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ENGL 2311 Introduction to Technical Writing

Multiple Instructors and Times Available

A tablet sits on a table, with the word "communication" emboldened on its screen.

Technical writing is kind of misnomer for what we will do in this class. Writing is certainly involved; however, so is utilizing design, image, media, and other communication skills. We will learn to communicate effectively by using strategies closely linked to the workplace. Most importantly, we will think about writing and communication differently from how you may have considered them in the past: we will learn to view technical writing as a means for solving problems. We will use writing and documents to “get work done,” whatever your field or discipline.

ENGL 2312 Designing Technologies and Texts that Connect the World (Onsite and Distance)

Dr. Beau Pihlaja
Section 001 (TR 3:30-4:50pm)
CRN: 38491
Section D01 (T 6:00-8:50pm)
CRN: 32553

Two people conferencing around a map. One holds a cup of coffee, the other takes notes

An introduction to the role of culture in the design of texts and technologies and methods of cross-cultural technical communication. The world is a big place. However, technology increasingly extends the reach of individuals and groups across borders: national/political borders, linguistic borders, and cultural borders. Engineers, technical communicators, and professionals are asked more and more to design texts and technologies that reach and work across those borders. In this class we will explore the definition and role of “culture” and what it means to be “culturally competent.” We will learn about the ways writing and writing technologies shape and are shaped by the cultures in which they are used. This class will challenge you to understand that technologies are developed for particular users in particular contexts and that in order to effectively design technologies and documents, technical communicators must become invested in cross-cultural communication and mindfulness. We will consider, for example, how we use our cell phone as a local activities but also how our cell phone use reflects global activities, institutions, and cultures.

ENGL 3360.D01 Issues in Composition: Thinking (and Writing) about Thinking (Distance)

Dr. Rebecca Rickly
T 6:00-8:50pm
CRN: 35495

An image of a man, whose head is replaced by a mushroom cloud.

In this special topics class, we'll think—and write—about thinking. How does thinking work? How does our brain function? How do we think when we write, or draw, or create? How does what we watch, eat, do, etc. influence what we think? And, most importantly, how do thinking and writing work together?

Our world today is replete with texts, most of them designed to persuade: political speeches, popular narratives, email messages, advertisements, TV shows, even casual interactions with friends and family. The persuasive appeals are often (but not always!) subtle, so subtle that we may not even be cogent of being persuaded. How does persuasion happen? And how does rhetoric figure in?

Rhetoric gives us a set of tools to help us understand persuasion. By coupling rhetoric with the study of how we think, we should become critical consumers—and producers—of both specialized and everyday information.

ENGL3362 Rhetorical Analysis (Onsite and Distance)

Dr. Abigail Selzer King
Section 001 (MW 10:00 – 11:20am)
CRN: 27695
Section D01 (MW 10:-00-11:20am)
CRN: 39484

A drawing depicting a rhetorical genealogy.

In this course you will develop your ability to conduct rhetorical criticism—a classical approach to identifying persuasive and ethical dimensions of communication. Although these concepts are very old, they remain important lenses for interpreting the contexts in which we live and work as they help to reveal meanings and implications that are embedded in language, in both textual and visual forms.

English 3366.002 Style in Technical Writing

Dr. Kelli Cargile Cook
TR 2:00-3:20 PM
CRN: 13759

A set of 25 images, each depicting a different style.

ENGL 3366: Style helps you improve your writing, whether you are planning to be a writing teacher, a professional writer, or a professional who writes. Students from across the university--especially majors and minors in technical communication, English, education, instructional design, and the STEM--can work on their writing through this in-depth examination of technical and professional writing style. ENGL 3366 helps you increase your stylistic choices with its focus on how to choose words, construct and punctuate sentences, and weave paragraphs into effective documents. Students will also consider how their style choices change when moving from print to online communication.

ENGL 3367.001 User Experience Research

Kylie Jacobsen
TR 3:30 - 4:50 PM
CRN: 13775

 An image from outside the English building. The bench is labeled "designed experience," and the worn down path is marked "user experience."

This class is an applied research class where you will learn the key concepts and methods of user experience research. This class will prepare you to design and conduct usability tests that use industry-standard tools and techniques to collect, analyze, and report data on the usability and user experience of interfaces and processes. Students who complete this class gain valuable skills in usability research, user experience, and user-centered design that are highly sought by employers.

ENGL 3368.D01 Web Design (Distance)

Dr. Rich Rice
M 6:00-8:50pm
CRN: 35496

This course provides an overview of practical and theoretical aspects of designing effective websites and online content. Our work will focus on process planning, content development, site structure, navigation, visual design, interface design, usability, and accessibility. The course covers practical skills with various software tools and scripting languages, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The course address contemporary approaches and theories related to digital literacy, user experience, and technology to broaden our study of web development and technical communication.

ENGL 4360 Studies in Composition: "Weird Videogames" (Hybrid)

Dr. Kendall Gerdes
Section 001 (MW 12:00-1:20 PM)
CRN: 14790
Section D01 (MW 12:00-1:20PM)
CRN: 37084

A screenshot from Mountain, an alternative video game

Some people think videogames are an art form—a medium akin to literary fiction that enables players (like readers) to take on other people's lives and perspectives. Others view videogames as technical challenges to be mastered, quickly and thoroughly (if you're any good). This class will explore a variety of weird videogames, games that pose problems for both these points of view. Want to play videogames in class? This is the class for you. Students will play videogames together and for homework. You'll use rhetoric to write about the arguments that games make. And, you'll learn to make your own videogames (no prior experience required).

ENGL 4363 Case Studies in Scientific Rhetoric (Hybrid)

Dr. Ken Baake
Section 001 (MW 4:00-5:20pm)
CRN: 39485

Section D01 (MW 4:00-5:20pm)
CRN: 39486

An illustration of an eighteenth-century scientist conducting an experiement

As a technical writers, English teachers, or practitioners of most any profession—or even just as citizens, we all encounter science. Whether the issue genetically modified foods, climate change, or health care, science is ever present in our lives. Yet, have you ever stopped to ask how scientists communicate their knowledge and how society decides what to do about it? In this class we will do just that—consider the language that scientists and writers of science use to develop and spread scientific knowledge. No prior background in science is necessary, just an interest in scientific matters and language. You will be surprised how much you can learn with just curiosity and a willingness to explore science topics online and in class.

Our readings and discussion will fall into five sections as follows.

Foundations, where we develop background knowledge in the field, asking “What is scientific knowledge? “and “How is it rhetorical?”

Revolutions in Scientific Thought, where we consider the argument that science progresses through paradigm shifts in theory that require new terminology and discourse conventions.

Case studies in the physical sciences. We will introduce other cases studies in physics, chemistry, and geology. These might include the 18th century debate over what fire is, or studies in early geological science about whether the earth's structure developing gradually or suddenly through a series of catastrophic upheavals.

Case studies in biology, including Darwin and His Scientific Offspring, where we take a close look at Charles Darwin and the revolution he led through The Origin of Species. We will also look at recent scientific debates that have their roots in the Darwinian revolution.

Science, the Environment, and Human Frontiers, where we look briefly at contemporary issues in science, such as global warming, genetically modified food, and post humanism.

The course will involve reading, along with a take-home midterm and final (short answer and essay exams), class discussion and activities, and a group teaching and presentation. I presume that much of this material will be new and unfamiliar to those taking this course. The main goals are understanding and knowledge acquisition rather than learning specific writing techniques. You will learn how to analyze information and gain insights into the ways that writing about science is a kind of technical writing.

ENGL 4367 Developing Instructional Materials

Dr. Craig Baehr
R 6:00-8:50pm
CRN: 37083

This course provides an overview of the processes involved in developing instructional materials for a professional setting, including user and task analysis, learning methods, Web-based training development, training in asynchronous and synchronous environments, single-sourcing, and assessment methods. It covers theoretical aspects of learning styles, instructional architectures, instructional design principles, user experience, and online pedagogy, as well as the practical aspects of using learning objects and instructional tools. And finally we'll look at best practices, examples and methods for online instructional delivery in a variety of forms.