School of Continuing and Professional Studies > SCPSWriting Guide

SCPS Writing Guide

​​This guide contains resources, tips, and samples to help you become a better writer.
Questions? Email us at scpswriting@depaul.edu.

Overview

DePaul University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies is committed to supporting writing development throughout the educational careers of all its students. The main sources of this support are the SCPS Writing Program and the University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL). The UCWbL and SCPS’s Writing Program offer complementary services in support of the development of student writing skills.

The SCPS Writing Guide begins with a statement of the core values and goals for the writing program at SCPS. The Guide acquaints students with the writing support services available to them. The forms of assistance outlined in the Guide include group writing support (“Boot Camps”), one-on-one tutoring, an assortment of writing samples, and a detailed paper writing rubric with links to writing tips. These tools are intended to help students face the challenges of logical ways to organize ideas in a paper, grammar and punctuation, use of sources, avoidance of plagiarism, etc. The Writing Guide concludes with advice for getting past the blank page and starting to write.

The SCPS Writing Program embraces the values of life-long, reflective, student-centered, integrated and experience-based learning. The goals of the Writing Program are based on these values.

Life-Long and Reflective

  • To provide just-in-time support to students and faculty for continuous improvement of writing at SCPS.
  • To teach students to be self-reflective writers who will continue to improve as writers beyond SCPS.
  • To continuously renew our pedagogy by learning from others and reflecting upon our own practice.

Student Centered

  • To meet students where they are and help them attain the goals they have set for themselves.
  • To assign writing projects that arise from and are shaped by students’ interests.
  • To teach students to assess and address their own writing needs.
  • To privilege writing instruction that is learner-centric.

Integrated into the SCPS Curriculum

  • To deliver writing instruction that helps students succeed in the unique context of SCPS while also building their skills for success in their writing efforts outside of and after SCPS.
  • To integrate writing into the teaching of all areas of study in ways that enhance learning.

Experience Based

  • To promote writing as a means of reflecting upon, making meaning of, and communicating experience.
  • To value students’ various literacies, while helping students know how and when to move between these literacies.
  • To value experience-based writing, while teaching students how to use writing to describe, reflect upon, analyze, and situate their experience in academic discourse when necessary.

The University Center for Writing-based learning (UCWbL) employs peer tutors trained to help students improve their academic writing skills. Among other services, the UCWbL Writing Center offers one-on-one tutoring with a peer tutor. Students can schedule tutoring appointments either in face-to-face or online realtime sessions, or via written (email) feedback or screencast feedback appointments.

The SCPS Writing Boot Camp program is designed for undergraduate or graduate SCPS students who have a writing project (assignments, Competence-based PLAs, APs, Captstones, AIPs, etc.) they wish to complete. SCPS writing faculty work closely with students during these sessions. Boot camps also provide an opportunity for students who have an incomplete grade to get support in finishing their work. Look for emailed announcements, check this page for updates or call SCPS reception 312.362.8001 for dates and times.

SUMMER/FALL QUARTER 2021 SCPS WRITING BOOT CAMPS

  • Saturday, Aug. 14th—10:00am to 12:30pm
  • Thursday, Sept. 23rd—5:30pm to 8:00pm
  • Saturday, Nov. 6th—10:00am to 12:30pm

Register for Upcoming Writing Boot Camps Today!

  • Send an email to SCPSwriting@depaul.edu with your name and desired session date/dates.
  • Take advantage of FREE instructor-led boot camp sessions designed to assist SCPS students in completing unfinished coursework, incompletes, and any writing projects related to completing their degree program.

Zoom Session Requirements Tips

  • If you do not already have Zoom on your device, download and install the Zoom app for your phone or tablet at the App Store or the Zoom application for your laptop or desktop @ zoom.us
  • Test and adjust your audio and video by starting a meeting. During the time of the session, disconnect other streamming or audio activity.
  • You will receive a meeting link as a reply to your registration email. Please sign on 5 to 10 minutes early to ensure we start on time.

Prepare for a Successful Session

  • Please have on hand: Prior assignment preparation (research material, assignment instructions, recommended documentation style-APA, MLA, etc.)
  • Those with an incomplete grade, let your faculty member know you are attending the Writing Boot Camp.
  • Pinpoint the main problem areas to target for this session. Review your project and have these areas located and ready for this session.

What to Expect

  • 15 minute overview and personalized break-out group times assigned.
  • During your breakout session you will work one-on-one with the faculty member to address the problem areas you have pinpointed.
  • After your small group session, please log back in and return to the large group for the last 45 minutes where each student will share their project problem area, how they have interpreted and implemented suggested edits, and read an excerpt from their revised project that demonstrates the solution

Questions? Email SCPSwriting@depaul.edu

Short course writing supports:In addition to the writing courses required by SCPS degree programs, SCPS offers supplemental, targeted writing instruction in the form of three short (five week) two credit hour courses. Collectively called the Writers Toolkit, students may take one of more of the Toolkit courses as needed. 

Writers Toolkit Courses

  • CCH 140 (APA Citation course)
  • CCH 141 (Encountering Writer’s Block course)
  • CCH 142 (Writing Mechanics course)

An excellent essay will

A strong essay will

A satisfactory essay will

A weak essay will

A poor essay will do any one of the following

The following is a rubric explaining the qualities of an excellent piece of academic writing:

Insight
Simply responding to an assignment does not make an excellent essay. To be excellent, your essay must go well beyond the requirements of the assignment, providing the reader with a new insight or exceptionally compelling evidence.

Purpose
Every essay has a purpose. In some writing activities at SCPS, your purpose may be to persuade the reader of demonstrable knowledge and ability in an area of applied learning. This kind of writing requires that you develop a broader and deeper understanding of experiential knowledge. This kind of writing usually requires reflection on experience in relation to applicable ideas, theories or principles.

Complexities
Writers anticipate ways people might disagree with the claims made and shortcomings of evidence provided. When you find research or think of ideas that contradict or challenge your claims, embracethem. Sometimes you will think of rebuttals that strengthen your original claim. Other times, you will find yourself modifying your original claim in light of these new ideas. Either way, you will end up with a stronger, more deeply thought through paper.

Supporting Details
Successful papers almost always include detailed and credible support for focused claims. To support any claim, you need specific details that advance the particular point you are making.  Your evidence must be credible. Credible evidence is typical, adequate, relevant and accurate. Typical means that your evidence should not be from extreme cases. Relevant means your evidence actually supports your claim and that it is timely. Accurate means evidence that meets commonly held standards of correctness and truth. The best place to start looking for credible sources is the DePaul Library.

Logical Development
The ideas in your paper, the way you support these ideas and the connections you make between ideas must make logical sense. Logic in this sense can be both formal and informal patterns of reasoning like deductions or identifying the causes of a problem before recommending solutions. Your final drafts should have a clear and consistent organization that makes it easy for the reader to follow the flow of your ideas. D. G. Jerz from Seton Hill University provides an explanation on his webpage Logical Argumentation in College Writing.

Style and Tone
Words, grammar, sentence and paragraph structure can shape the style of writing. Punctuation, sentence structure, and descriptive words can convey tone. You will need to adapt all of these features to meet the expectation of the specific audience you are writing a paper for.

Citations
Quotes, paraphrases and summaries of information from sources should be smoothly integrated in the flow of your essay. This means that they should fit grammatically with the writing around them. You must connect the ideas from your source with the ideas in your paper. In other words, introduce a quote or other information from a source and say in your own words how it relates to the point you are making. Use either MLA or APA citation. This means you will need to have in-text citation and a Works Cited or References page. In-text citation is when you indicate your source in the body of your paper using parentheses.

Sentence Variety and Paragraph Development
Vary the structure of your sentences. Use multiple strategies to develop paragraphs, such as addressing an objection, describing, comparing, giving examples, or adding detail. This development is crucial for fully thinking through and communicating your ideas or focus. Capital Community College provides more information on sentence variety and paragraph development.

Grammar and Usage
Even the best of us make mistakes, and it is very hard to find our own errors. Proofread on your own, but also use the Writing Center (UCWbL) and kind friends to help you check over your papers. Capital Community College provides more information on proofreading. When you have familiarized yourself with all the writing supports in this Writing Guide, it will be time to start writing. Most writers cycle through the stages of inventing, organizing, drafting, revising and editing as they write. Writers should understand the value of these stages, how and when to move between them, and what tools to use when stuck at any stage. But the most important thing to do is to keep writing!