WRC 1013/1023: Freshman Composition: Exploring Critical Issues

Sources for WRC 1013: Christina Frasier, Darren Meritz & Pamela Mahan

Exploring Critical Issues

Cover of Writing Program Online Textbook

What is Exploring Critical Issues?

Exploring Critical Issues is part of UTSA Libraries' 'Adopt a  Free Textbook' initiative, which encourages faculty to use free and low-cost materials. Research has shown that open and low-cost learning materials available in class on day one can improve student engagement and, ultimately, student success. Since The Writing Program is committed to student success, UTSA Writing Program instructors and UTSA librarians partnered to identify and collect essential readings for WRC 1013 and WRC 1023. Exploring Critical Issues is comprised of both freely-available and UTSA Libraries-licensed content that, unlike a traditional textbook, imparts no additional cost to students.

While we hope this initiative helps you from day one of class, Open Educational Resources (OER) like Exploring Critical Issues have been the subject of critique by librarians and others in academia. In the interest of engaging critical thinking on the part of students and faculty involved in this experiment, we would like to post this article, which is a cogent summary of OER critique.

Introduction to Exploring Critical Issues

The Writing Program is pleased to present this course anthology of readings, videos, and podcasts. In order to best navigate the anthology, please keep in mind the following: 1.) articles are organized thematically, and some subjects, such as bioprinting, are crosslisted in two sections (Technology as well as Health and Medicine); 2.) each thematic area has tabs separating the media by genre. For example, the Language and Power section has tabs for articles, books, and book chapters. Some areas have podcasts and videos, and some do not.

Please also keep in mind that the Libguides template we used to create this online resource might not be optimized for mobile viewing. If you are having trouble viewing an article on your mobile device, you will also be able to access the media through the Library Quickguide or, if it is not a UTSA Libraries asset, by using Google. Whenever possible, however, we would like you to try to use the anthology rather than other methods of access so that we can keep our usage statisitics as accurate as possible. We will try to address user issues (eg, broken links) as they arise. Students should direct their questions or problems to their instructors, who should then notify a member of the grant team of problems. 

If you have any questions about this anthology that your professor or the grant team cannot answer, please contact The Writing Program’s subject librarian, Tara Schmidt at tara.schmidt@utsa.edu.

Thank you for reading!

The OER grant team


The OER grant team is:

Christina Frasier christina.frasier@utsa.edu

Darren Meritz darren.meritz@utsa.edu

Pam Mahan pamela.mahan@utsa.edu

These reading comprehension and analysis questions can be applied to both 1013 and 1023.

Reading comprehension questions:

  1. Were there any words or concepts in this article that were new to you or that you didn’t understand? How did you address this?
  2. What is the thesis or main idea of this piece? Can you isolate a specific thesis, or is it implicit?
  3. In two sentences, summarize the main idea or thesis of this piece.

Analysis questions:

  1.  What is the genre of this piece (eg, newspaper article, book, etc.)?
  2. Is it an argument? If yes, explain what it is arguing. If no, explain why it is not an argument.
  3. What were the implicit assumptions made by the author(s)?
  4. What is this piece trying to accomplish? Do you think the author or authors accomplished their goals?
  5. How is the tone of this piece like or unlike the tone in which your instructor wants you to write?
  6. How does this piece incorporate evidence? How is it different from how you incorporate evidence into your writing? Is the piece more or less convincing due to its amount and quality of evidence