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Online Writing Commons

What is the Online Writing Commons?

The Online Writing Commons is designed to provide RIT Online Learning students with resources and written feedback to improve their writing. Only students enrolled in online courses at RIT are elligible. 

What kind of feedback will I get in the Online Writing Commons?

Similar to its on-campus counterpart, the Online Writing Commons provides a place for students to engage in asynchronous conversations with trained Writing Consultants. We are happy to help you by:

  • Suggesting tips that will help make your writing more polished and collegiate (or professional).
  • Explaining particular writing conventions and genres that you need to learn about and recognize on your own.
  • Showing you grammar and usage examples in Hacker's Rules for Writers or other resources.
  • Answering questions regarding the proper citation of sources in various academic styles.  Note: Please consult the citation guidelines available on the homepage of Wallace Library's website before submitting (
  • Helping you with a résumé and letter of application for a co-op, job, or scholarship.
  • Making a referral to the office or service that more effectively meets your requirements, if your writing needs fall outside the scope of the services that the Online Writing Commons can provide.

Who can use the Online Writing Commons?

Currently, any student enrolled in an online course may submit drafts of their writing assignments to the Online Writing Commons.

How do I access the Online Writing Commons?

Online Writing Commons is located in the “Communities” section of myCourses.  It can be accessed from either the Online Learning Student Community in myCourses or by expanding Communities on the Course Listing widget on the My Home page of myCourses.

How do I submit a writing assignment to the Online Writing Commons' Dropbox?

  1. Once you are on the Online Writing Commons page in myCourses, click the Dropbox for the current week.
  2. Review the content in the Custom Instructions field.
  3. Click Online Writing Commons Info Sheet and fill in the requested information as completely as possible.
    1. Be sure to explain your assignment.
    2. Also, describe what kind of assistance you are requesting.
  4. Save the Online Writing Commons Info Sheet to your hard drive.
  5. Submit both files (your draft and the Online Writing Commons Log Sheet) in .doc/.docx format.

Note: By providing this information, Online Writing Commons Consultants will provide feedback on your writing as early as possible. If necessary, an Online Writing Commons Consultant will contact you for additional information about your assignment or feedback needs.

How do I receive feedback?

An Online Writing Commons Consultant will send you an email message, once feedback on your writing has been left in the Dropbox.” Once back, in the Dropbox, you will see 'NEW' under the Feedback column.

  1. Click on the word NEW to open the 'View Feedback' section.
  2. The upper half of the box is a log of the documents you have submitted. The lower half is a log of the comments and 'Mark Up' drafts left by the Online Writing Commons consultant.

How can I prepare my draft for feedback?

Before you submit a draft for feedback (along with the Info Sheet), save both documents as “.doc” files. Then, please run a basic spell check on your own before submitting your draft. Since the Online Writing Commons is an intellectual space designed to help you reflect on your overall writing process rather than a proofreading service, this basic check on your part is important and a good practice for any writing that you do.  It will also allow us to discuss more than surface-level issues in your writing.

When can I submit a draft and expect feedback?

Submit your draft anytime, 24 hours a day.  Online Writing Commons Consultants monitor the Dropbox every day.  You can expect to receive feedback within 24-48 hours. Plan ahead when you are working on an assignment with a deadline.  We are not able to provide instant feedback.

Will Online Writing Commons feedback cover everything I need to work on?

Based on what type of feedback you request and our review of your draft, Online Writing Commons consultants will focus on the two or three most important aspects of your writing. The feedback you receive is goal-oriented and will be focused on specific revision strategies so that you have a plan for improving your writing.

Who can read my work?

Be assured that your draft submissions are private and are accessible only to the Writing Consultants. Your work is not viewable by any other students who may be using the Online Writing Commons.

Our Limitations

Please keep in mind that the Online Writing Commons is an instructional space, and we do not offer proofreading or copyediting services.

Sorry, but we also cannot:

  • guarantee a particular grade on your assignment
  • help with exams of any kind
  • help you with more than one Online Writing Commons submission per day
  • work on projects written by two or more students
  • give extensive feedback on drafts submitted multiple times