Joseph M. Moxley

- Professor of English - USF

Joseph M. Moxley, Ph.D., also known as Joe Moxley, is a professor of English at the University of South Florida.

Professor Moxley has written, coauthored, or edited numerous works, including a novel, 14 nonfiction books, and 37 articles in peer-reviewed journals. His contributions also include chapters in edited collections, short stories, poems, and conference articles, as well as an op-ed and a book review. His work has been recognized with The Distinguished Book Award from Computers and Composition. Notably, his books have been translated into multiple languages: Greek, Spanish, French, and Chinese.

Additionally, Moxley has self-published numerous articles at Writing Commons on topics relevant to writing teachers and students. He has received grants from the NSF and FIPSE for his research. His research spans a wide range of topics, including agency, datagogies, corpus linguistics and big data, composing, writing pedagogy, learning communities, assessment, writing analytics, peer production and participatory learning, open education, scholarly publishing, electronic theses and dissertations, ethnography, and research methodologies.

Cindy Selfe Gail Hawisher Will Hochman Dickie Selfe<br>Kathleen Yancey Kristine Blair Janice Walker Daniel Anderson Joseph Moxley Traci Gardner Nick Carbone Mike Palmquist Michael Day Mike Palmquist


  1. John Lovas Award. Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 2023
  2. Teaching and Learning Innovator Award. Campus Technology. 2016
  3. Writing Program Certificate of Excellence Award. College Composition and Communication & NCTE, 2011/2012
  4. Distinguished Book Award for College Writing Online. Computers and Composition. 2004
  5. Microsoft Gift – Scholar Award ($100,000). Microsoft Corporation. 2000
  6. USF President’s Award for Faculty Excellence, 2003
  7. USF Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1996
  8. USF Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1993
  9. USF Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 1990


  1. Moxley, J., & Yirinec, J. (Eds.). (2013). Network, Collaborate, and Compose: College Writing in the Digital Age.
  2. Moxley, J., Vieregge, Q., Stedman, K., & Mitchell, T. (2012). Agency in the Age of Peer Production. National Council of Teachers of English.
  3. Moxley, J. (2003). College Writing Online. Pearson Education.
  4. Fox, E., Moxley, J., Feizabadi, S., & Weisser, C. (2004). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. CRC Press.
  5. Moxley, J. & Fox, E. (Eds.). The Guide for Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Retrieved from . UNESCO 12/2001.
  6. Moxley, J. (2000). Web of Danger. Saint Gaudens Press.
  7. Moxley, J. & Taylor, T. (Eds.). (1997). Writing and Publishing for Academic Authors (2nd ed.). Rowman & Littlefield.
  8. Kirklighter, C., Vincent, C., & Moxley, J. (Eds.). (1997). Voices & Visions: Refiguring Ethnography in Composition. Heinemann.
  9. Moxley, J. & Lenker, L.T. (Eds.). (1995). The Politics and Processes of Scholarship. Greenwood.
  10. Moxley, J. (Ed.). (1994). Writing and Publishing for Academic Authors. Rowman & Littlefield.
  11. Moxley, J. (1994). Becoming an Academic Writer: A Modern Rhetoric. D.C. Heath.
  12. Moxley, J. & Gale, F. (1993). Teaching Legal Writing: A Modern Rhetorical Approach. American Bar Association.
  13. Gale, F. & Moxley, J. (1992). How to Write the Winning Brief. American Bar Association.
  14. Moxley, J. (1992). Publish, Don’t Perish: The Scholar’s Guide to Academic Writing & Publishing. Greenwood.
  15. Moxley, J. (Ed.). (1989). Creative Writing in America: Theory and Pedagogy. National Council of Teachers of English


  1. The Guide for Electronic Theses and Dissertations was translated in Greek, Spanish, French
  2. Publish, Don’t Perish was translated by Greenwood Press in Chinese: Translated in Chinese in 2014: 成功發表論文,讓您獨占鰲頭 著 …華樂絲語文顧


  • Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo, Measurement and Evaluation (with a concentration in Writing Studies)
  • MA, SUNY Buffalo, Creative Writing
  • BA, University of Utah, English (with a concentration in Creative Writing)
  • BA, University of Utah, Psychology


Since joining the USF faculty, Professor Moxley has directed or served on 55 theses and dissertation committees, with his students achieving significant accomplishments, including publishing books, receiving endowed chair positions, and serving as departmental leaders. He has been awarded three university-wide awards for exemplary undergraduate teaching. At the graduate level, he has taught courses such as composition theory, research methods, rhetoric and technology, and scholarly publishing. Currently, he teachesWriting with AI and Research Methods in Professional and Technical Communication.

2019 Infographic for Writing Commons

Writing Commons

Moxley is the founder of Writing Commons, an open education project that was awarded the John Lovas Award from Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. Writing Commons is a project developed independently of Professor Moxley’s academic responsibilities at the University of South Florida. USF recognizes this initiative as a separate, independent endeavor. However, Writing Commons is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the University of South Florida.Writing Commons

For Moxley, Writing Commons is an exploration of

  • authorship, agency, and self publication (Moxley 2013, June 17; Vieregge et al. 2012)
  • commons-based peer production (Benkler 2006; Vieregge et al. 2012)
  • open education, copyright, and intellectual property (Moxley 2013).
  • the affordances and constraints of digital tools for writers.
Writing Research Across Borders Moxley Laura Anderson Laura Aull Anna Wärnsby Asko Kauppinen

Writing Program Administration

Moxley directed the first-year writing program at USF between 2003 and 2018. Under Professor Moxley’s leadership, the writing program received the CCCC (College Composition and Communication) Certificate of Excellence Award.

My Reviewers

Professor Moxley founded My Reviewers, a software application, with the goal of improving response to writing, peer review, and writing-program assessment. To help develop My Reviewers, Moxley secured $3.4M in funding from NSF and revenue funds to develop the project. By 2018, MyReviewers was used by approximately 18,000 students at USF and another 10,000 students at other universities, including MIT, Dartmouth, Penn, NCSU, Tartu.

2006 video on the early days @ My Reviewers…

Academic CV


21st Century Literacies & Writing Studies

A letter from the Founder of Writing Commons

Abstract Language

Abstract language empowers writers, speakers, knowledge makers . . . to create, share, debate, and test new ideas, theories, concepts. At the same time, abstract language is more challenging to interpret than concrete, sensory language. Learn how to identify abstract language in your writing and the writing of others. Understand when to use and when to avoid abstract language. Advance the readability of your work by learning how to balance abstract language with concrete, sensory language and figurative language.

Academic Writing – How to Write for the Academic Community

Academic writing refers to the writing style that researchers, educators, and students use in scholarly publications and school assignments. An academic writing style refers to the semantic and textual features that characterize academic writing and distinguish it from other discourses, such as professional writing, workplace writing, fiction, or creative nonfiction. Learn about the discourse conventions of the academic community so you can write with greater authority, clarity, and persuasiveness (and, in school settings, earn higher grades!).


ACRL Information Literacy Perspectives & Practices

In an era where almost anything can be digitally manipulated or “spoofed,” from audio to even making visuals that deceive, you need to discern genuine sources from misleading or false sources. Learn about information literacy dispositions, behaviors, and conventions to avoid being duped by manipulative authors.

Adopt Effective Writing Habits


AI, Ethics & Human Agency


Anecdote – Anecdotal Evidence

Announcements, Signposting, & Organizational Theses



Use apostrophes to show possession, indicate plural letters, and form contractions

Applied Research, Basic Research

Understand the difference between Applied Research and Basic Research.


Archaisms are out-of-style words or phrases, such as “whilst,” “thusly,” or “thou.” Use of archaisms in your writing creates a stilted, inauthentic voice, tone, persona. Use of archaisms in your writing creates a stilted, inauthentic tone. Learn to identify archaisms in your work and the work of others.

Archive – What Do Writers Need to Know About the Archive?

An archive traditionally refers to a physical repository of historical documents and texts. Yet in contemporary usage, archives are perceived to be more than sources of information: they are also lenses through which historical and cultural narratives are formed and understood. In contemporary discourse, the concept of archive has evolved to encompass a Foucauldian concept: Focault views archives as a form of power, as an ideological force that shapes our understanding of history and culture. This article explores the role archives play in interpretation, composing, and knowledge-making.

Argument – Argumentation

Argument is an iterative process that informs humankind’s search for meaning. Learn about different types of argumentation (Aristotelian Argument; Rogerian Argument; Toulmin Argument) so you can identify the best way to compose an argument for an audience.

Aristotelian Argument

Learn how to employ the fundamental qualities of argument developed by Aristotle.


Attribution – What Is The Role of Attribution In Academic & Professional Writing?

Attribution refers to the practice of crediting original sources for information or ideas. It encompasses recognizing authors, understanding their credentials, and correctly citing their work in your own speech and writing. By mastering attribution, you ensure your work is ethical, authoritative, and respectful of intellectual property laws and professional, ethical standards of conduct.

Audience Awareness – How To Boost Clarity in Communications

If your text doesn’t appeal to your audience, then all is lost. Awareness of your audience (as well as purpose and context) is crucial to clarity in communications. Learn how to analyze your audience so you can determine what you need to say and how you need to say it.

Authority is Constructed & Contextual


Avoid Procrastination

Avoid Unnecessary Shifts in Point of View

Avoid Unnecessary Shifts in Verb Tense


This article introduces the concept of backing within Stephen Toulmin’s model of argumentation, highlighting its role in providing additional evidence or reasoning to support the warrant, thereby strengthening the overall argument. It explains how backing reinforces the logical connection between evidence and claim, making arguments more persuasive and understandable. By mastering the use of backing, you will be able to enhance the credibility of your arguments and effectively address counterarguments, improving both your writing and critical thinking skills.

Balance Believing with Doubting

Balance: Symmetrical, Asymmetrical, & Radial

Best Search Tools for Images

Try these search tools (aka search engines) to search for images. Remember, images are a form of intellectual property. Images have value: they may be copyrighted even if they mistakenly show up in a search for royalty-free images.

Beware of “Oh, that makes sense”: Ethos in Context


Brevity – Say More with Less

Brevity in writing refers to a style of writing that is concise, terse, straight to the point, direct, and professional. Brevity is a highly prized style of writing in workplace contexts because it facilities clarity, which reduces wasted time and expensive litigation. Likewise, brevity is also prized in home and school settings: Readers, listeners, and users are in a hurry. They have a million distractions. This article defines brevity and summarizes strategies you can employ to make your writing more comprehensible, credible, and usable. Learn how to achieve brevity in your writing and the texts of others. Use brevity (along with flow, inclusiveness, simplicity and unity) to create a professional writing style or an academic writing style.

Burke’s Pentad

Canon – Why is the Concept of the Canon So Important to Writers?

In contemporary usage, a canon is a collection of works, theories, research methods, or practices that are considered foundational and authoritative within a specific academic discipline, professional discipline or cultural domain. It is defined by four main criteria: historical significance, aesthetic quality, cultural relevance, and its impact on subsequent developments in the field. As a writer, your grasp of the canon is key; this knowledge, assumed by your audience, enables you to contribute meaningfully to this conversation and meet the expectations of informed readers.

Case Study

Causes & Effects

Learn to explore your causal relationships.

Improve your critical thinking skills.

Charts, Figures, Graphs, Tables

Choppy Writing

Citation – Definition – Introduction to Citation in Academic & Professional Writing

Explore the different ways to cite sources in academic and professional writing, including in-text (Parenthetical), numerical, and note citations.

Citation Conventions – When Are Citations Required in Academic & Professional Writing?

Explore the essentials of citing sources in writing, highlighting the criticality of acknowledging direct content use, respecting intellectual rights, and avoiding plagiarism, while enhancing content engagement and authority.

Citation Guide – Learn How to Cite Sources in Academic and Professional Writing

Citation isn’t just about adhering to prescribed rules or ensuring each dot and comma is in its rightful place. It’s a rhetorical, fluid, intuitive process where writers must balance the authoritative voices of external sources with their own unique voice. Learn actionable strategies to weave sources into your writing.

Clarity (in Speech and Writing)

Clarity refers to a judgment on the part of audience that a text is clear, lucid, and understandable. Clarity is a stylistic principle, an element of style. Communications that audiences consider to be lucid and understandable tend to be audience-sensitive: they account for what the audiences already knows about the topic and how the audience expects the message to be delivered (e.g., an appropriate voice, tone, persona, genre). Moreover, works that evince clarity tend to be associated with other prized elements of style, especially brevity, simplicity, flow, unity.

Cluster Diagrams & Spider Maps

Coauthorship – How to Work with Coauthors

Co-authorship involves the shared creation of a text, application, or invention, requiring delicate balancing acts of collaboration and negotiation. This article distills research and best practices on successful co-authorship into nine cardinal rules, offering you a roadmap for navigating both the potential highs and the unavoidable lows.

Code Switching

Code switching is more than the use of multiple languages or dialects in a text: it’s a strategy for navigating interracial interactions. Review definitions of code switching from linguistics, sociology, and rhetoric. Understand the role of code switching and related terms (register, voice, tone, persona) in human communications.

Coherence – How to Achieve Coherence in Writing

Coherence refers to a style of writing where ideas, themes, and language connect logically, consistently, and clearly to guide the reader’s understanding. By mastering coherence, alongside flow, inclusiveness, simplicity, and unity, you’ll be well-equipped to craft professional or academic pieces that engage and inform effectively. Acquire the skills to instill coherence in your work and discern it in the writings of others.

Collaboration – What is the Role of Collaboration in Academic & Professional Writing?

Collaboration refers to the act of working with others or AI to solve problems, coauthor texts, and develop products and services. Collaboration is a highly prized workplace competency in academic and professional settings. Discover strategies to improve your collaborations with colleagues on team projects.

Collaboration Tools – The Collaborative Tools You Need for Success on School Projects

Collaboration tools are techniques, applications, processes that are designed to facilitate collaborative processes.

Color – Color Theory

Audiences read color just as they read alphabetical texts.Learn how colors evoke the emotions and attention of readers so you can design works that communicate your intentions or understand how others are attempting to manipulate your emotions.

Comma Splice

Learn how to identify and fix comma splices

Common Sentence Errors and How to Avoid Them

Explore the nuances of sentence errors in writing, distinguishing between their detrimental impacts in professional contexts and their educational value in learning. This article summarizes common sentence errors, presents tips for identifying errors in your own work, and revisits Mina Shaughnessy’s influential views on error handling in basic writing, highlighting the importance of errors in the developmental process of writing skills


Communication refers to the sender’s use of signs and semiotic systems (e.g., body language, alphabetical or visual language) to convey meaning and (2) the reader’s, listener’s, user’s . . . interpretation of those signs.

Comparison & Contrast

Composition Studies

Composition Studies is

  • an academic discipline chiefly concerned with the study of composing
  • a subdiscipline of Writing Studies.

Concrete Language, Sensory Language

Concrete, Sensory Language references specific places, events, people, and tangible topics and invokes the readers’ senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound). Learn when and how to employ concrete, sensory language as opposed to abstract language, figurative language, vague language, overgeneralized language.

Conflict Resolution – How to Manage Conflicts & Keep Projects On Track

Conflict Resolution refers to efforts by individuals or teams to resolve disputes. Learn to work productively with coauthors and teams.


Contrary to Arguments by Hardcore Open Education Advocates, Creative Commons NC ND is a Valid License for Academic Authors

Conversations with Others

Coordinating Conjunctions

Copy – Copy Writing

Learn the conventions for writing copy, especially for visual documents: infographics, advertisements, and information/data visualizations.

Creating Flow via Repetition

Credibility & Authority – How to Be Credible & Authoritative in Research, Speech & Writing

If your listeners or readers think you lack authority (aka credibility), then they are less likely to listen or read your work. This article defines the textual attributes of authoritative works. Learn how to communicate in ways that enhance your authority and persuasiveness.

Crisis Communication Plan

Critical Literacy

Read critically. Conduct a rhetorical analysis and CRAAP Test to evaluate the veracity of information and to glean insights into about information design.

Critique – A Research-based Guide to Criticism in Academic & Professional Writing

Learn about the psychology and types of critique so you can adjust your critiques to help others’ develop their writing and ideas. Critique may be formative (focused on recommended revisions and edits) or summative (focused on grading and ranking). Critique can help writers, speakers, knowledge workers improve or it can undermine and silence them. Learn about different feedback styles so you can discern how best to give (and receive) critical feedback. And, perhaps even more importantly, learn to moderate your emotions when receiving difficult feedback.


Use dashes to set off an idea or an appositive within a sentence.

Dashes and Parentheses

Deductive Order, Deductive Reasoning, Deductive Writing

Demystify Research Methods

Demystify Writing Misconceptions



Learn, when composing

so that you can access the readability of your work or the work of others.

Design – The Visual Language That Shapes Our World

Design refers to much more than how something looks or works: Design is a powerful tool of communication that empowers writers, graphic designers, and product developers to reach their target audience at a viscera, visual level. Good design makes information easier to understand, more engaging, and more memorable. It creates emotional connections, influences perceptions, and shapes decisions. If your design is unappealing or confusing, you’ve lost your chance at engaging your audience in the 8 seconds they’re willing to give attention to your work. The essay below defines design based on research and scholarship, explores the importance of design in our contemporary information ecology, and serves as an introduction to design resources @ Writing Commons.

Design Principles – The Big Design Principles You Need to Know to Create Compelling Messages

Principles of design refer to the discourse conventions, artistic traditions, and theories that inform the design of messages, products, and services.  P.A.R.C. refers to the four primary design principles (proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast that not only guide how artists and designers create impactful visual compositions, but also inform how readers interpret visual representations, such as infographics or tables and figures.  Learn about the principles of design so you can use the elements of design — e.g.,  color, shape, line, texture, and space —  to communicate with clarity and authority. By learning about design principles, you can enhance your creative process, critically appreciate art and design, and deepen your understanding of how to create visually striking and meaningful compositions.

Design Thinking

Despair in the Open Education World

Develop Effective Writing Habits


Diction refers to a writer or speaker’s word choice. Learn 3 methods to evaluate the appropriateness of your diction or the diction of others: Level of Formality, Level of Abstraction, and Connotation and Denotation.


Digital Literacy


Discourse is an umbrella term: discourse may refer to something as concrete as a bit of text (such as a sentence, paragraph, or modes of discourse) or something as abstract as the ways culture and human behavior are shaped and defined by language, debate, and dialog. This article provides a summary of research and theory on definitions of discourse.

Discourse Community – Community of Practice

A discourse community refers to groups of people who share interests, problems, goals, or fields of study.

Discourse Conventions

Discourse conventions are the norms guiding communication in specific communities. They span from written and spoken rules to visual cues, rooted in each community’s shared experiences, values, and interests. Grasping these conventions helps you communicate effectively in varied settings.

Discovering Your Unique Writing Process: A Guide to Self-Reflection

Understanding your writing process is a crucial aspect of developing as a writer. For both students and professional writers, reflection on the process of writing can lead to more effective strategies for generating and organizing ideas, can improve problem-solving skills, and can increase confidence and enjoyment in writing.

Double-Entry Response Format

Edit for AWK (Awkward Writing)

What does AWK Mean? Should you use AWK when critiquing the work of other writers, speakers, and knowledge workers? Learn how to edit awkward sentences.

Edit for Diction

Being a good editor from the perspective of diction requires declarative knowledge about Archaisms; Bias-Free Language; Cliché; Concrete & Sensory Language; Figurative Language; Homonyms; Jargon; and Vague Language, Generalizations

Diction matters a great deal to writers, speakers, knowledge workers . . . becauses audiences are likely to ignore information and texts if it employs inappropriate diction. Use these strategies to edit your texts for diction.

Edit for Sentence Structure

Explore the effects of different sentence patterns on reading comprehension.

Edit for Strings of Prepositional Phrases

Edit Paragraphs


Editing, one of the final steps in the writing process, refers to the process of rereading a text word-by-word, sentence-by-sentence, in order to identify and eliminate errors and problems with the writing style. Editing is crucial to establishing a professional tone in school and workplace contexts. Learn how to edit documents so they meet the needs and expectations of your readers.

Elements of Art – How to Leverage the Power of Art to Make Visually Compelling Documents

The Elements of Art (also known as The Elements of Design) refers to color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. Working as a gestalt that communicates with audiences at the visual, prelinguistic level, these are the basic building blocks of art (e.g., paintings, drawings, sculptures) and visual communication. Additionally, while typography and copy are not traditionally considered part of the “Elements of Art,” they are indeed critical elements in the field of graphic design and page design. Artists, graphic designers, and others use these elements to compose art and communicate using the power of visual language. Just as the alphabet, syntax, words, and genre are the basic building blocks of alphabetical language, these are the basic elements that artists, writers, and others use to compose infographics, data visualizations, and other graphical illustrations. Develop your understanding of the vocabulary of arts and graphic designers so you can compose texts and products that are accessible, intuitive, and persuasive–and so you can mentor and critique the works of others.

Eliminate “to be” Verbs

Ellipsis – How to Enhance Clarity, Concision & Drama in your Texts

Learn about the ellipsis (singular) and ellipses (plural), key punctuation marks in writing. This article guides you on using ellipses effectively to omit unnecessary words from quotes, create suspense, or convey unfinished thoughts. Enhance your writing by integrating ellipses appropriately to add clarity and stylistic nuance to your texts.

Epistemology – Theories of Knowledge

Establish a Comfortable Place to Write



Evidence is necessary to substantiate claims in workplace & academic writing. Learn to reason with evidence in workplace & academic writing. Review research and scholarship on the uses of evidence. Explore how evidence can help you communicate more clearly and persuasively.

Examples of Effective Summaries and Paraphrases (MLA Style)

Felt Sense

Felt Sense is prelinguistic, murky, vague–and yet it some conveys deep meaning. Felt Sense is “the soft underbelly of thought . . . a kind of bodily awareness that . . . can be used as a tool” to help you distinguish between what you’ve said or written and what you really hope to say or write. Review scholarship on felt sense and its role during composing. Learn to work with your felt sense to realize your creative potential.

Flow – How to Create Flow in Writing

Writing teachers, writers, and readers have different definitions for the concept of flow. For writers, flow is a mind set, a sense that you feel creative and articulate. For students and aspiring writers, flow may also refer to stylistic principles related to coherence and unity,  For readers and writing teachers, flow refers to a style of writing that is smooth and logical, seamlessly transitioning from one idea to the next in a way that engages the reader and enhances their understanding of the text. This article focuses primarily on this latter conception of flow. By mastering flow, alongside coherenceinclusivenesssimplicity, and unity, you’ll be well-equipped to craft professional or academic pieces that engage and inform effectively.

Formatting Styles


Genre may reference a type of writing, art, or musical composition; socially-agreed upon expectations about how writers and speakers should respond to particular rhetorical situations; the cultural values; the epistemological assumptions about what constitutes a knowledge claim or authoritative research method; the discourse conventions of a particular discourse community. This article reviews research and theory on 6 different definitions of genre, explains how to engage in genre analysis, and explores when during the writing process authors should consider genre conventions. Develop your genre knowledge so you can discern which genres are appropriate to use—and when you need to remix genres to ensure your communications are both clear and persuasive.

Global Perspective – Rhetorical Perspective

Composing processes, particularly prewriting and drafting, involves simultaneously flipping from a global perspective to a local perspective. Learn to critique your work and the work of others from a global perspective.

Government Publications


Grammar refers to the rules that inform how people and discourse communities use language (e.g., written or spoken English, body language, or visual language) to communicate. Learn about the rhetorical nature of grammar so you can identify grammatical problems with your writing and the communications of others.

Growth Mindset – Fixed Mindset

  • Take control of your life and embrace your potential.
  • Understand that good writing is not a natural talent, a gift of one’s birth, DNA or zip code.
  • Understand the benefits of adopting a Growth Mindset rather than a Fixed Mindset.

Habits of Mind – How to Foster Intellectual Growth

Habits of Mind encompass the essential thinking and behavioral skills that facilitate intellectual growth. These include critical components like persistence, flexibility, curiosity, and open-mindedness, each contributing to how you process information and solve problems. By understanding and developing these habits, you enhance your ability to think deeply, adapt to challenges, and engage with the world more effectively, fostering both personal and academic growth.

Hierarchical Maps

Homonym Usage

How to Develop an Effective Voice, Tone, and Persona


Image Formats

Inclusivity – Inclusive Language

Inclusivity – Inclusive language – refers to language that is respectful and sensitive to the perspective, values, and cultural practices of others. Inclusive language is language that is respectful and sensitive to ageism, gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, and the values, beliefs, and symbolic practices of others.


Information Creation as a Process

Information Design

Information Has Value

Information Literacy – Discerning Quality Information from Noise

Information Literacy refers to the competencies associated with locating, evaluating, using, and archiving information. In order to thrive, much less survive in a global information economy — an economy where information functions as a capital good such as money or social influence — you need to be strategic about how you consume and use information.

Information, Data, Content – Building Blocks Of The Digital Information Age

What is information?  Note: Information may be referred to as depth, evidence, content, substance, meaning

Inner Speech – How to Trust Your Writerly Voice

Inner speech is the internal voice you hear when thinking and composing. It can manifest as a distinct voice, a mix of fragmented speech, visual imagery, and sensory perceptions, or even as intuition or a felt sense. Mastering your inner speech is a crucial aspect of the writing process, enhancing how you articulate and develop ideas.





Instructions & Process Reports

Instructions & Processes

Intellectual Property

Interpretation, Interpretative Frameworks

Invention – How to Realize Your Creative Potential

Invention may refer to the act of creating something novel, something that has never existed before. Or, invention may refer to solving problems in your day-to-day life. And, in school and work settings, invention may refer to a stage in the writing process. Many people feel they’re not inventive–that being inventive is a competency reserved for geniuses. Yet you — like most everyone else — have the capacity to be inventive. With practice, sustained effort, and by learning about the invention strategies of others, you can become more inventive, whether your goal is to to develop artifacts, products, services, applications, or texts. This article provides a review of research on definitions of invention and invention processes. Expand your creative repertoire by learning about the invention processes of others.

Journalistic Questions

Literacy – New Tools, New Thoughts: The Progress of Expression

Historically, literacy refers to the act of reading and writing–the act of symbolic thinking. Yet, over time, as humanity has developed new tools for expression (e.g., the printing press, the internet, social media, or artificial intelligence), humanity has developed a more nuanced understanding of what it means to read and write. This article defines literacy, summarizes different types of literacies, and explores the effects of literacy on human consciousness and culture.

Local Perspective

To communicate and clearly, you need to be able to jump back and forth between a global perspective and a local perspective. While you may focus more time on adopting a global perspective early during composing, once you understand the assignment prompt or rhetorical challenge, once you’ve done the strategic research to take the pulse of a scholarly conversation on a topic, and once you’ve got a pretty solid draft, then you’re ready to adopt a microstructural perspective.

Managing Group Projects

Managing group projects guides your success to be a leader and depends on your ability to help others focus, communicate, and collaborate.


Learn about mechanics — the rules and conventions that inform written as opposed to spoken discourse.


Mindset refers to a person or community’s way of feeling, thinking, and acting about a topic. The mindsets you hold, consciously or subconsciously, shape how you feel, think, and act–and what you believe is possible. When engaging composing, writing, and drafting, your mindset can be a hindrance or it can be a source of inspiration. This article summarizes different definitions of mindset. It reviews research on the importance of mindset to the writing process.

MLA Citation – MLA In Text Citation

MLA Citation refers to conventions for citing sources according to MLA Handbook, 9th Edition. Even if you plan to use an MLA Format Citation Generator, you can benefit from understanding the basics of MLA citation. Being conversant in MLA in text citation is a basic literacy in the knowledge economy.

MLA Format

MLA Works Cited

MLA Works Cited refers to the rules for compiling a list of references at the end of a text that cites sources according to the MLA Handbook, 9th Edition. Learn how teachers and editors evaluate an MLA works cited page.



Occasion, Exigency, Kairos – How to Decode Meaning-Making Practices

OER Webinar: Save the Date 2/28/12, 12:00 p.m. EST



Organization refers to the arrangement of content (e.g., headings/subheadings, parts/sections of a text, ideas, arguments, stories, steps, evidence) into a deliberate order in speech, writing, and visual discourse. Organization refers to a writer or speaker’s efforts during composing to interpret and sort information in ways that are most likely to achieve their aims while being responsive to their audience’s mindset about the topic. Learn about the organizational patterns that people use to communicate so you can discern the most appropriate way to organize your communications.

Organizational Patterns

Overcome Discouragement


Readers are likely to ignore your prose or dismiss it as an uneducated rant when you make overgeneralizations. Learn how to avoid this error.

Page Design – How to Design Messages for Maximum Impact

Page design refers to the strategic placement of information on a page or digital screen: Good page design can help you hook your readers’ curiosity and improve readability. Good page design is an essential element of authority in writing. First impressions can make a huge difference with regards to your grades in school and your success with clients in the workplace. You might think of page design as the curb appeal for a house on the market: if you don’t make the house (or document!) look inviting, if your document doesn’t convey your purpose and information architecture, all is lost: Your audience will move on to something else. There’s simply too much competition for your reader’s attention. This article reviews strategies you can use to snag you reader’s attention, such as working with layout — especially negative (empty) and positive (filled) spacetypography, information visualization, and color. Learn to design pages to facilitate scanning, readability, clarity, and persuasiveness.

Paraphrasing – How to Paraphrase with Clarity & Concision

Master the Art of Paraphrasing: Explore the role of paraphrasing in academic and professional writing, its significance, the ethical imperatives behind it, and the skills required to paraphrase authentically. This guide demystifies the process of paraphrasing sources, emphasizing the importance of originality and the transformative power of effective paraphrasing.

Parts of a Sentence

Learn about the parts of a sentence in Standard Written English: subjects, verbs, and objects and Independent Clauses, Dependent Clauses & Phrases.

Peer Review – How to Make The Most of Peer Review

Peer Review, the practice of receiving and providing critiques to improve documents, applications, and services, has been proven to be a valuable tool for writers and critics alike. As summarized below, research highlights the transformative impact of peer review on both the quality of work and the development of essential interpersonal competencies highly sought after in the business realm. Discover how engaging in peer review can enhance your writing prowess and foster valuable skills for professional success.


Persona in writing shapes the perspective through which ideas, characters or individuals are understood, blending foundational roles like ‘The Hero’ or ‘The Rebel’ with personal histories and motivations. In writing, t’s the intersection of your backstory with your values, strengths, interactions, and goals that lends depth and context. This article explores the myriad ways personas shape our daily interactions, stories, and self-presentations. Gain insights into how you can effectively craft an appropriate and effective persona.

Perspective – What is the Role of Perspective in Reading & Writing?

This article explores ‘perspective’ in interpretation, reasoning, and composition. It questions how a reader’s or writer’s background — personal experiences, cultural and academic influences, and their chosen viewpoint — shapes their engagement with or interpretation of a text.

Planning – What Are the Dispositions and Planning Strategies of Successful Writers?

Planning is a crucial step of the writing process, especially when a project is complicated or includes coauthors. This article defines planning as a cluster of creative, intuitive processes and analytical, critical processes that writers employ BEFORE writing and THROUGHOUT THE WRITING PROCESS. It summarizes the dispositions and strategies writers employ to manage their time, coordinate coauthors and team projects, and tailor their message for audiences and discourse communities.

Play the Believing Game

Play the Doubting Game


Positivism refers to the core philosophical position that informs the scientific method: positivists (aka Scientists) believe the universe is an orderly place that can be understood and measured via systematic observation and experimentation. This article reviews the tenets of positivism and contrasts this doctrine with other major ways of knowing, such as personal speculation, scholarship and post-positivism.


Primer Sentences

Problem Definition

Problem-Solving Strategies for Writers: a Review of Research

Traditionally, in U.S. classrooms, the writing process is depicted as a series of linear steps (e.g., prewriting, writing, revising, and editing). However, since the 1980s the writing process has also been depicted as a problem-solving process. This article traces the evolution of Linda Flower and John Hayes’ problem-solving model of the writing process, and it provides you with an opportunity to illustrate your own writing process.

Professional Writing – How to Write for the Professional World

Professional writing is fundamentally transactional: usually if you are writing it is because you are trying to solve some kind of a problem. Your audience — the people you are writing to — probably need to do something in response to your writing. They may not be expecting your writing. They probably don’t want to read your writing. Your writing is interrupting their day. So, if you’re gonna bother them you need to make it worth their time. Learn about the style of writing that characterizes the texts of professional writers in workplace writing contexts. Master the discourse conventions of professional communities of practice.

Pronoun – Guide to Writing with Pronouns

This Guide to Writing with Pronouns in 2022 provides everything you need to know about pronouns. The Guide defines the different types of pronouns in English, analyzes the function of pronouns in sentences, and explains how to identify and fix pronoun errors. Learn about correct pronoun usage so you can establish a professional tone in your communications and ensure your language is clear, concise, inclusive and gender-sensitive.


Proofreading refers to a step in the writing process–the act of critically reading a document with the goal of identifying errors at the word and sentence-level. Proofreading is crucial to establishing a professional tone in school and workplace contexts. Learn how to edit documents so that your works meet the needs and expectations of your readers.


Provide Feedback in Group Situations

Follow these strategies in order to give and get constructive critique. Review research and theory on collaboration in team settings.

Purpose – Aim of Discourse – Intention

What is purpose? How does purpose shape the processes? When composing, how can I best identify and express my purpose?

Questions to Evaluate the Authority of the Researcher’s Methods

Quotation – When & How to Use Quotes in Your Writing

Read Your Paper Aloud to Check Cohesiveness

Reader-Based Prose

Recommendation Reports


Learn to analyze the register of a communication situation so you know when you need to code switch. Use register as a measure of audience awareness and clarity in communication. Inform your efforts to engage in rhetorical analysis and rhetorical reasoning. Learn about different ways to assess Register. Consider Martin Joos’ 5 registers: 1. Casual, 2. Consultative, 3. Formal, 4. Frozen, 5. Intimate.

Relate Paragraphs Logically to the Previous Paragraph(s)


Research refers to a systematic investigation carried out to discover new knowledge, test existing knowledge claims, solve practical problems, and develop new products, apps, and services. This article explores why different research communities have different ideas about what research is and how to conduct it. Learn about the different epistemological assumptions that undergird informal, qualitative, quantitative, textual, and mixed research methods.

Research as Inquiry

  • Explore interesting personal, professional, and societal problems.
  • Pursue research questions using methods accepted by your discipline/community of practice.
  • Learn to produce effective research by limiting the scope of your research.

Research Community – Methodological Community

Research communities are groups of scholars, researchers, and practitioners who share a common set of epistemological assumptions, methodological approaches, and theoretical frameworks in their pursuit of knowledge. Different epistemological assumptions give rise to different research paradigms, which in turn shape the formation and evolution of research communities. This article reviews the three epistemological positions that inform contemporary research: scholarship, positivism, and post-positiivsm. Prior to conducting research, learn to engage in rhetorical analysis: evaluate the epistemological assumptions assumed by your target audience.  Analyze what ways of knowing, what epistemologies, define your community

Research Methodology

Not all research methods are equal or produce the same kind of knowledge. Learn about the philosophies, the epistemologies, that inform qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and textual research methods.

Research Methods

Understand how to identify appropriate research methods for particular methodological communities, rhetorical situations, and research questions.

Research Protocol

Research Question

Reviews and Recommendations

Reviews and Recommendations*

Revise for Thesis or Research Question


Revision — the process of revisiting, rethinking, and refining written work to improve its content, clarity and overall effectiveness — is such an important part of the writing process that experienced writers often say “writing is revision.” This article reviews research and theory on what revision is and why it’s so important to writers. Case studies, writing protocols, and interviews of writers at work have found that revision is guided by inchoate, preverbal feelings and intuition–what Sondra Perl calls “felt sense“; by reasoning and openness to strategic searching, counterarguments, audience awareness, and critique; and by knowledge of discourse conventions, such as mastery of standard written English, genre, citation, and the stylistic expectations of academic writing or professional writing. Understanding revision processes can help you become a more skilled and confident writer–and thinker.

Revision Questions

Revision: Questions to Consider

Rhetoric: Exploring Its Definition and Impact on Modern Communication

Learn about rhetoric and rhetorical practices (e.g., rhetorical analysis, rhetorical reasoning rhetorical situation, and rhetorical stance) so that you can strategically manage how you compose and subsequently produce a text that is persuasive, authoritative, and well written. Additionally, develop your rhetorical knowledge so that you can more accurately interpret what people write, say, and do. This article summarizes different perspectives on rhetoric: Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Modern, Constructionist, and Postmodern Rhetoric. It explores, in contemporary times, the foundational role rhetoric plays in writing, communication, literacy, reasoning, and critical thinking. In summary, the essay below and associated chapters on rhetoric are must reads for anyone who wants to learn to write well and achieve their goals.

Rhetorical Analysis

How can I use rhetorical analysis of texts, people, events, and situations as an interpretive method? Learn how rhetorical analysis can help you understand why people say and do what they do.

Rhetorical Knowledge

Rhetorical knowledge plays a major role in successful writing and communication in postsecondary settings (Council of Writing Program Administrators et al., 2011). By understanding rhetorical principles such as rhetorical analysis and rhetorical reasoning, students and professional writers can better analyze and respond to diverse rhetorical situations.

Rhetorical Modes

Rhetorical Reasoning

What is rhetorical reasoning? How can rhetorical reasoning help guide my writing, composing, and composing processes. Consult your sense of the rhetorical situation in order to know whether it’s appropriate to appeal to ethos, pathos, or logos. Learn how to adopt the register, diction, voice, and tone for particular rhetorical situations.

Rhetorical Situation

The rhetorical situation refers to the contextual variables (e.g. audience, purpose, and topic) that influence composing and interpretation. Learn how to engage in rhetorical analysis of your rhetorical situation so you can create texts that your readers find to be clear and cogent, even if they don’t necessarily agree with your argument, thesis, research question or hypothesis.

Rhetorical Stance

The rhetorical stance refers to the position or attitude a writer or speaker takes in relation to their audience and subject matter. For instance, a reader might call a writer’s rhetorical stance to be tough, sweet, or stuffy. This article provides a guide to developing an appropriate rhetorical stance.

Rhetorical Theory – The Ultimate Tool for Effective Communication

Rhetorical theory refers to the study of effective communication and the methods used in crafting and interpreting messages to influence audiences. Deeply rooted in ancient traditions of oratory and persuasion, rhetorical theory encompasses key components like ethos, pathos, and logos, and rhetorical analysis of a situation in order to guide both content creation and interpretation. By understanding these elements and learning to use rhetorical theory, you’ll not only craft compelling messages but also learn how to critically evaluate the works of others.

Rogerian Argument

Run-on Sentences

Scheduling Writing

Scholarship – The Scholars – Textual Research Methods

Scholarship is not just about memorizing facts or regurgitating information. It’s about developing a deep understanding of a subject, making connections across disciplines, and contributing to the ongoing conversation about that topic. This article reviews the ethics, methods and dispositions of modern-day scholars.

Scholarship as a Conversation – The Conversation of Humankind

When writers are working to contribute to a conversation, they are careful to immerse themselves in the scholarly conversations on the topic. Once they’ve read deeply enough to distinguish the thought leaders on a topic, the knowledge gaps, and the preferred research methods for exploring a topic, they are best prepared to synthesize what’s known about a topic and perhaps even contribute new knowledge on the topic by engaging in acts of scholarship (e.g., theory, interpretation, and argument) or research (e.g., quantitative research or qualitative research).

Search Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Search the Library Catalog

Searching as a Strategic Exploration

Seek Help from Librarians


Sentences are more than a basic unit of thought: they are a signal of education, self regulation, and professionalism. Sentence errors undermine a professional prose style: Learn to distinguish independent clauses from dependent clauses and phrases. Develop your understanding of the tao of the sentence in order to avoid common errors: modification errors, comma splices, run-on sentences and sentence fragments.

Sharing – Publishing


Simplicity is a judgment made by people (e.g., readers & users) about whether a text or design of a product or app is as simple as possible given the complexity of the topic and rhetorical situationSimplicity is a highly prized attribute of communication. Learn how to identify the absence and presence of simplicity in your writing and the texts of others. Use simplicity (along with brevity, flow and unity) to create a professional writing style.


Structured Revision – How to Revise Your Work

Learn how to revise your writing in a strategic, professional manner

Use structured revision practices to revise your work in a strategic, professional manner.  Learn about why structured revision is so useful to teams & collaborative writing.


Style, most simply, refers to how you say something as opposed to what you say. The style of your writing matters because audiences are unlikely to read your work or consider it seriously if they dislike its style. This article summarizes multiple definitions of style; explores the role style plays in interpretation, composing, and communication; and presents strategies you can employ to adopt an appropriate style for any rhetorical situation.

Subject-Verb Agreement

Subject, Topic

Subjects & Concepts

Subordinating Conjunctions

Substantive Prose


Summary – Learn How To Summarize Sources in Academic & Professional Writing

Learn how to ethically condense content while ensuring your summary accurately reflects the essence of the original source. Summary also refers to a genre of discourse–such as an Abstract or Executive Summary. Learn how to succinctly and ethically summarize the works of others.

Team Leadership – How to Be the Team Leader Everyone Wishes They Had

Leadership refers to a person’s ability to guide and inspire themselves as well as others to act. Learn about the core competencies required to succeed in self leadership and team leadership.

Teamwork – Why Winning Teams Have It And How To Get It

Teamwork is not just a classroom exercise; it’s a critical competency that consistently ranks among the top attributes sought by employers across various fields. Teamwork (aka Group Work) empowers individuals to achieve tasks they couldn’t complete as well alone. Learn about the elements of teamwork so you can lead teams, overcome conflicts, set goals, evaluate colleagues’ work and coordinate group projects.

The 9 Parts of Speech

Learn how to identify the parts of speech so you can check word-level grammatical errors when editing your work or the work of others.

The CRAAP Test –  Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, Purpose

Learn about the critical perspectives that educated, critical, audiences use to analyze the credibility and reliability of information: Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracyand Purpose.


The Elements of Style – The DNA of Powerful Writing

Just as DNA constitutes the building blocks of life — as illustrated in the depiction below of ions and DNA gliding through a single-walled carbon nanotube — the ‘Elements of Style’ form the foundation for powerful writing. Brevity, coherence, flow, inclusivity, simplicity, and unity — these stylistic elements empower writers to enhance the clarity and power of their work. Esteemed by educators, editors, and professional writers, they serve as the essential building blocks — indeed, the DNA — of clear, compelling communication.

The Secret, Hidden Writing Process: How to Tap Your Creative Potential

In contrast to the prevailing view that the writing process refers to writing steps or problem solving strategies, a third view is that the writing process involves nonrational factors, such as making composing decisions based on one’s embodied knowledge, felt sense, and inner speech.Deepen your knowledge about different ways to approach writing tasks. Improve your ability to manage the works of others and collaborate on teams.

The Ultimate Blueprint: A Research-Driven Deep Dive into The 13 Steps of the Writing Process

This article provides a comprehensive, research-based introduction to the major steps, or strategies, that writers work through as they endeavor to communicate with audiences. Since the 1960s, the writing process has been defined to be a series of steps, stages, or strategies. Most simply, the writing process is conceptualized as four major steps: prewriting, drafting, revising, editing. That model works really well for many occasions. Yet sometimes you’ll face really challenging writing tasks that will force you to engage in additional steps, including, prewriting, inventing, drafting, collaborating, researching, planning, organizing, designing, rereading, revising, editing, proofreading, sharing or publishing. Expand your composing repertoire — your ability to respond with authority, clarity, and persuasiveness — by learning about the dispositions and strategies of successful, professional writers.

The Writing Log & Daily Writing

The Writing Process – Research on Composing

The writing process refers to everything you do in order to complete a writing project. Over the last six decades, researchers have studied and theorized about how writers go about their work. They’ve found that the writing process can be seen in three main ways: (1) a series of steps or stages; (2) a cognitive, problem-solving activity; and (3) a creative, intuitive, organic, dialogic process that writers manage by listening to their inner speech and following their felt sense. Learn about scholarship on the writing process so you can understand how to break through writing blocks and find fluency as a writer, researcher, and thought leader.

Timelines & Flow Charts



Tone in writing and communication captures the mood or emotion the author intends to convey. Rooted in linguistic choices, contextual cues, and author’s perspective, tone can vary from formal to playful, or objective to emotional. By understanding its nuances, readers can better interpret texts, writers can enhance their connection with audiences, and effective communication is achieved across various mediums.

Topic Sentences & Paragraph Development

Tough, Sweet, & Stuffy Prose Styles

Learn about Walter Gibson’s model of tough, sweet, or stuffy prose styles. Learn to work on your voice, tone, and persona in prose.

Transitions – Transition Words – Transitional Phases

Transitions are a lifeline for readers, listeners, users—a kind of conceptual superglue. Transition words and traditional phrases are crucial to helping audiences keep track of the author’s reasoning and purposes for writing. Learn to identify when transitions are warranted in your work and the work of others. Distinguish between effective and ineffective transitions.




Unity @ the Paragraph Level

Universal Design Principles – How To Design For Everyone

Universal design focuses on all potential users’ needs, abilities, and limitations. Rather than target a narrow user/customer segment, universal design values inclusivity: designers practicing universal design aim to make their works accessible, intuitive, and safe for the widest possible diversity of users (including different ages, disabilities, and technical expertise). This articles defines universal design, links out to foundational works on universal design, and explores the implications of universal design for writers.

Usability – How to Research & Improve Usability

Usability refers to the ease with which audiences can accurately interpret your message, understand your purpose, and navigate your information architecture. Whether you’re writing an essay, a research paper, or a blog post, understanding the principles of usability can help you improve the usability of your work or the work of others.

Using Databases: Periodical Indexes and Abstracts

Vague Language

Vague language is abstract, undecipherable, underdeveloped, fragmented prose. Use of vague language can be a form of rhetrickery–an intentional rhetorical move. Yet more commonly vagueness is unintentional, a signal that the writer, speaker, knowledge worker . . .  needs to think more deeply about the matter. Learn how to eliminate vague language from your work and the work of others.

Verb-Tense Shift


Visual Brainstorming

Try Visual Brainstorming to help you imagine what you want to say and how you want to say it.  Learn to use visual language (e.g., design elements and design principles) to develop and organize ideas. Visualizing information may enable you to display complex information visually, thereby engaging the power of the human brain to take in the gestalt, the whole, at a glance.


Find your voice, your unique way of expressing ideas and persuading others, to engage readers and be more inventive.

What is Plagiarism?

Understand the ethical responsibilities of authors. Avoid plagiarism and academic dishonesty.

When is the Active Voice Preferable to the Passive Voice?

Why Should I Keep a Writer’s Log?

Writer-Based Prose

Writing Cover Letters

Writing Studies

Writing studies refers to an interdisciplinary community of scholars and researchers who study writing. Writing studies also refers to an academic, interdisciplinary discipline – a subject of study. Students in the U.S. may earn undergraduate degrees, master’s degrees, and doctoral degrees in writing studies.

Writing Styles

Teachers, bosses, critics, among others, have expectations about how writers (or speakers) should say what they say. When readers dislike how a writer or speaker has expressed themselves, they may ignore or dismiss the writer’s ideas. Learn about different writing styles, especially a substantive prose style; an academic prose style;  a professional writing prose style and tough, sweet, & stuffy prose styles.