Writing and Publishing in Digital Environments: Now Inviting Contributors Across Disciplines!

open textbook projects Rebus Community Textbook Success Program

Are you a college instructor who helps students learn how to write or design for the web? Help us build an interdisciplinary open textbook that will serve as a vital resource for students! We are currently seeking short section contributions for the textbook, Writing and Publishing in Digital Environments. This project is part of the February 2021 Textbook Success Program cohort. 

One of the newest additions to the Rebus Community, Writing and Publishing in Digital Environments is an open textbook in progress that, at its most basic level, is intended to support college student writers across disciplines who are learning how to compose clear, compelling, credible website content. Leading the project is Dr. Jenna Sheffield, assistant provost for curriculum innovation and interim director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of New Haven. Dr. Sheffield holds a PhD in Rhetoric, Composition & the Teaching of English (rhet/comp) from the University of Arizona. Given her background in rhet/comp, Dr. Sheffield teaches web writing as an inherently rhetorical endeavor, in which every choice–from the nouns we use to the images we select–should be driven by the audience and context for which the composer is creating content.

Serving as the lens through which readers should view the act of composing in digital environments, the text begins with a chapter focusing on rhetorical theory and how scholars in rhet/comp have redefined rhetoric in the context of digital composing. The book will then move into practical strategies for making one’s writing scannable for the web, such as using active voice, parallel lists, and plain language principles. The book will also cover basic principles of visual design and include a chapter on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so that student writers learn how to ensure their writing gets discovered by their target audiences. The book will be rich with examples of websites and activities for analysis, and it will eventually include student voices as students in Dr.Sheffield’s courses–and hopefully students in other courses that adopt this textbook–contribute their own website analyses to this growing resource.

We are actively seeking contributors and encourage you to check out our call for authors (CFA). We believe that experts from many disciplines can bring fresh ideas and expertise to this project and are therefore encouraging a broad range of contributions. Consider the Table of Contents in the CFA as merely a starting point as you express your interest!

Writing and Publishing in Digital Environments will be one of the first OERs associated with the Open Pedagogy Project, a faculty development initiative funded by the Davis Educational Foundation. Dr. Sheffield and colleague Dr. Mary Isbell started this initiative to support colleagues in the development of OER and open pedagogy practices at the University of New Haven. Reach out to Jenna Sheffield at jsheffield@newhaven.edu with questions about Writing and Publishing in Digital Environments or Tweet @PackJenna.

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