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Laker-created English textbook to create state-wide impact

(December 12, 2023) - The work of numerous Clayton State students and professors is now set to impact the academic careers of all Georgia students.

“Connections: Guide to First-Year Writing” is now in its 11th edition

Dr. Mary Lamb, the Chair of the university’s Department of English, recently announced that a version of her textbook, “Connections: Guide to First-Year Writing” – now in its 11th edition – is now the textbook for eCore’s English 1101.

“The goal of the book is to connect students’ experiences to writing,” Lamb said. “To show them how their writing connects them to their communities, their other classes, to the world, and to concepts and debates.”

Lamb published the first custom textbook for English 1101 and 1102 classes in 2010 to save students money on the cost of textbooks, as well as to include students’ voices in the content and publishing process. A new edition has been published every year since then with faculty and student contributions.

For more than a decade, Clayton State students have been invited to submit their written essays to be published in the next edition of the book, and students have worked annually as interns to layout, edit, and design the book.

The department also runs a cover art contest each year, so each edition features a student-designed cover. In the past decade, over 175 student essays have been featured in the textbook.

In 2021, a group of Clayton State faculty received the USG Affordable Learning Grant to revise the book into an open educational resource (OER). 

“[Those] who were working on it and continuing it decided to apply for an affordable learning grant through the USG,” Lamb said. “We got it!”

The department head personally thanked Drs. Jennifer Parrott, Matthew Sansbury, Sipai Klein, and Margaret Fletcher, as well as Jim Rickerson from the university library, for their efforts.

Furthermore, Dr. Lamb said that many fellow faculty members contributed to the textbook, not just in its contents, but also in its impact.

Thanks to everyone’s collective efforts, the book is now published on the USG’s ALG website. 

In 2023, eCore selected “Communications” for its English 1101 course revision, and now a version is used in all sections of eCore Eng. 1101 across the state.

Lamb said that the university continues to use their own edition of the textbook for Eng. 1101 and 1102, but it’s no longer printed. Rather, students can now access the book for no cost through their online course site.

She also believes that “Connections” will make a big difference in the education and lives of so many young Georgians – something she said all teachers and Lakers strive to do.

“What we wrote matters,” Lamb said. “It's working for people, and it's being read widely. I know that we're making a difference and it's an excellent testament to the strength of our faculty and students.”

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