unCommon News (February 2015)
unCommon News (February, 2015)
A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community
A few mornings ago, I heard an author-interview on NPR. It was the author's contention that writers should never give their work away for free. The author argued that writing is labor and that one should never give labor away. As the publisher of Writing Commons, I found this interview to be somewhat disconcerting, though I realize the writer was speaking as a mass-market fiction writer and was probably unaware of the academic tradition of working for free—i.e., submitting articles for publication in academic journals and perhaps reviewing, as well, for academic service.
Yet in the context of Writing Commons, I do think we can identify benefits for authors: Our contributors believe education is vital to human development, and by contributing to our commons effort, our authors realize that having a free textbook like Writing Commons for writing courses, rather than requiring students to pay $100 or $200 for a textbook, could make a difference for some of our students when they are weighing whether they can afford another semester of coursework. Additionally, our writers take joy in repurposing classroom materials. Unlike some academic pursuits, where readership is sparse, our authors recognize the potential to reach a large audience. For instance, Janna Pack wrote Using First Person in an Academic Essay: When is it Okay? as a doctoral student at the University of Arizona, and this webtext has since reached 61,654 readers. Plus, when the long game is considered, it's encouraging to know that people who volunteer, who engage in the service of others, live longer than those who do not engage in service.
At Writing Commons, we take great pleasure in the exponential growth of our readership and the sense that by providing this free resource we are helping people across the globe in their efforts to be expressive and creative. Remarkably, we had a 423% increase in visitors during January 2015 compared with January 2014. In January, students visited from many countries. The top five countries in terms of greatest number of visitors were the United States, Philippines, Canada, United Kingdom, and India. The top most visited articles during December were 1. Rhetorical Appeals 2. Use Third-Person Point 3. Formatting the Title Page (APA) 4. Delivering the Speech 5. Using First Person in an Academic Essay: When is it Okay?
We thank those of you who voted for the Aaron Swartz Award for the best webtext published at Writing Commons in 2014. Following the public poll, we have now asked our Editorial Board to choose a winner from the top 5 nominations. The winner of the Aaron Swartz Award will be announced at the Awards Banquet at the Computers & Writing 2015, 5/28 to 5/31/15, University of Wisconsin Stout.of View.
In this updated version of Literary Criticism: An Introduction, Angela Eward-Mangione provides suggested discussion questions for each part of her webtext, which defines literary criticism and offers short definitions and examples for a wide array of critical lenses. Dr. Eward-Mangione reviews 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 or creative writing classes.
Quentin Vieregge, Editor-in-Chief
University of Wisconsin-Barron County
We have two technical communication webtexts to celebrate for Writing Commons this month: Research Your Audience by Rachel Tanski (University of South Florida) and Proposal Writing Basics by Johanna Phelps-Hillen (University of South Florida). In Proposal Writing Basics, Phelps-Hillen pulls back the curtain on the writing of proposals as she explores the all-important technical writing task of obtaining grants. In Researching Your Audience, Tanski reiterates an all-important concept in the preparation of composing effective documents: not only knowing but actually researching your audience.
Daniel Richards, Senior Editor of Business and Technical Writing
Old Dominion University
As we prepare for a new year of writing at My Campus, we encourage you to check out some of the highlights from our student bloggers from last year, particularly Sundus Alsharif, Laura Klocinski, and Daniela Corteo. In March, Sundus posted a thoughtful blog entitled Big Data Can Change Lives. Daniela Corteo authored an interesting blog entitled Aren’t You Glad it’s not 1650? Women’s Words in Early America back in April. In July, Laura posted a response, entitled The Caged Bird to the death of Maya Angelou in conjunction with the Orange is the New Black season two premiere. And, in December, Laura posted a timely piece called Fighting Words. Please see the links to these excellent and thoughtful posts below. And please continue to visit My Campus to find more writing from Sundus Laura, Daniela, and from all of our talented bloggers.
Kristen Henderson, Co-Editor, unCommon News
University of South Florida
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
Episode 6 of my Plugs, Play, Pedagogy podcast features four vignettes from the September 2014 issue of College Composition and Communication on the meanings of the places where we write and teach, all read by their authors. I also discuss the importance of narrative nonfiction and the weirdness of the way we talk about digital spaces.
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
CCCC 2015 Preconference Workshop
Please join us for a day-long workshop at CCCC 2015 on Big Data Methods, Digital Tools, & Writing Studies
Designed for writing program directors and researchers in Writing Studies, this day-long workshop explores the affordances of My Reviewers, a cloud-based software tool for writing instructors, reviewers, writers, and writing programs. Based on our use of My Reviewers on several university campuses (e.g., Malmö University, Sweden; University of Pennsylvania; University of South Florida, Northwest Florida State College, and Eastern Michigan University), we will reflect on the ways document workflows, peer-review workflows, real-time learning analytics, data visualization methods, and big data impinge on the mentoring of faculty, student writing, peer review, curriculum development, writing program assessment, and the development of students’ reasoning and writing. This session will begin with a discussion of ways to use big data methods and digital tools. Next, workshop participants will report on their corpus-based research using mixed-method approaches and research tools. The latterpart of the workshop will offer participants the opportunity to brainstorm about conducting corpus-based research studies
- Consider new methods of data collection
Expedite mentoring of faculty, program assessment, and evidence based curriculum
Explore data-analysis tools
Consider ethical, IRB, and FERPA implications for big-data studies
Outline/visualize potential big-data research studies
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