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A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
I hope your fall semester is getting off to a great start.
In response to last month's newsletter, Qwo-Li Driskill asked me to share this opportunity for U.S. faculty who teach at tribally controlled colleges to receive financial support to attend the next Conference on College Composition and Communication: http://www.ncte.org/cccc/awards/tribalcollegefellow.
One way we hope to recognize diverse approaches to teaching writing is by publishing webtexts by faculty and writers in different countries/cultures. Admittedly, nearly 100% of our webtexts are written by U.S. faculty and about 85% of our readers are tagged with U.S. IP addresses. In the future, however, as the affordance of Internet technologies and access to these technologies enable us to talk with one another about our pedagogical goals and contexts, we are hopeful faculty from across the world will share their practices, research efforts, and theoretical approaches.
Calling All Team-Players!
Please help us grow Writing Commons so that its slogan is more than a slogan—so we truly are the open-education home for writers.
Writing Commons especially needs to hire a Chief Technology Officer. To beat back the spammers, we need help server-side. The version of Joomla we use needs updating, and we would like to update our interface. Unfortunately, because we lack funding, we cannot pay a salary to volunteers.
This month we very happy to welcome new team members:
- Daniel Richards, assistant professor, Old Dominion University, Senior Editor, Technical Writing
- Kate Panteliedes, assistant professor, Eastern Michigan University, Review Editor
- Cassandara Branham, UCF, Technical Writing Intern
- Sundus Alsharif, USF, Social Media Intern.
The Traffic Report
During September, traffic at Writing Commons hit new highs: over 194,870 users—i.e., 6495 visitors/day—visited 577,902 pages. Overall, the server logged 5,553,512 hits.
It's amazing to us that in the last two months we had about 360,000 visitors. We feel fortunate to be providing a free yet valued service to the open-education community.
A Note from One of Our Review Editors
I have served as a review editor for Writing Commons for over a year and have enjoyed watching the website and articles take shape. The individuals involved in this project have been working tirelessly to develop the content and participation, and I believe in the necessity of this open-access material.
I have encouraged my students to use Writing Commons and have heard positive responses in the depth, breadth, and ease of access of the information. If my students like it and it helps them develop their writing skills, then it is most certainly a worthwhile cause to me. This semester I have challenged my upper-level composition students to develop an article for publication on the Writing Commons website and many expressed delight at the opportunity to become part of the learning tool that helped them. I look forward to working with my students to build their articles and hopefully I can provide a positive review of this process in a future newsletter. It’s never too late to get involved! #GoScholarGo
Dr. Abigail G. Scheg, Elizabeth City State University
This month, we have two original webtexts to celebrate:
- "Diplomacy, Tone, and Emphasis in Business Writing" by Jessica McCaughey, George Washington University
In this webtext, Jessica McCaughey mentions several strategies for how to write a professional e-mail. The author describes ten different strategies for achieving the right tone. With each strategy she provides examples to illuminate her advice. The webtext closes with an activity students can complete in class or take home and work on. Certainly, writing professional e-mails is a crucial activity many students need help with, both within the college setting and in their jobs; this webtext provides a useful guide to help them compose professional e-mails.
- "Creating Scienftic Posters" by Candice Welhausen, The University of Delaware
In this webtext, Candice Welhausen walks through the standard conventions and characteristics for composing scientific posters. She describes the common venues in which they are displayed, how to organize a poster in IMRaD format, the different expectations of expert and non-expert audiences, and quick tips about such considerations as spacing, color, and readibility of different fonts. Her multimedia text invovles instructional videos and an actual student poster, as an example. This webtext would be enormously helpful in a technical communication course.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding ideas for original webtexts.
In the News
Thanks to Aaron Barlow, Faculty Editor, and Academe, sponsored by the American Association of University Professors, for publishing this account of the early history of Writing Commons:
- “Open Textbook Publishing.” Academe. (Sept/Oct 2013): 40-43 < http://www.aaup.org/article/open-textbook-publishing#.UkXER1Oi9GY>
USF M.A./Ph.D. Program in Rhetoric and Composition
The University of South Florida invites applications from promising undergraduate or MA students who are interested in graduate study in Rhetoric and Composition.
USF's Rhetoric and Composition program <http://english.usf.edu/graduate/concentrations/rc/degrees/>
promotes direct contact between graduate students and faculty, as evidenced by co-authored books, articles, conference presentations, grants, and co-teaching.
Call for Papers
Teachers, please share with us your expertise. You can find the most up-to-date submission information and Call for Papers (CFPs) at our Contribute page. We seek new and interesting webtexts to expand the breadth and depth of what we can offer our global community of writers. Our past CFPs have focused on information literacy, professional and technical writing, and creative writing.
Visit us at 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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