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Study Help and Tutoring

Welcome to the Writing Skills Centre!

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this service is now offered virtually.

Writing tutoring will be offered by videoconference, virtual chat, or email.

Videoconference or Virtual Chat tutoring (through Microsoft Teams)

To book a videoconference or virtual chat appointment, click "Schedule Appointment."

 

Students will receive a link to join the virtual Teams meeting at the pre-arranged time. Don’t have Microsoft Teams? That’s OK! You can use Teams on the web OR via the Teams app (you'll be prompted to download it when you click on the link).

Email tutoring

Email the Academic Writing Tutor at Jennifer.Stange@rdc.ab.ca, and include:

  • your full name and RDC student number
  • assignment details from your course outline, including due date
  • an attachment of your essay or rough draft
  • your top 2-3 writing concerns or questions

You will receive an email response within one business day, letting you know what the expected turn-around time will be (depending on current demand). Then, we’ll email your essay back to you, along with our comments and suggestions.


This quick transition to online learning is new to us all; let’s learn together. For tips on how to succeed as an online learner, check out some Online Learning Strategies prepared by our Learning Skills Strategist.

For up-to-date information about Red Deer College Library services, resources, and spaces during the COVID-19 Pandemic, visit: RDC Library during the COVID-19 Pandemic.


Policies For Online Writing Help

The Writing Skills Centre does not provide proofreading or editing. While we cannot “fix” your paper for you, we will provide you with the knowledge and ability to write your best essay!

We expect demand for writing help to be high. Please be patient and account for possible delays when planning around your assignment due dates.

Students can access our services a maximum of once per day and twice per week. Please cancel any appointments or email submissions you no longer need by using the cancellation link in the appointment confirmation email, or by emailing jennifer.stange@rdc.ab.ca.

If you no-show to a virtual appointment, you will have to meet via videoconference with the Academic Writing Tutor or the Academic Support Coordinator before receiving any more tutoring.

All RDC students are welcome in the Writing Skills Centre. It doesn't matter what program you're in or what your marks are. We can help you with:

  • Research and planning
  • Essay organization and structure
  • Developing a strong thesis statement
  • Grammar and punctuation
  • Any other issues related to writing

In order to become independent learners, students must be prepared to acquire many types of skills throughout their post-secondary education. At the Writing Skills Centre, we focus on helping students develop the writing skills they need in both academic and professional settings. While tutors cannot proofread your paper for you, we can teach you how to proofread and edit your own work, skills that stay with you for life.

During your tutoring session in the Writing Skills Centre, you can:

  • Bring your preliminary ideas and notes for an assignment so you can talk them through with the tutor. Talking them through can help you clarify and focus your ideas.
  • Bring a draft of your paper, no matter how rough it is. The tutor can comment on which sections are clearly explained and which might need more explanation and support.
  • Bring in your paper in its final stages. Ask the tutor to comment on particular parts—e.g., paragraphs, sentences, word choices—that you’re unsure about.
  • Bring your nearly finished paper. The tutor can give you some techniques for editing and proofreading. Please remember that the tutor will not proofread the paper for you.

The tutor will offer you guidance so you can work more effectively. Be aware that if the tutor does any more than what is described above, you may be accused of academic dishonesty. If the assignment you hand in contains the tutor’s work rather than your own, this would be considered plagiarism which can result in severe consequences for your educational opportunities.

Please see the document below for more information about the Writing Skills Centre`s policies.


Vision

To create a thriving, vibrant RDC writing community wherein students, staff, and instructors gather to discuss all aspects of academic writing.

Mission

Using scaffolded instructional techniques and student-centred learning approaches, we strive to help RDC writers discover the knowledge and develop the skills they need to become confident, competent and independent writers.

Looking for help with your references?

Writing Tutors are happy to help with APA, MLA, and Chicago style citations. However, Library staff are your main source for citation help! To connect with them virtually: start a live chat session, text, or phone us.

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Writing Resources and Links

Knowing how to begin can be overwhelming. These links break it down:

Assignment Calculator
Enter today's date and the date your assignment is due, and this website designs an assignment schedule for you! Complete with writing links and advice. From Royal Roads University.​

Understanding Assignments
​A step-by-step guide from Royal Roads University to help you interpret and understand your assignments.

Prewriting Techniques
If creating a traditional essay outline doesn't work for you, the University of Kansas Writing Center details some different ways to help you plan your essay.

Thesis Statements
Concise handout from the U of A Centre for Writers with step-by-step advice on how to write and evaluate your thesis statements.

Thesis Statements: Myths and Facts
Still confused about thesis statements? The Writing Centre at Thompson Rivers University addresses some common issues.

Essay Structure: The Basics
Great advice from U of C Writing Support Services on a basic essay format, and formulas for your body paragraphs. One of our most-used handouts.

Using Topic Sentences
Topic sentences grab your reader's attention and help you transition from one idea to the next. The University of Toronto with advice on how to make them count.​

Transition Words
Transition words help your reader see how your thoughts and ideas are connected. Are you using them when and where you should? The University of Ottawa Academic Writing Help Centre breaks it down in one of our most recommended handouts.

Writing Anxiety
Is anxiety about writing keeping you from starting? From one of the best writing centres around, UNC at Chapel Hill offers advice on anxiety and writer's block to get you writing.

Dealing with Procrastination
Twelve tips to beat procrastination from Thompson Rivers University.

How to integrate research and sources into your writing:

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing: What's the Difference?
Purdue OWL defines these essential skills that students need to master.

Quoting
Simon Fraser University on when to quote and how to do it properly.

Paraphrasing
Purdue OWL with a step-by-step guide to paraphrasing, complete with examples.

Summarizing
Strategies for crafting good summaries, complete with a case study and examples. From Simon Fraser University.

Signal Phrases
Are you having trouble coming up with creative ways to integrate research and sources into your sentences? This concise link from the University of Ottawa Academic Writing Help Centre contains some great suggestions and variations.

Writing is only half the battle! Learn how to revise, edit, and proofread what you've written:

Revising Essays & Research Papers
Checklist with guided questions and suggestions for improving your draft. From U of C Writing Support Services.

Editing
Clear and concise list from the University of Ottawa Academic Writing Help Centre. Helpful checklist format with a great section on citations.

Reverse Outlines
What's a reverse outline? Only one of the best ways to check your paper's organization! This highly-recommended technique is explained by the Writing Center at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Writing Concisely
Clear, concise writing communicates your message the best. Great tips from the U of A Centre for Writers on finding and eliminating unnecessary words in your writing.

Proofreading
The final step. Learn how to proofread and find the errors you may be missing. From the Writing Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The nuts and bolts of your writing:

Grammar


Sentence-Level:

Basic Sentence Structure
All the elements of a sentence, explained. Contains links to additional videos, tutorials, and webinars on sentences and grammar for those who want to learn more. From Walden University.

Sentence Fragments
Explanation from Grammarly on how to identify and fix sentence fragments (AKA incomplete sentences).

Run-On Sentences
Bethune College at York University with tips on how to fix run-on sentences.

Word-Level:

Wordiness
Need to get that word count down? Bethune College at York University tells you how to eliminate wordiness in your writing.

Filler Words
Great article from Grammarly on "31 Words and Phrases You No Longer Need."

Subject-Verb Agreement
Help on getting your subjects and verbs to agree, from Bethune College at York University.

Spelling Tips
Move beyond the spell checker! Great tips from the University of Toronto.

Unbiased Language:

Singular "They"
Statement and guidelines from APA on using "they" as a singular noun for more inclusive language.

Indigenous Peoples Terminology Guidelines
Guidelines on inclusive language when writing about Indigenous Peoples and issues in Canada. From Indigenous Corporate Training Inc.

 

Punctuation


Commas
Oh, the comma! SUNY Empire State College explains this most misused and misunderstood punctuation mark.

Semi-Colons, Colons, and Dashes
Do you know when to use which one? The Writing Center at UNC at Chapel Hill explains it.

Hyphens
According to SUNY Empire State College, "hyphens are like trailer hitches." Find out why and which words need them!

Quotation Marks and Apostrophes
Are you quoting sources in your essay? This link from Purdue OWL is essential reading to get the punctuation right.

 

Parts of Speech

 

Parts of Speech: The Rules
The University of Ottawa explains the eight parts of speech -- verbs, nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and interjections -- and how to put them together. Take the quiz at the end to test your knowledge.

Writing sites we love!

Purdue Online Writing Lab General Writing Resources
Perhaps the most-recommended writing and citing website around, for good reason.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Writing Center
Excellent resource with lots of links, including many videos for visual learners.

University of Ottawa HyperGrammar
Do a deep dive on all things grammar, and test your knowledge and learning with quizzes after each topic.

University of Toronto Advice on Academic Writing
Canada's largest university offers advice on the writing process, from start to finish.

Grammarly Blog
You don't have to subscribe to Grammarly to benefit from their knowledge. This searchable blog contains lots of good information on the nuts and bolts of grammar and writing.

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Resources for Faculty

Refer a Student:

If you feel a student would benefit from the help of the Writing Tutor, direct them to book an appointment 

In-Class Presentations:

  • The Academic Writing Tutor offers presentations or workshops to classes to promote academic writing skills. We'll work with you to develop a presentation on any writing topic.
  • If you're interested in discussing a presentation for your class, please contact the Academic Writing Tutor.  
  • Two weeks notice is generally required to schedule a presentation. Availability is dependent on the Academic Writing Tutor's hours.

Academic Writing Tutor: Jennifer Stange
jennifer.stange@rdc.ab.ca
Office: 1006Q (in the Library)