Students and faculty who visited the St. Edward’s University Online Writing Lab needed concise, engaging, clear resources on everything from comma use to building confidence about writing. Here are a few I created for them.
When Is It OK to Use the Singular They?
Problem: Many revered 20th-century writing guides tell students (and professors) not to use the singular “they,” but 21st-century progress on how we recognize people outside of the gender binary means has made the singular “they” essential. Some students (and their professors) were confused, and others were hurt by the insistence of grammar rules that disallowed their preferred pronoun.
Solution: We decided to lead the thought on campus. With the a campus LGBTQ group and its faculty sponsor as support and informal review board, we created a standalone, multipage guide on pronouns beyond “he” and “she,” as well as a quick-reference resource on the singular “they.”
How to Proofread
Problem: Everyone needs reminders to proofread. We were constantly looking for new and fun ways to share proofreading tips.
Solution: We decided to go super-simple. The truth is, there’s no secret to proofreading. You just have to do it and pay attention.
How to Be a Scholar in a Digital Environment
Problem: There’s a pretty big gap between the library environments that students are expected to use and the skills they are taught to navigate these environments as they research and write. The linear processes that their professors might still be steeped in break down when students encounter the digital academic library. Panic!
Response: I worked with my colleagues in the Munday Library to clarify messaging about the digital library and to help steward the more-circuitous-than-ever relationship between research and writing. I contributed to how-to guides, chat shortcuts, videos, and presentations, and co-created this nonlinear “menu” of the steps involved in writing a research paper.