A Writer’s Treasure Chest: The Purdue Global Academic Success Center

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It was to be the final term paper for Stosh Ivanov.  He had been anticipating this all session when he first read over the syllabus: “This is an English course, and of course there will be writing. We will be building towards a final essay to showcase what you have learned: 10 pages on the subject you selected for the course, arguing for change in a work or personal environment focusing on the subject. You will need to use five credible sources and one–two visuals, with correct APA in-text and References page formatting.”  When Stosh first saw this description he was nervous, he was anxious, as he had never written an essay beyond four pages. But several weeks of learning, of reading, of professor’s feedback on his essays, and classmate input on drafts made him feel more confident to tackle this elephant of an assignment.  He also had what he referred to as his “ace in the hole,” a Purdue Global link that was handed to him early in the course by a classmate (Stosh’s professor later introduced it in detail):  The Academic Success Center.  Stosh had glanced at it briefly, but now would be the time for a deep dive: using it as a partner for this major opus of a paper he knew would result in writing success.

At first Stosh thought the resource was only for those taking an English course, but this was quickly clarified for him. There were several major categories on the Center’s Home Page, and one was titled The Centers. The school obviously wanted to leave no student behind, for besides a Writing Center there were also Math, Science, Business, and Technology  Centers, as well as a Learning for Success Center (a quick peek: time and stress management, taking notes, PowerPoint – and more!).  He decided to explore these a bit later, as his primary goal was writing an outstanding term paper.  Stosh was told the best place to begin would be the Writing Center, but he first wanted to get a handle on every resource in the Academic Success Center, so he grazed: he might come across a link that could also help him.

Stosh’s first reaction to what he saw on the Home Page: WOW!  It almost seemed as if PG knew what he needed for this major writing project, as nearly everything shouted, “I can help you, Stosh!  I can help you, Stosh!” What first caught his eye was Stosh’s greatest weakness,  citations. Yet here was a cornucopia of help: Writing with Integrity (APA Style 7th Ed.). A quick look inside this link and immediately he felt more relaxed, for there was everything Stosh needed to know about quoting and paraphrasing,  avoiding plagiarism, how to nail research, and, of course, major help with his primary nemesis of APA citations (both in-text and References page).  It also reminded him that tutoring was available, but he was not yet ready for that.

Stosh saved that link big time – it will be a huge asset for his argument essay. He moved on to the other major categories on the Home Page, and there was a link that intrigued him: Join a Webinar. The current month was up, and he was surprised at the gaggle of available webinars, relating to writing and other fields of study. Of especial interest to Stosh was a webinar on Stress Management and one called How to Learn: Strategies for Success in Online Courses (although having taken several of these Stosh knew he had four more, so perhaps he can learn some tips.) Time to explore more, Stosh thought.  

Hmmm – Study Studio: he wondered what this somewhat vague title meant.  Clicking it open Stosh was greeted by an array of categories: Math Resources, Science Resources, Business Resources, Technology Resources, and, of course, Writing Resources. The explanation for this last one was rather enticing:  “… resources on college and professional writing, the writing process, research, APA, using and citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, grammar, reading, and more!” It was obvious: the more Stosh burrowed the more assistance came his way.  He knew his friend Telenka, a Science major, and Petra, a Math major, were unaware of this Center; he would definitely pass this extraordinary find on to them.

There were four other categories on the Home Page for Stosh to explore: Academic Writer (again, much-needed APA information),  ASC Links (a “ton” of links to the Academic Success Center for Writing, Math, Science, etc.), Webinar Archives (he smiled:  so many webinars from which to choose … and in so many subjects!), and Inclusive Language Guidelines (APA guidelines for equity, diversity, and inclusion, a big “must” in 21st century writing!).There were three biggies left, and in the weeks that followed Stosh took full advantage  of them. Although he continually visited all writing sites it was the first one—Writing Center – and Writing with Integrity (for APA citation help) and Ask a Tutor that received the bulk of his attention.  The first two made sure the overall structure, content, mechanics, and citations enhanced what Stosh’s professor taught him. As for Ask a Tutor it was invaluable: that second pair of knowledgeable eyes pointed out items and gave suggestions that definitely improved his efforts. One week after Stosh turned in his assignment the hard work and hours spent in the Academic Success Center paid off: he received an “A” grade with a short but oh-so-sweet comment from his professor:  “Kudos for this college-level writing!”  Thinking of the Academic Success Center, Stosh smiled and thought, “The Beatles were right – you do get by with a little help from your friends!”

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