Texas Tech University

TCR Grad Courses, Summer 2013

Distance Courses ~June 3 - ~August 10 (6:00 - 7:45 p.m.)

Course Title Instructor Date Sections CRN
ENGL 5373: Instructional Design (applied theory) Baehr Mon D21 25694
ENGL 5377: Style (theory, applied theory) Cargile Cook Tues D21 23272
ENGL 5377: Public Rhetoric(s): Theories, Practices and Pedagogies (theory) Moore Mon D22 23274
ENGL 5365: Special Topics: Data Mining (methods) Lang Thurs D21 23149
ENGL 5386: Accessibility and Disability (theory, applied theory) Zdenek Weds D21 23294
ENGL 5390: Writing for Publication (applied theory) Koerber Weds D21 23323

May Workshop (daily 5/20 - 6/1, 1:30 - 5:30)

5375 and 5388 are available only to students attending the 2-week May workshop. 5365 is available to all local students by permission

ENGL 5375 Document Design (applied theory) Kimball 1:30-5:30 Daily 25311
ENGL 5388 Usability Testing (applied theory, methods) Carter 1:30-5:30 Daily 25312
ENGL 5365 Studies in Composition: New Media Rhetoric (theory, applied theory) Rice 1:30-5:30 Daily 25310


ENGL 5365: New Media Rhetoric

Technical communicators often see problems in their communities that require sophisticated plans to resolve. Such problems might include using multiple media types to explain material, to instruct, or to design feasibility analysis reports. English 5365: Media/Rhetoric is designed to introduce students to theoretical and practical complexities and practicalities of working with new media. We will discuss different formulations of what "new media" might mean while reading a variety of important and mind-opening works about media, and while putting our new knowledge into practice with group projects.

ENGL 5375 Document Design

This course will focus on the visual and physical aspects of documents, grounding practical document design skills in theories of visual perception, visual culture, and visual rhetoric. The primary goals of the course are to broaden your awareness of the theoretical constructs we can use to develop successful document designs and to give you further practice in document design.

Because this is a graduate course, the work required will be both theoretical and practical. On the theoretical side, you will read and discuss a variety of theoretical discussions about document design and related areas of study, such as visual rhetoric, visual literacy, cognitive psychology, color theory, visual ethics, and information graphic design. You will also write an essay analyzing the design of one or more documents. On the practical side, you will complete a series of exercises and a document design project for a real client during the two-week May Workshop.


Students should be able to fulfill the following outcomes through taking this course:

  1. Analyze document designs and their contexts through a variety of theoretical and practical viewpoints. Methods of assessment: Analytical essays, project situational analysis report.
  2. Design effective and creative visual designs in response to communication situations. Methods of assessment: Collaborative design project.
  3. Articulate reasons behind design decisions. Methods of assessment: Reflective report on design project.
  4. Manage design projects. Methods of assessment: Progress reports.

English 5373: Technical Manuals: Instructional Development & Design

This graduate-level 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 instructional architectures, instructional design, user-centered design, 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, through a variety of communication software tools.

ENGL 5365: 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 and datasets 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.

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

Required Texts
Miner, et. al. Practical Text Mining and Statistical Analysis for Non-structured Text Data Applications.
Publication Date: January 25, 2012 | ISBN-10: 012386979X | ISBN-13: 978-0123869791

Saldana, Johnny. The Coding Manual for Qualitative Research.
Publication Date: November 19, 2012 | ISBN-10:1446247376 | ISBN-13: 978-1446247372 | Edition: Second Edition

  • Additional readings will come from a variety of texts. The following are representative samples.
  • 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 5377: Style

This course explores the rhetorical canon of style from both theoretical and applied perspectives. The first unit of the course will examine style from a theoretical perspective, taking a quick historical survey of style as a rhetorical canon. The second unit will focus on technical style and its variations across disciplines and media. The final unit of the course will approach style from a practical, global perspective, particularly as it applies to international documentation and standards.

  • Throughout the course, students will analyze writing samples and discuss the stylistic choices writers make. Weekly assignments include readings, asynchronous and synchronous discussion, and stylistic analysis exercises. Students have a choice of assignments to meet course requirements:
  • Option A. A short book review (~1500 words) and a lengthy style portfolio (three style analyses of ~1500 words each and one paper revision).
  • Option B. A short style portfolio (one style analysis of ~1500 words and one paper revision) and a final research paper (~4500-5000 words).

The course will draw from a variety of reading materials, including the following required texts:

  • Williams, J. (2013). Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace (11th Edition). Longman. ISBN-10: 0321898680. ISBN-13: 978-0321898685. (~$45 new).
  • Kolln, M.J., & Gray, L. (2013). Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects (7th edition). Longman. ISBN-10: 0321846729 • ISBN-13: 9780321846723. (~$45 new).
  • Kohl, J. R. (2008). The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market. SAS. ISBN-10: 1599946572. ISBN-13: 978-1599946573. (~$40 new).
  • If Option A is selected, students will choose and instructor will approve an additional book for review.

ENGL 5377: Public Rhetoric(s)

Theories, Practices and Pedagogies. Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship, we will investigate the notion of public(s), the relationship between private and public spheres, and the ways counterpublics emerge in response to dominant publics and cultural hegemony. We will examine the intersection of democracy, agency, and public rhetoric, and we will consider technical communication and rhetoric(s) as they shape and are shaped by public(s) in their many (and mediated) forms.

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

This graduate course will introduce current theory and research in medical rhetoric and health communication. Although the primary focus will be scholarship in technical communication and rhetoric, the course will also include some texts from other disciplines that take an interest in medicine such as communication studies, sociology, and anthropology.

Course website: http://medicalrhetoricttu.wordpress.com/about/

In addition to these two books, several required readings will be available as digital files through the course Web site. Please contact Dr. Koerber at amy.koerber@ttu.edu if you have any questions.

ENGL 5386: Accessible Rhetoric: Web Accessibility and Disability Studies

In order to design optimally accessible environments and documents, technical communicators need to understand how people with disabilities access electronic information. 41 million Americans (or 15% of the total U.S. population) "have some level of disability." Moreover, the number of U.S. college students with disabilities has increased phenomenally since 1978, and a growing population of older Americans stands to benefit from assistive technologies and other features of accessible design.It makes sense for a number of reasons to keep accessibility in mind from the start of and throughout the life of a project (rather than as a painful necessity or nearly forgotten add-on at the end of a project). Accessibility also makes sense from a user-centered perspective: a common refrain among accessibility experts is that everyone (not just people with disabilities) can benefit from accessible technologies and environments. Accessibility is also mandated by law (at least in the U.S., Canada and Europe), and we can expect more and more TC practitioners to be held accountable to international standards (e.g. W3C's WCAG), U.S. laws (ADA, sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act), and/or the internal accessibility standards within their own organizations. TCR scholars must also be mindful of universal design and the needs of diverse bodies of students and users when writing about new media, digital rhetorics, and/or multimodal composition.

In this course, students will be exposed to and discuss a number of arguments for accessible design – economic, ethical, user-centered, and legal. We will explore accessibility through the lens of disability studies and disability activism, which provide additional contexts for understanding the importance of accessibility within physical and digital environments. We will also discuss standards and guidelines for accessible design (WCAG 2.0, Section 508, Captioning Key), accessibility testing and tools, and, through a series of workshops and "intervention" assignments, how to apply accessibility standards to a number of web technologies and desktop applications (Word, PowerPoint, pdf, HTML, web video, etc.). By the end of the course, students should have a good understanding of disability theory and Web accessibility, be able to make a strong case for accessible design, and understand how to design web technologies for optimal usability.

A basic familiarity with HTML is helpful but not required. Some tasks (e.g. closed captioning on the web, making pdfs accessible) can be completed easily using point and click web-based tools. Others (e.g. customized style sheets) require a greater knowledge of HTML. You will be able to choose topics that fit your interests and skill level. Everyone will perform an accessibility test of a website using a combination of automated "checkers" like WebAIM's Wave and manual checking (e.g. reading every alt-text to make sure they are acceptable in context). Accessibility testing usually requires more technical skill, but we will break it down in class in a way that will hopefully make it manageable for everyone, regardless of skill level. If you have questions about the course, please let me know (sean.zdenek@ttu.edu). The syllabus will be available prior to the first night of class.

Required Books

  • Cunningham, Katie (2012) The Accessibility Handbook. O'Reilly Media. ISBN: 978-1449322854.
  • Davis, Lennard, Ed. (2013) The Disability Studies Reader. 4th edition. Routledge. ISBN: 978-0415630511.

We will also read a small number of pdfs and web pages. The pdfs will be articles in TCR journals about disability and accessibility. The webpages will offer supplemental information on making the web accessible. Some of the supplemental web pages will be optional reading.

ENGL 5388 Usability Testing

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.

The lab experiences will take place during the May seminar for online doctoral students. Any work will be completed in class or no later than June 1.


This graduate course will address theoretical and practical issues related to scholarly writing and publishing in the 21st century. A broad array of genres will be covered, including peer-reviewed articles, scholarly monographs, edited collections, webtexts, and book reviews. Students can expect to learn practical advice on how to get published and to discuss recent trends and changes in scholarly publishing. Although the field of technical communication will be our primary focus, we will also consider scholarly writing and publishing more broadly across the disciplines.

Students will be required to purchase a copy of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition. Additional required texts will also be available as pdf files from the course Web site. Please contact Dr. Amy Koerber (amy.koerber@ttu.edu) if you have any questions or would like further information about the course.