unCommon News (March 2015)
unCommon News (March, 2015)
A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
We hope you are well. For those of you who live up north in the United States, we hope you will get a much deserved break from all of the snow and cold!
As you know, Writing Commons is a free, peer-produced textbook suitable for college courses that require writing. We have loads of webtexts for composition, professional, creative nonfiction, fiction, and technical writing courses, and we are always looking for authors to help develop our open-education resource.
Since we moved to http://writingcommons.org, 2,413,893 students and faculty have accessed 4,511,032 pages. Visitor traffic is growing exponentially. According to our Google Analytics, 31% of our readership occurs beyond the U.S. borders. Over the past four years, students and faculty have visited most from the Philippines, Canada, United Kingdom, India, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan, Germany, and Singapore. Plus, we have had good participation at the international colloquium we co-sponsored with our colleagues at Malmö University (Sweden) last November. We are very happy that Writing Commons is useful to faculty and students beyond the United States, yet we struggle to inspire international faculty to publish their pedagogical insights with us. Nearly all of our webtexts—excluding the students' posts at My Campus (our global magazine for undergraduate writers)—are written by U.S.-based faculty. As a result, despite our efforts, Writing Commons reflects a somewhat U.S.-centric view of writing.
CCCC 2015 Preconference Workshop
Please join us for a day-long workshop at CCCC 2015 on Big Data Methods, Digital Tools, & Writing Studies
In their May 2014 report to President Obama, “Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values,” John Podesta et al write “big data will transform the way we live and work and alter the relationships between government, citizens, businesses, and consumers” and “the availability of new types of data profoundly improves researchers’ ability to learn about learning."
For those of us in Writing Studies, the affordances of digital assessment tools and big-data methods are potentially revolutionary. If you are curious about the potential impact of corpus-based, big data methods on Writing Studies, we invite you to join us at this preconference. This session will begin with a discussion of ways that researchers have employed corpus methods to research the efficacy of writing programs. Workshop participants will report on corpus-based research using mixed-method approaches and research tools, including descriptive statistics, R, Antconc, Diction Analysis, nVivo, and QDA Miner and Wordstat. Participants will brainstorm about ways corpus methods and big data may alter writing pedagogy and writing program assessment. The workshop will have three parts: (1) a focus on ongoing and published research; (2) demonstrations of big-data tools; and (3) an opportunity to collectively brainstorm about ways big-data methods may transform research methods in Writing Studies and challenge pedagogical practices and writing program assessment methods.
- Consider new methods of data collection
Expedite mentoring of faculty, program assessment, and evidence based curriculum
Explore data-analysis tools
Consider ethical, IRB, and FERPA implications for big-data studies
Outline/visualize potential big-data research studies
Welcome to Tampa Bay!
If you have some downtime during the CCCC, we encourage you to explore the vibrant and diverse city of Tampa.
This month we celebrate a new webtext, "Journalism: Gathering Information and Writing Your Story," written by Emma Sills, Kyle Olmstead, and Shannon Hawley of The University of Delaware. In this webtext, the authors discuss the process of conducting field research, especially the art of interviewing. They give tips about asking open-ended questions, follow-up questions, and preparing for an interview. Their webtext then transitions into how to structure a news story, and how to maintain a non-biased tone. This webtext would be helpful in any journalism class, or one where students learn to conduct interviews.
University of Wisconsin-Barron County
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
Episode 6 of my Plugs, Play, Pedagogy podcast features four vignettes from the September 2014 issue of College Composition and Communication on the meanings of the places where we write and teach, all read by their authors. I also discuss the importance of narrative nonfiction and the weirdness of the way we talk about digital spaces.
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
Writing Commons Monthly Traffic Report
Visit us at our Facebook page. View newsfeeds regarding Writing Commons and updates about open education. Don't forget to connect with Writing Commons on Twitter using @writingcommons and #writingcommons. Writing Commons' tweets consist of answers to students' most common writing questions, such as "What's a paragraph supposed to have?" and "What's Rogerian argument?" Each tweet is hyperlinked to our Writing Commons blog where Writing Commons staff members provide succinct, accessible answers, and helpful examples.
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