Conditions of Use
Provides substantial amounts of varied content. read more
Provides substantial amounts of varied content.
Scholarship is reliable, accurate and timely. Content is well-sourced and attribution is very clear and up front--a nice model for students.
Articles tap into the immediate currency of our times--Some content might need a refresh in a few years.
Writing is accessible and very clear. Perhaps some pruning/compression in parts. Sometimes the activities are a tad vague in purpose and scope.
It seems like the text has a coherent voice--This is important for students who struggle connecting to a text. There's nothing wrong with having a redundant layout and style when students are engaging with a text over a semester.
I wish the sections were more "chunked." Some have too many varied topics in one block.
Excellent progressive and developmental approach to stacking content.
Very clear navigation and visual "hamburger" menu.
No errors found.
Selections emphasize college-level literacy and seem bereft of any bias.
I like this text's organization approach in both design and content. The readings are challenging in all the right ways, asking students to demand college-level rigor of themselves in reading, writing and critical thought. I wish the activities had more targeted goals/outcomes for the students.
COMPREHENSIVENESS - The textbook offers a good basic overview of the elements of writing for first year composition students. It is well organized and clear which makes for easy reading. Each chapter consists of a Learning Objective which... read more
COMPREHENSIVENESS - The textbook offers a good basic overview of the elements of writing for first year composition students. It is well organized and clear which makes for easy reading. Each chapter consists of a Learning Objective which indicates the chapter's focus. The objective is followed by a student story. There are also exercises at the end of each chapter and an additional resources section for reading as well. An appendix is located at the end of the textbook which consists of place based and culturally based readings as well as online videos and additional readings. I would suggest that many of these videos and readings may have engaged students more by placing them throughout chapters in the text.
I found this text to be very accurate throughout. I am not aware of any errors.
This is a basic first year writing text, and the content is relevant today and may well be in the future. However, it can easily be updated if the need be.
I found this text very clear, and the language very easy to read .
The chapters are arranged in a pattern and the terminology is equally consistent as well.
The text can be broken up into smaller units, and the readings can be realigned with different subunits without any difficulty.
This text was very well organized and the material was clear and logical.. The book was broken down into five chapters and 3 appendixes. Each chapter started off with a Learning Objective, followed by a Student Story, an activities section, and reference section.
The text easily transforms into an e-reader, and the pdf version is easily downloaded and read without distortion.
I did not find any grammatical errors in this text. It seemed to be very well edited.
The text has examples from the Hawaiian culture because it was created for a Hawaiian University and its students. It also has an appendix which consists of culturally based readings that provides an inclusion of ethnicities in the text.
COMMENT: This text is brief, easy to read, and well organized. It offers a good overview of the elements of writing for first year college students, and it is an OER textbook which makes it free and affordable for students. It can easy be supplemented by handouts, readings, and videos to enhance the student's learning and more actively engagement them as well. I am really impressed with what the authors of this text did in creating it in only three days.
First-Year Writing (FYW) textbooks grow increasingly expensive, with their additional online platforms and expanding list of topics covered. 'English Composition: Connect, Collaborate, Communicate' by Inoshita et al. provides a scaled-down set of... read more
First-Year Writing (FYW) textbooks grow increasingly expensive, with their additional online platforms and expanding list of topics covered. 'English Composition: Connect, Collaborate, Communicate' by Inoshita et al. provides a scaled-down set of materials, addressing core writing concepts and common classroom problems (e.g., email missteps). The authors’ knowledge of first-year students’ typical missteps speaks to their FYW experience, a welcome background. The textbook primarily reads like a series of concise lectures, which present students with important concepts and core vocabulary. It touches on central ideas in Rhet/Comp and Writing Studies, such as discourse communities and writing as a recursive process. It takes a charitable view towards common plagiarism issues, framing patch-writing as a novice-writer issue; it is perhaps not so kind to the K-12 system seen to produce such writers. The chapter on research skills struck me as the least comprehensive, praising the importance of ongoing research rather than providing concrete ways students can successfully develop lines of inquiry. But that is an issue in publisher textbooks, too.
Content appeared accurate and error-free. Since multiple pedagogical approaches for teaching English composition exist, a book this concise could not represent them all. So it does present a specific approach rather than cover all of possible ways of teaching.
Some Writing Studies faculty may argue with the process-oriented, traditional approach this text takes; it does not advance cutting-edge assignments or pedagogical approaches. However, that might contribute to the text's longevity. Its approach remains a common one across U.S. universities, one unlikely to change anytime soon. The modular design of chapters also opens the opportunity to add new material without rewriting the entire book.
The writing avoids overuse of jargon, assuming a primary audience of novice/first-year writers. However, I found the book more often tells students what to be than shows them how to be it, and I think that could result in some clarity issues. Students, for instance, are told “Conscientious college writers begin thinking about and researching essay topics immediately after being given the assignment.” But what “thinking about” assignments means is not unpacked. While chapters offer activities, they would likely require more scaffolding on the instructor’s part than provided, since the textbook often does not provide sufficient illustration for a novice. Some principles are modeled or operationalized. When discussing letters of reference, the authors provide a detailed breakdown of how to write the necessary “formal email” request. The supplementary materials at the end also provide an OER list of readings focused on place (here, Hawai‘i ) and more detailed activities and assignments. None, however, provide evaluation criteria or means of assessment. Making full sense of what the text means will require work by the instructor on behalf of the students. Most classes benefit from the instructor bringing a textbook to life, though, so I do not see this as a major issue.
Most chapters follow a similar pattern. They open with stories about students, each having a different background and corresponding writing problem. The diverse representation of college-goers might help more readers find themselves in the text or broaden ideas of what a college student can be. Chapters end with a Works Cited box and (re)linked references. This practices what the book preaches. OER references are linked within the text as well, simplifying things for the user, e.g., the section on Dweck’s growth mindset links directly to her Ted Talk. Some chapters also provide links to student models, published in the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s undergraduate journal. Terminology appeared consistent.
This text appears designed to support modular as well as linear use. Since chapters focus on a different aspect of writing and use different framing stories, instructors could assign chapters out of order without confusing students. Chapter divisions will be familiar to most first-year writing instructors, as they follow a common division of tasks (college skills, the writing process, researching, etc.).
The modular nature and patterned chapters creates an organized text. Since the chapter topics are quite big, ways of navigating within them is important. The clearly named and linked sub-sections accomplish this.
The open-access platform offers an easily used online ebook. The downloaded pdf version seems slightly less elegant in format, but no issues actively impede use.
No errors impeded my reading.
I saw nothing that would concern me while teaching. The vignettes depict a variety of students engaging with writing and writing struggles; this conscious choice does good work expanding the image of who goes to college and who gets to be a "good writer". Examples mostly arise from the authors' local context, and faculty elsewhere might find it useful to swap in models from their local context.
Overall, 'English Composition' offers few of the bells and whistles I associate with for-profit first-year composition textbooks, which now seem as highly-designed as a spaceship. This is not necessarily a detraction. I find instructors often prefer to create their own explicated activities, detailed models, and discussion prompts. Such activities also work best when tailored to individual class needs. So while 'English Composition' does not provide a complete plug-and-play curriculum, it’s also unlikely instructors would need one. What this textbook does offer is concise overviews of standard Rhet/Comp and Writing Studies’ concepts, saving faculty the time of creating learning materials on them or writing up corresponding mini-lectures. The book would work well as a background text, to give students an overview in advance of an activity or application. It could also serve as a reference for assigned homework. I’m grateful for the authors’ work developing this book and for their generosity in sharing it as an open-access resource.
The text offers a neatly organized and comprehensive index and appendix materials. The introductory chapter is well-intentioned with tips for effective communication in college, but it also assumes that all professors have the same... read more
The text offers a neatly organized and comprehensive index and appendix materials. The introductory chapter is well-intentioned with tips for effective communication in college, but it also assumes that all professors have the same standards/expectations for communications from their students. For example, I do not need an email from a student if they are going to miss a class; they are adults and my courses establish the expectation that they get themselves caught up independently. I do not need or want to respond to their personal issues; however, the sample email on p. 5 establishes the expectation that students send an email for every absence. One big missing piece in this text is any attention to citation styles. They are mentioned briefly at various points throughout the text, but no citation style is given a full treatment. The text also advocates for citation managers, but experience shows that students who rely on those generators have very little understanding of how to execute a citation and do not develop an understanding of the difference between a journal article title and the name of the journal itself (for example). Many professors caution students against these "short cuts" and this text would undermine that advice. A great strength of each chapter is the blocked out learning objectives. This is a useful guidepost for students as they read.
The text is appealing because it is brief, but it tries to do too much in too little space. For example, Section 1.3 on sentence clarity is underdeveloped and could potentially give students the idea that modifiers and punctuation are the only considerations that matter when evaluating sentence clarity. A separate section could cover this more thoroughly, or the authors could leave the subject out all together, allowing the professor to select appropriate handbooks or other ancillary materials. There are some font inconsistencies throughout that are distracting but don't hinder understanding (for example, the penultimate bullet point on page 17)
The text is generally easy to follow and content will remain reasonably relevant.
The text takes a very basic approach to all its subjects, making it appropriate for a first-year college student, specifically first-generation or academically underprepared college students. Sometimes, though, this simple approach leads to a lack of clarity. For example, on page 85, there is some discussion of A Word About “Drive-By” Citations (which may point to an intellectual honesty issue, since this sounds a lot like Graff & Birkenstein's hit-and-run quotation). In any case, the idea is introduced, but not clarified. Students would need to see an example (or many) of this sort of dangling quotation and its antithesis to develop an understanding of how to sufficiently connect sourced material to student ideas or to other sourced material (by way of synthesis).
The text's chapter structure and tone are consistent throughout. The text has a consistent treatment of rhetorical analysis and considerations throughout, making the concepts introduced here easy to translate/apply to multiple kinds of assignments in the composition course.
Smaller sections of the text could be assigned effectively without losing much. One strength of the text is its reference to outside sources. Although links often become dated, it might be worth providing some hyperlinks to resources that can be reasonably expected to remain stable for a few years or more.
The TOC and learning objectives for each chapter are strong organizational features. The headers and sub-headers are consistent, though they could be more visually appealing to assist in scanning/navigation. The discussion of structure in the writing process and in the editing chapters could be reorganized to a consolidated, single discussion of structure.
The text is very easy to navigate and is visually simple.
The text is grammatically sound.
There are culturally diverse readings/considerations included in the appendix materials, but little to no attention paid to linguistic diversity or culturally specific/relevant pedagogies throughout.
First, the college success chapter should include specific tips on annotation. Also, the growth mindset has become controversial for a number of reasons (it's a deficit ideology, ignores the material and emotional conditions of students' lives,... read more
First, the college success chapter should include specific tips on annotation. Also, the growth mindset has become controversial for a number of reasons (it's a deficit ideology, ignores the material and emotional conditions of students' lives, and research doesn't support its success in student learning outcomes). Even so, this textbook merely summarizes it without giving students strategies to develop a growth mindset. The section Intellectual Standards for Quality will overwhelm many students in the introductory chapter (or they will skip it altogether). The language and tenor are also too formal. The standards themselves would be better woven through the chapters and written in more of an advising tone. They are great ways to evaluate an essay when a student is at the editing stage. Letters of recommendation instruction does not belong in the first chapter--the textbook should stick to academic essay writing and maybe include this as an apendix. Also, letters of rec. covered in First Year Experience courses at most colleges. English Composition teaches text-based academic writing at most schools. In the chapter on the writing process and essay structure, activities ask for personal essays on non-academic topics. I would LOVE to have seen some real-world essay prompts for text-based assignments, even from different disciplines as English comp courses serve students' future writing-intensive courses. Also, citation is tacked on at the end, briefly, while it should be integrated throughout. In the chapter on the writing process, the writers emphasize drafting an essay in 75 minutes and offer no other possible strategies. I find most of my working adult students end up writing their drafts in pieces as they organize their time, which can be a successful drafting strategy. Or else they spend two hours or one hour. Why 75 minutes here? I'd only teach a 75-minute draft process for a timed in-class essay. Also, for the free writing activity, it would be great to ask students to free-write about something specific as that will be the case most often. It's rare they will be able to free write about whatever is on their mind and then draft an essay on a specific prompt. As for essay structure, the chapter asks for a thesis that "must present an argument," which just isn't accurate for many prompts. It sounds like every assignment will be to write an argument essay. Also, a thesis statement is often more than one sentence. In the section on weak thesis statements, it would be great to include a revision of each to make it a strong thesis statement. Then it recommends body paragraphs that all support that thesis, sounding much like the five-paragraph essay. In truth, English comp prompts can ask for all sorts of combinations of rhetorical moves (requiring more complex thesis statements). Also, this should introduce citation and use of source material, as most academic essays will require that. Again, some real-life academic essay prompts would be great here, as well as strategies to address them. As far as the author's audience, in truth, the audience for academic writing is professors and other students. Any sort of "letter to the editor" model is not academic. Needs much more on language usage. Also, I realize instructors from the University of Hawai'i wrote this, so the examples of code-switching are culturally relevant to them, but for much of the country, code-switching is used by Black students, Latinx students, Asain students, and students from all over the world. The section on editing could use some specific strategies, like reading out loud, having the word processing program read the essay out loud, printing and working off hard copy, etc. As for grammar, "Most college writers struggle with only one or two main grammar blindspots" just isn't true. Also, there is such specific instruction on punctuation. I'd like to see the same for sentence boundary issues, passive versus active voice, even capitalization, which, in the age of texting and social media, is chaos. Also, the section on rhetorical modes is a bit too pat. Most real academic essay prompts ask for a combination of rhetorical moves and often don't identify themselves as a specific mode. It would be great to see more about combinations of modes, and connection to actual academic essay prompts. Also, the activities for each rhetorical mode were too simplistic and not academic. "Evaluate a restaurant" is not an appropriate prompt for a college-level writing course. Finally, at most schools, English composition and research writing are two separate courses. And the section on research skills is rushed anyway. Again, I believe use of sources, citation, APA versus MLA, and essay format need to be integrated into earlier chapters.
See comments above--in several areas, I found content inaccurate in terms of what happens in English comp courses.
Because I think the content does not address enough of what's required in academic writing, I can't speak to this.
I found the prose too formal, and, especially in the first chapter College Success Skills, too scoldy and too much "you must." I wonder why this wasn't written in second person to address the student directly. It has a "sage on the state" quality and needs a more "guide on the side," student-centered tone.
The text is consistent.
The textbook is well-organized and is visually pleasing with plenty of white space and attractive, though generic, photos.
As I wrote above, I believe the use of source material and citation needs to be integrated throughout the textbook.
The book's interface is clear.
The grammar is excellent.
Code-switching needs to include various races and ethnicities. Growth mindset can be exclusionary, ignores students' realities, trauma, previous educational experiences, and so can be racially problematic. The tone of the text, particularly the first chapter, often sounds authoritarian and too stern, too "sage on the stage." It also ignores the fact that 50% of all students today are first-generation. I believe this requires a more supportive tone, and, again, more of a "guide on the side" tenor. For example, "Speaking of 'presence,' students must be physically, psychologically, and intellectually present in class each period to learn everything they possibly can" is so not great as instruction (sounds like an old-school non-student-centered syllabus) and holds students to an ideal they may have never encountered and may not be possible at all times. There is a mental health crisis on college campuses--pre-pandemic, 87% of college students felt overwhelmed by all they had to do, 66% felt overwhelming anxiety, 56% felt things were hopeless and 13% seriously considered suicide. Imagine post-pandemic! A chapter on college success absolutely must address this and do so with kindness, which means telling students how to manage stress, depression, and access mental health services.
The range of the text is particularly impressive. The first chapter consists of College Success Skills that are relevant to many first-year students' experiences. I liked that the text explicitly framed success in college with a narrative of... read more
The range of the text is particularly impressive. The first chapter consists of College Success Skills that are relevant to many first-year students' experiences. I liked that the text explicitly framed success in college with a narrative of student experience, to show that these concerns are not isolated and rather address an entire community of first-year college students. Moreover, practical tips like "presence" and attendance, how to write an email, how to read a syllabus, time management, and even civil discourse are explored. Often I have to use multiple sources to address these different skills and topics, but I appreciate that these all can be found prefacing this text. What I found particularly helpful in the first chapter was the description of intellectual standards and terminology related to the fields of rhetoric and composition. Intellectual standards are described to show what type of writing is associated with quality and how writing is typically evaluated. However, I would have liked if "standards" were framed as subjective, reflecting the values of a community or institution, rather than primary criteria. I think it is important not to refiy assumptions of deficiency, and a decolonial pedagogy recognizes multiple meanings and ways to arrive at those meanings--even if they are not recognized by standards of the dominant culture. However, this is a small concern compared to the other important terms discussed in this chapter. Rhetoric is often not discussed, much less defined, explicitly in first-year composition, but the descriptions given in this text are given necessary context and explanation. Moreover, I often teach rhetorical analysis in my composition courses, and many students lack familiarity with the rhetorical appeals. I like that the rhetorical appeals are outlined in this first chapter, so that students have a reference readily available to conduct their analyses. The second chapter demonstrates the processual nature of writing, moving from ideation to publication or sharing. In addition to the process, I like that a genre analysis is available in the third chapter, wherein the different parts of an academic essay are given specific focus and direction. I like that I have a resource to provide students that allows them to look at the composite parts and see the coherence, in order to become familiar with the genre of an academic essay. In addition to parts and process, the fourth chapter further evaluates genre by rhetorical modes, allowing students to see the multiple purposes, patterns of development, and approaches of an academic essay. Finally, the fifth chapter is especially useful in outlining the core principles and processes of research, which are easily adaptable to the different research style sheets, like MLA, APA, and Chicago. I find that many of my students do not know how to begin the research process, and I appreciated that topics such as time management and properly citing sources to avoid plagiarism are discussed in clear, descriptive detail.
The information is highly accurate and synthesizes topics in contemporary composition, such as that related to process theory, code-switching, counterargument, rhetorical appeals, and civil discourse. I would, however, have liked to see more on linguistic diversity/translingualism, pluriversality, or language/discourse communities related to diverse student language experiences. Nevertheless, the online citation management tools described, for example, are those still commonly utilized by students. Some cited material is as recent as 2020.
By providing multiple chapters that describe the function and genre of an academic essay, the text remains relevant. Chapter 2 describes the processual nature of the composing process and how to approach the various steps in writing an essay that adheres to what the text calls the “nine primary intellectual quality standards” (1.3) of clarity, precision, accuracy, depth, breadth, logic, significance, relevance, and fairness. Chapter 3 describes the conventional components of an academic essay. Chapter 4 looks at rhetorical modes and patterns of development, with particular focus on those most often encountered by first-year writing students: narrative, evaluative, process analysis, and persuasive rhetorical modes. Chapter 5 provides research guides and principles that can be applied to specific disciplines. The college success skills are practical and can be applied throughout a student’s academic career.
The text is highly accessible. Terminology from the fields of rhetoric and composition are clearly defined, provided context, and also often framed in student narratives that illustrate the relevance of these terms. Additional resources are linked to provide additional context or clarification.
The text is consistent in both tone and content. Chapters are prefaced with an introduction that includes a visual, foregrounds the significance of the topics discussed, and outlines specific learning objectives. Subchapters have activities and sources specific to the content. The framework is undergirded by the “nine primary intellectual quality standards” (1.3) of clarity, precision, accuracy, depth, breadth, logic, significance, relevance, and fairness, and the language of the quality standards are used consistently throughout.
The text is logically divided with clear subheadings that guide readers’ understanding of the topics presented within subchapters. The chapters, themselves, can function independent of one another and do not need to be read in succession in order to be understood. Furthermore, subchapters can be assigned individually, as each has its own contexts and topics, and many have their own activities.
The text follows a clear, logical organizational structure. Prefacing the text with college success skills addresses issues of preparedness that underlie success in writing courses. The organization of the chapters reflect a contemporary philosophy of composition by positioning writing courses within the larger context of college success, then discussing a processual approach, then describing the conventional genre, then addressing multiple rhetorical modes, and finally presenting the conventions of scholarly research that make writing public and accessible. This organization moves from broader to more specific concerns.
The interface is highly effective. Visuals are utilized that compliment the text and are representative of a diverse student body. Learning objectives and activities are positioned in colored boxes, and sources are set off and hyperlinked in a bottom box. The collapsible Table of Contents makes the text easily navigable. My least favorite visual, however, was that used as the cover, as I do not feel it fully represents the vibrancy of the text’s content and style.
I did not observe any grammatical errors throughout the text.
This book was most impressive to me because of its culturally responsive and culturally sustaining approaches to the teaching of writing. The visuals and stories reflect a diverse student body and experiences specific to the context from which the text emerged, aligning specifically to learning outcomes across all campuses in the University of Hawai'i system. I most appreciated the Appendices, which include place-based and culture-based readings that are geographically significant, online videos and readings relevant to the Hawai’i and Pacific context, and suggested assignments that are culture-based, using “the culture, ethnicity, language, and traditions of people groups as engaging and relevant approaches and topics” (Appendix 3). These Appendices are relevant and useful to my own instruction with Asian American and Pacific Islander students.
I am grateful for the existence of a text that is so culturally situated and attuned to the needs of students within its context. I hope that similar texts might emerge from other Pacific Islands.
This text includes useful material for all main areas of typical first-year college English composition classes. In some ways, it feels like an expanded outline that provides a solid foundation on which to elaborate. I, for one, appreciate the... read more
This text includes useful material for all main areas of typical first-year college English composition classes. In some ways, it feels like an expanded outline that provides a solid foundation on which to elaborate. I, for one, appreciate the relative simplicity of the text while at the same time realizing the need to supplement (which I do anyway even with bulkier textbooks). The part where I would like to have seen additional content is the section on editing. Although an exhaustive list of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and other language items that might require a writer's attention is nearly impossible to produce (and really not desirable), the section in the text seems to be rather "hit or miss," especially when it comes to the table of examples. In addition, the text is missing an index and glossary.
The bulk of content appears to be accurate and unbiased. However, a few of the hyperlinks are either broken or link to the wrong page. For example, the link “Essay Development: Good paragraph development: as easy as P.I.E.” under "Further Resources" in section 3.3 is broken. Under "Further Resources" in section 4.5, there is no link to the "Ethos, Pathos, Logos" video, and the link for the first sample persuasive essay takes you to an unrelated website.
As previously mentioned, the main content reflects traditional first-year composition classes and is not likely to change anytime soon. The writers include several examples that have more direct relevance within a Hawaiian context, but not exclusively; the key material is relevant with plenty of room to adapt to different environments as necessary. Some may question the inclusion of "College Success Skills" in the first chapter, but since first-year writing classes are generally intended to contribute to students' overall success throughout their course of study, I think the information is relevant even if it is a review for some students. The majority of the students I currently teach are online-only and do not take the typical "first year experience" class required of on-campus freshmen. In addition, they often have been away from the academic environment for a number of years; thus, starting off with some basic skills for student success would be beneficial.
The language of the book is clear and approachable. It does not use intimidating language, but neither does it seem to talk down to students. Although there is no a glossary, many of the more technical terms are defined in context.
The layout of the text is mostly consistent. Chapters begin with a list of learning objectives followed by "A Student's Story" section. Consistent font sizes/styles are used within chapters to identify section headings, main content, etc. An "Activities" box is included for most (but not all) sections. One area of consistency that might be improved is the use of "Works Cited" at the end of some sections and "Sources" at the end of others; section 3.3 actually includes both (I think the writers are perhaps trying to distinguish between smaller bits of cited material and larger portions of information from a Creative Commons source, but this could be a little confusing especially to students).
The book's modularity is one of its strong points. I felt the content was divided into appropriate chunks that could be easily assigned and referenced.
I found the organization to be logical, very similar to what I follow in my own teaching. One detail I especially appreciated in section 5.3 in the "Research Skills" chapter is the discussion of Works Cited/References pages before in-text citations; as the text itself states, "The information in the in-text citation will be whatever the first word is in the Works Cited entry. For that reason, it can be easier to add in in-text citations after the Works Cited page has been created."
The eBook and online interfaces are easy to navigate for the most part. Wherever you are on a page, there is an arrow that will take you back to the top where you can access the table of contents and the corresponding links to different chapters and sections of the book. This is true for the mobile experience as well. I appreciate having a PDF version available, but there is some wasted space (although as another reviewer pointed out, it is easier to search the PDF version).
I did not find any glaring grammatical errors.
The book often incorporates examples from the Hawaiian culture, which is appropriate for the context of its writers. I don't think these locale-specific examples are necessarily a problem to include; rather, they can provide opportunities to discuss the importance of audience among other things. Even more, I see them as a model for instructors to follow in either inserting examples of their own that might reflect the local college context or asking students themselves to share examples that reflect their specific cultural background.
Overall, I found this text to be a viable OER option for first-year college writing. It provides a suitable basic foundation in terms of content and organization. The writers include several practical ideas and "tricks" for students throughout the chapters.
The text offers a comprehensive overview of the current-traditional approach to English Composition. The genres explored in the text are typical of “first-year English” classes of the last century. Furthermore, the text accounts for established... read more
The text offers a comprehensive overview of the current-traditional approach to English Composition. The genres explored in the text are typical of “first-year English” classes of the last century. Furthermore, the text accounts for established learning outcomes of the field, which include information literacy, writing as a process, and knowledge of grammatical and citation conventions. The text exceeds expectations of comprehensiveness in that additional sections on college success skills are included, which is not typical of a current-traditional approach to writing.
The text accurately reflects the current-traditional approach to the teaching of composition. The content therein aligns with other textbooks in the field that deploy this approach to freshman writing. There are no factual errors present in the text.
As the text reflects the century-old approach to the teaching of college composition, its relevance is waning. Countless textbooks are published in the field that explore the current traditional approach to freshmen writing, which leaves the reader wanting for a more immediate contribution. Emergent practices in the field are not treated by the text; rather, the established approach to current-traditionalism is rearticulated for an open access audience.
The text is written clearly and concisely. Especially helpful are the graphic organizers, example outlines, and activities that aid the reader in understanding and applying the content of discussion.
The text is consistently designed and user-friendly. Section headings, subheadings, bulleted points, reflective conclusions, and “further resources” offer a consistent structure within each chapter of the text. This consistent and predictable design enhances the readability and accessibility of the content.
The text’s modularity is sound. The various chapters could be read sequentially or in isolation. Depending on the instructor’s preference, the chapters could be presented from cover-to-cover or in some other sequence that serves the goals of the course.
The text's organization is typical of the current-traditional approach to writing. In fact, the text follows the directions it prescribes to students in that a clear writing process is the foundation of understanding how writing happens. Next, the focus on process culminates in a variety of approaches to essay structure. Finally, the text closes with a discussion on best practices in research. As such, the organization of the text outlines the typical structure of a semester of freshman composition.
I read the PDF version of the text and did not encounter any issues with the interface. The text is viewable, graphics are positioned well, and images are appropriately placed.
There are no glaring issues with the grammatical structures in the text.
The cultural relevance of the text might be critiqued, especially as the field of writing studies continues to grapple with issues of diversity and cultural competence. The text rightfully claims that “one language is (not) better than another.” However, the section on “Intellectual Standards of Quality” seems to contradict this claim. The uncritical depiction of “academic English” as “clear for everyone” actually leads the reader to infer that one language variety is more communicative than another. Still, the focus on Hawai'ian culture is novel and important.
To date, this is the most comprehensive and well organized current-traditional writing text I have seen in open access publication.
While the book provides a simple overview of a first-year composition course, there are many elements that would need to be included if it were to be used in courses that need to address different modes and genres of text. There are limited... read more
While the book provides a simple overview of a first-year composition course, there are many elements that would need to be included if it were to be used in courses that need to address different modes and genres of text. There are limited readings and assignments linked to the units, as well. Some of the assignments would require teaching additional skills or providing exemplars. For example, in 1.2 on College Success Skills, a student who was new to the concept of close reading and annotation would do better with a video and visual example of what it means to think through and annotate a text. There were no scoring guides, and linked rubrics would have been helpful to both students and instructors. There is no index or glossary.
There are more types of writing taught in first-year composition courses than what the textbook covers. For example, the text covers narration, process analysis, evaluation, and persuasion. However, students may need instruction in other types of writing, such as descriptive, expository, or argumentative essays. It wasn’t clear why section 4.2 listed several types of writing and noted that most of those types would not be covered. More importantly, teaching students to write objective summaries of text is an essential skill missing from this course. The section on writing a thesis statement (3.2) was not quite accurate in the limited description of where a thesis statement could be located in a text.
In recent years, the ideas of how grit, determination, and having a “growth mindset” have been largely criticized for discounting the real obstacles that many underprivileged students face. This text heavily emphasizes the growth mindset, so any updates to new research or evidence-based practices with this approach would need to be added. Some of the student “stories” may need to be updated to reflect recent and relevant views and contexts.
Most of the text uses clear and simple prose that is widely accessible to students. With instances where students are learning new words and concepts (such as annotation), exemplars or a glossary would be helpful.
Each of the sections begins with the same pattern: photograph, learning objectives, and a “Student’s Story.” Students will readily recognize the start of each unit. However, some sections contained activities and further resources, but some sections omitted these parts.
I reviewed the online version of the book. While the interface is very easy to navigate, it is almost too simple. There is no way to navigate within a page/section once you are on it. The pages of text are very long. I am looking for materials to use in an integrated, reading and writing course that pairs with a first-year composition class. I don’t think many students will take the time to read the entire page. If an instructor wanted to assign a section of the page, there isn’t a way to direct the students to a specific point.
The section on citing sources (5.3) could have been clearer in regard to MLA and APA format. This section mentioned citation management before it discussed what citations were or how to use them. It would have been nice to see links to the APA and MLA at the start of this section, as opposed to the very end. It was nice that the text linked to sources such as the OWL at Purdue University. Overall, the organization of the book was clear. Since this is a subject that is recursive as opposed to linear, it would work with any course structure or outline.
Due to the large “blocks” of text on many pages, additional, embedded graphics or videos would have helped to support the text. The inability to click on direct links to move to different areas of a page makes the reader scroll through the whole section before finding relevant information.
There are a few grammatical errors in a few places. There are some awkward sentences and fragments. For example, in Citing Sources (5.3), “Using notes and bibliography is preferred” has a subject/verb agreement error. At the end of that section, one of the assignments asks students to “Put away a plagiarized essay and tell the instructor or peer mentor what you wrote.” It was very difficult to understand what the assignment is asking the student to do.
There do not seem to be any culturally offensive or insensitive references in the text. While the text mostly focuses on Hawaii, there are texts and videos that reference other races and cultures.
This is a simple and clear outline for a first-year composition text. It would be a great resource for students who are learning online, as long as the instructor can be very specific about the sections the students need to review. Instructors can expect to add several additional resources and exemplars to strengthen the content.
This concise textbook is a good overview for newcomers to college. I like the first chapter on Success Skills; regardless of orientation workshops and First-Year Experience courses, freshmen need these skills to be repeated and reinforced. Our... read more
This concise textbook is a good overview for newcomers to college. I like the first chapter on Success Skills; regardless of orientation workshops and First-Year Experience courses, freshmen need these skills to be repeated and reinforced. Our institution's writing program is now emphasizing "genre" and "multimodal," neither of which are addressed here. I also would have liked some more help with "peer-reviewing" in the Revision chapter. There is no Index nor Glossary, and it is sometimes difficult to track down specific information. (The online version's search was useless, but the pdf and the ebook were more searchable.)
As far as I could tell, all the information was "accurate," but I cannot say it was error-free. (see Grammatical Errors and Clarity)
The book's audience is specifically Hawaiian, but that only makes it more interesting to read. I found it ironic that in the "Close Reading" section, the students are instructed to use colored pens/highlighters and to use "the front of the book" for notes. This is irrelevant if we don't have a print textbook. Information about how to do this with ebooks would be more relevant, wouldn't it?
The text is USUALLY clear and quite readable, but there are still some rough spots that weren't worked out in the editing. For instance, in the Revision chapter, in Table 1, the term "subordinate clause" is not defined and the example given seems to be a mistake. (Also, Table 1 claims to be about Punctuation and Mechanics, but it is about grammar or style. I mean, the rule that "using 'so' to mean 'really' or 'very' without using 'that' is an error" is NOT a punctuation rule.) Throughout, words are defined in-text, but could just as well be hot-linked. As I said above, "subordinate clause" is not explained, yet frequently the authors use a construction such as "English is a polyglot language (made up of multiple languages)."
SOME in-text citations were hot-linked, but not all. There would be a Works Cited in the middle of one chapter but not the next; why not just leave it to the end of each chapter? In Chapter 4, the hot-links were erratic.
In general, this trait is good. However, a more thorough numbering of the subsections would be so much more helpful. For example, 4.2 could have been further labeled 4.2.1, 4.2.2, and 4.2.3. If the students are using the pdf, page numbers can be referred to, but if they are using the ebook, will they understand "Look at the table at 41%"? How am I supposed to direct them to certain Activities boxes? If most of (at least) one of the chapters is pretty much from Writing for Success, why shouldn't I just use THAT source?
The main outline is organized as I would do it myself--quite standard. Style hints are interjected into the other chapters as the concepts arise, which is fine if the book as a whole will be used but creates a problem in the "modularity" trait. The format of starting with Learning Objectives and A Student's Story was nice, but consistency in adding Works Cited, Sources, and Further Sources would be nice.
Some links do nor open correctly or misdirect. ADA compatibility is weak; the ebook has a lovely built-in reader, but the images do not have descriptions. I especially LIKED this text because of the variety of formats: online (ho-hum), pdf (too much wasted space; vertical format not so great on a laptop), ebook (my favorite; easy to read in a horizontal format). I was unable to test it out on a smartphone, which is how most of my students would probably access it.
In the section explaining the importance of punctuation such as commas, they left out the end-stop period! (I suppose this could be used as a teaching moment, but, really...) The font size went fluky in a couple of spots (got larger for no apparent reason). In at least two spots, I found problems with quotations. One was a quote that was opened and cited, but never closed. The other was at the beginning of the first chapter (some introduction!) The Student's Story was actually quoted from Michelle Obama's speech, but there were no quotation marks and no introductory remarks to indicate to the student-reader that the passage was anything other than the authors' words. Very confusing.
All the examples are Hawaiian. I don't think this would offend any students or make them feel "left out." The intended audience appears to be first-generation college students (which is my main demographic). There is no special sections or hints for ESL students, but the discussions of "code-switching" and Pidgin language is really interesting and enlightening for any student.
I am looking for "one-stop-shopping" in a textbook. This one covers the basics, is quite readable at the freshman level, has activities, gives examples (though not full student papers), and comes in various formats. Unfortunately, the book could use one more diligent edit. More links could be useful (for definitions, for further sources, maybe some exercises).
It covers all the areas a faculty would look for that can serve as a bridge course between high school and college. The topics range from functionalities of language to dynamics of it. The travel from the writing process to types of writing and... read more
It covers all the areas a faculty would look for that can serve as a bridge course between high school and college. The topics range from functionalities of language to dynamics of it. The travel from the writing process to types of writing and ending in research skills complete the cycle of learning required for students to embark on in-depth writing required as they go along in their 4-year college course. The examples provided at the end of each topic reinforces the concept. However, as a faculty, I would have looked for some more exercises with answers for practice. The authors can consider the idea of having a practice book with answers and sample essays as an addendum.
The language used is error-free and accurate.
The topics and activities chosen are relevant in terms of topic and timing. For example, the inclusion of thesis statements, strong and weak thesis statements just before essay writing gives students a definite approach to write an essay. The technique involved in writing a strong thesis statement makes the task of writing an essay easier. The definite transition from a narrative is very commendable as it allows students to embark on a journey of simple to complex. The students start from the art of narrating a story to convincing the audience in what they believe strongly with evidence. All these activities are relevant to what happens in their day-to-day life so their involvement and immersion are complete.
The language used is simple and the students from different backgrounds(ESL) can easily understand the concept. They may find some terms like citation, evaluation, and analysis challenging initially, however, as the course progresses they learn these and get familiar with. Afterall the aim of doing a course is to dwell into something new.
There is definitely a regular progression from simple to complex in the text and the end of the topic exercises cater to reinforcement. The text offers a lot of clarity to students on the topics covered and dwelled in detail to help them understand the concepts needed for effective writing.
The text has been very clearly organized into modules easily accessed according to topics.
There is a definite structure to the text with topics ranging from mechanics of writing to applying them in different forms of writing. The inclusion of student stories in between is a novel concept. The stories make students feel that the fears they have are normal and experienced by many likewise. The structure of the book helps the faculty to structure the syllabus on the lines of the book. The progression from simple to complex and concluding with researching skills leaves students well prepared for their next journey.
The book offers a good navigation process. The graphic organizer for the persuasion chart (pg. 22) could have been on a separate page that way the students can photocopy it and use it for their essays.
The text is strong in language with least or no errors in grammar.
The text can be well understood by students. The fact that the stories do not mention the background of the students is commendable. That way they can relate to students from different backgrounds. The emphasis on place-based and culture-based readings is direct evidence of an inclusive approach of the authors.
The book serves as a good source for faculty in devising their syllabus for College Writing 1. It has all the right things in place and gives a sense of direction to all those who are guessing as to what their starting point should be. The activities are well-graded and there is a logical and holistic approach to the course. I recommend this to all my colleagues who are new to teaching College Writing.
The text appropriately covers all subjects relevant to an entry-level writing course. As an adjunct faculty members teaching Communication and secondary English Language Arts teacher, I find this text wanting for naught in terms of topics covered.... read more
The text appropriately covers all subjects relevant to an entry-level writing course. As an adjunct faculty members teaching Communication and secondary English Language Arts teacher, I find this text wanting for naught in terms of topics covered. The content on introductions and conclusions could be slightly stronger by including full example introduction and conclusion paragraphs. The section on Rhetoric likewise has a bit of room for improvement, as it seems to suggest that "rhetoric" is a term students should be familiar with, but the relevancy beyond could be explained more explicitly. Some examples of how students might see/hear this term used in various courses would be helpful. Additionally, while most technical terms are explained throughout the chapter sections, there is not a glossary or index for quick reference. The content on citations could be a bit more clear by providing a few more examples of in-text citations; one explanation suggests that "when using a signal phrase" the in-text citation may differ, and the term "signal phrase" is unclear (a clearer example could be offered).
Content is accurate, error-free, and unbiased.
The "student story" examples provided are current and relevant to today's students. The organization of these short segments is such that they could be easily updated to reflect online learning environments that students might be experiencing or other changes to the overall student experience. The academic content is up-to-date and will remain current for many years to come, as the writing rules and processes covered are not apt to change in the near future.
The text is written in a clear fashion that is accessible to 100-level college readers. Technical terms are explained appropriately and thoroughly.
While the topics covered are all connected by way of the central goal of the text, there are a few minor "disconnects." For instance, the beginning of the text covers intellectual standards for quality, including but not limited to "clarity." The section on clarity explains and provides examples of misplaced and dangling modifiers and their impact on clarity. This content is important, and I feel it would be worth including again in the section on Editing, as students should seek out unclear modifiers during the Editing process.
This text is easily and readily divisible into smaller sections that can be assigned as needed, in varying order. The layout is clear and well-spaced such that pages or chapters could be disseminated to students as reference material or "worksheets" on particular topics, particularly the content on citations.
The chapter topics and sub-topics are well chosen and organized. The few number of chapters makes it easy to recall where one is in the text while reading. The sections are clear and the subsections are well-organized.
The text's interface is easy to understand and navigate with no issues in display or distortion of images, figures, etc.
The text is grammatically sound. There is one run-on sentence which may lead to some confusion in the section on "Researching" segment of the Prewriting section (#1 of the two often misunderstood aspects of researching).
The "Student's Story" section of each chapter adds to the inclusivity of the text. The content appears to be relatable to most students of various backgrounds.
I would feel confident using this text in an entry-level college writing course. I was pleased to find that much of the content on structuring and organizing writing aligns with popular and widespread knowledge of speech structure. I teach Public Speaking classes and always appreciate clear overlap between teaching writing and teaching speaking!
This book provides a very comprehensive description of all the parts of the writing process. Additionally, when discussing each stage of writing this book gives clear and effective strategies that writers (especially emerging undergraduate... read more
This book provides a very comprehensive description of all the parts of the writing process. Additionally, when discussing each stage of writing this book gives clear and effective strategies that writers (especially emerging undergraduate writers) can use to really engage effectively in the writing process. This book provides many small examples that students could use (such as the examples of sentence revision in the revising and editing chapters, or links to examples of argument writing) but does not directly provide full writing models for students. In addition to providing this comprehensive description of the writing process, this book breaks down a basic essay structure with sections on “Opening Paragraphs,” “Body Paragraphs” and “Conclusions.” All three of these sections discuss and dissect thesis statements. While I appreciated the concrete and clear nature of these chapters, I did find the description of this essay structure to be a bit too close to a “five-paragraph-essay,” which is something many of us teaching composition classes are trying to move beyond. In the Types of Essays chapter, this book describes Narration, Process Analysis, Evaluation, and Persuasion. Once again, in each of these sections, the authors give clear and sound advice and examples to help students engaged in this type of writing. While I would have liked to see more discussion about what unifies these essay types, I do think these four essay types cover most, if not all, writing that students will engage in during their undergraduate years.
The descriptions of the writing process and the types of essays in this book is very accurate and clear. My one concern is the chapter on Essay Structure, and the way that this chapter seems to suggest limitations on a thesis statement that is not always true for more complex writing, and the simplicity of describing an essay using the modality of the five-paragraph essay (in description, not necessarily in name). However, the information and examples in this chapter are accurate descriptions for what would be expected in this highly-structured essay writing, and many of the ideas and examples that are shared in the Essay Structure chapter could also be applied to more complex writing as well even if taken out of the “Opening paragraph, Body paragraph, Conclusion” structure.
This book is up to date, relevant right now, and will remain relevant since it covers aspects of undergraduate writing and undergraduate learning that are quite standard.
This book is extremely clear and easy to follow! Aspects of this book I found most helpful (for myself and my students) were: the learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter, the clear and concrete examples provided throughout the book, and the effectiveness of the book's organization. This book is very accessible for any undergraduate, and I believe it would be a very helpful book to use with all students, including non-native English speakers.
Terms in this book are used clearly and consistently throughout the whole text. This book reads as one well-thought-out text that was developed with a flow of learning in mind.
The chapters and sections of this book are organized in a way that allows any instructor to pull chapters or sections to suit their needs. One could easily use a single chapter or single section from a chapter to supplement another course text, or take chapters or sections from this text and compile them from essay examples, etc. to create a cohesive text for an introductory undergraduate writing course.
The organization of the book flows clearly from discussing the writing process, the structure of an essay, and essay types. Each chapter is made up of sections that flow logically from one to the other, but that could each be used as a stand-alone resource or students as well.
I read this text both as a .pdf and as an online text. Both were very easy to navigate. The online version had the additional benefit of making it easy to use hyperlinks in the table of contents to move around from chapter to chapter, section to section.
The grammar and conventions use is excellent.
The authors clearly used real student examples from their diverse university setting in this book. The student examples and images in the text are representative and inclusive. Additionally, in the appendix, there is a discussion and list of resources to help instructors think about place-based and culture-based readings.
Overall, as an instructor of undergraduate composition, I found this book to be an extremely helpful resource that will be highly accessible and helpful for my students.
The text offers a clear scope and sequence of the writing process. Topics covered include prewriting, brainstorming, drafting, and revising/editing. Each of these steps, building upon previous step(s), creates a strong foundation for its topic,... read more
The text offers a clear scope and sequence of the writing process. Topics covered include prewriting, brainstorming, drafting, and revising/editing. Each of these steps, building upon previous step(s), creates a strong foundation for its topic, and leads to the next step and mastery of the basic writing process. It provides concise definitions for each term, explanation of process, and activity to apply skill. Resources augment instruction to delineate, support, and reteach information as needed.
The text is accurate and unbiased. The content begins by explaining writers'/readers' purpose and continues with visuals and outlines to illustrate writing techniques and structures. This teaches the student reason for writing and creates templates and checklists for students to follow and replicate in their work. It effectively teaches the basics of writing an essay without bias.
The text is relevant. The basic structure of writing is presented in a clear and organized manner that can easily be revised should the user wish to augment the text. Additionally, resources and or graphic organizers can be inserted between clearly delineated sections if desired. However, the content is up-to-date, is the basis for good writing across time, and clearly teaches the writing process.
The language contained in the text's content is easily digestible for all student levels. Vocabulary include expected instructional terms such as brainstorming, freewriting, and chronological order with clear context clues to help low level learners understand them and their applications. Moreover, the text discusses "appropriate language" as it pertains to the differing perspectives of communities and therefore classrooms within those communities. Not only is the language this text utilizes appropriate and effective for the students it serves, but the text directly addresses the issue of language in academia.
Each topic is clearly presented. The textbook's structure is clear and accessible. The table of contents is clearly located on the left hand of each page and links to all areas of the text for ease of navigation. Students can easily advance from topic to topic to review content for clarity as needed. The text directly links to resources to aid in instruction as needed.
The text's writing style is succinct and compact. Material is broken down into major headings: College Success Skills, The Writing Process, Essay Structure, Types of Essays, Research Skills. Each chapter is prefaced by an introduction that outlines objectives and illustrates a student example and perspective to connect with, inspire, and engage the learner. Broken down into sections based upon its topic, each chapter can be addressed as a whole or by focusing on one specific element. Links direct students to resources to support structure as needed. Each lesson is followed by activities for students to apply the skills learned.
Presented clearly and logically, the text begins by introducing students to the rigors of academic performance and provides guidelines for how to be successful. Next, the text systematically approaches the writing process and builds upon its application. After presenting a foundation for how to write an essay, the text delineates the elements of an essay. The remaining chapters elaborate on essay types and provide an appendix of resources.
The text is free of navigation errors and students can easily move from one chapter/topic to another. The presentation of information is prefaced by large headings and medium sized subheadings above the text’s content. These features organize text and draw reader's attention to content. All content is presented in uniform size and is easily interpreted by the student. Links connected to chapters open consistently and accurately present information related to topic. The margins are free of distractions and resources and sequentially linked within text where the augment instruction.
Text is free of grammatical errors. Text uses a variety of sentence and paragraph structures. Items listed are appropriately indented and bulleted as needed.
Content is culturally sensitive and inoffensive in every way. However, some student essays and resources thematically focus on the Hawaiian culture of the authoring university rather than of a cross section of universities in general. These references may not be particularly meaningful to other university’s’ usage and may require additional and more culturally relevant resources be acquired.
While this text is an excellent resource for teaching basic essay writing structure to average and low-level learners, it is not useful for students who arrives in class already espousing a knowledge the collegiate writing structure. The content does not extend beyond the basic essay writing structure, and therefore, the information, while concise, does not engage higher-level learners. Second, the scope of content is narrow. It provides the basic argument essay structure, but does not delve into variations on the structure. It provides a list and definition of ten specific “typical modes of essays” from cause and effect through process analysis essays, but it focuses only on four specific models: narrative, evaluative, process analysis, and persuasive rhetorical. However, the models are presented summarily rather than with the in depth style needed for mastery of the subtle differences between the models. Furthermore, the research essay is not covered at all. On the while, this text is an excellent resource for teaching low to emerging level writers but requires additional resources to reach higher-level learners.
This book provides an overview of some of the main topics in writing instruction. I found the section on "Peer and Instructor Feedback" to be particularly useful (33). The activities provided at the end of each section enable students and... read more
This book provides an overview of some of the main topics in writing instruction. I found the section on "Peer and Instructor Feedback" to be particularly useful (33). The activities provided at the end of each section enable students and instructors to work together on manageable writing goals during class. Other sections, like "The Revision Process," (32), "Language Usage" (34), "Engaging the Reader" (36-37), and "Identify the Characteristics of Good Primary Support" (49) were less developed and would have benefited from a more extended discussion and examples from student writing. The list of punctuation and mechanical mistakes (38-39) isn't comprehensive and may reflect the types of errors that the authors see in their particular students. The book does, however, provide several helpful links to outside resources, like the Purdue Owl and citation management applications.
I like that the brief section on grammar acknowledges that students know many of the "rules" of grammar and usage not because they learned them from a book, but because of their lived experiences (34). Other claims don't seem to reflect the complexity of writing in its many forms, though. For example, the text says that "A paragraph is a collection of sentences related to a main point" (44), when many successful examples of writing contain paragraphs with more than one "main" idea. Also, sentences like "An introduction exists as the first paragraph in a 5-page essay" seems limiting, since many successful 5-page papers have more than one introductory paragraph. Finally, the following admonitions seem idiosyncratic: "That being said, college-level statements would do well to not include the word "should," as a means of trying to sound authoritative so as to make a solid argument" (47); "Remember, do not refer to your essay in your essay. By the time one enters college, such strategies for writing thesis statements have passed" (48). Countless essays in academic journals employ meta-commentary, so it seems odd that students should be warned against doing so.
I really like the book's stance that argument is a "truth-seeking" endeavor (71). Given the horrible state of public discourse in the U.S., this focus on working toward the truth is much appreciated. The book's advice on avoiding plagiarism is also very helpful (78-79). In other areas, the book offers rather traditional guidance that doesn't reflect recent conversations about academic writing. For example, the "Persuasion Map," without proper guidance, could encourage students to produce formulaic 5-paragraph essays that don't really look like real academic writing. I would like to see more information about how college writing is an effort to contribute to an ongoing scholarly conversation. I also would have liked to see more information about how the modes of discourse covered in chapter 4 (60-61) are less reflective of discrete types of essays but rather rhetorical moves that authors can shift among in a single piece of writing. The book hints as much in one of its activities, where it encourages students to "identify the modes of writing found in the [sample] essay" (62).
For the most part, the book did an excellent job of conveying complex topics in accessible language. There were moments when the book would have benefited from more focused editing. E.g.: "Stating in the middle of a story with the conclusion of the story existing as the first sentence in the conclusion paragraph" (45).
There are minor errors in consistency. For example, in its section on conclusions, the text advises students: "If the writer started with statistics, offer more statistics" (54). However, on the next page, it warns students against "introducing new material" (55).
The authors did a good job creating a modular text. I hope to see them develop several of the sections in the future.
For the most part, the book was organized well, with separate chapters focusing on the writing process, types of essays, etc. Some organizational choices seemed questionable, though. for example, I can see why the section on "sentence clarity" would fit into section 1.3: the Intellectual Standards for Quality, but I think it would have worked better in the section dedicated to editing and proofreading (34-35). The book could integrate the Intellectual Standards for Quality into each of its chapters, since doing so would show readers how the standards inform everything the book discusses.
The book's interface was very good. One way to improve it would be to offer hyperlinked references from one section to another.
I noticed a few grammatical errors throughout the piece, and they were a bit distracting. * "she found that her vocabulary were embarrassingly limited" (24). * "Discussing the dangers of illegal drug use is with elementary and middle school students is one method that schools use to help dissuade young people from abusing drugs as they grow up" (47).
I think the book does a nice job of referring to the culture and vernacular of the Hawaiian people. Appendix 1: Place-Based and Culture-Based Readings does a nice job in this regard. I can see other institutions adapting this format to benefit their own student populations. I also like how a couple of the book's "student stories" focused on non-traditional students.
The authors did an impressive job with this resource, given that they had only three days and nights to complete the "book sprint." In fact, many of my criticisms seem unfair given that I'm comparing the text to books that were developed over extended periods of time, with considerable editorial support. I would love to see the authors develop and revise the text based on the feedback they receive.
A first semester composition course has to make certain specific foundational choices about its topic. Do you want to emphasize analysis and paragraph structure? Thesis-building? How much should be given to research and argument, and the citation... read more
A first semester composition course has to make certain specific foundational choices about its topic. Do you want to emphasize analysis and paragraph structure? Thesis-building? How much should be given to research and argument, and the citation process? This textbook hits all of these topics well, but would function best integrated with further exercises and assignments which implement specifics. It comes across as an excellent introduction/survey of how to master composition.
The text never strays from the facts in content areas. Claims regarding the efficacy and value of parts of the writing process are backed up with research references. Citation directions and examples are clear, useful, and easy to apply.
The content covered is not radical; it proceeds through useful and standard methods of composition which are unlikely to require seismic revision any time soon. Contemporary examples are interspersed with classic ones. The web links and appendixes are arranged such that any further updates look easy for the authors and editors to develop.
You notice how the topic and word choice reflect the authors' time in the university and community college classroom, refining how they express their points. Sometimes it feels brief, but never because it is skipping over essential pieces. It states it is targeted at 100-level students, but I feel it would also be effective with developmental students a level below that. My community college students in English 100 were all able to grasp the sections I assigned from this text; no problematic areas stood out.
The team of writers appear to have collaborated tightly, making sure that terminology defined early on in the text remains useful to students throughout the entire book's topics. Once in a while, some areas of the text seems more developed than others. Usually, though, it's steady in its focus. The sections are broken down into the same subheading format throughout. Minimal confusion should ensue.
I used sections of this book out of order, supporting my own existing unit plans. The text sections are very to-the-point and focused on the essential information at hand, which made them plug in well. Subheadings are used frequently. Even more detail and development under each subheading would improve re-usability. In general, though, I did not encounter any troubling tangles.
I appreciate that the topics covered do not dive directly into writing an essay, but rather build up carefully and step-by-step through the portions and process of writing. This is the sort of instruction which helps bring together a class which starts with widely different backgrounds. Some student populations may be ready to dive right into paper-writing, which allows for more time spent on learning and practicing research. But this text's organization and choice of topics makes it very useful for a more heterogeneous community college classroom.
As far the interface's clarity and lack of error, this text is fine. Everything is where it should be and works correctly. The interface and layout only suffers from being a little boring. It could be improved by further editing attention to include more charts and images which set the scene of the work being done. But the text as it is remains useful and functional, with no interface problems interfering with student use.
Next to no grammatical errors turned up during textbook use, and none which proved confusing to students.
This text's cultural sensitivity and range reflects its state of origin. The University of Hawaii educator authors range from indigenous to African-American texts as relevant and valuable examples. Some other sections seem more generic; perhaps a future revision might include similar attentions throughout.
This text does an admirable job of covering a lot of ground without excessive verbiage. It reads as every section being useful to students and applicable to the Composition classroom. I plan to use it, adapted as needed, in my upcoming classes.
The book is a beginning to hopefully providing more in-depth lessons and instructions. Lessons touch upon different concepts of first-year college composition but rely on the person using the text to find almost all examples and supplemental... read more
The book is a beginning to hopefully providing more in-depth lessons and instructions. Lessons touch upon different concepts of first-year college composition but rely on the person using the text to find almost all examples and supplemental materials for further understanding of the concepts. There is a hyperlinked table of contents of the text, but no index nor glossary for the text. Chapters within the text are quite short, sometimes only covering one page in pdf format. Many of the chapters feel disjointed, not quite building on concepts of the previous chapter. In other words, the chapters feel like they are independent lessons rather than concepts building on previous information obtained. Chapter 4 introduces ten rhetorical modes of writing but only includes detailed instruction on four of them. There are no full internal writing examples in a composition text for students to get a sense of completion of essay composition.
Overall, the text has few noticeable errors. There are some formatting choices for headers and subheaders that lead to some confusion in the online text, but those same formatting choices seem clear within a printed (pdf) version of the text. References to "Sources" or "Works Cited" should be centered in the text to follow normal expectations of students producing papers. On P. 38 (pdf file), the first example references punctuation rules of compound sentences but uses a complex sentence as its only example; compound and complex sentences should be distinguished as different sentence types. Chapter 4 introduces different rhetorical modes of writing, but it presents only four of those modes in detailed instruction and includes them out of order from the introductory text. Also, the chapter introduction claims that there are "links to real student essays." However, 4.2 Narration provides no such link, and 4.3 Process Analysis and 4.4 Evaluation link to a journal with no obvious examples of process analysis nor evaluation. On P. 17 (pdf file), in the "Fairness" section, the font size changes in the middle of a sentence, beginning with the bullet point "Are there any fallacies..." and on P. 81, the first full paragraph does the same. On P. 45 (pdf file), "5-page essay" should be "five-paragraph"? The second bullet point on that page has an unnecessary comma in "attitude, toward" and there is a misspelled "Stating" instead of "Starting."
Overall, this section looks like it is doing what is expected. External links look like they can be easily replaced by current examples. Choices in MLA citation can be updated to the latest trends of the MLA style. Examples for the "A Student's Story" sections could easily be updated to modern/current problems when necessary. Appendix 2 gives a list of online content contained in the text, so that section can be updated as needed.
The text seems to do a decent job of being clear throughout on the terms used. There are several introductions to Latin and Greek phrases used in logic and rhetorical concepts with a definition of those words. A glossary and index could be helpful for further reference.
Terminology throughout the text remains consistent. Terms that are defined early in the text are used throughout. That is why the glossary may be necessary. Some terms are defined again, like ethos, logos, and pathos in 4.5 Persuasion.
Because the text is short overall, it does divide sections into smaller sections. In some cases, the sections are too small, with headers and subsequent spacing on the page dominating over actual instructional text. More specific examples could and should be included for each of those sections to give each header more information than what is on the page. For example, in 4.4 Evaluation, the four points of structure are spread out, but only the "Evidence" section has any further explanation. This section either needs bullet points with the definitions or full explanations with examples to give depth to the section.
While the chapters are justifiably ordered by the book authors' preferences, there is little transition from one chapter to another and from one section of a chapter to another. Composition is a type of subject based entirely on adding more information building on previously addressed concepts and practices. While those concepts and practices are indicated, the authors do not explicitly make those connections from one chapter or section of a chapter to another. This may be a space or content decision, but understanding how each of the steps in the writing process connects with the structure of essays and the types of essays could help in giving students a more comprehensive understanding of English composition courses.
Pictures and graphics are minimal. The only effective graphic throughout is the 2.2 Prewriting graphic for making a Persuasion Map. However, that particular map seems to be out of place for the purpose of the book. Alike or similar graphs for other essay types would prove useful here.
All suggestions come from the paginated PDF version of the textbook. On P. 24 of the pdf, 2.1 Introduction, "vocabulary were" should be "vocabulary was." On P. 28, "According to the" is missing what the noun is. On P. 38, the first section gives a complex sentence example for a compound sentence rule: "Unless the surf is bad, we are going to surf in the morning." That should be an example like this: "The surf is bad this morning, but we are still going to surf." On P. 38, under "Absolutes," it states, "Avoid them in most all cases." The term "most all" is a colloquialism and is not proper for a textbook. On P. 45, "5-page" appears to mean "five-paragraph." On P. 45, remove the unnecessary comma in "attitude, toward." On P. 45, "Stating" should be "Starting." On P. 78, it should read, "Students' Stories" perhaps, but definitely not "A Students' Story" as it currently does. On P. 85, one of the citation examples is missing the opening quotation marks.
The text is not specifically geared towards a particular region, but the authors are all a part of the Hawaii university system. Therefore, some of the materials and examples given are based on their particular knowledge of the region. There are no noticeable insensitive or offensive materials throughout the text, and none of the examples of "A Student's Story" seem to indicate the student's race, ethnicity, nor background.
For being a three-day project as indicated in the Foreword, this is an impressive compilation. There is definitely potential in the future of the text with my main recommendations being to make the different chapters and subchapters of the book relate to previous chapters (including internal hyperlinks and an index and glossary section) AND adding more in-text examples for students to have an easier time comprehending and processing the information presented.
Chapter 1 is odd as it does not use the Sections 2 or 3 as modes to introduce a learning narrative, for example; instead, the information consists of details that students should have received in their New Student Orientation program or a New... read more
Chapter 1 is odd as it does not use the Sections 2 or 3 as modes to introduce a learning narrative, for example; instead, the information consists of details that students should have received in their New Student Orientation program or a New Student Experience course. I recommend Chapters 3 & 4 be switched so students are introduced first to the diverse types of essay types; e.g. argumentative, expository, narrative, et al. as Chapter 3's Introduction, explanations and examples are solely from the argumentative perspective, which may make it more difficult for students to try other types of writing, especially first-year students as this point-to-point style is ingrained during their K-12 academic writing career.
In Chapter 5.1, the authors include an example of Jaden’s lack of commitment to research, and note that in his conversation with his teacher, he points out that he included both in-text citation and a Works Cited page. Although his formatting for both requirements were not perfect, he did, in fact, include some details on his external resources, so the authors might want to revise their wording of “Such plagiarism…” as Jaden did not, technically, plagiarize; instead, he was just not accurate in his citation details, which is different. Jaden may be lazy, but in the authors' example, he did not commit plagiarism.
The authors could have included real-life examples of varied Island languages, for example, via prior students' essays for more consistent learning and academic/workplace application.
Chapter 1 can be revised so that the voice is of a peer rather than someone talking to/at the student; e.g. "College students are expected to demonstrate independence, responsibility, and relationship-building skills" could become "As a college student, you will be expected to demonstrate independence, responsibility, and relationship-building skills" to make the advice and subsequent activities and assignments more relatable, and thus applicable, to first-year and non-traditional learners.
Yes, but some terms are more discipline-based; e.g. from an educator's professional vocabulary rather than a student's. When revised, consider the terminology from the students' perspectives, those who are first-year and non-traditional, and know, too, that in Hawaii there are numerous cultures and languages to be considered (and yes, I know the authors know this!), so perhaps include examples using the diversity of the Island. My recommendation here is somewhat developed in Chapter 3.1, "A Student's Story."
Chapter 1, in particular, has too much text; first-year and non-traditional students' interest and focus may increase if (1) graphics are incorporated and/or (2) real-life scenario examples are provided for students to practice during class as this will also allow relationship-building and trust to grow between students and students/educator. Chapter 2.2 could further develop and include examples of varied paragraph formatting styles; the style that is included suggests a Point-to-Point essay, but it is not as the last paragraph does not fit that P2P style. Chapter 3.2, though, only offers instructions from that 5-pararagph model, which is not always a realistic writing practice in the real world. A thesis statement does not always have to be arguable; a thesis statement, depending on the form of writing, can be opinion-based and this more creative in its narrative, which, also, is not always i the 5-paragraph structure. Chapter 4.2's Activities section is not correctly formatted, which may make it more difficult for students with accessibility barriers to read/decipher. If the authors include ten types of essays (Chapter 4.1), then they should include explanations et al. for all ten and not just four (4.2. 4.3, 4.4, & 4.5). Connect each Chapter to the "Clarifying Aristotelian Rhetorical Concepts" in Chapter 1.3 as rare references do not support cumulative learning and application practices. Chapter 5.2 should be moved to Chapter 2 as research is an integral part of the writing processes. The Citation Management in Chapter 5.3 offers three online citation support options; I recommend the authors either (1) use the OWL at Purdue only or (2) require students to purchase via OER a text that offers MLA formatting examples and exercises as EasyBib and BibMe do not use the most recent edition of MLA formatting guidelines.
The Chapters arrangement lacks flow as students should be introduced to pre-flection, research and formatting guidelines in the beginning of their academic writing career rather than in the middle or end of the semester. Updates could be made yearly as past students' examples are incorporated into each Chapter as examples and/or peer-editing practice.
The graphics, charts et al. are high quality, but as a learner with an LD (not assessed and diagnosed until my doctoral program!), some students may find "unpacking" tables, charts, and/or graphs more difficulty, especially as they relate to writing (Persuasion Map, 2.2), so an in-class activity that is included in the book may help students comprehend the mapping idea from a new, applicable lens. Most students will not know what Meta-cognitive (Chapter 2.2.) means. Will this be addressed as it is not in the SLOs? 2.3 could be further developed to include examples for students to peer review and discuss in class before they start drafting. Provide examples of 2.4's ARRR. So glad the OWL at Purdue link is included as this resources is current on MLA formatting, offers applicable examples and is free to students and teachers. I like the inclusion of frequency adverbs in 2.5 as I find my first-year writing students reply heavily on these parts of speech to convey what they believe are profound realizations. Consider adding more in-text or connect to the OWL at Purdue and discourage the overuse of these terms as they are vague in their meaning.
In Chapter 2, Introduction, the term "vocabulary" is used as a plural when it is a non-count noun and must be connected with a singular verb; e.g. In middle school, she found that her vocabulary was (not were) embarrassingly limited. In "A Student's Story," the commas are not uses correctly as the set-off portion is not an appositive, so the second comma should be removed; i.e. As she entered college and enrolled in her first-year writing course, she was anxious about attending a required conference with her instructor who was meeting with each student to discuss the rough drafts of their first essays. In 2.2., this is unclear as it is missing punctuation and a noun or pronoun: "According to the Leilani was shocked..." For 2. under Activities in Chapter 2.2, there is a missing comma: "For each writing assignment in class, spend three (add comma here) 10-minute sessions either..." Also in Chapter 2.2, #2 should include a hyphen for the compound adjective; e.g. "Writers become so involved in the research process that they don’t start the actual writing process soon enough so as to meet a due date with a well-written, edited, and revised finished composition."
I don't find any culturally insensitive content, but I admire that this text is written for a certain demographic, which is why I recommend the authors include examples that students will relate to, such as prior students' essays written in pidgin, which they can revise (as a collaborative activity, with the teacher's help) into Standard Written English to see how code-switching works and can impact their academic and professional writing experiences. If the text will be used (mostly?) in first-year writing programs in Hawaii, then include more examples from students who represent these demographics via names in the opening stories and student examples.
The text should be an exemplar for students, especially as first-year learners tend to copy what is presented, which is why I recommend that MLA formatting be consistent; e.g. Works Cited in 1.2, 1.3, 2.2 et al. be centered, as per MLA formatting guidelines. Chapter 3.2 & 3.4's external resources are not correctly formatted as the title is Sources rather than Works Cited, with each external source listed as per MLA formatting guidelines.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1. College Success Skills
- Chapter 2. The Writing Process
- Chapter 3. Essay Structure
- Chapter 4. Types of Essays
- Chapter 5. Research Skills
About the Book
This OER textbook has been designed for students to learn the foundational concepts for English 100 (first-year college composition). The content aligns to learning outcomes across all campuses in the University of Hawai'i system. It was designed, written, and edited during a three day book sprint in May, 2019.
About the Contributors
Jeanne K. Tsutsui