Texas Tech University

TCR graduate courses, Fall 2016

Onsite courses

Course Title Instructor Day/Time Section CRN Room
ENGL 5060: History and Theory of College Composition (theory)  Rice MW 12 p.m.      358
ENGL 5060: History and Theory of College Composition (theory)  Rice  MW 2 p.m.     358 
ENGL 5361: Intro to Rhetorical Theory (theory)  Baake  TTr 2 p.m.      357
ENGL 5363: Introduction to Research Methods (methods) Cargile Cook M 6-8:50 p.m.      
ENGL 5368: Studies in Written Argumentation (theory)  Faris  MW 4 p.m.      358
ENGL 5371: Foundations of Technical Communication (theory) Wilson TTr 4 p.m.     358
ENGL 5382: Theory and Research in the Discourses of Health and Medicine (theory, methods) Koerber T 6-8:50 p.m.      
ENGL 5388: Usability Testing (methods, applied theory) Still W 6-8:50 p.m     358

Online Courses: all online courses meet 6-8:50 p.m. CST)

Course Title Instructor Days Section CRN
ENGL  5361: Intro to Rhetorical Theory (theory) Baake Thursdays    
ENGL 5363: Introduction to Research Methods (methods) Cargile Cook Mondays    
ENGL 5368: Studies in Written Argumentation (theory) Faris Wednesdays    
ENGL 5371: Foundations of Technical Communication (theory) Wilson Thursdays    
 ENGL 5371: Foundations of Technical Communication (theory) Moore Wednesdays    
ENGL 5382: Theory and Research in the Discourses of Health and Medicine (theory, methods) Koerber Tuesdays    
ENGL 5388: Usability Testing (methods, applied theory) Still Wednesdays    
ENGL 5390: Writing for Publication (applied theory) Lang Mondays    
ENGL 5391: Grants and Proposals for Nonprofits (applied theory) Eaton Tuesdays    


ENGL 5361: Intro to Rhetorical Theory (Baake)

This class is a survey of rhetorical theory from Ancient Greece to the present. We will begin by exploring the transition from oral communication grounded in myth to written communication grounded more in systematic reasoning. Throughout the course we will consider rhetoric as the art of finding the best available means of persuasion; we will take periodic side trips into the ongoing debate over what constitutes intrinsic, absolute truth as opposed to contingent knowledge that depends on context, situation, and timing. We will also consider the role of rhetoric as knowledge producing versus merely knowledge delivering. This tension is found in the Sophists, Plato, Locke, Ramus, I.A. Richards, Foucault—nearly everyone we will read in our text.

The goals of this course are 1) to understand how the canon of rhetoric evolved as a continuing dialogue over decades and centuries about the nature of truth and right action and 2) develop insights into the role that rhetoric plays in contemporary discourse and civic debates and in your own life. The course will involve reading responses, class discussion and activities, and a research project. In it you will carry a rhetorically informed research project through from conception (proposal) to initial summary of literature (annotated bibliography) to completed writing and a class presentation.

In addition to instructor lecture notes posted to Blackboard, texts are the following:

  • Bizzell, Patricia and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. 2nd Edition. New York: Bedford/St. Martin's. 2001. ISBN: 0312148399; 978-0312148393.
  • Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy. 2nd Edition. New York: Routledge, 2002. ISBN: 0415281296; ISBN-13: 978-0415281294.

ENGL 5368: Studies in Written Argumentation (Faris)

"[A]rgument may be approached as a way of coming to understand the transformations of human activity through the variety of practices employed in making argument" (Goodnight, 1982, p. 218).

Argumentation theory is an interdisciplinary investigation into how we might analyze, evaluate, and practice argumentation. The field is composed of scholarship informed by a variety of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives: informal logic, rhetoric, formal dialectics, linguistics, and more. While we will touch upon informal logic and dialectic, this course will largely focus on conversations about arguments and argumentation within rhetorical studies. This course will trace intellectual traditions in argumentation theory, rhetorical theory, and rhetorical criticism; provide analyses that exemplify different approaches to arguments; and provide students opportunities to put theory into practice in their own scholarly writing.

During this semester we will focus on the following questions:

  • How is argumentation defined as a field of study? How do scholars in argumentation theory define and approach argument(s)?
  • What theoretical and philosophical perspectives inform and influence the field?
  • What methods and methodologies are deployed to create knowledge within argumentation theory?

Students in this course will respond to readings through critical position papers, select a significant textual argument (or set of arguments) to analyze, and situate their ideas within the field by writing a final project analyzing that argument(s).

ENGL 5363: Introduction to Research Methods (Cargile Cook)

English 5363, Research Methods in Technical Communication and Composition, will introduce you to a variety of research methods and methodologies used in Composition, Rhetoric, and Technical Communication. We will concentrate primarily on research that has influenced our broad field for the past ten years. The work you do in this course will orient you as you select further research courses and will ground your future research.

In addition to research articles, we will tentatively read from the following texts.

  • Hughes, Michael A. and George F. Hayhoe. A Research Primer for Technical Communication. LEA (http://www.routledge.com/books/A-Research-Primer-for-Technical-Communication-isbn9780805863352)
  • Nickoson, Lee, and Mary P. Sheridan. Writing Studies Research in Practice: Methods and Methodologies. SIU 2012 (http://www.siupress.com/product/Writing-Studies-Research-in-Practice,5755.aspx)

To succeed in the course, you will complete the following assignments: article reviews, a guided micro-study, an independent micro-study proposal with literature review and research questions, the independent microstudy itself, and a narrated electronic presentation of your independent microstudy. Participation in class and completion of a research journal will also be included in your grade.

ENGL 5382: Theory and Research in the Discourses of Health and Medicine (Koerber)

English 5382 introduces current theory and research in medical rhetoric, health communication, and related areas of inquiry. Although the primary focus is scholarship in technical communication and rhetoric, the course also includes some texts from other disciplines that take an interest in medicine such as communication studies, sociology, and anthropology. The syllabus from a previous offering of the course is available here. The course readings and assignments emphasize research methods, with close attention to the theoretical and practical challenges that communication scholars face when they conduct interdisciplinary research. Even if you are not specifically interested in medical discourse, the course might be beneficial if your research has any interdisciplinary aspect. For instance, if you are working in areas such as rhetoric of science, rhetoric of economics, or environmental rhetoric, this is a course you should consider.

ENGL 5060: History and Theory of College Composition (Rice)

English 5060 is a variable credit course which provides an introduction to the history and contemporary theories of composition and rhetoric. We begin from the premise that good teachers are reflective teachers, and good teachers of writing are reflective teachers of writing. We will examine and reflect on the development of the field of composition over the last 50 years, focusing on seminal articles that represent the discipline. That is, we'll study readings about teaching basic writing, service-learning, online writing, revision, research writing, proofreading and editing, portfolios, and assessment rubrics within the context of composition in general. And just as the field of composition integrates new media tools in its construction, presentation, and assessment, so too will we. 

ENGL 5371: Foundations of Technical Communication (Moore)

Technical Communication has messy origins. It can be located <roughly> at the intersection of the science and technology studies, writing and literacy studies, rhetoric and argumentation, and design and new media theory. As such, Technical Communication can be broadly conceived, practiced, and theorized. Where some would describe technical communication as the development of instructional documents, others might describe it as the research of contexts for non-academic writing. Still others might describe it as the discipline for scholars whose interests focus on discourse as it occurs within science and/or technology.

In this class, we will investigate the various origins and theories of technical communication with one primary aim: to help you develop a sense of how your thinking and future scholarship fit into the field. Perhaps it fits squarely in Science and Technology Studies. Perhaps your work is at the periphery of mainstream Tech Comm. Perhaps you want to be a document designer. Perhaps you want to discover new ways of teaching future engineers, scientists, and software developers. All of these are fine choices—and this class is meant to foster a generative environment to try out potentialities and to sketch out possibilities for your scholarly and professional future. As a foundational class, this course provides necessary background knowledge for your future as a graduate student in the TTU TCR program. But as with all classes, this course provides one particular (if incomplete) narrative about technical communication—we'll try to poke holes in this narrative, to question it, to revise it, and to determine where the field might (need to) go.

Course Goals:

  • Become familiar with the working language of technical communication as a profession, discipline, and practice.
  • Identify primary themes that motivate research in the field of technical communication
  • Hone academic reading, writing, research and analysis skills
  • Develop your academic/scholarly voice and begin identifying the ways your own interests and work fit (or don't fit) within the discipline of technical communication
  • Identify and distinguish between various theoretical approaches to technical communication
  • Piece together a working history of technical communication as a field of practice and study
  • Locate potential gaps, problems, and motivations for future work in the field of rhetoric and technical communication
  • Develop daily work habits that reflect scholarly work

ENGL 5371: Foundations of Technical Communication (Wilson)

Technical communication is lots of things. It is a specific professional activity. It is a more general activity that humans have been using to pass down technical culture for hundreds of thousands of years. It is a field of academic study. It is also a pedagogical field of practice and study. It is something that happens via and across different media. It can document things that are well understood or invent and define the meaning of things that are new. It can bridge misunderstanding, keep users safe, make work more efficient, establish rules and cultural norms but also dominate those with fewer resources, exclude and discriminate, and codify bad ideas. 

As technical communication scholars, we will enter this complexity by looking at scholarship published in the last 40 years. We are reading a lot of things, and will hopefully push into each of these areas. In the scholarship itself, we are going to see trends in methodology, theory, artifacts, research sites, problems, questions, and attempted connections with different disciplines.

By the end of the semester we want to accomplish these things:

  • Understand the breadth and complexity of technical communication as a practice and field of study.
  • Be able to identify and discuss major themes and approaches in the study technical communication.
  • Become familiar with key terms and concepts in technical communication scholarship.
  • Identify how our own research interests are challenged and informed by this body of literature and how that intersection implies a research agenda.
  • Understand how technical communication scholarship can inform professional practice.
  • Improve skills at participating in scholarly conversations (by reading, thinking, talking, writing).
  • Develop an ability to explain what technical communication "is" to that person sitting next to you on the bus.