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Writing Guide

Written Assignments

Step 1: Choose the template for your paper

  • For a weekly writing assignment, you'll use the APA Word Template.

  • The format will remain the same (caps, indents, spacing), you'll just insert your own information and click on Save As.
  • Name your document this way: Jstudent_exampleproblem_101519
    • Organizing files:
      • Quarter > Course Name > Module > JStudent_exampleproblem_101519
      • Example: Spring 2020 > Eng Comp > Module 3 > JDoe_Discovery and Planning_041520
  • Now you are ready to move on to Step 2.

Step 2: Setting up the assignment

  • Copy and paste the assignment into a Word document.
  • Break the required elements of the assignment into bullet points. This will ensure that you meet all the requirements of the assignment.  It will also save you a lot of time.
  • Now that you know exactly what the assignment is asking of you, go ahead and start reading the material for the module.  When you find the information you need, type that into the Word document under the corresponding bullet point. Remember to put it into your own words (i.e. paraphrase). 
    • This is where you'll also use in-text citations if applicable.
  • You can polish up your paper as you go along, or wait until the end when you have all your content written.

Step 3: Creating an outline

  • Outline: You have the information you need to write your paper.  Take the bullet points with the information underneath and paste it into the APA template format you've already downloaded and saved. 
  • Start with the main points
    • You'll build your paragraphs around the main points.
      • Generally there is one main idea per paragraph.
    • Fill in details to support each main idea.
      • These will also be the bulleted elements from the beginning when you set the assignment up.
  • Mind Maps and Graphic Organizers may help you with this process.  

Watch the short video below for information on creating an outline in Microsoft Word 2013.

Step 4: Building the paper

Now that you have the information you need to write your paper, you'll start your rough draft.  You can take the information from your outline and place it into your APA formatted paper that you've already downloaded and saved.  The outline will show you what your paragraphs will contain.  Again, start with the main points from your outline.  You'll build your paragraphs around those main points (remember, one main point per paragraph) and fill in details to support each main idea. Go back to step 3 if you have more questions on writing an outline.


Remember that writing is a process.  If you get stuck as you go, utilize your resources:

Step 5: Review and then submit your paper

  • Double check that the assignment's required elements (bulleted from earlier) are all in your paper.
  • Use the Rubric in the box below to self-assess your assignment.
    • This is the same rubric the Writing Lab staff will use as a guideline for your written work.  Use the rubric to 'score' your own paper.  You'll see helpful resources right there for you to make any changes before you submit it to the Writing Lab.  See the bottom box for complete information about the Rubric and how to use it. 
  • You're almost finished!  Now that you're getting close to finishing your paper, you can choose to have someone else provide feedback on it before you submit it to your instructor.
    • Submit it to the Writing Lab for review. Follow the these user-friendly instructions. Feedback will be provided to you within 24-48 hours.  The feedback will be based on this rubric and will also provide specific next steps based on what is needed to improve the paper.
  • Submit your finished paper to the instructor using the drop box.
    • Click on the Attachments button. A new "Attachments" window will open.
    • Click on the Browse button. A new window will open, directing you to locate the assignment on your computer.
    • When you have located the assignment file on your computer, select it and click the Open button in the window. The filename will then appear in the File to Upload field.
    • Type the title of your assignment in the Title box. The title should be your first initial and last name (i.e. JDoe.doc).
    • Leave the File Type drop-down box set to Auto-detect.
    • Click the Upload File button.
    • A message will appear stating that your file upload was successful. Click the OK button.
    • A new screen will appear showing your attached assignment and the date and time submitted.
  • Review the instructor's feedback after grading.  You will see your writing improve over time.

Resources for Weekly Written Assignments