Computers and Composition Online has published a very positive review of the first volume of Writing Spaces.
"Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing
(volume 1) creates a new
category of first year composition textbooks. Editors Charles Lowe and
Pavel Zemliansky offer a set of essays written by composition scholars
for an audience of first year writers. The editors characterize this
unique writer-reader relationship: by “drawing
on their own experiences, these teachers-as-writers invite students
join in the conversation about developing nearly every aspect of the
craft of writing” (ii). In these essays, writers speak directly to
students in their capacity as agents of their own writing
Elizabeth Woodworth who is a member of the Writing Spaces editorial staff and a writing teacher coordinated the creation of this video that highlights the potential of open educational resources in writing center work.
Today, we at Writing Spaces are beginning a "writing sprint" during which authors are invited to contribute to a web writing style guide for undergraduate students. The project is open for participation for anyone interested, but this is not an "Wikipedia-like" exercise. Intrigued yet? Here is more information: http://writingspaces.org/web-sprint
The second volume of WS is to be published in December. Descriptions of the chapters are now available at www.writingspaces.org.
It has been a while since I posted an update on the progress of the open access composition text Writing Spaces which I am co-editing with Charlie Lowe. WS is a peer edited collection of essays on college composition (at least that is its scope for now), which we are developing in partnership with Parlor Press and the WAC Clearinghouse.
After receiving over 100 proposals and selecting about 60 last spring, we broke the accepted proposals into two volumes. The first volume essays are currently being reviewed by the members of our editorial board, and the volume is on schedule to be published in late winter or early spring. The second volume will follow shortly thereafter.
Promoting the project remains a priority, so I will be showcasing it during the annual Spilman Symposium on Issues in Teaching Writing to be help next weekend at the Virginia Military Institute.
I know, it is only April, but I am already planning for next fall's classes. The biggest challenge is finding suitable texts. It is not, of course, the first time that I am teaching first-year composition, but I just cannot seem to find one or two texts (in print or online) which would be good enough for me to stay with them for many semesters or even years. So, I keep experimenting and changing things around every term.
I have expressed by lack of enthusiasm for the mainstream first-year comp texts out there many times before and in different venues. It is not that there aren't any "good" texts out there, but their cost really doesn't make any sense to me or my students, especially given the undeniable fact that we won't be able to go through everything in a 600-page reader in one semester.
So, I am looking at online texts. Because I teach a section of the course which focuses on rhetoric of science and the impact of science and technology on society, luckily there are some good choices out there. I am currently considering, among other things, Amy Harmon's Pulitzer Prize winning series The DNA Age. If these texts were to become my students composition "reader," then I could supplement them with some texts of writing, reading, and rhetoric, plus use of the free "handbook style" websites for grammar, citations, and mechanics.
The search continues.
Update: we are no longer accepting new proposals for this first volume of Writing Spaces, having received well over a humdred of them.
In a Twitter-style post, I am happy to announce that Writing Spaces now has 74 proposals. An unqualified success at this stage of the project. Now, the editing work is about to begin.
Update: we are six days away from the deadline and we have 35 proposals. I am addicted to counting them now and amazed at the interest this project has generated so far. Of course, most of it is due to the excellent promotion work done early on by Charlie and the members of our editorial board.
Earlier this year, my colelague and friend Charlie Lowe and I started a new project called Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing. The idea behind this to create a series of open access composition texts which readers can either download from the website (for free) or purchase, in print, from Parlor Press. We are also partnering with the WAC Celaringhouse and our respective departments in this project. All submissions will be peer reviewed and each author will get a line on his or her CV for the chapter he or she wrote.
Charlie blogged about this project when we started it.
We also posted the call for proposals in many places online. Charlie
and members of our editorial board did some very useful leg work during
CCCC in SF to promote the project.
This morning, we noticed that we already have 12
submitted proposals and we are still over 2 weeks away from the
deadline, so, I am sure, more proposals are coming soon. There is still time to submit, so, if you are interested, go to the website and submit your proposal.
Anyone who has been paying attention to the recent developments in the textbook publishing industry knows that there have been several factors that have spurred the open access movement, one of them being cost of textbooks. Case in point: yesterday, a sales rep from one of the major publishers showed me a book which I thought was very good and which I might have used in one of my composition classes. The book is just over 300 pages long. The cost? With the bookstore's mark-up, "low $60s," according to the said sales representative. Makes me think twice about asking my students to buy it.
Given the interest for the project we have seen so far and the professional caliber of people who have agreed to serve on the editorial board and to partner with us either as publishers or as sponsors, I feel very optimistic about the project. Here is hoping for more high-quality proposals.
It might be useful to post the cfp for the first volume of writing spaces separately, so here goes:
Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing is a new textbook series seeking proposals for essays for the composition classroom. Each volume of Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing will contain peer-reviewed collections of essays all composed by teachers for students, freely available for download under a Creative Commons license.
Volumes in Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing will offer multiple perspectives on a wide-range of topics about writing, much like the model made famous by Wendy Bishop’s The Subject Is . . . series. In each chapter, a rich variety of authors will present their unique views, insights, and strategies for writing by addressing the undergraduate reader directly. Drawing on their own experiences, these teachers-as-writers will invite students to join in the larger conversation about developing nearly every aspect of their craft. Consequently, each essay will function as a standalone text which will easily compliment other selected readings in writing or writing-intensive courses across the disciplines at any level. Thus with your submissions and the publication of subsequent volumes of essays, the Writing Spaces website will become a large library of student-centered instructional essays on writing for all across our field to use in the composition classroom.
The theme for Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing, Vol. 1 will be first-year composition, and we invite authors to submit a proposal for a chapter on any topic about writing suitable for a first-year class. For example,
* College writing vs. what you did in high school
* Why invention is important
* Finding a topic for your personal narrative
* Drawing on personal experience in your writing
* Understanding the rhetorical situation
* What is creativity?
* What do we mean by that term "style?"
* Developing the appropriate voice for your audience
* Getting to the draft
* What makes a good thesis and how to focus your paper
* Best practices for conducting research
* The Internet as a space for communication and research
* Effective quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
* Re-vision as re-seeing your text
* Why proofreading is important
* Primary research: the I-search paper, ethnography, or interviewing
* Logic in argumentative writing
* Collaborative writing
* New media writing
Because each chapter in Writing Spaces is an essay, authors will want to strike a balance between instruction and creating a text that demonstrates excellent essay writing, with an appropriate and strong, engaging voice for a student audience. An essay could provide students with good writing advice and strategies. Or it might exemplify the type of essay writing that presents perspectives that stimulate critical thinking and invigorating class conversations. Any essay that incorporates outside material should also serve as a student-friendly model for demonstrating effective attribution and integration of sources.
Chapters in this collection could draw on personal experiences and include narrative writing. Student voices and examples are encouraged (student permission required), and visuals can be included in the text. Collaboratively written essays are also welcome.
Each proposal will be a 300-400 word abstract that clearly states the focus and purpose of the essay and briefly outlines the working structure of the piece. Furthermore, abstracts should indicate whether or not and how student voices and/or visuals will be included.
Proposals are due by April 10, 2009 and are to be submitted online via the Writing Spaces website as a .doc, .pdf, .rtf, or .odt file. Authors will be notified by e-mail about the status of their proposals by May 15, 2009. Final submitted chapters will be approximately 5,000 to 6,000 words. The publication of the first volume is planned for January of 2010. More information for authors and a link to our submission form is available in the authors area of our website: http://writingspaces.org/authors.
Upon publication, individual essays and a full electronic version of the first volume will be available for free download from the Writing Spaces' website. Teachers may upload these onto their course management websites or integrate them into course packs--royalty free. As they are published, print editions of each volume will be available through Parlor Press.
For more information about the Writing Spaces book series or other questions, please take a look at the materials on our website, http://writingspaces.org/, or contact the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing is published in partnership with Parlor Press and the WAC Clearinghouse.
My friend and colleague Charlie Lowe and I are starting a new publishing project entitled Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing. Writing Spaces is a series of "volumes" of essays on composition written by writing teachers for students. Readers will be able to download essays at no cost. Should someone want a printed copy, we have partnered with Parlor Press to provide on-demand printing.
Essay submissions will be peer reviewed by the members of our editorial board who are all respected figures in composition studies. That will give our authors the opportunity to claim their essay as another academic publication in their CV
We are, of course, not the first ones to undertake an open source textbook project, and there have been some very successful open access texts in the past. However, we are among the first few in composition.
It has been very exciting so far, and many people have been supportive of this project. We thanks the members of our Editorial Board. We also thank Parlor Press and Dave Blakesley in particular, and the WAC Clearinghouse and Mike Palmquist, for agreeing to be our partners in this project. We thanks our departments, The School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at JMU and The Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University, for sponsoring this project.
So, if you want to be a part of this exciting project, go to our website, check out the call for proposals, and send your proposal our way.