January 2019 -->

Walden University Writing Center

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Thursday Thoughts: We Have a Source for You!

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At the Writing Center, we know that Walden University attracts students from all over the globe, which means that we want to provide students with sources they can access 24/7, regardless of what time zone they live in. We also know that students have their own unique learning style preferences, so we developed our different types of sources and services with student’s time zones and learning preferences in mind. For instance, those who are auditory learners might enjoy our live or archived webinars, whereas those who are visual and or kinesthetic learners might enjoy our interactive modules. Of course, at the Writing Center, we believe all students benefit from our tier one service—paper reviews

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Our sources are meant to be used on their own or to compliment feedback and revising from paper reviews. And, if students have questions about their paper review feedback, or want to ask a quick writing question, they can contact us through our writingsupport@waldenu email or our chat service. 

Not sure what source is right for you? Check out our Writing Center Getting Started page for an overview of our sources and services!  


The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work.


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Your New Favorite Resource: Walden University Writing Center Chat Service

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Did you know that the Walden University Writing Center has a Chat service? Did you know the Writing Center Chat service is run by qualified writing instructor professionals? That’s right! The very same writing instructors that work hard to review your papers and provide instructional feedback are the masterminds behind our Chat service. 

Your New Favorite Resource. "Chat Live". Walden University Writing Center Chat Service
What does this mean for you?
This means that you can go to the Writing Center website, locate the Chat schedule, and sign in to chat during the available chat times to receive live help with your most pressing and immediate writing questions. 

Specifically, during chat, writing instructors can answer questions about academic writing, APA style and citation guidelines, writing process, word choice, sentence structure, and general grammar concerns. We can also answer questions about Writing Center services and resources, including myPASS, paper reviews, modules, webinars, and web resources. 

What does this Chat service allow you to do? 
The Chat service provides an additional communication channel for students who have immediate writing questions. Because online students often crave immediate, personalized support, this service’s goal is to reach students who may not be inclined to e-mail us with their inquiry (though our policy is to answer all emails within 24-hours) or try to search through our web content.

Through this synchronous chat service, we are able to: provide convenient and accessible writing support, answer a wide gamut of writing questions, expand our on-line offerings, and foster social learning. What value! 

How does the Chat service work specifically?

If you have never engaged in a live chat service before, do not fear. It is a straight forward, easy access, experience. Simple follow these steps: 

1. Log in to chat by clicking on the "chat live" button on the Writing Center homepage. 
2. Fill in the information fields 
3. Write your question/s in the text box 

That’s it! A writing instructor will be there to answer your question/s. 

Now that you know about the Writing Center Chat service, I invite you to give it a try and experience receiving real time writing assistance, instruction, and resources from qualified writing instructor professionals. It is truly a great opportunity



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Christina Lundberg
 received her BA from the University of Minnesota and obtained her MFA from Naropa University. Presenting over 6 years of college teaching experience at various academic settings, Christina has taught a wide array of English courses both residential and online. Christina is driven by the desire to grow, shape, and develop a page to reach its highest potential. In her position as a Walden University Writing Instructor, she enjoys witnessing the transformations of a good paper grow into greatness. 

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Thursday Thoughts: New Features for Writing Center Resources!

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Some of our most popular writing instruction resources here in the Walden University Writing Center are our self-paced, interactive modules. One of the key components of this resource is that students take a diagnostic quiz at the outset of the module so we know precisely what type of instruction you need as a learner.  

Writing Center Modules: multi modal, self paced, interactive, learn apa, avoid plagiarism


Recently, we have added a new feature to our diagnostic quizzes! After students take these quizzes, they can now access feedback on each quiz question. This will allow students to not only identify their strengths and areas for improvement for a given writing topics, but also learn from the quiz itself.

While this is a new feature, diagnostic quizzes will continue to point students to appropriate modules to complete based on their scores in the quiz. Here is a sampling of our helpful Diagnostic Quizzes: 

As always, we love to hear your feedback on our resources. Leave a comment here or follow the instructions in the Module itself in order to tell us how we're doing and what else would support your scholarly-writing journey. 



Walden University Writing Center

The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work.

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What Can Harry Potter Teach Us About Impostor Syndrome?

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When I was in my MA program, I felt like a complete fraud. I was convinced I’d been accepted by mistake. There was no way I was smart enough to be in a graduate program. Eventually I opened up to some people in my program and found a bit of relief in the fact that they felt similarly fraudulent. I was even more relieved when I found out there was a name for my experience: impostor syndrome

What Can Harry Potter Teach Us About Impostor Syndrome?


The term “impostor syndrome” is credited to Dr. Pauline Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes from their 1978 article “The impostor phenomenon in high achieving women.” It is generally understood to be a psychological state wherein the individual believes all their success should be attributed to someone else and/or all of their failures are their own fault entirely. One of the best ways to combat impostor syndrome is to recognize it as a common experience. This method is so effective that I recognized it in a character from one of my favorite series.

Unlike most of my peers, I didn’t start reading the Harry Potter series until I was in college. I bought the first book at the airport on my flight home after my freshman year. Maybe this is why when I relate to Harry’s trials and experiences, I relate to them as an adult rather than an 11-year-old.

For instance, I recently had an epiphany regarding impostor syndrome and the Hat-Sorting-Ceremony that takes place when Harry first arrives at Hogwarts. For those unfamiliar with the story, Harry had just learned that most of the followers of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named supposedly came from Slytherin House. As a result, Harry’s only concern is that he not be placed in Slytherin. The Sorting Hat, however, isn’t quite set on where Harry belongs; it tells Harry that he has many qualities that would serve him well as a Slytherin. Eventually the Hat concedes to Harry’s wish and places him in Gryffindor.

Despite his general satisfaction with the placement, Harry is haunted by the thought that he does not belong in Gryffindor, that in listening to his pleas, the Hat made a mistake. In the second book, Harry asks the Hat directly if he should have been placed in Slytherin. The Hat maintains that Harry would have done well in Slytherin House, but concludes that it still agrees with its decision. It’s not until the very end of the final book that readers see Harry as confident in his identity as a Gryffindor.

Choice vs. Destiny is a popular theme throughout the Harry Potter books. In The Chamber of Secrets Dumbledore says, “It is our choices, Harry, that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.” And he repeats this sentiment in The Goblet of Fire: “You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!” Dumbeldore’s point is that each time Harry chooses to fight Voldemort rather than join him, Harry solidifies his identity. 

Similarly, each time I choose to be a writer, each day I give myself time to write, I’m solidifying my identity as a writer. And if Harry can defeat a semi-immortal wizard who's got an army of supporters, I figure I can probably keep working on my dissertation.

Harry is proud to be a Gryffindor. We can be proud to be writers.

Kacy Walz Author picture - Walden University Writing Center Instructor

Kacy Walz is a Minnesota native currently living in St. Louis, MO. She has been a Writing Instructor at Walden since 2016 and spends most of her free time trying to complete her PhD, seeking out adventure, and playing with her puppy dog.

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Thursday Thoughts: Writing for Social Change

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Life's most persistent and urgent question is, "What are you doing for others?"
-Martin Luther King Jr. 
The Walden University Writing Center will be closed on Monday, January 21 in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.



In honor of Dr. King's dedication to social change, here are some of our favorite Walden Writing Center resources to help you write for your own social change projects, academic and otherwise:

Walden University Writing Center

The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work.


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Quality Academic Writing Is a Process

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Thinking back on your experience learning to write in elementary and secondary school, what kinds of tasks and activities did you do? Did you learn about different steps in the writing process? Did you do things like outlining and visual brainstorming? Did you analyze writing models and talk about what was considered a “good” or “bad” approach? How much of learning about writing was focused on reading? What did you learn about where the main point or argument of the draft should be located within the draft? 



As an English as a Second Language researcher and teacher who has taught in diverse institutions, I know there is much variation in educational approaches, curriculum, and norms for writing genres like academic writing. I also know that how you learned to write and what kinds of educational approaches you experienced probably had a lot to do with where you grew up, and they may influence how you approach the writing process as a Walden student.

The U.S. K-12 school system offers considerable variety in educational approaches and curriculum, yet one characteristic that is seen rather consistently across the system is the approach to writing as a process. This means that writing is often taught as a task that requires planning and that has distinct prewriting, writing, and revising steps. For example, in the younger years of a child’s education, teachers may guide students through the process of brainstorming, outlining, writing a “sloppy copy,” getting some feedback, and then making revisions or edits. Completing one writing assignment may happen over a period of days or weeks.

As students progress through their educational careers, the specific strategies for each step may change, but there is still an emphasis on the prewriting, writing, and revising steps of the process. In high school or college, the writing process may look more like this:

  1. 1. Read and take notes
  2. 2. Brainstorm
  3. 3. Outline
  4. 4. Read more and take notes
  5. 5. Write first draft
  6. 6. Get feedback from faculty or a writing instructor
  7. 7. Revise
  8. 8. Read more and add ideas to underdeveloped paragraphs
  9. 9. Proofread

The approach to writing as a process can be juxtaposed with the approach of writing as a product, meaning that the purpose of the writing is to accomplish a goal or task with the writing in a one-time sitting. The product approach aligns with situations in which grades and assessment may be heavily reliant on high-stakes, essay-style testing (e.g. placement tests, precollege testing, essay-style final exams). In this approach to writing, the goal may be to conform to some type of structure while also communicating as much content as possible in a short period of time. Opportunities for content revisions are less frequent under this approach, but there may be a strong emphasis on how the final product looks at the surface level, including mechanics of writing and the overall form that the writing takes (i.e., standard essay format). While this approach may enable the writer to communicate ideas, it may not leave the time and space for revision and refining that could improve clarity and flow for the reader. The product approach also does not allow time and space for important deep critical thinking and reflection on the topic, which is valued in the process approach.

While both approaches have their places in U.S. academic settings, the process approach tends to be favored and promoted from the early years through higher education and is the ideal approach for most Walden writing assignments because of the greater opportunity for critical thinking and reflection, which can enhance the idea development and overall argument of the paper. Students coming from educational and cultural settings in which the product approach is common may benefit from familiarizing themselves with and practicing some strategies for the prewriting and revision steps, as high quality academic writing is, indeed, a process.



Amy Bakke
 is a senior writing instructor and multilingual writing specialist at the Walden Writing Center. She enjoys researching cultural differences in education and considering how people with different perspectives and histories experience education at Walden. She also enjoys learning about child development as a student in Walden's M.S. in Early Childhood Studies Tempo program. 


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Thursday Thoughts: Maintaining Motivation

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Where I live, we are in the middle of winter. The weather is cold, the sky is gray, and we have a whole lot of time left before things warm up again. At the beginning of the season, everyone was excited for cozy sweaters, sledding, and building snowmen. But at this point, not even halfway through the season, everyone is feeling disillusioned with the cold. We have to scrape ice off of windows, bundle up, and shovel snow. It just isn’t as delightful as it once was. At the beginning of a season it can be easy to feel excitement. Near the middle of that season, it is harder to maintain that interest.

Maintaining Motivation


The same is true for projects we work on professionally, academically, and personally. When something is new, we are more likely to feel motivated and energized by the project. As time goes on, keeping this motivation and interest can become more difficult. As students, maintaining the energy to make it through a large project in a course, or a capstone document, is important – but tough!

Here are some of my favorite Walden Writing Resources to help you maintain motivation:

  • Finish something – anything because it will make you feel accomplished and will re-energize you



Walden University Writing Center

The Walden Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. Through these services they provide students assistance with APA, scholarly writing, and help students gain skills and confidence to enhance their scholarly work.


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Planning for Writing Center Sessions at Residencies

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Whether you are planning to attend a doctoral in-person or virtual residency, the preparation process can be daunting. In terms of logistics, you may have to plan to take time off from work, find accommodations for family members or pets, or arrange a ride to the airport (just to name a few!). Not to mention, you have to emotionally prepare to interact with peers, faculty, and staff in a synchronous environment, which, for Walden students, is not the normal, everyday educational experience.

Planning for Walden U Residency


The preparation process can be a lot to handle, but as a doctoral student, you are used to preparing. For some, your entire doctoral career could be viewed as a preparation process for the next step in your professional career! So you know that preparing can pay off and result in a more productive experience.

Here are a few steps you can take to prepare for residency sessions led by Writing Center staff to improve your experience:

Bring Your Laptop
Now, if you are attending a virtual residency, you are likely not going to forget to bring your computer to residency sessions. But if you are preparing to attend an in-person residency, do make sure to bring your laptop to all Writing Center-led sessions. At both in-person and virtual residencies, you’ll be asked to complete activities, some of which require internet access. You might be asked to format an online journal article reference list entry, find a DOI number for a source, or add analysis to a MEAL Plan paragraph. Having the ability to view supporting materials and activity instructions from your laptop during residency sessions can be very convenient, especially if you’re nearsighted, like I am!

Bookmark the Writing Center’s Website
Speaking of the benefits of bringing a laptop to Writing Center-led sessions, bookmarking the Writing Center’s website home page on your primary web browser before the residency can save you a lot of time. In many Writing Center-led sessions, staff will guide you through the Writing Center’s website to find helpful resources, such as information about paper review appointments and what it means to synthesize. If you are able to easily access the Writing Center’s homepage, you can then follow along with the staff member as they navigate the Writing Center’s website. And once you know how to bookmark a webpage, you can bookmark webpages of specific interest to you as the Writing Center staff member shows you where to find answers to your APA and writing-related questions.

Write Down Your Questions
Have a burning APA question you want to ask an expert? Or maybe you’d like to know more about scholarly writing. Write it down! Create a Microsoft Word document or a note in your phone and type up all of your questions. Chances are we’ll answer many of your questions during the Writing Center-led sessions you attend at the residency, but if we don’t, feel free to ask! Writing Center staff are happy to answer your questions during residency advising sessions, during presentations, or after residency sessions (if your question is a little more intricate). As a bonus for those of you attending a virtual residency, if you have all of your APA and writing-related questions typed up, you can simply cut and paste them into the chatbox of the virtual environment in which we meet!

Even though, as a residency presenter, I find I am able to answer the majority of students’ questions without having to look up the answers, I still learn something new at every residency. So if you stump me with a question, good for us! We can locate the answer together. In any case, if you record your questions somewhere, you’re less likely to forget to ask them. And if you come up with questions after the residency ends, send them our way at writingsupport@waldenu.edu.

Your time is valuable, and spending some of your valuable time prepping for Writing Center-led residency sessions can help you get the most out of our sessions! We so look forward to seeing you at your next residency. 


Ellen Zamarripa author photo

Ellen Zamarripa
is a Writing Instructor and the Coordinator of Residency Planning for Walden University's Writing Center. She loves to teach and especially enjoys working with students asynchronously through paper reviews and then meeting them synchronously at residencies.

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Thursday Thoughts: Writing Goals for the New Year

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Happy New Year! What are your 2019 goals? Maybe your goals are related to old goals you’ve been putting off for years, goals that weren’t met last year, or new goals. Goal setting can be both exciting and stressful, especially when it comes to academic goals. The Writing Center understands this, especially in terms of writing goals, as students often have several responsibilities outside of their academic ones. 

To help you with your 2019 academic goals, the Writing Center has tips for How to Achieve Your Writing Goals

Man looking out at horizon with a telescope

Let us know what your 2019 writing goals are and what Writing Center services you plan to use to help you achieve them!


The Walden University Writing Center provides information and assistance to students with services like live chat, webinars, course visits, paper reviews, podcasts, modules, and the writing center webpages. The center supports students through all stages of the writing process and develops the writer as well as the writing.
 


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