For the Common Good

Guest Blogger: Rachel Morota

Why buy an exorbitantly expensive writing textbook, when it’s all online for free?

Enter Writing Commons, the open-education home for writers. It was founded as a viable alternative to writing textbooks, which can cost up to $200 for a single book. The website, which assists students with writing, critical thinking, and information literacy has seven main sections that readers can easily navigate:


  • Information literacy
    To make informed decisions, you need to be able to recognize when you require additional information. To avoid falling prey to spam, you also need to critically examine written and visual texts to judge their credibility. Through Writing Commons, you can learn to identify when information is needed, as well as where to look and how to assess what you’re looking at.


  • Research Methods and Methodologies
    Not only does “research” refer to surfing through websites and library databases, but it also pertains to different methods for data collection and data analysis. Writing Commons contains information on how to consult Research Primer to understand the different research methods in different fields, expedite searches through the open web and library databases, and the conventions of empirical and textual research methods. Furthermore, it outlines how college faculty want you to integrate evidence into your texts and how to avoid the plague of plagiarism.


  • Writing Processes
    What is the “writing process?” What are the habits and attitudes of successful academic, professional, and business writers – and how can you be one of them? Writing Commons answers both questions by discussing what defines the “writing process” and how to go about it strategically, as well as providing a thorough analysis of the attitudes and practices of effective writers.


  • Collaboration
    From Facebook messages to emails, in the Information Age we are constantly communicating with one another. Writing Commons has suggestions on how to hone your online collaborative skills on a wide range of platforms including video-conferences, social media, and peer production tools so that you can collaborate with anyone anyplace, anytime.


  • Genres
    Creative. Business. STEM/Technical. As a student taking a college course, you will wade through a vast array of texts of different genres, many of which may feel unfamiliar. You will find that the trusty five-paragraph essay formula from high school no longer applies. Writing Commons recommends that to be a successful writer, you should think rhetorically and consider common organizational patterns in addition to mixing and matching across genres.


  • New Media
    Stay in sync with the broader public by reaching out to them through blogs, online forums, and wikis. To avoid potentially serious trouble relating to copyright infringement or your public, digital footprint, check out Writing Commons’ Digital Ethics (Netiquette) and Negotiating Virtual Spaces: Public Writing, Copyright and Writing.


  • Style
    Style is a super important aspect of writing that helps you share your message as a writer. Venture beyond your usual websites and publish your message across a range of media sources. Blend different stylistic components and patterns of writing to produce fresh, persuasive messages. Writing Commons even has information on how remediate (ie. remixing) texts to boost your creativity.

Check out the website here!



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