Last post, I told you a little bit about an OER resource for composition that presents learning objectives, readings, and lessons in a webpage format. This source provides great resources for instructors and students, but those searching for a more traditional learning style will not find that experience in Writing Commons. Luckily, OERs aren’t always provided in formats like this. For students and instructors that prefer a good ol’ book, there are still OERs for you.
Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing (Volumes 1 & 2) “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, authors present their unique views, insights, and strategies for writing by addressing the undergraduate reader directly.” The two volumes are both open source materials and are published under a Creative Commons license. Perhaps the best feature of these two volumes is the variety of formats that they are provided in, allowing students to choose the best version of the text that suits their individual learning needs. A free PDF copy of the text can be downloaded directly from their website, or instructors can supply students with PDFs of specific chapters or readings from the book. A paperback version of the text can also be purchased for only $23.00 if students (or the instructor) prefer an actual book. An eBook version of the text can also be purchased for $16.00.
Again, let’s ask the most important question: can a source like this be trusted? Like Writing Commons, Writing Spaces was created by academics, for academics. Charles Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, the Writing Spaces editors, are both faculty members that lecture on composition and professional writing (at Grand Valley State University and James Madison University, respectively.) This text has already been adopted by a few Universities in the United States. According to Meagan Rodgers at Computers and Composition Online, Writing Spaces is “full of practical, insightful, and accessible advice for novice writers. It’s hard to think of a reason not to recommend this text; given that it is entirely customizable, an instructor can disregard any articles that are not relevant to her classroom.” Like other OERs, Writing Spaces can be tailored to fit the needs of a large University’s Composition program.
The two volumes of Writing Spaces give students the opportunity to access free resources for a variety of different introductory composition courses. Volume 1 covers topics like “academic writing, motives for writing, rhetorical analysis, revision, invention, writing centers, argumentation, narrative, reflective writing, Wikipedia, patchwriting, collaboration, and genres.” Volume 2 builds on the lessons and readings presented in Volume 1 by covering topics like “rhetorical situation, collaboration, documentation styles, weblogs, invention, writing assignment interpretation, reading critically, information literacy, ethnography, interviewing, argument, document design, and source integration.”
Take some time to look through these excellent, freely available source!