The UWF Online Writing Lab (OWL)

OWL readings take place in Canvas. These paper readings are neither synchronous nor interactive. Students submit their papers to be reviewed by an OWL staff member who returns electronic feedback, usually within two business days.


What is the OWL?

The OWL is the Online Writing Lab, a service that allows UWF students to submit their papers online via Canvas and retrieve the feedback at a later time. An OWL staff member reads each electronic submission, makes comments and suggestions using Microsoft Word, and then uploads the feedback copy to the student. For Grammar Check readings, we help students locate errors in grammar, spelling, word usage, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. For MLA or APA Check readings, we look at headers and headings, parenthetical citations, the Works Cited or References page, and other stylistic details prescribed in the MLA and APA handbooks. Remember that the final product is still your responsibility – neither the paper reader nor the Writing Lab is responsible for the grade you receive.

How do I sign up?

To enroll in the OWL, email your request to writelab@uwf.edu using your UWF student email with the subject line “OWL ENROLLMENT REQUEST.” 

Please allow some time for enrollment. Each student must be enrolled manually for the time being.

How do I submit a paper to the OWL’s dropbox?

1. Click on “Assignments” on the left side of this page. Do not use your course calendar or the Canvas "To Do" list to access the drop boxes; these shortcuts might cause you to be confused about which drop box is which. There are a great many dated drop boxes in the OWL, but they are sorted into four types on the "Assignments" page, so you might find that locating the appropriate drop box is easier if you select "Show By Type" rather than "Show by Date." 

2. If you have made an appointment to have your OWL read, choose either the "OWL Appointment Grammar Check" drop box or the "OWL Appointment MLA or APA" drop box. Submit your paper at least one hour before your appointment time. Your paper will be read on the day of your appointment. 

If you do not have an appointment, you may submit your paper to one of the walk-in boxes. Again, you must select either the "Grammar Check" drop box or the "MLA or APA" drop box. Submit their walk-in OWL  in the drop box marked with the paper's due date. You may submit your paper as far ahead of the due date as you want, but it will fall out of line if it is not read by the due date. Keep in mind that walk-ins are read on a first-come-first-served basis, and we will not get to every walk-in before the due date. Once a paper’s due date has passed, we will not read it. Also be aware that if you put your paper into the "Appointments" drop box and you don't have an appointment, your paper will not be read.  

Whether you have an appointment or not, note that you may have your paper read for grammar and punctuation or for MLA/APA style and citation technique. We will not read for both in the same paper reading. If you want both types of readings, submit early to one drop box, and resubmit the paper to the other drop box after you receive your feedback for the first reading.

3. Select the blue “Submit Assignment” button, and upload your assignment from your computer or flash drive. Submit your work in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format, please. If you are submitting an assignment to the "MLA or APA" drop box, be sure to tell us in the comments box whether your paper is supposed to be in MLA or APA; sometimes it’s hard to tell what the student’s intentions are. Note that we do not read for Chicago, Turabian, APA, APSA, or any other style in the OWL.

4. Click “Submit Assignment” again.

5. You do not need to be online at the same time that the paper reader is working on your draft.

What can I submit?

You may submit any assignment you choose.

You may submit papers of any length. However, we devote only an hour to each paper, and we cannot guarantee that we will get through your entire paper in that time.

Feel free to resubmit the unfinished portion, but not within 24 hours of the first submission. You may submit only one paper at a time. You may not make an additional submissions until feedback on the first submission has been returned.

Please upload your submission in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format.

The only submissions we will not accept in the OWL are theses or dissertations. A student with a thesis or dissertation should visit Navigate to schedule a face-to-face appointment or to make an appointment for an online interactive reading.

How do I retrieve and read feedback?

You will receive your feedback under “Assignments” once your paper has been returned to you. Select the drop box to which you submitted your paper, and locate the “Submission Details” link on the right side of the page.

Click “View Feedback” to view and download your feedback file.

Remember, we provide you with suggestions only; the final product is your responsibility. Please review your paper and make the appropriate corrections before submitting your paper to your professor. If you want a second reading for any reason, make the changes for the first reading before you send the paper back to us for further feedback.