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Frequently Asked Questions

Edit Guide Title: Center for Online Writing Support - COWS

Frequently Asked Questions

Please check this page before contacting us with questions/concerns.


Q. I sent my paper in and never heard from the COWS. What should I do?

A. We send an automatic response email as soon as we receive your paper. If you didn't hear anything from us at all, check your "sent messages" folder and make sure that the email went through. Make sure that you spelled our email address correctly:

Q. I sent my paper in and haven't gotten it back yet. What should I do?

A. Check the turnaround schedule and the Ivy Tech calendar. Has it been MORE than 48 hours since you emailed? If it hasn't, please wait until the deadline 5:00 PM) before emailing us to check on your work. Is it a weekend, holiday, or break? If so, remember that turnaround time is 48 business hours, and we are closed on days that Ivy Tech Bloomington classes are not in session.

Q. I really need help and my paper is due tomorrow. Can you look at it for me and get it back in time?

A. Unfortunately, we can't make special accommodations. The COWS is a free service designed to help Ivy Tech Bloomington students improve their essays and their skills as writers. A large part of the writing process is revision, and planning ahead is a part of revision. If you wait until the day before an assignment is due to really begin thinking about editing and revision, then you simply aren't going to have enough time to consider any feedback you get from the COWS before completing your assignment, no matter how quickly we return your paper to you. Revision takes time. Plan ahead.

Q. Last time I sent in a paper, I got it back in just 24 hours. This time, I haven't heard back yet. What's up with that?

A. Sometimes our reviewers are able to return papers a little faster than the usual 48 hour turnaround time (woohoo!). But please remember that our policy is to return papers within 48 hours. Just because you received a returned paper faster at one time does not mean you should EXPECT turnaround faster than 48 hours. Our staff takes the time to do a thoughtful revision of each submission, just as you will use our feedback to do a thoughtful revision of your work as well. Plan ahead and allow for plenty of time to revise AFTER the 48 hour turnaround and BEFORE your final assignment is due.


Q. I don't teach English. Can my students still use the COWS?


Q. I require my students to submit work the COWS. How can I get records of their use?

A. An easy way to track student submissions is to ask your students to forward our responses to you from their own email addresses.

Q. Can I forward information about specific assignments that my students will be submitting directly to you?

A. Yes! If you have specifics for an assignment that we will be seeing a lot (perhaps one you are requiring students to submit, etc.), please forward the writing prompt or assignment requirements to the COWS. Any information we can get is helpful to us in knowing what sort of feedback would be most advantageous for your students.

Q. I have an issue with the feedback my students have received. What should I do?

A. Please let us know! Our goal is to provide both timely and good quality feedback. If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions for how we can improve our feedback and better serve you and our students, please email the director, Joe Betz, at