Resistance and Control:
The Complex Process of Creating an OWL

Camille Langston
Texas Women's University

The Online Writing Lab should be considered a tool designed to assist students, especially non-traditional, commuting students. This was our Writing Lab's argument for creating an OWL for Texas Woman's University, which has a large number of these types of students as well as three campuses (Denton, Dallas, and Houston) and only one Writing Lab to support them. Unfortunately, instead of the support that I expected with this project, I was faced with resistance, which stemmed from control issues. However, control issues became dual as I discovered that not only did I face administrative control of policies, but I also had to relinguish full control of my text.

I knew I was entering an arena that some English department faculty members find "unnecessary" and "useless" as a composition tool. However, with a little persuasion, the majority of faculty members agreed upon creating an OWL, probably not really knowing the details. So, with this major step in the bureaucratic process completed, I felt as if the hardest part had been accomplished and the easy part was to come. However, I was wrong as I was ignorant of the control issues, suspiciously disguised as "security reasons," that govern public computing services, such as university computing. Because our university does not permit individual departments to own servers, all university links to the Internet must be serviced through Academic Computing. I realize that not all departments have this formality; however, in support of those who do, this e-text should serve as a how-to guide for creating an OWL.

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