Practices & Possibilities

Series Editors: Aimee McClure, Clarke University, Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University, and Aleashia Walton, University of Cincinnati

Associate Editors: Jagadish Paudel, University of Texas at El Paso

The Practices & Possibilities Series addresses the full range of practices within the field of writing studies, including instructional practices, research methodologies, and professional practices. The books in this series explore issues and ideas of interest to writers, teachers, researchers, and theorists who share an interest in improving existing practices and exploring new possibilities. The series includes both original and, particularly in the case of its open-access textbooks, republished books. Works in the series are organized topically.

Recent Books in the Series

Book Cover: Writing Placement in Two-Year Colleges Book Cover: The Invisible Professor Book Cover: Community is the Way: Engaged Writing and Designing for Transformative Change Book Cover: Try This Book Cover: PARS in Practice Book Cover: Talk, Tools, and Texts


Research Practices | Professional Practices | Voices from the Field | Teaching Practices | Open-Access Textbooks

Research Practices

Book CoverTalk, Tools, and Texts: A Logic-in-Use for Studying Lifespan Literate Action Development

By Ryan J. Dippre

Talk, Tools, and Texts tackles a perplexing issue: how can we envision writing as developing throughout a lifetime, from the first purposeful marks made on paper to the last? How can we make accounts of writing development that keep the complexity of our lives in mind while also providing useful insight to researchers, teachers, and writers? Drawing on eleven accounts of writers at different points in the lifespan (ages 12 to 80) and in different social circumstances, Talk, Tools, and Texts constructs a “logic-in-use” for following writers and their writing development at a variety of points in the lifespan. ... More

Book CoverCoding Streams of Language: Techniques for the Systematic Coding of Text, Talk, and Other Verbal Data

By Cheryl Geisler and Jason Swarts

Coding Streams of Language is a systematic and practical research guide to coding verbal data in all its forms—written texts and oral talk, in print or online, gathered through surveys and interviews, database searches, or audio or video recordings. The thoughtful, detailed advice found in this book will help readers carry out analyses of language that are both systematic and complex. Situating themselves in the relatively new line of mixed methods research, the authors provide guidance on combining context-based inquiry with quantitative tools for examining big picture patterns that acknowledges the complexity of language use. ... More

Professional Practices

Book CoverWriting Placement in Two-Year Colleges: The Pursuit of Equity in Postsecondary Education

Edited by Jessica Nastal, Mya Poe, and Christie Toth

This volume brings together two-year college teacher-scholar-activists from across the U.S. to share stories, strategies, and data about local efforts at reforming writing placement assessment to advance educational access and equity. The chapters in this edited collection help faculty and writing program administrators navigate the shifting landscape of placement in the 2020s. Contributors demonstrate how two-year colleges have addressed local and state-level pressures for reform, especially at a time when the nation has been rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic with its inequitable economic, social, and physical toll. ... More

Book CoverCommunity is the Way: Engaged Writing and Designing for Transformative Change

By Aimée Knight

How can we design for equity and justice in our community partnerships? This field guide offers a vision for enacting social justice with community partners. Working from a community’s resources and strengths toward the goal of building its internal capacity, this book considers how actions such as grassroots activism, decolonization efforts, co-resistance movements, and social change initiatives can support reciprocity and mutuality. Community is the Way provides examples of concrete, situated action grounded in disciplinary knowledge and extensive fieldwork. ... More

Book CoverSexual Harassment and Cultural Change in Writing Studies

Edited by Patricia Freitag Ericsson

This collective project provides vital groundwork for understanding sexual harassment as well as encouraging the difficult conversations that are steps to awareness, action, and prevention. The project mandates a heightened consciousness of sexual harassment in American culture and underscores the profound commitment to cultural change necessary to eradicate this toxic social issue. Focusing on writing studies but applicable to other areas of higher education, the authors provide history, definitional backgrounds, best-practice approaches to prevention, scenarios for anti-sexual harassment training, and an extensive bibliography. ... More

Book CoverLearning Re-abled: The Learning Disability Controversy and Composition Studies

By Patricia A. Dunn

In the first comprehensive study to connect composition and learning disabilities, Patricia Dunn both challenges and confirms what many believe about writing. Learning Re-Abled,republished on the Clearinghouse with the permission of its author, examines the many issues that contribute to the learning disability controversy and provides historical perspectives on LD and composition, showing how the two fields complement and conflict with each other. She discusses the disagreements surrounding different educational approaches and makes sense of the claims and counterclaims of the experts. ... More

Voices from the Field

Book CoverThe Invisible Professor: The Precarious Lives of the New Faculty Majority

Edited by Natalie M. Dorfeld

This edited collection, the first in the Practices & Possibilities series to be published in its Voices from the Field section, offers a rich set of narratives by writing instructors who are serving or have worked in contingent positions. Intended for anyone considering a career in the humanities, The Invisible Professor seeks to reach individuals in three phases of their careers: those thinking of entering the profession, those knee-deep in it and looking for ways to improve conditions, and those who have vacated academic positions for more humane alternative tracks. ... More

Teaching Practices

Book CoverPARS in Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors

Edited by Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle

By focusing on being Personal, Accessible, Responsive, and Strategic (PARS), this book explores the complexities and anxieties associated with online writing instruction (OWI). The PARS approach is an innovative way to self support your own online writing instruction and/or provide support for your OWI faculty. This collection offers extensive examples of how to create personal assignments, syllabi, and learning spaces that connect with students while teaching you how to be accessible and craft accessible documents and spaces. ... More

Book CoverePortfolios@edu: What We Know, What We Don't Know, and Everything In-Between

Edited by Mary Ann Dellinger and D. Alexis Hart

This edited collection offers a comprehensive examination of best practices in creating, implementing, and assessing an ePortfolio program. Contributors to the volume (ePortfolio practitioner/scholars from four continents) share triumphs and lessons learned from a first-person perspective. Designed as a go-to resource for ePortfolio novices, seasoned practitioners, and curious explorers alike, ePortfolios@edu allows readers to close the book and immediately apply whatever information they found most appropriate for their course, program, and/or institution. ... More

Book CoverStories from First-Year Composition: Pedagogies that Foster Student Agency and Writing Identity

Edited by Jo-Anne Kerr and Ann N. Amicucci

The central value of first-year composition is often questioned, typically accompanied by characterizations of FYC as a “service” course. This collection counters those perceptions, sharing with readers a new FYC story, one that demonstrates a new “service” that the course provides to first-year students, a service that accommodates the realities of writing—that it is never just writing and that the writing process entails much more than plugging in the “right” words (that mean the same to everyone) in predetermined forms. ... More

Book CoverPersonal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors

By Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle

Drawing on their novel PARS framework, Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle explore the complexities and anxieties associated with online writing instruction. PARS offers an innovative way to support your own online instructional efforts as well as those of faculty members in programs that offer online writing instruction. Borgman and McArdle offer extensive examples of how to create assignments, syllabi, and accessible, productive learning spaces. ... More

Book CoverWriting Pathways to Student Success

Edited by Lillian Craton, Renée Love, and Sean Barnette

Teachers of first-year composition courses do essential work. Teaching argumentation and conventions of university-level writing; demystifying citation and punctuation; promoting reading comprehension and analysis. Yet such skills, as important as they are, do not reflect the full scope of our discipline. Some of the best learning in composition coursework relates to students' growth as successful individuals able to live and write in a complex world. ... More

Book CoverNew Literacies Dictionary: Primer for the Twenty-first Century Learner

By Adam Mackie

Adam Mackie's New Literacies Dictionary: Primer for the Twenty-first Century Learner is addressed to twenty-first century teachers and twenty-first century learners. The hyperlinked entries are a resource, a reference, and a tool for those interested in teaching lessons in new literacies or for those seeking ideas, samples, discussions, and reflections on digital and multimodal texts. ... More

Book CoverToward A Taxonomy of "Small" Genres and Writing Techniques for Use in Writing-Across-the-Curriculum

Collected by Richard E. Young

In 1984, with funding from the Buhl Foundation, Richard Young and Joann Sipple conducted a series of writing-across-the-curriculum workshops with the faculty of Robert Morris College in Pittsburgh. This collection offers more than 150 activities that can be used to conduct writing-to-learn activities in courses across the curriculum . ... More

Book CoverProblems into PROBLEMS: A Rhetoric of Motivation

By Joseph M. Williams

Willias writes, "For well more than a decade now, researchers have been reporting how in the act of drafting we recognize and solve rhetorical problems—how we evaluate and synthesize sources, set local rhetorical goals, then seek to achieve them. But if the literature on solving such problems is thick, our understanding of how we articulate the substantive problem that occasions our efforts to solve them is quite thin." In this monograph, Joseph M. Williams considers this issue with all the care that characterized the work produced in his long career. ... More

Open-Access Textbooks

Book CoverTry This: Research Methods for Writers

By Jennifer Clary-Lemon, Derek Mueller, and Kate Pantelides

Try This explores interdisciplinary research methods employed in research in writing studies but rarely drawn upon in undergraduate courses. This shifts writing instruction from a model of knowledge delivery and solitary research to a pedagogy of knowledge-making and an acknowledgment of research writing as collective, overlapping, and distributed. Each chapter is organized around methods to approach a particular kind of primary data—texts, artifacts, places, and images. ... More

Book CoverA Writer's Guide to Mindful Reading

By Ellen C. Carillo

By offering instruction in both reading and writing, A Writer's Guide to Mindful Reading provides a comprehensive approach to literacy instruction within a metacognitive framework to foster the transfer of learning. ... More

Note: The following republished books have been made available with the permission of their authors.

Book CoverInvolved: Writing for College, Writing for Your Self

By Charles Bazerman

Involved: Writing for College, Writing for Your Self helps students to understand their college experience as a way of advancing their own personal concerns and to draw substance from their reading and writing assignments. This edition of the book has been adapted from the print edition, published in 1997 by Houghton Mifflin. Copyrighted materials—primarily images and examples within the text—have been removed from this edition. ... More

Book CoverThe Informed Writer: Using Sources in the Disciplines

By Charles Bazerman
Adapted by Mark Haas for presentation on this site.

The Informed Writer, offered here in its fifth edition, addresses a wide range of writing activities and genres, from summarizing and responding to sources to writing the research paper and writing about literature. This edition of the book has been adapted from the fifth edition, published in 1995 by Houghton Mifflin. Copyrighted materials—primarily examples within the text—have been removed from this edition. ... More

About the Publishers

The WAC Clearinghouse supports teachers of writing across the disciplines. The site receives support from Colorado State University and from its editorial staff and editorial review board and its hundreds of members who, through their collaborative efforts, add to and update information on the site. For more information about the Clearinghouse, please see our site information page. University Press of Colorado is a nonprofit cooperative publishing enterprise supported by several Western universities. For more information, visit

About Our Publication Process

The Practices & Possibilities series offers books in free digital editions and low-cost print editions. Books are offered through a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. Copyright is held by the author(s) or editor(s) of the books. The publishers cover the costs of reviewing, designing, producing, and distributing the books. Any proceeds from sales of print books in the series are used to support the publication of subsequent books. Our goal is to make work available to the widest possible audience while maintaining the highest standards in scholarly publishing. We welcome contributions to the series and to the larger goal of supporting open-access scholarly publishing. If you have questions about the goals of the larger WAC Clearinghouse project, please contact Mike Palmquist at