The writings in this book were collected from students and their professors at Lansing Community College. The requirement was that the writings included needed to be something that had been submitted for a class at LCC and that it received a 3.0 or better. I wasn’t looking for perfect work. I was looking for good work. I hoped that the OER (Open Educational Resource) that resulted from this collection would help students and faculty learn about what teachers and students here were thinking and writing about. I hoped that student writers would feel some pride and satisfaction at seeing their work published and acknowledged as being good. I wasn’t worried about perfection, but I did ask instructors about what they would have recommended that students continue to work on to improve their writing, because especially student writing is a process. As I edited this work, I added a bit of punctuation and fixed some spelling, standardized fonts, and indicated paragraphs, but for the most part left the mechanics as they were. I wanted readers to be able to see the work that was submitted as it was submitted complete with mechanical flaws.Of course in writing classes we also work to polish format, but as one faculty member said to me, you have to have something to say!
The idea of perfection is worth consideration. Some of my colleagues seemed reluctant to encourage students to submit work because they seemed worried that the student work wouldn’t be good enough or would somehow reflect on them as instructors. But I know they give 3.0’s and 4.0’s and I know that students do work instructors judge as good enough. I especially liked hearing from the instructors who participated about what they valued; I think students and other instructors may also find that interesting. Over and over again I heard instructors value novelty, risk taking, and a clear writing voice.
I am grateful to the students who submitted their work and my colleagues who sat and talked with me about their students’ work. I am also grateful to the Lansing Community College Board of Trustees who agreed to fund this sabbatical project. The sabbatical I took during the Spring Semester of 2020 gave me time to reflect and celebrate the writing of students and think about and read more about publication of students’ writing. I am also grateful to Associate Professor of Integrated English Amy Larson—OER Project Manager and Professor of Economics James Luke who both consulted with me about creating this text to be housed at Open LCC. Thanks also to Lydia Warnke, one of the Department of Integrated English staff who helped me work on the formatting required by Open LCC. I would never have made the deadline without her help. Finally, thanks to Professor of Integrated English Jill Reglin who was my Sabbatical Committee Mentor; her encouragement was invaluable.
Because this is an OER perhaps other instructors and students will be inspired to add their pieces\ or at least develop more confidence about their writing in the future. To that end I have include the release form used for this project in the appendix. There is also a brief annotated bibliography discussing publishing student writing. Doing this research helped me see that there is a long history of discussion about publishing student writing and only beginning to be much current work on the topic. I hope to find more scholarly work being done about blogging, podcasts, and using modern media forms of publishing, but that is research for another day.