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


unCommon News

A crowd-powered newsletter for a writing-centered community.

Issue 9, April, 2013

Hello Friends,

We hope you've had an enjoyable spring break!

During March, we rewrote our top-level pages, worked on our site navigation/architecture, published two new web texts, and upgraded to a faster server to handle increased traffic (99,371 total visitors in March!).  In this month's newsletter we explore:

  • Recent Publications
  • The Traffic Report
  • Welcome, The Ohio State University
  • Join Us at Computers & Writing
  • Writing Commons Poster
  • Call for Papers
  • Social Media

The Traffic Report

In March, 2013, Writing Commons had 99,371 total visitors!  Isn't that amazing!  

We believe the growing popularity of Writing Commons affirms our open-education approach.  We thank our distinguished Review Editors and Editorial Board for their ongoing contributions to our effort.

In March, we weren't quite sure what to expect after Duke University adopted us as its textbook for its MOOC, English Composition 1, Achieving Expertise.  As he mentioned over at his Academe Blog where he narrates his reflections on the development of Writing Commons, Joe Moxley believed we needed to upgrade our server package to be prepared for the crowd in case 50,000 to 70,000 students all banged on the server door at the same time. As it turned out, Moxley was overly optimistic.  Even so, 7,031 users in one day (3/18/13) is an exciting new benchmark for us, and we remain committed to playing the believing game

While it's certainly rewarding to see visitors from around the world consulting our site at any given moment, another measure of success is the time our readers spend on each page.  By that measure, we could do better, given most visitors stayed on each page less than several minutes.  Then again, maybe that's how people read these days—skim a page, move on, and come back (perhaps).  Everybody is multitasking!  That said, when a visitor bounces (that is, when a user consults a single page at Writing Commons rather than multiple pages) our analytics program counts that visitor's time as zero seconds, so using time on a page as a measure of engagement is somewhat problematic. Plus, we have no way of measuring how long a visitor remains on the last page s/he consults. As an alternative measure of engagement, we could consider the total number of pages consulted.  By that lens, we had a terrific month with 236,112 pages consulted.

WC April_Numbers

Recent Publications

We are pleased to announce the publication of two new Writing Commons webtexts:

Welcome, The Ohio State University

Writing Commons welcomes Professors Susan Delagrange, Cynthia Selfe, Kay Halasek, Ben McCorkle, and Scott Lloyd DeWitt of The Ohio State University, who are beginning Writing II, Rhetorical Composing on 4/22/13.  Here's the course information:

Rhetorical Composing engages you in a series of interactive reading, research, and composing activities along with assignments designed to help you become more effective consumers and producers of alphabetic, visual, and multimodal texts.

Thinking Rhetorically: Introducing Ourselves, Introducing Rhetoric 

Responding Rhetorically: The Writers Exchange (WEx) and Peer Review 

Arguing Rhetorically: Analyzing as a Means of Framing Argument 

Seeing Rhetorically: Analyzing and Composing (with) Images 

Researching Rhetorically: Composing with Sources in Evidence-based Texts 

Reflecting Rhetorically: Reflecting on, Reviewing, and Publishing Your Work. 

To help students enrolled in this MOOC, we've outlined the pages at Writing Commons that can help these students work their way through the required curriculum.  Good luck, writers!


Join Us at Computers & Writing, 2013!

 The Writing Commons staff is excited to attend Computers and Writing 2013: Mechanization and Writing hosted by Frostburg State University in Frostburg, Maryland. Quentin, Jack, and Jason welcome you to a casual meet-and-greet dinner at Dante’s Bar on Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. Stop by to learn more about Writing Commons or even just to say hello. We look forward to seeing you in Frostburg! 

Writing Commons Poster

Please help us spread the word about Writing Commons by printing our new poster and by hanging it on your office door.  (Our thanks to Jason Tham for designing the new poster.)  Below is a small version of the poster, but email us if you'd like us to send to you a larger version that you can print for your office.

WCposter-8.5X11 1


Call for Papers

Writing Commons, a refereed OER, provides you the opportunity to publish your work in a manner that may reach many users.  Currently, Writing Commons receives approximately 3,000 users each day.  

You can find the most up-to-date submission information and Call For Papers (CFPs) at our Contribute page. Our past CFPs have focused on academic argumentsinformation literacy, creative writing, and professional and technical writingUltimately, we challenge you to work with us to reimagine the genre of the textbook.  We seek new and interesting web texts to expand the breadth and depth of what we can offer our global community of writers.

Social Media

Keep up with Writing Commons using your favorite social networking sites.

Writing Commons has its own Facebook page where we keep our status and postings relevant to the latest site information as well as news about the greater Open Education Resource community.

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 an argument, again?" Each tweet is hyperlinked to our Writing Commons blog where Writing Commons staff members provide succinct, accessible answers and helpful examples.

If you have received this newsletter in error or no longer wish to receive "UnCommon News," please use the following link to Unsubscribe