An Analysis of the Writing Center

Writing Center Woes 1 Running Heading: AN ANALYSIS OF THE WRITING CENTER Writing Center Woes Lesley R Taylor Moore BUS 600 Management Communications with Technology Ashford University Week 6 Dr. Charles Nichols October 3, 2011 Writing Center Woes 2 When writing for school projects whether for a presentation to just too simply fulfill a requirement for the class one must utilize all avenues and resources to ensure the paper is well written and executed according to the guidelines of the school as well as the instructor. During this course, I chose to do a little research and analysis on Ashford University’s writing Center.

In my reviewing of the writing center, I did find that it was very well put together however it was not very user friendly. I tried several times to use the writing center and keeping in mind that I have never written in APA style before. Considering that this is the required method for the Masters program, I started out at the gate with a “handicap”. In my dealings with my classmates the feature from their perspective was given rave reviews, even I gave it a good review until I really had to utilize it further into the course.

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I didn’t find that it was as useful for me as I thought it would be, I didn’t expect it to do the work for me but my expectation was preconceived and obviously incorrect. I expected to be able to have my paper written and should I have an issue of knowing where to place the citations within the paper the writing center would be able to assist with the situation. The sample papers were very well written but they were not a clear example of how to construct a paper and cite references in APA style. Writing Center Woes 3 Solving the Problem

To assist me with a way to resolve my issue with the writing center, I consulted the materials from the course and with that being said knowing how my mind works I wanted to ensure that the chosen model would not only provide a solution and accurate results but would also give a clear, concise and diplomatic analysis. To solve the problem and get the results that would not only help me in the future but also make the writing center better for the next person, the process model with its three principle elements of the decision making process seen below: . Finding occasions for making the decision; 2. Finding possible courses of action; and 3. Choosing courses of action really works to give insight and critical confirmation to a tough situation which would be the deciding factor as to whether the writing center would continue to be a function that would prove to be a beneficial asset to Ashford University. (Harrison, 1998, p31) The concept of the writing center realistically is to aid and assist with betterment of the student’s writing in direct connection to the courses being taken.

While its concept in my opinion is indeed fabulous, regardless of how fabulous a product is, if it is not beneficial to all those that come across it then it is not an effective product. The writingcenter. org describes the concept very well. It states that “writing centers exist in a variety of shapes, sizes and settings; they are typically part of a writing program or learning center and serves the entire school, both at the secondary and college levels. Harris, 1988) They specify that most centers offer pretty much the same services which Writing Center Woes 4 again in my opinion is wonderful and maybe I am a person that is very specific in what I expect out of a program which brings me to this question “if majority of educational institutions offer a writing center, what would be the one thing that is needed to set them apart from each other? ” I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2003 and I have seen our version of writing center come a long way.

It is called the ‘Learning Center” and that alone speaks volumes because the name alone sends the message that not only will you get help with writing but it furthers the learning experience for you while attending the intuition. What I recall about the center during my time there was the program was tailored to the different programs available. For instance I majored in communications and for my program the writing center was designed around that major.

In looking at their website recently, I notice that their center has really evolved, it is no longer tailored to the specific programs but it has been revamped to reflect that the standard of writing styles are universal and provides more access to things that would not only assist with the basics of writing but will assist in the progress of everyday life such as resume writing, re-familiarization with writing in general. In their introduction “The Learning Studio’s mission is to maximize student potential by promoting independent learning through shared responsibility.

What does this mean? It means that we won’t do your work for you, however, it does mean that we are fully committed to helping you be successful at Columbia by going over your course work with you, by helping you perfect study strategies, and by providing workshops to enhance your experiences in and out of the classroom. ” (Colum. edu) Writing Center Woes 5 the disadvantage is that the learning center isn’t available online for self instructed students.

This brings me back to my question what will set the various writing centers apart from each other I suggest that each writing center have it own “signature” feature as a solution to any qualms one may have with their writing center. In addition to that I further suggest that the center be available to the general public in some capacity. While I understand the goal is to assist the students with enhancing their writing skills however I look at everything as a potential business opportunity.

The more people that provide (WOM) word of mouth about a particular thing, the better the chances people will be receptive to its offerings and appreciate its existence. This theory is true in any situation so just what is word of mouth marketing and how effective is it? “Word of mouth advertising (WOM) is the unpaid spread of a positive marketing message from person to person. It can take place directly using the human voice, or can be transmitted via any communicative means such as through the internet or via text message. WOM is a powerful promotional tool and should be considered as part of almost every business marketing strategy. (Marketing Made Simple) Using this method can have a severe disadvantage because if there is any negative feelings about a particular thing could prove to be detrimental to the success of whatever it is that you are trying to bring awareness to. Also this theory or use of word of mouth marketing although it is free to use and is often quite unscripted but the effort in passing the information is either going to be mediocre or very passionate. To implement a strategy to what I would do to bring attention to the writing center’s enhancement would be very simple but effective.

I would implement a “meet Writing Center Woes 6 the writer center” and in the process of the meet and greet, I would have plenty of hands on deck to assist with question and answer sessions, reviewing the visitors writings, assistance with other life needs such as writing effective resumes, cover letters and things like that. Unfortunately sometimes to effectively move forward one must go back to the basics even when a particular thing is already well established room for improvement and room to re-strategize your position may be necessary to make it even stronger.

This would mean that the marketing plan would have to be created and within it would have to restate what the goals are. “The benefits of a planned marketing strategy are numerous. Business owners often rely solely on their intuition to make business decisions. While this informal knowledge is important in the decision making process, it may not provide you with all the facts you need to achieve marketing results. A marketing strategy will help you in defining business goals and develop activities to achieve them. ” (Lake) 1.

Describe your company’s unique selling proposition (USP). 2. Define your target market. 3. Write down the benefits of your products or services. 4. Describe how you will position your products or services. 5. Define your marketing methods. Will you advertise, use Internet marketing, direct marketing, or public relations? Once the plan is reviewed and or revised the implementation process must begin. In this case the plan for the writing center is already in existence and the goal is to revitalize what the program is lacking. One obstacle you’re likely to encounter is a typical reaction: “We can’t do that! ” What you’re encountering is the fear, sometimes realistic Writing Center Woes 7 and sometimes unfounded, on the part of developers and consultants that they don’t have the skills to execute on the idea. In order to succeed in implementing your new idea, you’ll need to identify the gap in skills and figure out how to bring those skills into your organization. It is likely to be a mix of new hires, formal training, and informal coaching and development.

Creating a well defined pilot phase in your implementation is another way to refine and solidify the needed skills within your organization, and to create a smaller team within Development and Professional Services that can model the new skills and roll them out to the rest of their departments. ” (Murphy, 2011) Considering that the implementation methods vary according what the desired outcome is expected it would be my recommendation to utilize print, viral & visual technology to get the message to the masses about the revamping of the writing center.

For print, most schools has some form of newsletter or campus paper available to keep the students updated, now this does not directly work for online students unless the paper is available online, thus brings me to my second option viral marketing, This is another version of word of mouth advertising except its online. As we know whatever is put out there on the super highway is there forever whether it is positive of negative. Below are some tips on using viral marketing successfully: An effective viral marketing strategy 1.

Gives away products or services 2. Provides for effortless transfer to others 3. Scales easily from small to very large Writing Center Woes 8 4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors 5. Utilizes existing communication networks 6. Takes advantage of others’ resources “To one degree or another, all successful viral marketing strategies use most of the six principles outlined. ” (Wilson, 2005): Lastly, I would utilize the access of the campus television and even try to create a “commercial” to let the students know of what’s to expect.

Most campuses use this avenue to keep the campus updated and continuously informed. In addition I would get the student body involved. In closing, although I am not thoroughly please with the writing center at Ashford University, I can say that the intuition has been more than likely informed of the ill wills about the writing center. From the students because just a few days ago the writing underwent a major change. I have had an opportunity to play around with the writing center and it is a little more user friendly.

Keeping that in mind positivity is key to the success of any endeavor and it does not take much for an endeavor whether it is new or existing to be brought to shame by the naysayers and negativity within the ranks. As long as everyone involved in the upkeep or prelaunch of revised project things should go somewhat smoothly but that’s not to say that there won’t be any internal strife that comes without saying. I say keep the focus on what the general situation is and everything else falls in line. Reference Harrison, E. Frank, 1993, p31, Management Decisions: Interdisciplinary Models of Decision Making

Harris, Muriel, 1988, Writing Center Concept, http://writingcenters. org/resources/writing-center-concept/ http://www. colum. edu/Academics/Learning_Studio/About_the_Learning_Studio/ http://www. marketing-made-simple. com/articles/word-of-mouth-advertising. htm#ixzz1aLrKcuRw http://marketing. about. com/cs/advertising/ht/5steps2strategy. htm Murphy, Jacques, 2011, http://www. pragmaticmarketing. com/publications/topics/05/0511jm1 Wilson, Dr. Ralph, 2005, The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing, http://www. wilsonweb. com/wmt5/viral-principles. htm

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