Christina Frasier

This Open Education Resource (OER) textbook was created to address the needs of students in higher education at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Palo Alto College (PAC) here in San Antonio, Texas.

As Darren Meritz, one of the collaborators on this project, taught at both UTSA and PAC, he had the idea of developing a handbook for freshman composition students. Grammar and punctuation handbooks are a mainstay of composition courses, and as professional formats such as MLA and APA update every three years (and not in the same year), the books become obsolete very quickly. This is a major cost to students for a book that they won’t even be able to refer to after the class is finished. Sensing an injustice towards our students, we decided we wanted to, in this small way, right a wrong that burdens every college student: the high price of textbooks. We quickly found a collaborator at PAC, Dr. Melissa Elston, who is an expert in the PAC curriculum. In July 2021, the editorial team won a grant through the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to develop an OER for classes that met the curriciulum at two institutions of higher education.

Throughout the summer and fall 2021 semester, we worked to identify high-quality OER resources to include in the handbook. All of the resources we’ve blended together hold a Creative Commons license, which means that the materials are free, as long as we attribute the original authors correctly. We could even make changes to the material to best meet the needs of our students, which we did extensively. That makes the team less writers and more editors, although some of the writing is original to this book.

In spring 2022, we did a soft pilot of the text — it was still very much in draft form. Throughout the summer of 2022, we refined the text and added in learning objectives, key takeaways, and examples.

Throughout this process, we have collected statistics about how our students are faring in our classes. Does our students’ success have anything to do with access on the first day of class to free, high-quality materials? We certainly hope so. Does access to material that will be updated faithfully every time MLA or APA updates their formats help our students throughout their college career? Again, we certainly hope so. We want this text to be accessible and useful for students across their journey in higher education. And, because the need for critical thinking skills doesn’t end upon graduation, we also hope that the materials in this book will be useful to you as you transition into a career — whatever it might be.

With privilege, we present the material in this text and hope it accomplishes our goals and helps inform yours.




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From College to Career: A Handbook for Student Writers Copyright © by Christina Frasier is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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