A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

2016 Aaron Swartz Best Webtext Award Winners

First Place
In Literary Criticism: An Introduction, Angela Eward-Mangione defines literary criticism and offers short definitions and examples for a wide array of critical lenses, including New Criticism, structuralism, deconstructionism, and post-structuralism, biographical approaches, reader-response theory, psychological criticism, feminist (gender studies) criticism, new historical/cultural materialist lenses, and Marxist, Ethical, and Post-Colonial critiques. With each approach, Angela provides key terms, examples, and questions to ask; this webtext could help students analyze texts in literature classes or creative writing classes. Angela Eward-Mangione  is currently a full-time faculty member in English at Hillsborough Community College.

The two second place winners
In “Audiovisual Presentations Made Easy(-ier): Tips for Creating an Effective PowerPoint, Prezi, or Keynote,” Jonathan Arnett provides practical advice for developing a presentation. Arnett walks through the use of contrast, repetition, alignment, proximity, color, typeface, audio, animation, and backgrounds. There is also helpful advice on body posture and efficient use of notes during a presentation. This presentation would be incredibly helpful in any presentation class.

The Business Writing section welcomes a new, foundational piece to its collection: Usability and User Experience Research. Written by experienced usability researcher and practitioner Guiseppe Getto out of East Carolina University, this webtext provides a sound introduction not only to the field of user experience (UX) design but moreover to the main concepts undergirding its variegated practices, which rely on a complex series of research methods. This piece is great for readers unfamiliar with the topic of usability who are looking for an overview of its practices and reliable resources to get started.

"Use Commas around Nonrestrictive Parenthetical Elements" was written by Joseph Moxley, University of South Florida

You should limit the number of times that you interrupt the flow of a sentence by placing modifying words between the subject and its verb. When you do introduce such appositives, participial phrases, or adjective phrases or clauses, you must determine whether the modifiers are restrictive or nonrestrictive. Essentially, restrictive modifiers add information that is essential to the meaning of the sentence, whereas nonrestrictive modifiers add information that is not essential. The best way to determine whether a modifier is restrictive or nonrestrictive is to see if taking it out changes the meaning of the sentence.

Restrictive: Lawyers who work for McGullity, Anderson, and Swenson need to take a course in copyediting.

In this case the relative clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence. If you embedded the clause in commas, then the meaning would change, suggesting that all lawyers need a course in copyediting.

Restrictive: The lawyer who has worked on this case for three years thinks that we have no chance of winning.

In this case the relative clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence. In other words, the sentence refers to only the lawyer who has worked on this case. The discussion is restricted to her.

Nonrestrictive: The lawyers, who have an office downtown, think that we have no chance of winning.

Because the location of the lawyer's office is superfluous to the gist of the sentence, it should be set off by commas.

 

Other comma resources: