OWL Model Response #2

OWL Model Response #2

Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Thu, 16 May 2002 11:08:06 -0700
To: Student email
From: Writing Lab <writelab@facstaff.eou.edu>
Subject: Student Name, “The Future: Communication and Education”
Cc: writelab@eou.edu
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by facstaff.eou.edu id g4GI6qU01545


Hello. My name is Susan and I will be responding to your essay. I am interested in your topic because I haven’t much thought about the history of voting procedures in this country and the changes that have taken place. We certainly do need more changes! What I will do is let you know when I am following your essay and when I have questions or need clarification. In the process I will suggest some tools and strategies you might use in future essays.


Make sure your opening sets up for what follows:

In your first sentence you begin with “Failing to communicate as a society”which is something you never discuss and isn’t really part of your topic.If you bring it up, the reader assumes you are going to discuss it, but you never do discuss how we fail to communicate as a society, but focus rather on our reliance on the media, the use of the internet, and our lack of education.That first sentence, in such an important position, seems your most problematic sentence.

Summarize your source for the reader to make the essay reader-friendly:

Your reader needs some background and context. What you might consider doing is first introducing Dye and Ziegler’s article by name and author and briefly summarizing it for the reader, as you need to write for an audience who has not read the course material (ex. According to Dye and Ziegler in “Name of Article,” electionsare “symbolic reassurance for the masses.”

Then provide your position in relation to Ziegler’s essay, “Indeed elections have become…” Since the prompt is asking for a response to someone else’s position, this becomes a “Summary Response” essay, so in your intro. it is best to first briefly summarize and then respond. This creates a context
for your reader to understand why you are saying what you are saying–you are reacting to someone else’s view.

Use the Terms of the Assignment:

You might also consider using some of the terms of the prompt in your introduction for clarity. For example, you might tie your intro to the prompt by saying , “The structural development that has had the most profound effect on the character of elections in this country is… (then you bring up your FCC point) And then you might say, “Since 1970, what has most dramatically altered the
shape and substance of US elections is…(and you state your point). For the next point, you would say, “To make elections more than symbolic reassurance, one change could be…” In this way, your sentences in your intro will be tied to the assignment requirements and will be more readable (it will read less like a list of unconnected claims).

For future, it is always good to use the terms of the assignment in your introduction.

Check your organization, and Use a Function Outline to help mid-writing:

Also, in para. #2 your point is about the need for education. This is covered later in your essay, so seems out of sequence here and confuses me as a reader. Shouldn’t this be in your last point, especially considering the order in your intro.?

Doublecheck your claims: I am confused about the Internet. Regarding your point, it seems you are
claiming that technology has altered the shape and substance of elections, referring to the Internet. But isn’t this a future change, not one that has taken place? This seems to belong more in the next category-advocating future changes, with education being one, and use of the Internet another.

You might review your texts and notes for the course. What technological changes have already impacted the elections? Or what other changes? You are suggesting that future use of Internet is a past change, when it is not, and your prompt asks for a change that took place after 1970.

Outlining your essay at the mid-writing stage is a useful activity to help you see problems in organization.

Develop and Explain: I am unclear what the change was exactly. Were new FCC regulations created or were some loosened? What was the change exactly? Your reader needs you to explain this. It is unclear here as you explain it.

Create Strong Transitions: In para. #3 your transition is strong. In para. #4 your transition/opening cue for reader is less strong. Again, make the terms of the prompt work for you. For example, “Since 1970, what has most dramatically altered…” Let your reader know upfront the focus of each paragraph by providing strong transitions/cues.

Proofread by reading aloud:
In this draft, the word usage/spelling errors seem to be ones the computer did not catch because the words are not misspelled but are the wrong words for the context.

Some examples:

Para. #1:
it rises or it raises?
has substantially change or changed?

Para #2:
hole or whole? (this is a homophone)
very or every?
appling or applying

It is always best to print out a hard copy of a draft and read it aloud to find these kinds of errors. So when you finish making the content changes I have suggested above, try this proofreading technique to find these kinds of errors. Do not rely on the computer to catch all spelling errors, and do not proofread on the screen.

Check for Sentence Boundary errors, such as fragments and comma splices:

Fragment ex,:

Para. #2: “Only if Americans really understood how little their equal rights as (do you mean “are”/) being taken away.” (This is a dependent clause and cannot stand alone. It only makes sense if more information is added. Only if , then what? Or do you mean “If only”?)

Comma splice:

Para. #4: “The Internet is here to stay, it should be used to its fullest extent in the political system.” (Here you have 2 sentences back to back, and run the stop sign. You can correct by placing a period after stay or adding “and” to connect them.

Reread your revised draft for these kinds of errors.


I don’t recognize the documentation style (how you refer to source information such as page numbers). If your professor has not specified a documentation style (usually MLA or APA) then you need to choose one and use it.

Most humanities courses use MLA. See a handbook for how it works or go the
the OWL Resources for Writers page and click on Documentation to find info.


I hope this feedback helps. You have the big picture in place here and just have to organize or clarify the content in some places, and refine at the sentence level.


The sample response below is not perfect.


–Good use of subheadings to make response readable

–Provides concrete tools that student can use in future papers


–Is an example of over-tutoring, of not finding a focus for the session.  An online response should encompass no more than we might cover in 2 face-to-face sessions.  Try not to overwhelm a student with too much information.

–Forgets to establish rapport in the opening

–Voice is too formal.  Make it a conversational letter writing voice with asides (like this, but more amusing).

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