unCommon News (November 2014)
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unCommon News (November, 2014)
A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
We hope your fall semester has been productive and enjoyable.
For October, traffic at Writing Commons was up 67% over last year, with 187,394 total visitors. This month, we are happy to publish four original webtexts for Writing Commons, including three contributions to our professional and technical writing corpus and one contribution to our fiction corpus. To help celebrate the contributions of our authors, please take a moment to vote for the Aaron Swartz Award for the Best Original Webtext published at Writing Commons during 2014. For those of you who are interested in learning more about Aaron Swartz's contributions to open education, see Traci Zimmerman's (James Madison University) excellent review below of The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz, a free, online documentary.
In partnership with KairosCast, we invite you to listen to Kyle Stedman's (Rockford University) third podcast for Plugs, Play, Pedagogy: Using Creative Commons to Make Stuff. This podcast may be of particular interest to those of you who are considering submitting an original webtext to Writing Commons.
For those of you who are keen on providing a public forum for your undergraduate students' writing, we invite you to note recent developments at My Campus. As Kate Pantelides (EMU) and Kristin Gay (Clemson) can tell you, our student bloggers at My Campus are attracting the interest of thousands of readers. We are happy to feature the exemplary works of undergraduate students worldwide, and we invite you to join us in this initiative.
January is a terrific time to visit Tampa, Florida. On January 16th, we are hosting a one-day, face-to-face, free colloquium: Digital Writing Tools for Global Citizens. Sponsored by the University of South Florida, this colloquium builds on the conversations of our recent, free conferences: The 2014 International Writing Studies Colloquium cohosted with Malmö University and Big Data and Writing Studies. Below are the abstracts for our distinguished speakers: Chris Anson, Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University; Val Ross, Director of the Critical Writing Program at the University of Pennsylvania; Suzanne Lane, Director of the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication program at MIT; Christiane K. Donahue, Director of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth University; Kate Pantelides, Associate Director of First-Year Writing at Eastern Michigan University. After the colloquium, you may find some enjoyment visiting our local beaches.
As we approach the new year and begin drafting New Year's resolutions, we hope you'll put submitting an original webtext to Writing Commons on your to do list. Please contact me if you are willing to write a review of important new works in Writing Studies, whether it's a new online resource, scholarly article, or research study. We are happy to provide you with access statistics for your tenure and promotion portfolios.
Review: The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014)
For scholars and educators, having access to knowledge and being able to share ideas is the bedrock upon which our entire educational and democratic enterprise depends. For Aaron Swartz, information access and dissemination was seen as a fundamental human right, a right certainly worth fighting for, and a fight that would ultimately lead to his tragic suicide at the age of 26. Brian Knappenberger’s film deftly tells the story of Aaron’s life as a way not only to illustrate and advance the cause for which he lived but also to catalyze questions and inspire change as we understand and examine the circumstances of his death. Through home movies, interviews with Aaron’s loved ones and mentors, and news clips of his 2011 arrest (and questionable federal case) for wire and computer fraud, Knappenberger is able to capture and contextualize Aaron’s influence and to create a kind of visual manifesto demanding justice for Aaron as a way of demanding justice for us all. This film reminds us of Aaron’s admonition: that it is not enough to live in the world as it is, to accept the inevitable and refuse to seek the possible. More than that, it is a powerful testament to what one person can and did do to make the world a better place.
Academic Unit Head and Professor
James Madison University
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
Episode 3 of Plugs, Play, Pedagogy (my monthly podcast on teaching composition in the 21st century) is live: Using Creative Commons to Make Stuff. The episode starts with a narration of my poking around online, looking for audio and video that I could legally use in my podcast. But the more I dug, the trickier the questions about copyright became. I had to ask myself, “What kinds of Creative Commons licenses are out there, and which can I use in my podcast? How can I integrate the music and videos I find on sites like Soundcloud and YouTube in my multimodal compositions, whether for a podcast or something else? And what should I tell my students?” Listen in to hear me wrestle with these details—and for a wider perspective on issues of copyright and fair use, see a piece I wrote with Writing Commons Senior Editor of Technical Communication Dan Richards, “Copyright and Writing.”
Kyle Stedman, Rockford University
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
My Campus has just launched its social networking campaign. Through our social media efforts we are building a bridge in dynamic spaces where writers can interact and share their appreciation for exceptional student writing. The My Campus hashtag is #MyCampus.
Shirley Cid, My Campus Student Intern, University of South Florida
2015 Digital Writing Tools for Global Citizens
January 16, 2015, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL
Note: we are limiting attendance to 100 participants for this face-to-face event so we encourage you to register ASAP at Eventbrite.
Digital Writing Tools for Global Citizens is intended for writing program administrators and researchers in Writing Studies. This colloquium explores and celebrates the impacts that digital writing tools have on the act, study, teaching, and assessment of writing. We are especially curious to evaluate ways digital tools globalize writing pedagogy, research, practice, and literacies. As we look across programs, universities, and continents, we wonder how we can leverage the big data that is aggregated by some digital tools to measure the development and transfer of cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal competencies.
Chris Anson, Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University
Digital Tools, Global Audiences, & the Future of Writing Studies
This presentation explores the possibilities of self-sponsored communication for the development of multilingual, global literacies.
Valerie Ross, Director of the Critical Writing Program, Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing
Mapping Transfer and the Role of Peer Review in the Development of Reasoning and Writing Competencies
This presentation describes some recent developments and key findings in knowledge transfer research, and explores how peer review can be used to cultivate transferable writing skills in first and second language learners.
Joe Moxley, Director of First-Year Composition at the University of South Florida
Using My Reviewers to improve feedback on student writing, peer review, and writing program assessment
Between 2009 and 2014, teachers in the first-year composition program at the University of South Florida have used My Reviewers, a cloud-based digital assessment tool, and a single community rubric to respond to approximately 200,000 essays that constituted the major projects for two introductory courses. This presentation reports on what we have learned by studying the My Reviewers corpus about teacher response to writing, peer review, and writing program assessment.
Suzanne Lane, Director of the Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication (WRAP) program at MIT
Tools, Vision, and Design for the 21st Century Classroom
Based on her work developing Annotation Studio, NORA (a paraphrasing tool), and MITx features, Suzanne Lane talks about pedagogy in online and flipped classroom spaces.
Christiane K. Donahue, Director of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric at Dartmouth University
Empirical Research Traditions, Big Data, and Writing Studies: Interconnections and Transformations
This presentation investigates the relationships among traditional empirical research about writing, in its quantitative forms, “big data” research, and analytics.
Kate Pantelides, Associate Director of First-Year Writing at Eastern Michigan University
The Takeaway: A Workshop for Moving From Talk to Action
In this final workshop, Kate Pantelides draws on the work of colloquium speakers as well as her own experiences getting started to facilitate tangible beginnings for colloquium participants.
We are proud to present "Taking Control: Managing Your Online Identity for the Job Search" by Daniel Ruefman. In this webtext, Ruefman explains how individuals—especially those on the job market—can carefully explore and reflect on their online ethos; he then provides specific strategies for redesigning one's online representation through the process of revising social media and personal webpages and influencing which pages search engines display first. Ruefman is an Assistant Professor of English at UW-Stout. A widely published poet, Daniel teaches first-year composition and professional writing courses.
In "Four Basic Principles in Writing Fiction," Riley H. Welcker examines how fiction writers can think critically about point-of-view, characterization, plot, and conflict in their own compositions. Welker gives extended examples about how these four characteristics work in well known literature (for instance, Charles Dickens' work). This webtext would be helpful both in any fiction writing class or as an example of literary analysis and close reading. Riley is currently a graduate in Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso. He has been published in a variety of journals.
In addition to these two new webtexts, we are also pleased to announce that there have been two additions to the Business Writing and Technical Communication family on our site: "Preparing Job Materials" and "Writing a Cover Letter" have both been added to the section “Business Writing in Action.”
Quentin Vieregge, Editor-in-Chief
Dan Richards, Senior Editor, Technical Communication
Dartmouth Summer Seminar for Writing Research
Announcing the 2015 Dartmouth Summer Seminar for Writing Research:"Data-Driven Inquiry: Process, Methods, Results"
We welcome new and seasoned writing teachers and writing program administrators from all types of institutions and writing positions, including two-year and four-year colleges and universities, writing centers, writing across the curriculum programs, writing research laboratories and groups, or centers for teaching excellence. Participants may be researchers looking to expand their repertoire of methods or new researchers. We encourage research groups to apply.
The program is designed to support members of our field who would like to engage in data-driven research but have not had the opportunity to develop their expertise in understanding, choosing, and using particular research methods, effecting quantitative and qualitative analysis, carrying out critical analysis with (and of) statistics and statistical software, and preparing for publication of this kind of research. It is also valuable for faculty who have experience doing this work but would like some input into a particular project they wanted to workshop.
Applications are due on December 15th, 2014. Find more information about this seminar for Writing Research on Dartmouth's website here.
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