Courses taught at Texas Tech University
ENGL 4369: Interaction Design
Upper-level technical communication students investigated the relationship between how content is created and how it is used in thoughtful interaction design. We analyzed how technical communicators are responsible for making sure that the interaction between people and the technical things they have to use (and technical really means challenging) is such that it is easy and productive. Students were responsible to create geocaches for the public in Lubbock, analyze mobile applications, design a tutorial on accessibility in coordination with TTU’s English department Media Lab, and create an ePortfolio.
ENGL 4360: Studies in Composition
Upper-level students were introduced to theories that inform the intersections of composition and the cultures in which we live. We read texts that provided us with a lens to address cultural issues critically, remembering that writing always produced within a context—institutional, material, political, and ideological. Students wrote ten two-page papers to analyze elements of texts they found intriguing or problematic, wrote a longer paper accompanied by an Ignite-style presentation, and produced a digital narrative video and paper that examined a real-world problem or artifact from theoretical perspectives.
ENGL 3365: Professional Report Writing
Students learned about the various genres of writing and other communication they will encounter and create in professional settings. This course focused on some common report genres, but its primary focus was on the rhetorical and social nature of writing in a professional environment. We learned to view professional writing as a means for solving problems and arguing persuasively. Students wrote a rhetorical analysis report, created a safety sign and informational report, conducted research to solve a problem in a recommendation report, designed a real-world proposal accompanied by a presentation, and created an ePortfolio.
ENGL 2311: Introduction to Technical Communication
Students learned several genres of technical communication in this course. Writing was certainly involved, along with utilizing design, images, media, and other communication skills. We learned to communicate effectively by using strategies closely linked to the workplace and to view technical writing as a means for solving problems and “get work done,” whatever the students’ field or discipline. Students created a job packet, created a safety sign and report, wrote instructions and designed an accompanying video, wrote a proposal and delivered a presentation, and designed an ePortfolio.
Courses taught at the University of Minnesota Duluth
WRIT 8902: Teaching College Writing
First-semester MA students, teaching freshman composition for the first time, take this required course. I taught the various theories, historical and contemporary, of teaching first-year writing, and we discussed successful classroom strategies as the students developed their own pedagogy styles. Throughout the semester students created a teaching portfolio and wrote a research paper and conference presentation (which they presented at a regional conference). Additionally, the students were each responsible for facilitating two class discussions over assigned readings.
WRIT 4200: Writing and Cultures
Writing Studies majors take this upper-level required course. I taught professional and technical communication and research through the lens of cultural studies. We studied issues of power, subjectivity, identity, and authorship in various workplaces. Throughout the semester, students wrote ten short response papers and one longer research paper, and they also presented a visual analysis of a cultural artifact of their choice.
WRIT 1506: Literacy, Technology, and Society
Writing Studies majors and students needing to fulfill UMD’s liberal education requirement take this course. Using critical theory terms, I taught units on the history of knowledge and technology, postmodern and posthuman literacy, and food literacy. Students wrote short reflective posts and longer analyses of the readings for each unit. In the final unit, students created a digital literacy project and wrote a longer paper, using one or more theoretical concepts to analyze a cultural artifact of their choice.
WRIT 4100/5100: Introduction to Grant Writing and Project Planning
Writing Studies majors, as well as graduate students, take this upper-level elective course. I taught two units on planning and writing proposals. The first was an individual proposal unit, in which students chose to research an organization (at the university or in the community) where they have worked or volunteered, and wrote a proposal to that organization, identifying a problem and offering a detailed solution. The second unit was a team grant proposal, in which students identified a funding agency to direct their grant and an issue or organization in northern Minnesota that needed financial support. Students wrote the grant and presented their argument for funding. These presentations were video recorded, and students reflected on their performance. The final unit was an audition video, in which students use proposal strategies to create their own short videos and argue that they would be ideal cast members either for the television show Survivor or The Amazing Race.
WRIT 3150: Advanced Writing: Science
Science majors take this required upper-level communication course. I taught writing in scientific genres, including the job packet and personal statements for graduate school, technical description, instructions manual and instructional video, proposal, and analytical report and presentation over students’ creation of a poster adapted from an article in a scientific journal. Interestingly, while we did discuss lab reports, I did not require students to write one because they were inundated with writing them in their other courses and pled with me not to. Students finished the semester by presenting the creation and usability of their technical instructions. These presentations were video recorded, and students reflected on their performance.
WRIT 3130: Advanced Writing: Engineering
Engineering majors take this required upper-level communication course. I taught writing in general engineering genres, including the job packet, technical description, instructions manual and instructional video, proposal, and recommendation report and presentation over students’ creation of a campus safety sign. Students also created a document genealogy poster that details the origins of a specific technical document of their choice. Students finished the semester by presenting the design and usability of their technical instructions. These presentations were video recorded, and students reflected on their performance.
WRIT 3121: Advanced Writing: Business and Organizations
Business majors take this required upper-level communication course. I taught writing in business and organizational genres, including the job packet, negative message, proposal, analytical report, and interviewing a professional in their field. I also facilitated a social media unit, in which students wrote Twitter posts and researched an organization’s use of social media. Students finished the semester by researching and presenting on cross-cultural business communication in a specific, non-English speaking country. These presentations were video recorded, and students reflected on their performance.
WRIT 4230/5230: Web Design and Digital Culture
Writing Studies students working toward their Information Design minor, as well as graduate students, take this upper-level course. I taught the technical and rhetorical principles of web design and issues in digital culture. Students created three websites over the semester: 1) a homepage with links, directed toward a particular audience; 2) a site detailing a location in northern Minnesota, directed toward an international audience that would likely never see this location in person; and 3) an original site or an updated site for a local organization. Students presented their final websites and detailed the design and content choices they made to be effective for the organization with which they worked.
WRIT 4260/5260: Visual Rhetoric and Culture
Writing Studies students working toward their Information Design minor, as well as graduate students, take this upper-level course. I taught visual design, textual, and rhetorical elements to help students create several professional documents throughout the semester, including a promotional flyer for an organization, a television schedule and brochure, and a newsletter. Students also analyzed the graphic and textual origins of a document of their choice, and they each worked with an organization or individual in the community that needed documentation for publicity or outreach. Students presented their final projects and detailed the design and content choices they made to be effective for the organization with which they worked.