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Online Writing Lab (OWL)

Online Writing Assistance Logo The Writing Center OWL offers online instruction for student writing during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

To receive online help with a paper - at any stage in the writing process - send it to the Writing Center OWL at the address shown at the bottom of the page. Read carefully the instructions for sending a paper via email and note what kinds of instruction Writing Center faculty can offer.


  • Because of time limitations, we can generally look at about three pages per assignment. This will, however, give us a good indication of problem areas and suggestions for improving the paper by developing writing skills and knowledge.
  • Identify three areas you would specifically like us to address in the paper, for example:
    • Does my conclusion match my thesis?
    • Is my paragraphing logical?
    • Do I have serious grammatical errors in the paper?
  • Please do not expect Writing Center faculty to correct every error in the three pages of the paper that you ask us to examine; we will look mainly at the problem areas you identify.
  • Allow 72 hours (business days, excluding weekends) for us to receive the paper, read/comment, and send the draft back to you. In many cases it will not take this long, but during peak rush times on campus, such as mid-term and finals, we will be busy. (Consequently, make sure you write and submit your paper to the OWL well in advance of the due date.)
  • Please do not send more than one paper at a time; wait to receive one critiqued paper before submitting another, and we'll be able to better keep up with all submissions.

Note: Our goal is to help students become self-sufficient writers capable of editing their own work. As with our in-house instruction, our online instruction emphasizes teaching and is not a proofreading service. This is another reason Online Writing Lab instructors will review only three pages of any one paper: After we help students to recognize the error patterns in a portion of their paper, we assume that they will be able to apply this knowledge to correct the remainder of the paper themselves.

Format for sending papers to the Writing Center via email:

  • Either send your paper as a Microsoft Word attachment, or cut and paste it into the email.
  • Include your correct email address.
  • Explain the assignment and identify three areas of concern.
  • The Writing Center needs the following information for records:
    • Your name
    • Your Banner ID (700#)
    • The class the assignment is for (include prefix and number; grad or under grad credit)
    • The classroom instructor's name
    • The campus location of the class (main campus, Lee's Summit, etc.)

(This information is confidential and is only provided to the classroom instructor at the student's request.)

Note: Any paper that does not include the requested information will not be critiqued.

Using the instructions above, mail your paper to

Important: Upon receipt of your paper, we will send a short reply to confirm that we have it. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, this means that we did not receive your paper. Please call to confirm receipt if you do not hear from us or if you have any questions.