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.

What is parallel structure?

Parallel structure is established when words within a sentence are united by consistent use of grammatical forms. This stylistic element is also referred to as parallelism or parallel construction.

Why is it important to use parallel structure?

Lack of parallel structure can disrupt the rhythm of a sentence, leaving it grammatically unbalanced. Proper parallel structure helps to establish balance and flow in a well-constructed sentence; the alignment of related ideas supports readability and clarity.

Let’s look at an example:

  • Not Parallel: The President traveled to several cities meeting voters, to give speeches, and ask for campaign funds.
  • Parallel: The President traveled to several cities meeting voters, giving speeches, and asking for campaign funds.

How can a sentence be revised to reflect parallel structure?

1.Find a list within a sentence: Look for words or phrases of equal importance that are separated by commas and joined by a conjunction

Not parallel: Dr. Kall challenged his students to initiate their own learning, be creative problem-solvers, and think independently. (In this sentence, Dr. Kall wants his students to do or be three things, but the items in this list are not parallel in structure.)

2. Evaluate the word forms within the list.

  1. Do the verbs appear as infinitives (to + verb), or gerunds (-ing words)? As present tense or past tense? (Choose the voice and tense of the verb that is consistent with surrounding sentences.)
  2. Do the nouns or pronouns and their modifiers appear in consistent form?

3. Alter the words in the list to create proper parallel structure.

Parallel: Dr. Kall challenged his students to become self-motivated learners, creative problem-solvers, and independent thinkers. (In this sentence, Dr. Kall wants his students to be three things instead of a combination of being and doing. Additionally, the list follows a pattern since the nouns and adjectives all appear in parallel form.)