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The Top Four Online Writing Labs

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Many colleges and universities host exceptional online writing labs--or OWLs, as they are commonly called. The instructional materials and quizzes available at these sites are generally suitable for writers of all ages and at all academic levels. Here are four of the very best OWLs.

1. The OWL at Purdue University

Created in 1995 by Dr. Muriel Harris, the OWL at Purdue is not only the oldest online writing lab but clearly one of the most comprehensive. The Purdue OWL "has become a complement to classroom instruction, a supplement to face-to-face tutorials, and a stand-alone reference for thousands of writers worldwide." To ease navigation through the many instructional materials collected on the site, the Purdue OWL recently experienced a major face-lift.

2. Guide to Grammar and Writing (Capital Community College)

Developed by the late Dr. Charles Darling in 1996 and now sponsored by the Capital Community College Foundation, the Guide to Grammar and Writing is a complete writing course online--and much more. One of the most useful features of the site is the abundance of self-tests and quizzes--all of which provide instant feedback.

3. Writing@CSU (Colorado State University)

In addition to providing "more than 150 guides and interactive activities for writers," Writing@CSU hosts a rich collection of resources for teachers of composition. Faculty in all disciplines will find useful articles, assignments, and other teaching materials at the WAC Clearinghouse.

4. HyperGrammar (Writing Centre at the University of Ottawa in Canada)

The HyperGrammar site at the University of Ottawa is one of the best "electronic grammar courses" available to the general public. Easy to navigate and concisely written, the HyperGrammar explains and illustrates grammatical concepts accurately and clearly.

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