Macmillan Learning Pairs Smart Search with Microsoft Word for Writing Students

Share Article

New Integration to Provide More Seamless Support for Writers, in College and Beyond

Writer's Help 2.0, Macmillan Learning's online writing resource

"Writer’s Help was built on the idea of giving students information exactly when they need it, with the search words they actually use," said Managing Director Susan Winslow.

Macmillan Learning today announced the development of new, integrated writing support within Microsoft Word with their leading online product, Writer’s Help. Powered by Writer's Help, this smart search APP is seamlessly integrated in Microsoft Word, designed to respond to common student questions about writing. Writer's Help Now will give all writers, in college and beyond, quick, reliable answers at just the point when they need them. Providing writers with a resource that allows them to search quickly and get accurate, targeted answers within the writing space so many college students use will help them stay focused and build confidence as they work.

“Writing is a skill students learn and continue to hone throughout their college courses,” said Macmillan Learning CEO Ken Michaels. “Educators repeatedly bemoan the common mistake students make when they use unvetted help from the web. By harnessing the best research from our authors to inform a much smarter search, we are offering students just-in-time help while they write. By integrating within Word, students don’t have to leave the application to get that support.”

“Students aren’t necessarily searching for words like ‘ellipses’ or ‘transitions’ when they have questions. Typically, they are more likely to search instead for ‘three dots’ or ‘flow’,” explained Managing Director Susan Winslow. “Writer’s Help was built on the idea of giving students information exactly when they need it, with the search words they actually use.”

Macmillan Learning’s team compiled research, gathering the words that students actually use to search for help in their writing so that the answers and results would be grouped into small, smart, useful categories. “Students are often intimidated by writing and simply turn to search engines for answers,” commented Macmillan Learning Publisher, Leasa Burton. “Instead of getting vast or inaccurate results, Writer’s Help provides targeted, relevant advice. It is a process our editors work on continuously so that we can provide the best experience for students.”

Already in use at more than 500 colleges and universities across the country, Writer’s Help combines content and tools from the most widely used classroom resources available, all from the leading publisher in writing handbooks, Macmillan imprint Bedford/St. Martin’s, including the best-selling textbook in recent history, A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers.

“All writers benefit from seeing a good model,” notes Writer’s Help coauthor Stephen A. Bernhardt. “Writer’s Help provides some one hundred models of various genres—lab reports, literature reviews, business memos, research papers, multimodal compositions, reflective papers, critical analyses, and many more text types. The model documents all provide excellent examples of well-formatted text to help students to learn.”

Writer’s Help Now, with enhanced search for multilingual writers, will be available in 2017.

# # #

About Macmillan Learning
Macmillan Learning improves lives through learning. Our legacy of excellence in education continues to inform our approach to developing world-class content with pioneering, interactive tools. Through deep partnership with the world’s best researchers, educators, administrators, and developers, we facilitate teaching and learning opportunities that spark student engagement and improve outcomes. We provide educators with tailored solutions designed to inspire curiosity and measure progress. Our commitment to teaching and discovery upholds our mission to improve lives through learning. To learn more, please visit or see us on Facebook, Twitter, or join our Macmillan Community.

About Writer’s Help
We asked 1,600 students how they search for help with writing problems and built the smart search with their responses in mind. Writer's Help 2.0 gives reliable results even when students aren’t familiar with technical terms. It also responds to broad search terms like research and to common teacher comments like need more details.    

Based on the most widely used writing advice on the market from Bedford/St. Martin’s premier handbook families, Writer’s Help 2.0 provides explanations and examples, exercises, glosses, charts, and sample student work—all in a convenient online format. Users who are familiar with handbook content by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers and by Andrea Lunsford will recognize the consistent and friendly tone, direct approach, and class-tested examples that teach. Stephen Bernhardt adds expertise in instructional design and writing in the disciplines.

With the content that writing teachers trust and a search engine that recognizes student language, Writer’s Help 2.0 is a robust, relevant tool that can close the gap between search and find.

About the Authors
Diana Hacker taught composition and tutored in the writing center at Prince George's Community College for 35 years. At PGCC, she personally class-tested her handbooks with more than four thousand students.

Coauthor Stephen A. Bernhardt (University of Delaware), an expert in information design, crafted a plan for researching how students search for writing help, reworked print book content for Web presentation, and developed features to enhance the online experience. Follow Steve Bernhardt’s blog posts on Bedford Bits: Ideas for Teaching Composition or learn more about Steve in his video.

Coauthor Nancy Sommers (Harvard University), an award-winning composition scholar and teacher, understands the challenges students face in academic writing situations and offers the skills needed to meet those challenges. Read Nancy Sommers’s online teaching journal on Bedford Bits: Ideas for Teaching Composition or learn more about Nancy in her video.

Andrea Lunsford, former director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University, is excited about the possibilities for writers in the “literacy revolution” brought about by today’s technology. You can read her “Teacher to Teacher” and “Multimodal Mondays” posts on Bedford Bits: Ideas for Teaching Composition, and you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Kate Geraghty
Visit website