wpa conference proposal accepted

Looks like we’re on for the WPA Conference this July – thanks to Joe Moxley who came up with the idea, and to Matt Barton who rounded out the third perspective.

Panel Presentation Intellectual Freedom, Writing Programs and Open Textbooks

This panel is for WPAs and faculty who wish to learn more about the Free Textbook Movement. For WPAs facing adoption decisions, we discuss the viablity of online textbooks and the value of community-authored courseware. For WPAs and prospective authors, we explore the benefits of community platforms (Connexions) and open-source authoring tools (Joomla, WordPress, Open Media Wiki).

Proposal description Moxley will begin the panel by addressing the questions WPAs and writing faculty have about the FreeTextbook Movement: What meaningful alternatives do WPAs have to expensive, commercial writing textbooks? What criteria should be used to evaluate online books (stability, web design, peer review, writing tools, and social media features). Who benefits when WPAs engage faculty in collaborative efforts to develop instructional materials? What open source tools or collaborative textbook platforms are available for would-be textbook authors? Moxley will argue that writing teachers and writing programs should consider the possibility of developing their own textbooks/courseware. He will draw on his experience developing (Joomla) and (Sharepoint) to inform his analysis of the pros and cons of developing on collaboration platforms that are emerging (Rice’s Connexions,” Wikipeida’s Wikibooks) or personal websites using tools such as Joomla.

M C Morgan will report on embedding a writing handbook directly into a course wiki at In this instance of a freetext, the handbook is composed and revised in the same writing space used for instruction and student writing. Issues for writing faculty include refactoring pages initially written for another purpose into handbook pages; adapting student observation and advice into handbook pages; linking to and from student content pages; incorporating traditional wiki guide pages (StyleGuide, GettingStarted); and using and evaluating the handbook.

Matt Barton will then discuss his five-year effort trying to develop The Rhetoric and Composition Wikibook, a free alternative to commercial textbooks for first-year composition. Although such efforts are highly popular among students and potentially administrators, faculty tend to be less receptive. The problems are naturally the lack of funding. This presentation explores the possibilities for grant funding, particularly at schools that serve under-privileged students.

Joe Moxley, “If Textbooks are History, What’s the Future? CollegeWriting.Org”, University of South Florida
M C Morgan, “A Freetext Writing Handbook”, Bemidji State University,
Matt Barton, “Wikis as Public Works: The Rhetoric & Composition Wikibook.”

I’m going by Amtrak, but that’s a different story.