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Writing Spaces offers practical advice, but, more importantly, it invites students into the conversation on common writing challenges, demystifying rather than merely presenting composition strategies. Some may find the discussions belabored, and sometimes they are, but mostly the essays shed new light on the academic writing experience. These essays seek to clear the air as well as help students write more effectively. I would assign several of these as readings--to complement other skills-based resources--in various first year writing courses that I teach.
This text offers an index and table of contents. We as instructors often assume students know how to read an assignment sheet—it seems obvious to us. But students struggle, and it would be worth spending time on this basic concept in a first year writing course the chart on p. The Inspired Writer vs. Backpacks vs. Briefcases: This essay, which addresses rhetorical analysis strategies, would have been more effective if it had offered more suggestions for writing a rhetorical analysis toward the end of the essay—along with more focus on applying techniques to the analysis of articles that may be used for research, etc.
Taking Flight: The discussion of writing identity as individual and collective is overall effective, as it addresses a common problem with students--connecting to topics whether assigned or self-selected.
Languages, Literature, and Composition
This piece loses me a little with its references to prayer, meditation, crystals, and role-playing, but students may find these suggestions refreshing. Reinvention Invention: Students need loads of instruction on invention, and this essay provides strategies as well as context. The activity described on p. Overall, this essay offers a nice discussion on the importance of pre-writing, brainstorming, and taking time to incubate and evolve a topic.
This essay complements the one that came before it in the text. Maybe this essay should be placed at the end of the text? I like the Jon Stewart clip and correlating activity. Great to see the caution against pro-con arguments. The explanation of Toulmin is effective; the charting out of an argument on p. I appreciated the use of examples to also show its acceptance in varying academic disciplines.
Reflective Writing and the Revision Process: A refreshing discussion hard to find on the importance of reflective writing as it relates to the writing process especially revision. Nice examples of a reflective letter assignment. Wikipedia is good for you!? Collaborating Online: This essay seems too specialized to be included in this compilation; maybe this would be better as a collaborative writing chapter with a section of it on online collaboration and tools. Navigating Genres: This essay offers an important definition of genre, and in a playful way with references to country music, humor writing, and a practice exercise with a ransom note , helping students to understand what the term means and how to apply it.
As a whole, I find the text to be accurate. I have commented on certain content concerns in my commentary on each essay, above. Many of the strategies and concepts addressed in this text are timeless, so the essays should be usable for some time. It is hard to comment on clarity, as each essay is written in a different voice. Some essays are definitely more clearly written for a student reader. Overall, each piece is fairly well-written, but a few of the voices feel out of sync with the work as a whole and could use editing for readability and appropriateness to a first year writing classroom.
I comment on some specifics in the grammar section and above. Perhaps a consistent documentation style should be used throughout the textbook? Unless the intention was to show different methods side by side.
Overall, the message and themes were consistent, although the voices varied. It seemed like a similar writing philosophy and pedagogy drove the principles and strategies offered in this text. In next paragraph, past tense is used to introduce quote. Perhaps this is intentional, or maybe it should be more consistent? Yes, the text is written to be easily divisible for the most part. There are times when paragraphing and idea development seem heavy, but overall headings and subheadings were used effectively.
Furthermore, the introduction reminds student readers that they can go to the website for a keyword search. The introduction seems a bit overly self-referential, which is why it should perhaps be a prologue or letter to intructors rather than an overt discussion fo the OER. The introduction isn't really an introduction to the text; it's an introduction to OER.
Although at first I found myself wanting chapter numbers, I realized that the lack of chapter numbers is likely intentional to allow more flexibility with the use of this OER--it makes it easily adaptable, etc. Examples overall could be more inclusive and varied. Overall, a high quality OER with lots of potential for use in the first year writing classroom. Instructors who might adopt this text need more organization in the Table of Contents.
I believe there was only one essay that touched on peer review at all, important in any kind of writing. Some of the essays that are exploratory about how to write or get started don't connect well necessarily with how to do research. Is research writing the primary aim of this text?
It is hard to know, since the text seems to lack identity right now as to its audience and the connections it needs to make from pre-writing to storytelling? These are very different kinds of writing. Mastering one doesn't necessarily lead to proficiency in another. More connection of concepts from selection to selection might be needed. Also, what kind of audience is this book for? What kind of level of student? It seemed to be all over the place.
I did not find any glaring inaccuracies. Since the text is not heavy on technology, and is more about applications of theoretical theories of writing, it is more a question of how the various styles affect communication. It leads to interpretations of writing that aren't necessarily well-thought out. I thought this is the author attempting to appeal to students who didn't want to write. Co-incidentally, these authors also had long sentences, or meandering personal thoughts that really didn't add to the text. If you compare this kind of writing to the polished work of Ingalls and Krause, you see how much more comprehensively written the latter are and the offerings later in the text in general.
I guess I am addressing the accuracy and acuity that comes through well thought-out approaches to instruction. Except for a few of the entries that are based in technology, the text could last quite a long time. Hopefully, Google Docs and other programs will be with us for a while. I found some examples of writers stumbling over their sentences, as if the text was written pretty quickly and the deadline was nearing.
This at times made the text less effective. I found this to be true especially of Reid, Corcoran and Kahn.
With Reid's essay, to use as an example, the reliance on parenthesis and dashes made me feel as if she hadn't really done the final draft. The address to the student audience seemed rushed and made a lot of assumptions, as it did with Corcoran and Kahn. This is always a challenge, of course, On the other hand, Ingalls, Krause, Walker, and Lynch wrote essays that were beautifully clear and could be easily understood, since they had taken more time to think through steps and processes, and had a respectful, and considerate understanding of their audience not an imagined one.
As I have said, the writing largely in the first half of the text needs considerable re-writing. I found that that the essays on research were written more carefully generally. The essays on how to write, or how to generate writing,seemed to be less carefully written.
The style was free and easy, but this often led to less effective paragraphs, lack of cohesion, and less effective writing models. Some of the authors were relying on the theories of composition gurus like Wendy Bishop, and others were relying more on their own ideas. The lack of consistency between the interpretations of other's work and writers who could really own their ideas often showed in the writing itself. Some of the essays seemed only half instructive, as if the author was not really grounded in what he or she was writing about.
Again, it gets back to the purpose of the book, and its lack of big picture organization which could be resolved through better organization of overall contents. Yes, I see that this is a modular book, and I realize that any essay might be extracted at any time and fit into a course. Why, though, was a storytelling essay and an essay on the essay inserted into a grouping of essays on sources, MLA, and other research-related material toward the end of the text?. These were well-written essays, but they would seem to relate to other kinds of writing offered in the text.
Given how the text is organized, I would think composition instructors or any instructor would like some direction on how the text might be used. I think I have addressed the over- all structure and flow in 1; improvements could be made. Another problem in the book is not only the content, but the kind of student it attempts to address. Sometimes I felt authors were addressing students who perceived writing as "hard' or uncool, and the authors were trying to show how cool writing really was.
Authors talked about their own difficulties, which I am not sure helped their work. So, part of the uneven flow at the sentence and paragraph level come from writers who are writing for a perceived audience who do not like writing. There are many examples that might be found here, but p. This approach falls away later when writers write about research techniques.
These writers seem more grounded toward a more mature audience. Again, there is a problem with identification of the kind of student the text is really addressing and why. Students who complete the essays on free-writing and essay writing aren't magically going to become more mature later, so some bridging or re-thinking might help this. An instructors can supply gaps in instruction, up to a point. More could be done with this in the text.. I found one typo on p.
SOAPSTone: A Strategy for Reading and Writing
Most of the problems were related to style and revision, particularly long, drawn-out sentences where ideas sometimes stumbled over each other, and also problems with address. Some examples: p 63 could use some re-writing p 78 inconsistency in direct address p 87 referent in last paragraph p had jargon and needed re-writing. An inference was made that President Obama is "divisive" figure on p. This is not the best way to characterize him, unless you also say that Congress is divisive too I did not like the inference there..
I found Paul Lynch's inclusion of Asian essays nice, in addition to his description of Montaigne. I found some of Savini's writing uneven, but I liked her inclusion of the picture of the woman from Nicaragua and her concern about how this might be perceived. Certainly more writers of color, topics relating to social justice, writers with disabilities who could present their own experience is much needed in this text.
More welcoming could be extended to writers with diverse experience. I have taught writing over a span of 30 years or so, and I can see how many of these individual offering might be useful. In its current condition, I would hesitate to use it. I think this text is one in a series. In the future, more care might be paid to creating a better contents page, an introduction on best applications, etc.
There may be permission problems, and other supplementary material that might be helpful for instructors to know, for instance, the Annie Dillard essay was missing from Das Bender's essay, and so this made the points less effective. Some of the work, as I mentioned above, however, was well worth using. Writing Spaces is a fairly comprehensive collection of essays covering a variety of topics germane to the topic of writing and writing development in higher ed.
Individual contributions to the collection cover topics ranging from: utilizing Individual contributions to the collection cover topics ranging from: utilizing sources, incorporating informal web-surfing habits and strategies into research skills, collaborating with other writers, document design and formatting, developing brainstorming techniques, and cultivating critical thinking skills, among others. As a collection, it does a good job of covering most of the bases when it comes to writing: invention, arrangement, style, delivery. This category is not entirely applicable, since many of the essays herein offer reflective, opinion-based takes on the role of writing in higher education.
Nonetheless, it contains a lot of practical advice based on current best practices in composition studies pedagogy. Nothing in this strikes me as collection strikes me as irresponsible or badly conceived in terms of offering advice and instruction to students. The latter category strikes me as a problem for longevity, although the focus on skills and strategies rather than the particular software makes them more valuable. The goal of this volume as well as its companion volume is to write for an audience of undergraduates.
Consequently, the language is overwhelmingly clear and concise, but not patronizing or condescending. As a collection, it makes a compelling case to students about the importance of writing in general, as well as the need to improve, means and methods by which that improvement occurs, and practical advice for students to develop writing skills regardless of discipline. The collection has a consistency of voice throughout and does a good job of reaching undergraduate audience as intended.
Given the nature of the volume a collection of variously authored essays , each writer is drawing upon different terminologies and field-specific backgrounds e. This works, as the overall goal of the collection is ultimately to situate writing studies within the broader context of college-level education, so multiple viewpoints and voices helps reinforce this underlying message. Highlight: the text, as well as volume 1, are explicitly designed as modular collection: obviously, the essays are stand-alone pieces on their own right written by different authors on distinct topics, with no real cross-talk referencing the other essays , and users have the option of either downloading the entire volume as a single PDF or downloading individual chapters as needed to supplement curriculum.
Still, one criticism that one might levy is that certain topics could be clustered--for example, the volume includes a couple of essays that deal with collaboration that might be sequenced more closely together; the same might be said of the technology-focused essays.
The latter option is particularly helpful for those instructors who might wish to incorporate selected excerpts into their own writing curriculum. Few to none. Sensitivity with respect to identity politics is endemic to writing studies as a field--this collection reflects that sensitivity. In several instances in the collection, references to different ethnic and racial backgrounds are made in several spots throughout the volume. Writing Spaces vol 2 is a valuable collection in its own right, but should be considered alonside the other WS products vol.
Taken together, they offer a comprehensive body of work on cutting-edge writing studies pedagogy, as well as practical instruction for students writing in a variety of disciplinary contexts and media forms. This textbook presents complex rhetorical concepts in a language students would likely find approachable.
English | Department of English | University of Nevada, Reno
This approachability is very attractive to me as an instructor. I especially appreciated how the book's chapters are scaffolded, beginning I especially appreciated how the book's chapters are scaffolded, beginning by asking students to think about "What is Academic Writing" Ch. Many of the chapters, besides offering students an accessible presentation of rhetorical concepts, also include suggested activities that would push students to develop procedural knowledge of the writing practices that work best for them though I wish there were more of these activities.
For example, chapter five pushes students to analyze rhetoric at work in the media by encouraging them to think, as Peter Elbow would have it, that argument is everywhere. As far as the index is concerned, I would imagine teachers could integrate indexed texts into their own lesson plans, and students would have a wide range of research options at the ready. That being said, I would like to have seen more attention paid to genres, perhaps another essay on that subject replacing one of the 'invention' chapters.
I found no issues with the book's accuracy, though I do wonder if, at times, the casual language might encourage inaccurate readings on the part of some students. I wonder if the strategic informality of this book's style might result in students adopting an informal approach to their composition classes and the work produced therein. This is not to say that the more casual style of this book is without merit finding approachable material is a "must" in composition classes , only that I would like to see the book, at times, set higher expectations for the students who will read it.
I usually found the book's language more problematic when it seemed unsupported by research - something I found to be problematic in chapter four, for example, where the argument about the inspired writer vs. This book meets students where they are at in terms of students in today's world. There are a few instances where pop-cultural references will need to be updated, but I view this need as inevitable when finding concepts and examples to which students can relate.
The book's clarity is one of its strongest attributes.
Read this book
Terms are always defined. Students will no doubt find the book's language accessible - though I do think the book could be improved by including some essays that do more to challenge our students with more difficult readings. However, if teachers do wish to complement the book's content with more difficult reading material, many of the sources listed in the book's index would provide exactly that. This book's terminology and framework are consistent. Ideas and concepts such as 'audience' are repeated in several chapters, a consistency that would push students to adapt their understanding of them to new contexts and arguments.
Modularity is not a problem with Writing Spaces. Chapters and even sections of chapters could be introduced at the instructor's discretion, depending on the scaffolding of lesson plans and student needs. The topics in this book are ideally organized. Students are first familiarized with academic writing and the expectations associated with it and then progress to learn about - and practice - various stages of the writing process, from invention to self-reflection. To be clear, I do think the activities and questions already present in the book are helpful; but I would appreciate more focus on procedural activities and more extensive lists of questions.
I had no problems with the book's interface, and the option to download to scannable pdf files is a godsend this would give students the ability to practice active reading techniques such as highlighting, underlining, marginal notes, etc.. I do wish hyperlinks within the text were "functional," as I had to copy and paste links to my browser in order to view them. I did not find any examples of cultural insensitivity in the book. I would, however, like to see more content devoted to exploring how cultural insensitivities are maintained and even generated by the prestige often attached to "educated" forms of writing.
This text covers most of the topics that are important in a first-semester composition course. The principles of rhetoric that students need to understand and practice to write well in their college courses are presented with accessible The principles of rhetoric that students need to understand and practice to write well in their college courses are presented with accessible language.
The authors of the articles define terms well and explain why the material is important to learn in college and beyond. Topics covered include how to do an effective peer review with a strong example , writing and working in a group, and identifying and writing in genres with excellent examples. The three chapters on invention seemed a bit redundant, but I found myself wanting to see more material like the articles on writing in the first person and writing reflection and revision again, with excellent examples provided.
I also appreciated the article on using the Writing Center. The index is comprehensive, but this book includes no glossary which would be a helpful addition. In the introduction to "Composing the Anthology: An Exercise in Patchwriting" the author suggests that he will discuss the risks associated with patchwriting, but we don't get that information in this article. I would like to have seen a following article about using proper attribution. Many native speakers do not understand the benefits of working with multilingual writers, so another helpful chapter would have covered writers whose second language is English working collaboratively or in peer reviews with writers whose primary language is English.
This book is a collection of articles, a format which allows it to be easily updated as needed; I don't see obsolescence as being an issue. Future editions can easily include articles that cover current technologies that are being developed. As written, the articles are up-to-date. The accessible prose in the articles of this book make it most attractive to me as an instructor. Getting students to read what I've assigned can be challenging when prose is perceived to be turgid. In this book students will find only inviting and interesting articles with introductions that pull them into the text, often with an explanation as to WHY they should continue to read the article.
At the end of each article, students will find discussion questions, but these articles are interesting enough that I envision a good deal of open discussion without need for these prompts. All jargon and potentially unfamiliar terminology is defined. The authors offer accessible examples to further explain concepts. Many composition textbooks and most instructors may refer to the same concepts using different terms, and a few authors in this book used terms I don't usually use; however, I did not find this to be a problem in this book.
These authors all define terms so well that I could use this perceived inconsistency as a way to discuss language's flexibility and the importance of defining terms for our readers. Chapters articles within this book could easily be assigned in any order depending on the needs of the curriculum and the needs of the students. The organization of the book as a whole makes perfect sense, and readings could be assigned in the order the articles are presented. Each article does have a natural flow into the next. However, the articles could also be assigned independently--in any order depending on students' needs.
I viewed this book in Preview, and the graphics were a little fuzzy. Those included were helpful to enhance students' understanding of the texts. Navigating the book from a. Again, I was viewing in Preview which students could also be using. Not everyone has access to Acrobat Pro. If instructors assign the articles in the order they are published, students could simply bookmark the readings as they go.
Perhaps this is easier in Acrobat Pro, but having hyperlinks from the Table of Contents directly to the articles would be helpful. I noticed nothing culturally insensitive or offensive. However, I would have liked to see an article specifically about writers and cultural sensitivity, especially when students are writing collaboratively or working through peer reviews.
For the Fall semester, I will ask my mentor group of eight new composition instructors to use the articles in Writing Spaces, Volume 1 as supplemental readings in their First-Year Composition courses. I expect this book to help them immensely by replacing lectures with interesting readings that can be discussed in class. The instructors may then focus more on creating interactive writing exercises and assignments that relate to these readings. The first thing I noticed about Writing Spaces was the comprehensive table of contents and the varied authors. I have been teaching a first-year writing course titled Writing and Rhetoric for almost a decade, and Lowe and Zemliansky have I have been teaching a first-year writing course titled Writing and Rhetoric for almost a decade, and Lowe and Zemliansky have included pieces on every aspect of writing I touch on in my own classes--everything from using the first person Ch.
One particular chapter Ch. The text seems both timeless in the chapters that discuss the writing process that never really changes, does it? The text feels well-organized and seems like it would be easy to update.
- Nanotechnology & Society: Current and Emerging Ethical Issues!
- Not a Student?;
- Robert Owen and His Legacy;
- How to Write a Literary Essay Step by Step.
I think most first-year writing students would find the prose and voice of the chapters accessible, yet intelligent and insightful. I found no problems with the interface; the articles are mostly writing, and in fact, my only concern with the text is that it is so much text, with so little visual media. But in that way the chapters themselves may serve as models for the students for the kind of writing they do in their writing classes.
The text didn't have anything offensive that I could find. However, I'm not sure the text provides much variety in terms of race, ethnicities and backgrounds. The text covers many areas of challenges and questions that the first year college students might encounter in writing at higher education. The text is written in narrative essay style which makes easy to read, yet the contents are informative The text is written in narrative essay style which makes easy to read, yet the contents are informative.
This textbook provides 17 chapters written by 17 different respective writers, which bring many aspects of subjects in writing. The table of content leads student to each chapter for brief description and allows students to downloads the full PDF file for the text.
The text provides external links for each academic terms for accuracy and clarity, which makes resourceful for online textbook,. The text is easily divisible into each chapter for the link to download or to browse description of each chapter. However, it would have been better to make hyperlink on external sources or citations for advanced search. The text is peer reviewed and presented in narrative style,yet no significant grammatical errors found. In eachchapter, authors present their unique views, insights, and strategies forwriting by addressing the undergraduate reader directly.
Drawing ontheir own experiences, these teachers-as-writers invite students to joinin the larger conversation about developing nearly every aspect of thecraft of writing. Consequently, each essay functions as a standalonetext that can easily complement other selected readings in writing orwriting-intensive courses across the disciplines at any level. Topics in Volume 1 of the series include academic writing, how to interpret writing assignments, motives for writing, rhetorical analysis, revision, invention, writing centers, argumentation, narrative, reflective writing, Wikipedia, patchwriting, collaboration, and genres.
Charlie Lowe is an assistant professor in the Department of Writing at Grand Valley State University where he teaches first year composition, professional writing, and web design, and he is a strong advocate of open source software adoption and open access publishing. Pavel Zemliansky is an associate professor and graduate coordinator in the School of Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication at James Madison University where he teaches courses in composition, rhetoric, and professional communication.
Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing Vol. Reviews Learn more about reviews. Each chapter stands on its own. Comments I appreciate the emphasis on process and invention. Comments This is a great cost effective alternative to more expensive first-year writing textbooks. Comments Overall, I do believe that this volume could work very well as a companion to other source material within a writing class at a university level.
Comments I look forward to incorporating many of the essays to balance the mode-based text I already use. Comments Writing Spaces vol. Comments As a professor who strives to raise the bar on writing for my own students, I'm glad to know that Writing Spaces is available as a source. I noticed no problems with display features.
Comments Overall, a high quality OER with lots of potential for use in the first year writing classroom. Comments I have taught writing over a span of 30 years or so, and I can see how many of these individual offering might be useful. Comments Writing Spaces vol 2 is a valuable collection in its own right, but should be considered alonside the other WS products vol. I noticed no grammatical errors. Comments For the Fall semester, I will ask my mentor group of eight new composition instructors to use the articles in Writing Spaces, Volume 1 as supplemental readings in their First-Year Composition courses.
Comments This text would be a good supplement in a writing class. Cummings What is Academic Writing by L. Now What?