Behind the Textbook: Student Work

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The revised introduction for Emerging is finally completed. And the missing pieces—sample student work from my class this semester—have been eased into place. There are a number of challenges with using student work, even setting aside the intellectual property questions (for the record, students get an honorarium if their work appears in the reader). The greatest challenge for me is finding the right kind of student work. On the one hand, I want student work that truly demonstrates the topic at hand—a response to a reading or a sample argument, for example. On the other hand, student works that’s too good can seem completely out of reach for someone picking up the text for the first time at the start of a semester. The trick is to find that balance: work that is solid and shows what might be done but that also needs some improvement (as all writing always does) so that it feels achievable to a spectrum of students. I think we’ve found the right pieces this time, and thankfully the students have all agreed to let us use their work. One more item to check off the punch list!
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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.