A free, comprehensive, peer-reviewed, award-winning Open Text for students and faculty in college-level courses that require writing and research.

How to Use Writing Commons

Welcome to Writing Commons, the open-education home for writers. Writing Commons helps students improve their writing, critical thinking, and information literacy. Founded in 2008 by Joseph M. Moxley, Writing Commons is a viable alternative to expensive writing textbooks. Faculty may assign Writing Commons for their compositionbusiness, STEM/Technical Writing, and creative writing courses. 

Writing Commons houses seven main sections: Information Literacy | Research Methods & Methodologies | Writing Processes | Collaboration | Genres | New Media | Style 

The two best ways to navigate through Writing Commons are using the top menu navigation, called Open Text, or the left-hand navigation menu system.  


Top Trending Webtexts

Writing Concisely and Avoiding Redundancy

Writing Concisely and Avoiding Redundancy was written by Brian Rapp of the University of Central Florida

Conciseness Improves Flow

Unfortunately, many writers use sentences that are too wordy.  This is not to suggest that lengthy sentences can never be used (because they certainly can), but most of the time writers make the mistake of using more words than necessary to get their message across.  Take this sentence, for example: 

  • “Michelle was supposed to have her car’s oil changed every 3,000 miles, and since it had been 3,000 miles since her last oil change, she took her car to the mechanic.”

This sentence is okay and makes sense, though the statement could be more precise if the author phrased it a little differently.  Describing the action first, followed by the reason, would improve it: 

  • “Michelle had the mechanic change her car’s oil because it had been 3,000 miles since the last one.”


Creating Rhetorically Effective Instruction Manuals

Creating Rhetorically Effective Instruction Manuals was written by Madelyn Tucker Pawlowski and Antonnet Johnson

Instruction Manuals

Many people associate instruction manuals with appliances, computer accessories, and products that require assembly (e.g., furniture). Because we don’t find ourselves using them regularly or we come to expect them only in certain contexts, it is easy to forget how important they are. The quality of a well-designed instruction manual may go unnoticed. Yet, when we encounter frustration with putting together a bookshelf or toy, or with trying to figure out how to change or activate a particular appliance setting, the significance of a well-designed instruction manual becomes clear.


An Interview with Stephanie Vanderslice

An Interview with Stephanie Vanderslice was conducted by Tamara Girardi

Stephanie Vanderslice photoStephanie Vanderslice's most recent book is Rethinking Creative Writing. With Dr. Kelly Ritter, she has also published Teaching Creative Writing to Undergraduates and Can It Really Be Taught: Rethinking Lore in Creative Writing Pedagogy.  She publishes fiction, nonfiction and creative criticism and her work is represented by Pen and Ink Literary.  Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the Arkansas Writer's MFA Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas, her column, The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life appears regularly in the Huffington Post. In 2012 Dr. Vanderslice was named Carnegie Foundation/Case Association for the Support of Education US Professor of the Year for the state of Arkansas.


The Art of the Pick-Up: Wooing Your Future Employer in the Cover Letter

The Art of the Pick-Up: Wooing Your Future Employer in the Cover Letter was written by Erin Trauth

On Wooing Your Audience (Or Not)

Imagine for a moment that you’re in the market for a new significant other. Well, good news: your friend, Imma MutualFriend, claims that she knows your perfect match and tells you all about this person. From what you’re told about this match, you’re interested too. Imma promises to connect you two soon.

Flash forward, and the time comes for you to meet this supposed match. At a party, Imma points you in their direction. With the goal of wooing this person with all of your wonderful qualifications, you approach your match.


Photos on this page courtesy of University of Pennsylvania, University Communications.

Plugs Play Pedagogy Blog


Kyle Stedman is assistant professor of English at Rockford University, where he teaches first-year composition, digital rhetoric, and creative writing. He studies rhetorics of sound, intellectual property, and fan studies. On QuizUp, his highest scores are in Lost (the TV show)..."

Episode 11: Composing Creatively
Plugs, Play, Pedagogy Podcast
stream below // download the mp3 // subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or Podigee Transcript available as a Google Doc here; check it out for more links, and feel free to comment on anything that needs comments. Part 1: Why this book? At the beginning of this episode, you'll hear me talk to Danita Berg, one of the co-editors of Creative Composition: Inspiration and Techniques for Writing Instruction. We discuss the different training that MFAs and PhDs in rhet/comp get, the need for this book, and where...
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