Conditions of Use
This textbook does mostly quite well with comprehensiveness. Particularly of note is a lot of detail/theory related to argument in particular, as well as a robust history of rhetoric. Something that I did find a bit lacking, however, was a bit... read more
This textbook does mostly quite well with comprehensiveness. Particularly of note is a lot of detail/theory related to argument in particular, as well as a robust history of rhetoric. Something that I did find a bit lacking, however, was a bit more of an explanation/concession about parts of rhetoric in particular that are heavily debated (for example, the relevance of intention/intentionality). That said, it's also still debated how much detail FYW students need on these kinds of topics, but it felt a lot more in depth with argumentation than it did with rhetoric in this sense!
There is a robust glossary as well as tool tips on different terms throughout the text that make definitions easy to follow, though some terms that I felt needed a definition (example: discourse community) didn't have it, at least for the first time they appeared in some cases.
One other note about comprehensiveness: because this textbook was created for a specific university, there are many sections that come off as far more specific/prescriptive than many instructors might like (for example, outlining a very specific class/drafting structure that is vastly different than the drafting/class structures most of us at my university use). There isn't much built in variation for student agency/creativity, so that might be something to consider if your teaching style leaves much more room for students to mess around. The theory sections would be mostly immediately applicable, but the more practical sections might need modification or to be skipped entirely.
Nothing came through as being explicitly incorrect; my only complaint here, like I mentioned above, was the lack of time/space given to admittance of some information that's still being debated in the field. Otherwise, accuracy seemed spot on, and that issue isn't even necessarily "wrong."
Everything felt up-to-date and relevant; examples involving technology fit current cultural climates, but no examples were SO specific or niche that it would be hard to understand in a few years. The sections on citation styles, as well, were entirely up-to-date, and they are separated out in a way that seems easy to edit once the documentation styles eventually receive more updates.
The tone/clarity/etc. were wonderful! There isn't really any unnecessarily complicated language, and anything that could be confusing is defined clearly and accessibly, with tool tips and the glossary at the end. The tone of the writing isn't condescending at all, and is casual enough that it makes for smooth/easy reading, which is great.
For the most part, this is very well done, There was one instance in the "Types of Argumentation" section that seemed to contradict a bit of the practicality in the "Getting Started" section, but nothing so extreme that it would be a major issue. The terms, tone, etc. are all otherwise super consistent!
This is my favorite part of this text! There are many sections in here that I knew would be useless for my teaching style, but there were just as many sections that I found myself loving and wanting to share with students the next time I teach. I don't have any major concerns about the sections that wouldn't work for me because of how wonderfully the text is separated into smaller sections, even within sub-sections of chapters, and easily shareable. Really excellent if a textbook with really nice modularity is what you're looking for!
This is probably, to some degree, personal taste, but the linear flow from one section to the next didn't always make sense for the way I think and teach. It felt like the "Getting Started" section attempted to cover the entire chronology of writing an argumentative essay rather than just getting started. Then there was some theory about rhetoric and arguments. And then we sort of went backwards chronologically to talk more about the research process. The organization felt quite disjointed to me because of this jumpy structure, so it was really vital that I noticed how wonderfully the modularity works - I can sort of ignore my issues with the linear order because there's no real need to follow the presented order anyway.
The interface was great! It was easy to click around, for the most part, from one section to the next. The only two things that bothered me even slightly were:
1. It took me a bit to find the "Previous" and "Next" buttons at the bottom of the page, so for a little while I was manually clicking through the ToC each time I needed to go to a new section. The buttons and text for "Previous" and "Next" are a bit small, so they might not be initially obvious to some students reading online. In a PDF, this obviously would not be an issue.
2. In the glossary, I found myself wanting some sort of alphabetical clicker at the top to more quickly move to a specific section. The glossary is quite large, and it would help to find a specific term to have an easy button to click to get to the "R" words, for example, rather than scrolling down the whole page or relying on CTRL + F.
There were a couple of funky sentences here and there, and one title ("Thesis is Not Doesn't Have to be a Bad Thing") that seemed like either a typo or some other issue, but there were so few that I've still given this category a 5. There's nothing so jarring that any sections are impossible to understand.
I did not notice any offensive/insensitive sections throughout based on my own knowledge, but as a white, educated adult, there's a chance that my privilege may have lead to me missing something. To my knowledge, the examples seemed inclusive for the most part.
There were some notes I took while going through that I couldn't fit into a particular category, so I'll outline them here:
-Something to note is that, while most of the book is clearly addressed towards students, the introduction has a dual audience of students as well as you, the instructor. This was a bit jarring and could cause confusion for some people, so it's something to be aware of.
-Because of my own style of teaching, the practical sections of this textbook often seemed impossible for me to use because they were quite specific/structured. If you're someone who likes to give your students a lot of structure, or if you have students who ask for it, this can be seen as a pro. If you prefer to give your students more agency/freedom in their writing process, you may find some parts of this text constricting as well. Sometimes it felt a bit prescriptive, but this may be related, again, to my own personal preference, so it's something to consider when you choose how you'd like to engage with this text. The section on drafting, in particular, made suggestions in some cases that were directly opposite to how I encourage my students to work through their own drafting processes.
-The textbook includes student examples for modeling, which is usually a very useful resource for students. These examples are formatted in a way that makes them very easy to find as well!
-Lastly, something that I wish had been offered significantly more detail: fieldwork. There was a brief mention of finding an expert to interview for a source, but fieldwork and methods are such a robust category that many FYW courses include, optionally or required, and it was not given much attention at all. Be aware if you assign fieldwork in your class, you will need to supplement this text with additional resources to be able to thoroughly cover fieldwork/primary research methods/etc.
Overall, the textbook seems like it could be highly useful for many classrooms, either as a full text, or just using smaller sections to help students grasp these concepts! I highly recommend giving it a look-through to see if it would work for you and the way you teach, or if it covers some topics in more detail than what you currently use. You might find something you like!
This is one of most comprehensive books on research and writing that I’ve come across. Comprising the writings of over 30 authors, the tone and writing style is surprisingly consistent throughout the book. This book reviews certain fundamentals of... read more
This is one of most comprehensive books on research and writing that I’ve come across. Comprising the writings of over 30 authors, the tone and writing style is surprisingly consistent throughout the book. This book reviews certain fundamentals of writing—such as the writing process, how to understand the assignment, how to write a thesis, how to create and place topic sentences, how to organize paragraphs, and how to structure a paragraph—which other books about research writing often assume students already know. Within each chapter are light blue text boxes illustrating many of the ideas the book covers along with text boxes highlighting examples from student writings. Examples from both the authors of the text and students are recent (2020-2022). There are also simple line drawings that make it easier to visualize many of the concepts discussed in the book. Finally, this book covers APA and MLA style in a very straightforward and helpful way.
After spending several hours with this book, I have not noticed any inaccurate information.
Examples from both the authors of the text and students are current and relevant (2020-2022).
The writing style is extremely clear and easy to follow.
Considering that this book was written by over 30 authors, the tone and style of writing (thanks to careful editing by Pantuso, LeMire, and Anders) are quite consistent.
The book has an excellent table of contents and is broken down into easily digestible chapters that are clear and easy to read.
I would recommend moving the chapters on topic sentences and paragraph structure, higher up in the book-- perhaps after the chapter on thesis statements.
I did not notice any interface issues.
I did not observe any grammatical errors.
Examples throughout the text are current and culturally sensitive.
I am considering using this book for my Writing 121 class.
Table of Contents
- I. Introduction
- II. Getting Started
- III. Rhetorical Situation
- IV. Types of Argumentation
- V. Process and Organization
- VI. Joining the Academic Conversation
- VII. Researched Writing
- VIII: Ethics
Ancillary MaterialSubmit ancillary resource
About the Book
Welcome to composition and rhetoric! While most of you are taking this course because it is required, we hope that all of you will leave with more confidence in your reading, writing, researching, and speaking abilities as these are all elements of freshman composition. Many times, these elements are presented in excellent textbooks written by top scholars. While the collaborators of this particular textbook respect and value those textbooks available from publishers, we have been concerned about students who do not have the resources to purchase textbooks. Therefore, we decided to put together this Open Educational Resource (OER) explicitly for use in freshman composition courses at Texas A&M University. It is important to note that the focus for this text is on thesis-driven argumentation as that is the focus of the first year writing course at Texas A&M University at the time of development. However, other first year writing courses at different colleges and universities include a variety of types of writing such as personal essays, informative articles, and/or creative writing pieces. The collaborators for this project acknowledge each program is unique; therefore, the adaptability of an OER textbook for first year writing allows for academic freedom across campuses.
About the Contributors
Dr. Terri Pantuso is the Coordinator of the English 104 Program and an Instructional Assistant Professor in the English Department at Texas A&M University.
Prof. Sarah LeMire is the Coordinator of First Year Programs and an Associate Professor in the Texas A&M University Libraries.
Dr. Kathy Anders is the Graduate Studies Librarian and an Associate Professor in the Texas A&M University Libraries.