unCommon News (June 2014)
unCommon News (June, 2014)
A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
At Writing Commons, we remain committed to growing our resources for college-level writers. Lately, we've been especially focused on developing resources for technical writing courses because approximately 4,500 students at the University of South Florida in Expository Writing, Communication for Engineers, Technical Writing for the Health Sciences, Professional Writing, and Technical Writing courses will be using Writing Commons next Fall Semester as their required textbook. If you'd like to contribute to our evolving, global resource for college-level writers, please see Contribute <http://writingcommons.org/about/contribute>. As suggested by the traffic report below, when you write for Writing Commons, you can rest assured the world can access your work for free. Please contact us about your project ideas.
Last January, approximately 75 faculty from around the world attended our colloquium on Big Data and Writing Studies at the University of South Florida. As a follow up to this event, our colleagues at Malmö University (especially Damian Finnegan, Anna Wärnsby, Asko Kauppinen, and Magnus Nilsson) have organized a second colloquium, this time to be held in Malmö, Sweden, 11/6/14 to 11/7/14: International Writing Studies: Sharing Research and Pedagogies. Please join us in Sweden as we continue our conversations regarding the emergence of global Writing Studies as a respected, impactful discipline.
Finally, my thanks to James Hartley (Keele University, UK) for sharing his bibliography on research and theory on academic English conducted by non-native speakers.
Thank you again for considering or adopting Writing Commons as your required writing textbook. Students appreciate your support as they face unprecedented student-loan debt. Best wishes for your summer holidays and family time.
Executive Editor and Publisher
I am pleased to announce the upcoming launch of My Campus, http://mycampus.writingcommons.org, a global magazine written for and by college-level writers.
At My Campus, students are in charge; they determine content, tone, and approach. All of our bloggers are undergraduate writers interested in how writing functions at the university and in our personal and professional lives. We feature writers in our “Writer’s Spotlight,” offer student perspectives on how the internet impacts writing in "Digital Age," nerd out about language in our “Grammar Geek” space, and comment on how writing functions academically in our “Campus Culture” section.
Assistant Professor of English
Eastern Michigan University
This month, we are happy to publish an interview with Timons Esaias by Tamara Girardi. Esaias, winner of an Asimov's Readers' Award, is an accomplished poet; he teaches in the M.F.A program at Seton Hill University. In this interview, Girardi inquires about what skills aspiring writers should focus on most. The interview considers practical advice for beginning writers, but this practical advice applies just as much to accomplished writers. Of special note is Esaias's "Field Reconnaissance" procedure, which is a classroom exercise that has students read published writing, reflect on creative techniques used (for instance, ways of switching point-of-view or ways of introducing dialogue), and then apply those techniques to their own writing. This activity would be great for any creative writing classroom (or with modification, for a composition classroom).
This interview is part of an ongoing initiative at Writing Commons to celebrate the works of accomplished writers. Please consider submitting a creative writing interview or one of an accomplished non-fiction writer or teacher.
Tamara Girardi is at Harrisburg Area Community College, where she teaches creative writing and literature courses. She writes about creative writing pedagogy and is a writer of young-adult fiction. Follow her on Twitter @TamaraGirardi.
Quentin Vieregge, Managing Editor
Call for Papers and Posters, 2014 International Writing Studies Conference: Sharing Research and Pedagogies (November 6-7, 2014)
During the 2014 Big Data and Writing Studies Colloquium at the University of South Florida, Tampa, USA, an international cohort of Writing Studies researchers and instructors explored multiple North American and European models of writing instruction. They were eager to further explore the emergence of global theory, research, and practices in Writing Studies, such as (1) the wide variety of theoretical and pedagogical approaches to academic writing, in Europe in particular; (2) the emerging field of Big Data research into student writing in North America; (3) and the European focus on teaching writing to English-as-a-second-language (ESL) students or English-as-a-foreign-language (EFL) students. Additionally, participants questioned how digital tools are revolutionizing teaching, writing, and assessment practices, particularly in the North American context, and how these tools may reshape research, writing, collaboration, and editorial processes.
In an effort to meet the urgent need for more comprehensive and systematic knowledge about writing and writing pedagogy and to generate meaningful and pragmatic answers to these issues, Malmö University and the University of South Florida will host the colloquium: 2014 International Writing Studies: Sharing Research and Pedagogies.
This colloquium aims to
- Create an opportunity to bring forth international experiences of teaching academic writing;
- Create an opportunity for both researchers and instructors to share their experiences of North American and/or European EFL theories and practices of teaching academic writing;
- Generate insights into these theories and practices;
- Explore and develop ways of working together with education technologies;
- Explore the possibilities of researching writing through Big Data and corpus methodology;
- Find solutions to common problems within writing instruction;
- Form viable networks to facilitate future collaborative international research and pedagogical projects.
Of specific interest are the following questions:
- What important similarities and differences exist between North American and European EFL theories and teaching practices in academic writing?
- What elements of North American writing pedagogy could or should be imported to European audiences and vice-versa?
- What are the central social, cultural, and institutional differences that affect the teaching of writing at university level?
- How are educational technologies transforming both learning communities and research methods?
The colloquium is based around a number of sessions with common themes where the participants can present their research and narratives in the form of papers or posters. In particular, we are looking for contributions within the following area clusters:
- Narratives of people’s experiences of teaching a particular approach(es) to teaching academic writing;
- E-tools, digital technology, blended learning environments;
- Collaborative writing, peer reviewing, and instructor feedback: pedagogical development and assessment practices;
- L2 learners—what should we focus on in writing instruction?
- New methods of making student writing accessible to research—Big Data, corpora, other digital tools.
Submission deadline: 1 August 2014.
Notification of acceptance: .
Colloquium updates: http://malmowsc.com
Traffic at Writing Commons was similar to last month's traffic: altogether in May we had 89,830 visitors who viewed 138,756 pages, visiting 1.4 pages/visit. The table below provides a listing of visitor frequency by country for the top 10 countries:
Computers and Writing Conference
Jack Hennes (St. Cloud State University) and Quentin Vieregge (UW-Colleges)
Bibliography of Research on Non-English Speakers Writing Academic English
Colleagues may be interested in seeing a recently revised bibliography on works related to writing academic English when English is not the writer’s first tongue: http://tinyurl.com/lkkeh7f. This bibliography cites publications from 2000 – 2013 under the following headings:
- General papers
- Accounts from specific countries
- Editing journals in different countries
- Useful websites.
Section 3 is of particular interest. Here over 50 papers are classified in terms of the countries of origin of their authors: thus, for example, we get Chinese authors writing about teaching English to Chinese students, and Spanish authors teaching English to Spanish students, and so on. Forty two countries are represented.
Honorary Research Professor
Keele University, UK
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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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