unCommon News (August 2014)
unCommon News (August, 2014)
A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
This month, we are pleased to publish two webtexts:
"Avoiding Plagiarism" was written by Jennifer Janechek, a doctoral student in literature at the University of Iowa. Janechek defines plagiarism and four different ways it may occur. She provides specific examples to clarify the importance of giving credit for others' ideas. This webtext is an reference for beginning college writers.
"Composing Infographics for the Classroom and Work Space" was written by Maggie Melo, a PhD student at the University of Arizona. She has held various professional positions including her roles as a human resources supervisor and her tenure as a banking assistant vice president. Her research domains reside in the rhetoric of viral media and in information motility at large. In "Composing Infographics," Melo introduces student-writers to the purposes of infographics in college writing and business writing, among other contexts. Using multiple student examples, she explains how to analyze audience, context, and purpose, and use peer-review to tell stories with infographics. This webtext is a beneficial resource for technical writing or composition classes.
Editor-in-Chief, Writing Commons
Assistant Professor, UW-Colleges
Congratulations to Jennifer Noviney
This month we celebrate the publication of Winter in the Soul by Jennifer Noviney. Over the last two years, Jennifer has served as a review editor for Writing Commons. Looking for a good summer read? Check this out:
In a world divided by power and greed, seventeen-year-old Lilika harbors an intense desire to return to Winter in the Soul, the place her family left to escape the darkness that was manifesting from a coldness of the soul. When she meets Talon, their connection is evident right from the start, and together they travel through the Black Kingdom to recover Lilika’s stolen locket and in search of an answer to the mystery behind Winter in the Soul. Lilika holds the key to stopping the darkness from spreading. The fate of their world lies in her hands. Will she stop the Black Kingdom before its darkness overtakes them all, or will they succumb to the darkness that is spreading across the land?
OER Resources: Excelsior College Online Writing Lab
Funded by the Kresge Foundation, the Excelsior College Online Writing Lab is an open-source OWL providing comprehensive writing support for beginning writers. The Excelsior College OWL provides a warm tone and extensive multimedia support for writers. The OWL was developed in HTML 5 responsive design, which enables it to work well on tablets and smart phones.
The OWL includes eight content areas on a variety of writing topics from writing process to grammar and punctuation. The OWL also features “Paper Capers,” Excelsior’s writing process video game. This video game takes students through the steps of the writing process and provides practice with concepts like audience, appropriate voice, and thesis. The game was also developed as a free app for Android devices and iPads.
OER Resources: BYU Style Academy
Brian Jackson and Jon Ostenson, English professors at Brigham Young University, created the Style Academy to help students write really cool sentences. They assumed that students learn style best by doing sentence combining, imitation, and generative rhetoric (e.g., learning to use movable modifiers to connect phrases and clauses). The brief videos on the site teach style principles with mentor texts, instruction, examples, and exercises. Brian and Jon hope that teachers will assign these tutorials and/or exercises as homework and then let students practice on their own writing in class.
The Style Academy covers the following stylistic strategies: modifiers, combining, imitation, participles, appositives, absolute phrases, active vs. passive sentences, tropes and schemes, repetition, balance, and effective sentence fragments. There are dozens of sentences to imitate. Students can rewrite fables and song lyrics, and there's more to come.
Please join the faculty of Malmö University and the University of South Florida this November in Malmö, Sweden. We seek to:
- 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 European writing pedagogy could or should be imported to North American audiences and vice-versa?
- What are the central social, cultural, and institutional differences that affect the teaching of writing at the 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 with 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.
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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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