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 8, January, 2013

Hello friends,

After surviving the Mayan Apocalypse, we are happy to be back in the classroom! We hope that you had a holiday season filled with love and good cheer and that you're energized for 2013.

A considerable storm passed over the open education world when Flat World Knowledge went dark on 1/1/13, replacing its CC 3.0 NC SA license structure for a pay-as-you-go model.  As a volunteer organization, we understand the challenges of remaining free and open.  Even so, after a banner year at Writing Commons, with 146,023 unique visitors, we remain committed to providing free and open writing resources for the world's writers, particularly students enrolled in college-level courses that require writing.

Writing Program Profile: the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing


This month we are excited to profile the University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program and to announce recent additions to Writing Commons. At Writing Commons we celebrate the diversity of writing pedagogies and styles.  As part of our celebration, we profile writing programs from around the United States, and hopefully the world, so that we can share ideas, practices, and strengths from members of our global community of teachers.

Acknowledging that quality writing instruction extends far beyond the walls of traditional literature or rhetoric and composition programs, we are pleased to profile the Stonecoast Creative Writing MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.
Thank you very much to our supporter and friend, Annie Finch, for her willingness to share.

The University of Southern Maine's Stonecoast M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing is ranked in the top six low-residency writing programs in the United States. Stonecoast offers a two-year program with emphases in Creative Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, or Popular Fiction, as well as elective work in Scriptwriting, Translation, Writing Nature, Performance, and Writing for Social Change. The low-residency format offers students the advantage of maintaining their present occupations and living arrangements while participating in a full-time graduate program. 

Each of the semiannual residencies brings the community of students and faculty together for an intensive ten-day literary experience marked by workshops, classes, readings, receptions, and meetings with literary agents and visiting writers.The Stonecoast residency option in Ireland provides students with the opportunity to write and learn at another unique coastal location. 

Stonecoast offers focused study in each writing genre, as well as student-initiated elective workshops, interdisciplinary third-semester projects, cross-genre work, and other innovative curricular options.  After the residency, students return home to write under the guidance of mentors chosen from among Stonecoast’s diverse and accomplished faculty of widely-recognized writers. Among the literary awards and recognition accorded the Stonecoast faculty are the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Guggenheim Fellowship, Nebula Award, Whiting Writer’s Award, a film contract with DreamWorks Productions, and selection by the Book-of-the-Month Club.

Stonecoast alumni have also gone on to significant literary success with publications in Best American Essays, Best New Poets 2012, and Asimov’s Science Fiction, awards and recognition such as the Pushcart Prize, Golden Heart Finalist, and National Book Award Finalist, and teaching positions at community colleges, liberal arts colleges, and major Universities across the United States.

The Stonecoast website at https://www.usm.maine.edu/stonecoastmfa/ provides detailed information about the program, and the staff will be happy to answer any questions at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

If you would like Writing Commons to profile your writing program, please send us a description to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Tell us about what makes your program unique, what technologies and tools you utilize, and how you ensure best practices.

Recent Publications

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

Amy Coughenour's "Understanding Library Resources: Evaluating Systems and Sources"

Christine Photino's "Proofreading" and "Web Search Strategies"

Cassie Childs' "Revising a Paper to Deliver"

Jason Carabelli's "Identifying a Conversation"


Calls for Papers

As an organic, digital, recursive text, we seek new and interesting articles and chapters to expand the breadth and depth of what we can offer our global community of writers.
We seek submissions on the topics of academic arguments, information literacy, creative writing, and professional and technical writing

You can find the most up-to-date submission information and Calls For Papers at our Contribute page.


Social Media


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

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

Writing Commons is also available 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 hyper-linked to our Writing Commons blog, where Writing Commons staff provides 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.