unCommon News (April 2014)
unCommon News (April, 2014)
A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
If you had a chance to attend CCCC 2014, we hope you had a terrific conference and enjoyed Indianapolis. Next year's Cs is in Tampa, Florida, 3/18/15 to 3/21/15. At the University of South Florida, where we have offered a doctoral program in Rhetoric and Composition since 1985, we are excited about helping host the Conference. While there's a slight chance of some rain in March, the overall temperatures promise to be quite pleasant, between 60 and 70 degrees. We're looking forward to festivities along the waterfront. Hopefully you can find some additional time to visit our beaches. FYI, Joyce Locke Carter has already posted next year's RFP here. Check out Joyce's remarks on You Tube regarding the deadline for proposals (5/19/14): here.
Over the past two months we have experimented with two ads below the fold, hoping to offset yearly expenses. February's ads earned $117.35 and March's ads $159.89. Volunteers at Writing Commons labs are leveraging this revenue to cook up some new initiatives, which we will announce soon.
Perhaps most exciting (as reported by Google's April 1st analytics) we're picking up some good traffic in Europa and the Moon. Closer to home, our resident marketing guru promises to direct mail to Earth soon.
Executive Editor and Publisher
University of South Florida
This month we are pleased to announce the publication of "Power in the Black Stuff" by Dr. Laura L. Beadling. This webtext addresses the importance of character and scene description in screenplays. The author begins by discussing the importance of concision within screenwriting and then defines "the black stuff," which is "the descriptive, non-dialogue portions of a screenplay." Both hypothetical and professional examples are given of effective description and ways of improving concision, making the most of every word. Creative writing students, especially those interested in screenwriting or drama, will find this very useful. It may also be applicable to composition classrooms where students are writing memoirs or creative nonfiction.
University of Wisconsin-Barron County
The Writing Studies Tree: Discover Your Connections
CCCC is often an occasion for family reunions: junior and senior faculty, now distributed geographically around the world, returning to their roots to convene socially and professionally and to make new connections across generations. Yet, as mere commonplaces, such systems of affiliation and influence are often invisible (especially to newcomers) and become more so as time goes on.
Enter writingstudiestree.org. Designed to be crowdsourced by the community, it is a quickly growing network of scholars and institutions involved in the academic study of writing. More than a database, the Writing Studies Tree provides users with a chance to share stories, uncover new histories of the field, and situate themselves within an ever-growing community of scholars and institutions. Whether you are a historian looking to share archival discoveries, a student researching graduate programs in comp/rhet, a newly minted PhD on the job market seeking insight into hiring institutions, or a WPA building community in your department through shared histories, the Writing Studies Tree can help.
Now with over 3000 relationships represented in the network, the Writing Studies Tree is becoming an archive worthy of research and analysis in its own right. You can explore the data in at least three interlinked ways, including a family tree view, a profile view with siblings you may not have known you had, and a force-directed graph of the full network of people and institutions. By tracing the people and places that constitute both a disciplinary history and our personal histories within it, we can discover our past, our present, and even our future possibilities.
Sondra Perl, Professor
Lehman College CUNY
Carnegie Foundation's Professor of the Year, New York
Writing Commons continues to be a popular, open-access resource for writers. In February, 105,655 total visitors, 94,256 unique visitors, viewed 152,707 pages, visiting 1.45 pages/visit.
After the U.S., our top countries were the Philippines (5.65%), Canada (5.63%), United Kingdom (2.45%), Australia (2.14), India (1.68%), Malaysia (1.27%), Indonesia (.75%), Netherlands (.66%), and Germany (.60%).
Call for Papers for Technical Communication
Writing Commons is looking to expand and populate its Professional and Technical Writing resources for students. We are looking for contributions that highlight the best practices for writers in a given field or area of expertise. While the CFP focuses on the best practices for composing traditional genres in the field (e.g., memos, posters, instructions, manuals), Writing Commons is always open to considering contributions that shed light on the more complex technologies and spaces technical communicators engage and occupy respectively while still being grounded and content-appropriate for lower- or upper-level undergraduate classes in the field. The site affords authors the opportunity to integrate videos, images, audio clips, HTML embedding, and/or social media sharing into their work. Here is just one example of the types of articles Writing Commons seeks.
Dan Richards, (dprichar@odu)
Editor, Technical Communications
Old Dominion University
Invitation to Participate: Use My Reviewers for free during the Spring 2014 Semester
At the University of South Florida, we have been working on developing new social tools to improve the process of giving feedback on student papers, conducting peer reviews, and assessing writing programs.
Since 2009, approximately 300 teachers and 20,000 students have assessed approximately 170,000 essays. Last semester, Malmö University (Sweden) was the first university beyond USF to pilot the software. Currently, in addition to Malmö, students from UPENN, the University of Arizona, and a half-dozen other institutions are piloting the software.
We have also conducted a variety of research studies regarding ways My Reviewers can enable instructors and administrators to make real-time, evidence-based curriculum changes, to mentor new instructors, to coordinate a variety of distributed assessment approaches, and to prepare accreditation reports
To learn more about My Reviewers or to pilot the tool, see: https://myreviewers.com.
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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