jordana Garbati, writing consultant with Laurier’s Writing Centre.

The site was a joint project between Laurier, the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph.

“We have a pre-existing relationship as writing centre counter-parts, so we already share information quite a bit, and this was an opportunity that became available; they were looking specifically for institutions to collaborate,” said Clare Bermingham, manager of the Writing Centre at the University of Waterloo.

The modules are designed to aid users in developing and planning their academic compositions, following by drafting and revising their work, with each institution developing the content for a particular genre.

WritingOnline.ca will help students develop strategies for writing academic assignments, as well as analyze and identify basic conventions for grammar and language use.

“It can take a student through something from beginning to end, or they can jump into something that they just need to find out more information about,” said Bermingham.

“So right into the middle of something, if they just want to find out about methods and materials for a lab report, they can just go to that section.”

Laurier took the lead by developing all of the content for the reflective writing genre, which was then published by a web development team at UW.

A central goal of both the tri-university partnership and ministry funding was to create content which would be accessible for a range of students and not simply those of the home schools.

“I think a major goal of the funding from the ministry was to promote more shared resources, online shared resources, across the province of Ontario too,” said Kim Garwood, manager of Writing Services at the University of Guelph. “Instead of each individual institution creating its own set of resources, sort of pooling together our expertise to create something that worked for more people, more broadly.”

The emphasis on accessibility however reached beyond Canadian geography.

The goal is to allow users anywhere in the world access to the site through whichever devices they had access to.

“I think it was really important for us that the resource be accessible and flexible,” said Bermingham. “So yes, used by people across the world if they wanted to, but also we know students use technology in their learning, so taking advantage of whatever they’re working on, whether it be a laptop, an iPhone, an iPad.”

Regardless how or where the modules are being accessed, the collaborators are certain the resource will prove itself useful to an array of academics.

“This is just kind of a beginning, a start to this website, and the resource that we could create here,” said Garbati.

“There’s definitely room for expansion and adding more details maybe later on, at another point, as we get more feedback from professors and students across the province.”

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