Texas Tech University

TCR Graduate Courses, Spring 2009

Distance Courses (section D21 or D31 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.)

Course Title Instructor Section ID Date
ENGL 5364 History of Rhetoric (Classical Period) Kemp D21 32457 Wednesdays
ENGL 5364 History of Rhetoric (Classical Period) Kemp D31 32460 Thursdays
ENGL 5366 Teaching Technical Communication Baehr D21
ENGL 5374 Technical Editing Eaton D21
ENGL 5377 Topics in Digital Archives and Data Mining Lang D21
ENGL 5376 Online Publishing Rice D21
ENGL 5389 Field Methods of Research Baake D31 32580

Note: All online students register for section D21 except non-Texas-resident online doctoral students, who register for section D31

On-site Courses

Course Instructor section ID Time
ENGL 5375 Document Design Zdenek 001 32551 9:30 TTh
ENGL 5376 Online Publishing Still 001 32552 11:00 TTh
ENGL 5385 Ethics in Technical Communication Dragga 001 32572 3:30 TTh
ENGL 5388 Usability Testing and Research Still 001 32578 2:00 TTh
ENGL 5389 Field Methods of Research Rickly 001


32579 3:30 MW with

W 6:00 MOO

All offerings from 1998 to the present are archived here.


ENGL 5364, Classical Rhetoric

All serious thinking about purposeful discourse -- speaking and writing -- begins in Greece and Rome during the classical period from writers who remain today indisputably relevant. English 5364, Issues in Classical Rhetoric, will cover the rise and effect of Rhetoric during the time period 500 BC to 420 AD, corresponding generally from the rise of publicly negotiated political and legal argumentation in Greece to the decline of the Roman Empire. The primary texts for the course are Bizzell and Herzberg's The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present, Aristotle's The "Art" of Rhetoric, Kennedy's A New History of Classical Rhetoric, and various online texts.

Authors to be studied will include, but not be limited to, Isocrates, Gorgias, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, and the writer of the Ad Herennium. Students will examine the following issues: Why did Rhetoric arise? Why did it arise in Greece? What did centering education on Rhetoric provide the citizens of Athens and other city states? What were the characteristics of an effective Rhetoric? How did such characteristics change as the skill was variously defined by the Sophists, by Plato, by Aristotle, by Cicero, and by Quintilian? How did our authors define the use of logic, of emotion, and of argument by authority? What is the role of tropes ("figures" of thought and language, metaphor, simile, etc.) in the classical Rhetoric of the post-Athenian era? What killed classical Rhetoric (but only for a thousand years)? Finally, what power does classical Rhetoric hold for the modern student of writing?

Online participation will contribute 30% of the grade, the paper will contribute 35%, and the exams will contribute 35%. Students should have broadband access to the Internet (cable or DSL) and computers that can play audio and video.

ENGL 5366 (Teaching Technical Communication)

This course is designed to give you a theoretical and practical background in teaching introductory technical communication service courses. We'll discuss how pedagogical theory applies to teaching, as well as how to manage practical aspects of teaching basic technical communication service courses. ENGL 5366 is required of any GPTI who intends to teach ENGL 2311, Introduction to Technical Writing.

Outcomes: Successfully completing this course should enable students to fulfill the following outcomes:

  • Develop a teaching philosophy that shows your development as a reflective practitioner.
  • Develop syllabi, course materials, and lesson plans.
  • Observe other instructors and express how those observations might inform your own teaching.
  • Develop a knowledge of scholarship on the pedagogy of technical communication, and discuss your own teaching within that context.

ENGL 5374: Technical Editing

In this class, students will learn how to edit technical documents, from proofreading for errors at the surface to ensuring that the document contains appropriate content, organization, and visuals for its audiences. Students will also learn how to use traditional editing marks, editing functions within word processors, and principles of layout and design. Finally, students will learn about the profession of editing and develop pieces to support their careers. The course contains five major projects plus daily assignments, and each major project has a real client and a real deliverable.

ENGL 5377: Theoretical Issues in Technical Communication and Rhetoric & Text and Data Mining for Decision Making

Hello, Susan Lang. We have recommendations for you." So reads the top line of my amazon.com home page. Immediately below it, there are such links as "Susan's Amazon.com," "Your Browsing History," and "Improve Your Recommendations." This single page represents one example of how we use information to understand and forecast behaviors and actions of individuals and/or entire systems. Often, we are aware that our actions are being documented and stored in a database; what we are less aware of is how that information is being analyzed, repurposed, and used to understand or encourage subsequent behavior.

This course will introduce students to the theory and practice of working with relational databases for research, assessment, and programmatic decision-making. After initial overviews of databases, text mining, and data mining, we'll examine the use of relational databases for both inductive and deductive projects, that is, understanding how to work with a dataset to build hypotheses and how to approach the dataset with a previously structured hypothesis. We will also cover such relevant topics as IRBs and intellectual property issues that arise from working with datasets. The final portion of the course will deal with the design and construction of relational databases.

Students will have access to a variety of datasets throughout the course.

Reading Materials

Readings will come from a variety of texts including the following:

  • Dasu & Johnsons' Exploratory Data Mining and Data Cleaning
  • Weiss & Indurkhya's Predictive Data Mining & Predictive Text Mining
  • Knobbe's Multi-Relational Data Mining
  • Feldman & Sanger's Text-Mining Handbook: Advanced Approaches in Handling Unstructured Data
  • Do Prado & Ferneda's Emerging Technologies of Text Mining: Techniques and Applications
  • Borgman's Scholarship in the Digital Age
  • Churcher's Beginning Database Design

ENGL 5376, Online Publishing (section 001)

Web 2.0 and now what some regard as Web 3.0 technologies have dramatically impacted how we create, manage, and distribute information to online audiences. The purpose of this course is to expose students to a number of these technologies, requiring them to produce documentation, applications, etc. that maximize Web 2.0/3.0 functionality while at the same time adhering to thoughtful, effective interaction design principles. Accordingly, we will both create and research in 5376. Students will be responsible for deploying some of the following assignments:

  • Content Management System (CMS)
  • RSS Publishing
  • Podcasting
  • Interactive, Multiple-Scenario Training Module
  • YouTube or other video creation and uploading
  • 3D Web Application Creationg Wiki spatial application for Visible Past, Lively 3D Chat Room and Avatar Creation

Participation in a discussion forum, preparatory work, including storyboarding and prototyping, as well as a research paper of some length, will also be required.

As students work on projects they will read both practical and theoretical texts focused on information architecture, interface design, visual rhetoric, and other relevant subjects, such as online pedagogy issues. Although this is not a course that forwards particular tools, students can expect to use, among others, Adobe Dreamweaver and Captivate, one or more Open Source CMSes, such as Moodle or Drupal, and Audacity Audio Creation Software.

ENGL 5376, Online Publishing (section 270/370)

This course offers an overview of practical and theoretical aspects of designing effective online documents and Web sites. We will focus on information architecture, navigation systems, interface design, visual rhetoric, content development and granularity, and research and strategy issues. We will discuss a number of contemporary hypertext theories and major texts that examine issues of literacy, visual and spatial thinking, interactivity, and usability. We theorize, create, study, and re-create a series of online projects using a variety of new media tools that we are interested in learning. As such, the course and syllabus will evolve as our learning evolves.

ENGL 5385: Ethics in Technical Communication

will teach you to

  • investigate various definitions and philosophies of ethics pertinent to the field of technical communication.
  • examine the nature and scope of ethical dilemmas in technical communication.
  • determine possible solutions to the ethical problems encountered by technical communicators.
  • explain the applicability of theories of ethics to the field of technical communication.
  • recognize the similarities and differences in ethical and legal perspectives.

Website: http://www.faculty.english.ttu.edu/dragga/5385-001.html


Dombrowski, Paul. Ethics in Technical Communication (Allyn & Bacon, 2000)

Herrington, TyAnna K. A Legal Primer for the Digital Age (Pearson Longman, 2003)

May, Steven (ed.), Case Studies in Organizational Communication: Ethical Perspectives and Practices (Sage, 2006).

English 5388: Usability Testing & Research

This course attempts to balance the theory of usability testing with the practice of actually conducting usability tests. It aims for two distinct modes. The first involves the concepts of usability testing, and will require that you do the assigned readings and participate fully in class discussion. I will expect you to ask questions, to connect ideas from various readings, and to connect these theories to our activities in the actual usability lab. The second mode of this course involves spending time in the usability lab, plugging in wires, rolling tape, positioning microphones and cameras, digitizing and editing video, and generally becoming very familiar with the workings of gathering data.

Required Readings:

  • Carol Barnum's Usability Testing & Research (Allyn & Bacon, 2002)
  • Other readings will be assigned and made available on the course web site (http://www.brianstill.com/moodle)

Expected Assignments:

  • Discussion Forum (10%)
  • Site Visit (20%)
  • Usability Team Project (60%)
  • Usability test plan (1/3)
  • Report of findings (1/3)
  • Client briefing and highlights tape/DVD (1/3)
  • Final (10%)

ENGL 5389: Field Methods of Research

Technical communicators have established their own research methods for use in software design, in the production of training materials, in the creation, use, and testing of educational activities, and so forth. This course will serve as a critical overview to these methods. In this course, we will examine these methods in terms of: theoretical bases; data collection and analysis; and design work. For each method, students will design and critique research questions/problem statements and research instruments. Each student will create an annotated bibliography concerning an aspect of these methods. Using one of these methods, each student will conduct a small-scale study and report findings. Students will also lead a class discussion concerning an issue associated with field methods in TCR.

At the end of this course, students should have a theoretical understanding of the assumptions behind each method and, therefore, a grounding in how to choose the proper method for a given set of concerns and environment. Students should be able to articulate reasons for selecting a field method and should be able to conduct and direct studies using any of the methods covered.