Writing Navigator—from Curriculum Pathways—is a suite of tools designed to guide and support students in all four stages of writing: planning, drafting, revising, and publishing. We’ve recently released the final tool in this suite: Writing Publisher. It helps students put the finishing touches on their essays.
The documenting-sources feature will be a huge boon to teachers and students, saving time and increasing comprehension as it guides beginning writers step-by-step through the preparation of a Works Cited page.
Like the mythical Scylla and Charybdis, handbook guidelines have proven perversely frustrating and often ruinous to generations of young writers attempting to negotiate the confusing straits of proper citation, which involves seemingly capricious variations depending on whether one is citing a journal, a magazine, a newspaper, a book with one author, a book with multiple authors, a book with an editor and multiple authors, a book with multiple editors and a Martian co-author, and so on into despair, breakdown, and insanity.
The task has not grown simpler with the introduction of online sources.
Writing Publisher eliminates guesswork and confusion. By making a series of simple choices from pull-down menus, students automatically follow the prescribed MLA format. As they identify the type of publication (e.g., a book), its title (e.g., The Manageable Cold), the author (e.g., Timothy McBride), the publication date (e.g., 2011), and other details, Writing Publisher makes the correct formatting decisions and displays them for the student to see.
McBride, Timothy. The Manageable Cold. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2011.
Students thus save time better devoted to refining their essays. They don’t try to memorize formats that even graduate students need to look up every time they write a paper. And teachers save time looking up and correcting citation formats that often prove as puzzling to the student in corrected form as they did during the original failed composition. Moreover, by seeing the correct citation assembled step-by-step, students learn more effectively than they can by trying to match their citation with a (“kind of”) similar example in a conventional guide.
Also in keeping with the MLA format, Writing Publisher automatically links the Works Cited entries and the parenthetical page-number references that appear in the student’s essay. And a section on plagiarism reminds students of their research responsibilities.
Flexible proofreading functions also help students ferret out spelling, capitalization, and other errors. Students can choose to review the text word by word, line by line, or paragraph by paragraph. This feature helps students to see their text anew: they review what they’ve actually written rather than what they meant to write.
Five proofreading tools are provided in Writing Publisher.
- Check for homophones (e.g., rain, rein, reign).
- Locate repeated words (e.g., rain, rain, rain).
- Locate missing words (e.g., )
- Check capitalization (e.g., rAin)
- Check punctuation. (e.g., rain rain rain)
Be sure to check out the full suite of tools in our Writing Navigator series. Dorianne Laux — director of the creative writing program at NC State University, author of five books of poetry, winner of a Guggenheim Fellowship—comments on what makes that series special:
"Writing Navigator isn't just about surface details: this is right; that is wrong. No one learns to write effectively and memorably from a merely prescriptive, schoolmarm approach—a bunch of abstract Do's and Don'ts. This interactive product goes deeper than that. It prompts students to make creative decisions, to discover what they want to say, to reach for what Coleridge called 'the best words in the best order.'"
Give Writing Navigator a try. You’ll be glad you did.