Online Writing Lab (OWL)

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) is designed to provide Atlanta campus, distance learning, and Regional Academic Center students with convenient access to professional writing tutors. Just as with in-person tutoring, OWL tutors review student submissions, providing helpful feedback to improve student writing. This feedback addresses higher-order concerns like content and organization, as well as lower-order concerns like sentence structure and grammar.

To be most effective, students should use tutoring services when they are in the prewriting, drafting, and revising stages of the writing process (see A Guide to the OWL for Professors and Students). Visiting a tutor, online or in-person, during these stages allows students time to improve their writing incrementally based on feedback provided by the writing tutors.

The OWL is accessible through the Canvas course management system. Appointments are not required. To obtain access to the service, students must self-enroll in the OWL in Canvas (self-enroll instructions are provided in the FAQ section of this page). Successfully registered students will find the Online Writing Lab course listed among their other registered courses. Canvas allows students to submit papers and receive comments from our professional writing tutors, all within a secure, password-protected system.

Please carefully review A Guide to the OWL for Professors and Students before using the OWL.

Watch this video for information on accessing the OWL for the first time: click here to watch video.

Access the OWL in Canvas: http://canvas.mercer.edu/ 

OWL Frequently Asked Questions

Note: If you require assistance with your username and/or password, please contact the Mercer University IT Help Desk at helpdesk@mercer.edu, or by phone at 478-301-2922, or at 478-301-7000 after hours.

How do I register for OWL?

The Online Writing Lab is a self-enroll course on Canvas. To gain access to the service, you will need to register once on the Mercer University Canvas site.

Click here for printable, step-by-step instructions that include screen shots.

Alternative format available upon request: arc@mercer.edu

How do I submit a paper to the OWL?

Click here for printable, step-by-step instructions that include screen shots.

Please review our OWL Quick Start Guide for additional information.

Alternative format available upon request: arc@mercer.edu

How do I access my submission once it has been reviewed in OWL?

Click here for printable, step-by-step instructions that include screen shots.

Alternative format available upon request: arc@mercer.edu

What can I expect from a tutor?

Tutors will provide feedback that aims to help students improve their writing and to ultimately help students write better papers. Students should not expect to receive a checklist of corrections from tutors but rather prompts to direct and deepen their thinking and suggestions to strengthen their thesis and organize ideas for precision and clarity. Tutors will provide comments on the student’s paper as needed and return the marked-up copy of the student’s work as well as a Tutor Review form, which identifies key issues with the submission and directs students to helpful resources to further address or explain mechanical issues within the student’s writing.

Tutor reviews are usually completed within 24 hours. Please allow 24 to 48 hours for us to respond to the submitted assignment. Papers received on Friday, late in the day, or during holidays may not receive responses until the next business day. Please plan accordingly.

Which file formats do you accept?

The Online Writing Lab accepts papers in Rich Text and Microsoft Word formats (.doc, .docx, or .rtf). 

What should I do if I don’t know my Mercer University ID (MUID)?

Contact the Mercer IT Help Desk at helpdesk@mercer.edu, or by phone at 478-301-2922, or at 478-301-7000 after hours.

What should I do if I don’t know my password or if my password does not work?

Contact the Mercer IT Help Desk at helpdesk@mercer.edu, or by phone at 478-301-2922, or at 478-301-7000 after hours.

Additional Questions?

Please contact the Academic Resource Center at arc@mercer.edu or (478) 301-2669.