Southeast Leads the Way in 21st Century Writing

‘Redhawk Writing’ providing students with unique online writing lab

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Jan. 10, 2007 – When the spring 2007 semester begins Jan. 16 at Southeast Missouri State University, more than 1,000 students will begin their second-semester writing course, which focuses on argumentation and research.  These students, along with all members of the Southeast community, also will have access to a unique resource that helps them develop crucial writing skills: “Redhawk Writing,” Southeast’s online writing lab.

Many students are already aware of this resource.  During the fall 2006 semester, Redhawk Writing received more than 15,000 hits, including almost 900 essays submitted for review electronically, according to Dr. Dave Reinheimer, who manages the 800-page Web site.

Southeast is the only Ohio Valley Conference institution to provide this kind of online support for writing instruction, according to Jamie D’Agostino of Southeast’s Writing Outcomes Program.  Redhawk Writing’s features also compare favorably with the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University, the oldest and most respected OWL in the nation, as well as other major OWLs at Indiana University and Ohio State University.

Redhawk Writing provides support, reference and instruction in a number of writing skills, comparable to the services students receive in Southeast’s face-to-face Writing Center.  Because it is online, Redhawk Writing thus allows students from Southeast’s regional campuses to receive the same academic support that on-campus students get. 

“It’s important to provide the regional campuses with the same advantages we provide to the main campus,” Reinheimer said.

Redhawk Writing provides a number of services to the students and faculty of Southeast.  These services include 24-hour access to information on writing assessment and writing support at Southeast, reference materials on citation and other subjects and qualified tutors through electronic submission of drafts.

Southeast’s Redhawk Writing approach is unique because it offers online instruction through a series of interactive multimedia learning events, whereas many other OWLs offer only static reference pages, Reinheimer said. Southeast’s students are thus better able to learn about topics ranging from punctuation to bibliography to writing with sources, he said. Students can use the OWL either on their own or as part of a class assignment.

The importance of providing this academic support to all of Southeast’s students is tied to the importance of writing.  According to Reinheimer, writing skills are widely seen as one of the most important skill sets students learn in college, based on data from the public and private sectors, including Ford Motor Company, the National Association of Colleges and Employers, and the National Commission on Writing.

Redhawk Writing is another example of Southeast’s long-standing leadership in the teaching and learning of writing, Reinheimer said.  Its earliest roots extend back to 1997, when the Writing Center first accepted e-mail submissions of student essays. 

To visit Redhawk Writing and see the new face of writing support at Southeast, visit http://www.semo.edu/ustudies/writing.htm.