NEW POST AT COLLEGE COMPOSITION WEEKLY: Leigh Gruwell, on Wikipedia’s Gender-Gap Problem

Writing in Computers and Composition, May 2015, Leigh Gruwell examines Wikipedia’s “gender-gap problem,” the fact that only 13% of its editors are female. Gruwell recounts interviews with three women who regularly contribute to Wikipedia to argue that a number of aspects of the Wikipedia process are not welcoming to women, in particular the positivist epistemology evoked by its “neutral point of view” and “encyclopedic style.” banner 300

At Just Can’t Help Writing: Grammar Rules You DON’T Need!

Check out my latest installment of “How Much Grammar Do You Need?” I argue that these three rules can safely be ignored. They aren’t even real “rules”!

New at College Composition Weekly: Hansen et al. from WPA Journal on Dual Credit Courses.

Kristine Hansen, Brian Jackson, Brett C. McInelly, and Dennis Eggett conducted a study at Brigham Young University (BYU) to determine whether students who took a dual-credit/concurrent-enrollment writing course (DC/CE) fared as well on the writing assigned in a subsequent required general-education course as students who took or were taking the university’s first-year-writing course. With few exceptions, Hansen et al. concluded that the students who had taken the earlier courses for their college credit performed similarly to students who had not. However, the study raised questions about the degree to which taking college writing in high school, or for that matter, in any single class, adequately meets the needs of maturing student writers (79). Check out the summary at

NEW THIS WEEK ON COLLEGE COMPOSITION WEEKLY! Pamela Takayoshi on “Short-Form” Writing for the Internet

Writing in the July issue of Computers and Composition, Takayoshi argues that composition studies has paid too little attention to increasingly common and prominent forms of communication like the Facebook postings and chats she analyzes. Such writing, she says, deserves empirical study, especially with regard to “what writers do” as they compose. She urges supplementing what she sees as composition’s longstanding “social turn” with fine-grained examination of actual writers’ processes working with current technologies in order to better understand how these processes relate to the composing processes taught in college writing classrooms. The two case studies she presents illustrate the complexity and rhetorical awareness underlying these short forms.

New Post at College Composition Weekly: Karen Kopelson in College English on Career Guides for ASD Adults

Kopelson analyzes workplace guides for “high-functioning” ASD individuals, arguing that the books construct such employees as examples of “capitalist wish-fulfillment” (560), both lauding the supposed deficits that make them ideal workers and advising them to “norm” themselves in order to “adapt” and “fit in” (563-64). Kopelson argues that the guidebooks employ implicit pedagogical and rhetorical theory and methods that highlight tensions within composition studies and between composition and disability studies.

New Posts on Just Can’t Help Writing: More “Grammar” and How to Protect Your Ebook Rights

How much “Grammar” Do You Really Need, Part III: I summarize Joe Williams’ categories of errors (those we notice, those we don’t notice, those we notice when they’re actually correct, and those that we ought not to bother with. . .  .). My own categories (upcoming): those you can ignore, those you can’t ignore, those you should gamble on.

Questions to Ask Agents, specifically about how to retain your ebook rights: I’m investigating the claims of Dean Wesley Smith that “life-of-copyright” is the new industry standard, meaning that we can never recover our rights regardless of the publisher’s intentions for our books. This article sheds some light on pro-active steps to take if you manage to acquire an agent.

New at College Composition Weekly: Strategies for Responding to Students Online

Stephanie Cox, Jennifer Black, Jill Heney, and Melissa Keith, in Teaching English in the Two-Year College. provide strategies to overcome some of the limitations of online feedback. They focus on enhancing “presence”: “social,” “cognitive,” and “teacher presence,” with special attention the rhetorical canon of delivery. Visit the blog and share your online strategies for feedback!

New Post at Just Can’t Help Writing

In which I continue to make my case that we may not need as much “grammar” as we think. This post: I introduce Joseph M. Williams’s article, “The Phenomenology of Error,” in which he takes apart some of the “language mavens” for committing the very errors they warn us against. Fun!