Answered By: Paul Lai Last Updated: Apr 30, 2021 Views: 6
© Walden University Writing Center 2014
What can you possibly accomplish in 5 minutes to help strengthen your writing? More than you might think! What if you had 15, or 30, or 60 minutes? In this month's episode, Nik and Brittany suggest different Writing Center services you can use if you have 60, 30, 15, or only 5 minutes to spare.
[TEASER:] NIK: So, what do you do if you have 15 minutes? What can we do with that amount of time?
NIK: Welcome to WriteCast, a casual conversation for serious writers. I'm Nikolas Nadeau.
BRITTANY: And I'm Brittany Kallman Arneson.
NIK: In this episode we’re going to be very conscious of your time.
BRITTANY: Not just your time in listening to this video, mind you—although we do place a high value on that, as well—but on the time it takes to use the many services and resources we make available to Walden students here in the Walden Writing Center.
NIK: If you have one minute, five minutes, fifteen minutes… You get the idea.
BRITTANY: And along the way we’ll point out some key tips and tricks for making the most of our website, social media, webinars, and, of course, our one-on-one paper reviews, as well.
NIK: You know, Brittany, often I wake up in the morning and I think, you know, it would be so nice if I only had more time. You know, if I just had, like, twenty six hours in the day, then I could go for that extra run…
BRITTANY: Or clean your closet.
NIK: Yeah…no kidding. [Laughs] I could read a paper with some hot coffee… but, honestly, guess I would just watch Netflix, if I had more time, to be brutally honest. But you get the picture. And I think that’s just something we really want to emphasize today is that we recognize that all of us have limited time.
BRITTANY: That’s really true. I find myself wishing the same thing, and unfortunately, we can’t expand the number of hours that you have in your day. So instead, we are going to give you a head start on making the most of the time that you do have and maximizing that time. So you really already have a head start because you’re listening to this podcast and you view it as a good investment of your time. So, if you’ve got just a few minutes more…
NIK: Well, wait, actually…I’m out of time Brittany, I gotta go, sorry…
BRITTANY: No, no, no…Nik. You have to have at least one minute of time.
NIK: Okay, just one minute?
BRITTANY: Just ONE minute, sixty seconds. That’s all I ask.
NIK: Okay, sure, sixty seconds. I can do that.
BRITTANY: [Laughs] Okay, so here's what to do if you only have sixty seconds of time one minutes.
NIK: So if you have just one minute you can check our social media. We’re on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Visit our Facebook page, and “like” the page, meaning not just deciding that you like it but actually clicking the “like” button to receive news, links, and all our updates in your newsfeed.
BRITTANY: You can follow us on Twitter and Google+. That way, you can receive updates as well as writing tips, goings-on in the Writing Center, and open appointments as they become available.
NIK: And you can access all of the social media outlets via the icons that are on our Writing Center’s homepage.
BRITTANY: You could also bookmark our homepage, which is writingcenter.waldenu.edu. And you can bookmark our blog, as well the Center for Research Quality or CRQ, which is just researchcenter.waldenu.edu.
NIK: Yeah, that Center for Research Quality is great. They have a wonderful website which gives you guidelines for how to write a dissertation and make sure that you’re on track in your process. But let’s say you find that you actually have more than just a minute. Brittany, I actually think I could have five minutes, maybe. So, if you have five minutes, let’s say, what can I do?
BRITTANY: Yeah, once you realize you have one minute and how much you can get into one minute, you maybe will decide that you have, oh, five minutes to do some of these things and there is even more you can do if you have five minutes. One of the things you can do in five minutes is try out Quick Answers, which is a great feature located on the Writing Center main homepage where you can type in a question and get a list of really thorough answers to those commonly asked questions.
NIK: Oh and by the way, anything we mention today, you can search for it on our website in the Quick Answers box, and that’s always a helpful tool for you.
NIK: With five minutes, you can also watch a YouTube video. We’re on YouTube. We may not have the YouTube stardom of Psy and Gangnam Style, but we definitely are rock stars in our own right, at least in my mind. [Brittany laughs] So, we have short play lists of videos that are one to five minutes long, and if you’re curious about that, again, find the YouTube icon on our homepage.
BRITTANY: If you have five minutes, you can also log into myPASS, which is our new paper review scheduling system, and you can look for a paper review appointment. And the easiest way to login to myPASS is to go into your myWalden portal and click on “make an appointment” and then locate the Writing Center. And that is where you can get set up with an account if you don’t already have one already.
NIK: You can also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BRITTANY: You can download a template. These templates are pre-formatted with the formatting that’s required by Walden and APA style. And you can search for the template in that same Quick Answer box that I just mention earlier, or in the search bar at the top of the homepage.
NIK: You can also register for an upcoming live webinar via our webinars page, or you can visit our blog and sign up to receive new posts by email. And you can find ways to sign up at the end of each post or in the right sidebar on our blog.
BRITTANY: You can also sign up for the Capstone Community if you are a doctoral level student. This is a special writing community that happens online, kind of like Facebook. Where you are watching people post things and communicating with people in a virtual environment, and it’s a place for people who are working on their capstones—which means your dissertation, your doctoral study, your project study—to support each other, to talk about different tools and tips that they might have encountered and found helpful. And also to connect with dissertation editors who hold office hours from time to time in that community. So you have an opportunity to connect both with your fellow classmates, but also with representatives from the Writing Center who can give you advice about writing your capstone. And you can find that Capstone Community again by searching in the search box on our main Writing Center homepage.
NIK: So, Brittany, usually if I go on a five minute run—you know, I am just going to put on my shoes, go for a jog, no big deal, five minutes—and it eventually almost always turns into fifteen minutes. You know, there is something about running that, you know, gets me going, and I feel like I am energized. So, what do you do if you have fifteen minutes? What can we do with that amount of time?
BRITTANY: If you find that you have fifteen minutes to take out of your day to devote to improving your writing. You could….
NIK: Pick a tab on our website to explore.
BRITTANY: Explore our website in a little bit more depth. So, you’ll notice that there are some tabs across the top of the website, and if you hover over those tabs you’ll get a drop-down menu that gives a little bit more information about what you can find under each tab. So it’s really helpful to go through and hover over each of those tabs to sort of see what information you might be able to find under those tabs and then you can click on some of the links underneath those drop-down menus that seem relevant to you.
NIK: You can also check out the discussions in the Capstone Community, that you already signed up for with your five minutes. And here you can chat with an editor during the community office hours.
BRITTANY: Also, if you have fifteen minutes, review feedback from a paper appointment and email the writing instructor that you worked with if you have any questions about that appointment. So, of course, that requires you to have had an appointment ahead of time. But, if you did have that appointment and received that feedback, you can take fifteen minutes to review that feedback, scroll through it, and then write that quick e-mail with any questions, following up.
NIK: You can also read a few blog posts; try Grammarly, or Turnitin, which are located on the Academic Skills Center’s website; or you can also do what you are doing now, listening to a podcast, which you can access via our blog or by looking for WriteCast on iTunes in the podcast library.
BRITTANY: So let’s say it’s a Sunday afternoon and you’ve already walked your dog, and you don’t really need to clean your closet, and you are looking for something to do. Let’s say you can find thirty minutes of time. Nik, what can you with thirty minutes to improve your writing?
NIK: Well, Brittany, with a half hour, we definitely recommend focusing on critical reading. We actually have an entire webpage on critical reading, and basically we want to make sure that the writing that you’ve done reflects a very first step, even before you start writing, which is your reading in a critical way. You know, taking notes, asking questions, being skeptical of arguments and claims, investigating for yourself whether or not a particular author or study has come to a conclusion that you think is sound. These are all things you can do in a half hour and it’s really an honest investment in your time.
BRITTANY: If you have thirty minutes, you can also read the resources you can find on the Library, Academic Skills, and Center for Research Quality websites. There is a lot of really rich information on those websites that it takes a little bit more time to wade through. But if you have a half an hour, that’s going to be a really good way to spend your time just learning a little bit more about the resources that are available to you through those three centers.
NIK: You can also try our prewriting exercise to get ready for an upcoming assignment. You can search for “pre-writing” on our webpage to learn more about different types of pre-writing exercises, like mind mapping, free writing, etc.
BRITTANY: Okay, so let’s say you’ve discovered that you can fit so many important and valuable things into these shorter timeframes, that you imagine you can absolutely move mountains if you just set aside an hour of your time to work on your writing or review Writing Center resources. Let’s talk about a few things that you can do if you have sixty minutes of time that you can spend on writing or learning about writing. Nik, what are some things that students could do with sixty minutes?
NIK: Watch House of Cards?
BRITTANY: [Laughs] You might need to have a little bit of a break after spending all this time reviewing these other resources. But I’m talking more about specifically writing-related activities.
NIK: Okay, well, in addition to writing about House of Cards after you watch House of Cards, you can also attend a Writing Center webinar, a full webinar, or view a recording in our webinar archive. You can also use the feedback from a paper review appointment you’ve had with us so far to revise your work. You can also figure out a way to take our feedback and apply it to something else. Maybe you have an entirely different assignment for an entirely different class, but you want to incorporate the MEAL plan for paragraph writing, or write a stronger thesis statement, or conclusion, or fix up that reference list. And so remember that our feedback is applicable in most cases to writing that you do across your work.
BRITTANY: Oh, Nik, also, I just realized, we published a blog post recently. It’s written by Kayla, our illustrious colleague, on strategies for using feedback and applying it throughout your draft.
NIK: That’s correct, Brittany.
BRITTANY: So that might be something that students could also take a look at if they visit our blog. They might find some information there that’s a little bit more personal. You know, the blog has a little bit different flavor, a little bit different tone. So, in addition to looking at some of the tips that we have on our website, check out that blog post from Kayla, as well.
NIK: And just to note, all of these links that we’re pointed out, are available in the podcast transcript which you can download from the podcast page on our blog.
BRITTANY: We know we have thrown a lot of information at you in this episode, so thanks for sticking with us. I hope that you found some of this information helpful to realize that we have a variety of resources that you can fit into your busy day, regardless of whether you have only five minutes or whether you can set aside a full hour of your time.
NIK: Thanks so much for listening, and please do join us next time.
[Ending Music transition]
NIK: This podcast is a production of the Walden University Writing Center.
BRITTANY: This episode was produced by me, Brittany Kallman Arneson, my co-host, Nikolas Nadeau, and Anne Shiell.
Visit the Writing Center's website to learn more about the WriteCast podcast, including how to subscribe.