Conditions of Use
This book is both incredibly comprehensive (it has over 1,000 pages) and skeletal. While most elements of a typical first-year writing textbook exist within the massive tome, they aren't organized by rhetorical genre or traditional assignment... read more
This book is both incredibly comprehensive (it has over 1,000 pages) and skeletal. While most elements of a typical first-year writing textbook exist within the massive tome, they aren't organized by rhetorical genre or traditional assignment sequence. That said, the book contains many exercises and activities. Other information is covered on an incredibly detailed level and often repeated throughout multiple chapters (which can be useful or frustrating depending on the instructor's goals).
The book doesn't seem to have any errors or troublesome approaches. The book could use an intensive editing job to make it more concise. The authors point out their purpose in the introduction, so the overwhelming length could be considered a feature if the first-year course also covers "cultivating study skills alongside effective academic and workplace writing skills" (4).
In other words, this book isn't just for FYC, but also covers study skills, academic skills, technical writing, business writing, and university communication. So the adapter should consider this when using the book.
In many parts of the book, up-to-date theory and praxis is incorporated. It's mostly relevant material, but the organization (explained below) hurts some of the relevance.
Many parts of the book are explained in minute detail. Citation systems, APA in particular, are explained multiple times and in great detail. Other sections plow ahead under the seeming assumption the reader already knows the material. The way rhetoric is covered does both of these. Chapter 2, one of the stronger chapters, covers rhetorical genre nicely and guides the reader along. Chapter 1 seems to consider rhetoric as an afterthought with footnotes doing some of the heavy lifting. Once again, the book seems to be covering multiple courses within one book, so this might be excusable as the purpose seems more about letting users pick and choose their material as opposed to reading the whole book sequentially.
The book seems consistent overall in its definitions, applications, and approaches. The repetition and non-sequential placement of material is what's lowering this to a 4. Since so much of the book is dedicated to formatting and includes document design sections, the choice to underline some heading levels seemed strange.
Since the book is in PDF form, it gives the impression that the book should be consumed as a whole, not in parts. But the material within the chapters reads like they were written to be stand-alone section. By changing the format to be online instead of a PDF would allow the repetition of material to be more acceptable and make the organization make more sense.
The organization is justified, but also seems to be rooted in a university-specific sequence. So much of what is covered in this book would be split among multiple courses at my own university. The chapters seem to include many elements that aren't necessarily traditionally part of what a comparable textbook chapter would offer. Many of the chapters seem to exist as stand-alone sections with material that is covered multiple times.
An example of what I mean is the first chapter, titled "Introducing College Writing" doesn't seem to be a traditional quick glance of the popular mixture of rhetorical situation and writing, but instead is a mini-textbook in itself, coming in at a whopping 87 pages. That's almost an entire textbook on its own. It includes assignment models of potential scaffolding ideas embedded right in the chapter. This seems to me like it would confuse readers more than help. Right from the start, almost twenty pages are dedicated to student examples before any definitions or justifications for the genres are given. While I like the inclusion of student models, including them from the beginning doesn't appeal to my teaching strategy. The chapter begins using terminology that is barely defined before being thrown around. An entire chapter on rhetoric and then writing would make more sense to me. The chapter dives into APA-specific explanations chapters ahead of where I would expect it too. Later in the book it has sections on choosing style guides (on page 351) but by that point it seems that the only option would be APA. The majority of the chapter seems dedicated to explaining APA too, which seems to indicate that the authors view formatting and citation guides as the main part of college writing.
The PDF format isn't the best format for this book, but the interface works well enough.
Edited well and reads cleanly.
While it seems catered to the Montana Technological University and caters to that cultural particularly well, it also goes out of its way to address other cultural issues and writing strategies related to them.
Lots of solid material and I love the inclusion of models and examples based in student reality. The inclusion of university and study skills could be helpful for writing courses that cover those materials or study skills classes that also cover writing. I would consider using this book more for study skills and professional writing than first-year writing.
Condensing the book and organizing by most-important to least-important material would really help the book. More purposeful placement of examples would help. Moving the mode to fully online so specific sections could be shared would really be beneficial.
Table of Contents
- Unit I: Exploring College Writing Fundamentals
- Unit II: Writing Documents
- Unit III: Attending to Design
- Unit IV: Working with Sources
- Unit V: Conducting Research
- Unit VI: Employing Strategies for College Success
- Unit VII: Producing Correspondence
- Unit VIII: Producing Academic Writing
- Unit IX: Refining Your Writing
About the Book
Welcome to Intermediate College Writing: Building and Practicing Mindful Writing Skills, an open textbook designed for use in university‐level courses that focus on cultivating study skills alongside effective academic and workplace writing skills. It offers a no‐cost alternative to commercial products, combining practical guidance with interactive exercises and thoughtfully designed writing opportunities.
This textbook’s modular design and ample coverage of topics and genres means that it can be used flexibly over semester‐long or stretch courses, allowing instructors and students to select the chapters that are most relevant for their needs. By blending new material with reviews of key topics, such as academic integrity, the chapters provide fresh perspectives on matters vital to the development of strong writing skills. The book adapts, builds upon, and expands material covered in our first open textbook, Mindful Technical Writing: An Introduction to the Fundamentals (Atkinson & Corbitt, 2021).
About the Contributors
Dawn Atkinson, Montana Technological University
Stacey Corbitt, Montana Technological University