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Undergraduate Course Offerings - Spring 2019

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ENGL 2311 Introduction to Technical Writing

Multiple Instructors and Times Available
Offered both Onsite and Online

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 3363 Introduction to Science Writing

Dr. Greg Wilson
Section 001: (M 6:00-8:50 PM) CRN: 56246
Section D01: (M 6:00-8:50 PM) CRN: 57640

Image of a virus, writing, and computer motherboard

This is a course for students majoring in science, engineering, technical communication, and social science. We will study types of writing and communication required for professional scientific work and how that writing differs from other types of writing. We will also study how to make scientific concepts accessible to technical audiences and the public. We will look at the structure of scientific articles, conference posters, grant proposals, graphs/illustrations, and research reports. Additionally, we will discuss the role of science in public controversies. At the end of the semester you will be better able to communicate about research in academic and professional contexts. Professor Wilson brings to the course experience as a science writer at the National Institutes of Health, as a technical writer and editor for environmental engineering firms, and as a researcher at Los Alamos National Laboratory, where he collaborated with scientists, mathematicians, and engineers.

ENGL 3365.017 Professional Report Writing

Dr. Ken Baake
R 6:00-8:50 PM
CRN: 57902

Image of a fork in the road in a forest

This class will look at reports in society and the workplace. Students will be encouraged to research and write a report about some decision they are facing in their lives—for example, one involving technology, such as what kind of car to buy; one involving career, such as how to prepare for a certain job; or one involving some other personal decision, such as the nutritional value of a diet they are considering The goal is to explore how the techniques of report research and writing can be applied to everyday decisions we face.

Reports are the primary work place document that creates knowledge and supports decision-making. Our class will examine reports and related proposals of various types: information reports, analytical reports, feasibility studies, recommendation reports, empirical research reports. All writing in some way tells a story, and so it is with reports and proposals. We will look at those stories.

As is typical in any graduate technical writing class, we will approach this topic from a theoretical and applied perspective. We will analyze existing documents using rhetorical theory. The class will involve reading and response in Blackboard and the report project that each student will conduct in various phases throughout the semester.

Our main text will be Houp, Pearsall, Tebeaux, Dragga. Reporting Technical Information. Oxford University Press.

ENGL 3365.008 Professional Report Writing

Dr. Lisa Phillips
MW 2:00-3:20 PM
CRN: 31712

Image of a computer on a desk with a camera and headphones

The primary goal of English 3365 is to prepare you to write and research in business and professional environments. We'll approach this goal through a genre studies approach. The basic idea: this means you'll learn how to adapt effectively to new writing situations because you'll learn how to research, analyze, critique, and produce a product(genre)in consideration of its rhetorical, social, and cultural context.

Think of it this way. If I were to only teach you isolated writing skills, like old-fashioned grammar drills, I cannot help you think about how to apply the skills in new situations. So...rather than teach you individual writing skills or even the basics of limited academic genres (like the classic research paper or formal five paragraph essay), you will experience writing instruction that can help you recognize genre conventions (types of writing "rules") and the rhetorical effects of those conventions because this will benefit you the most, long-term. For example, you may have an intuitive understanding of how a text message works to communicate a message, but to understand how that genre differs from an email to a boss requires "bigger picture" thinking that you can use across many aspects of your life—work, personal relationships, job hunting, volunteer activities, school, etc. You can grow as a writer, as a researcher of your own and
others' writing and communication practices, and more holistically, as an ethical person.

In keeping with these goals, we'll focus on business genres you will likely encounter across different medias and modes, and we'll create a hypothetical (but do-able) business or non-profit organization, seeing it through a ten-year lens. We'll have a learning-contract based grading system for this class. I will explain this in-person to enrolled students on the first day of class, providing you context and details.

I encourage questions, and hope that I have piqued your curiosity

ENGL 3365.D04 Professional Report Writing

Dr. Beau Pihlaja
*No Meeting Time*
CRN: 57903

Image of a laptop and a hand holding a cup of coffee

Professional Report Writing is an opportunity to prepare for the kinds of writing you will do in your future work, whether in the private or public sector, in for-profit or non-profit ventures. While some forms of reporting are standardized in an industry or field, reporting practices can vary significantly and change over time. Our course will explore specific genres and conventions for report writing, but more importantly will encourage you as writers to think "rhetorically" about the reporting you do. This means that, as you write, you will need to think about the goals and objectives of your reporting, the audience for your writing, their expectations for your writing, and so on. In our course, we will practice asking these questions as we learn to write various kinds of reports. The course will also require you to consider the research process you use as you write reports, the kinds of sources you use, as well as how you use information to make a report. We will consider design questions, how to format reports to be maximally effective. Finally, we will practice developing digital presentations on report material. Throughout we will consider the larger socio-cultural, political, and ethical concerns that confront us as we write reports in professional settings.

ENGL 3366 Style in Technical Writing

Dr. Kendall Gerdes
Section 001 (TR 3:30 – 4:50 PM) CRN: 57905
Section D01 (TR 3:30-4:50 PM) CRN: 57904

Image of graffiti

Image courtesy of Steve Rotman

This course focuses on the varieties, characteristics, and function of style in prose writing. Students in this class will cultivate a range of styles by experimenting with and analyzing the effects of such variables as word choice, sentence structure, rhythm, punctuation, grammar, and usage. We will also read and discuss arguments about writing style (both scholarly and otherwise), examining the politics and values that style communicates. We'll observe how style shapes what can be said and to whom, and describe how different styles suit different audiences. The goal is to develop keener senses of the rhetorical force of style, and to exercise writing as a way of tapping into the power and charm of language.

ENGL 4365.D01 Special Topics in Technical Communication: Feminist, Narrative, and Indigenous Thinking and Research

Dr. Rebecca Rickly
R 6:00-8:50 PM
CRN: 57906

Illustration of a woman surrounded by nature with the caption "turnt"
"turnt" is a drawing by African American poet, essayist, and artist Bianca Lynne Spriggs. Used with permission.

Most students get a fairly good overview of how "traditional" thinking and research happens in their chosen fields. However, contexts, individuals, and situations necessitate the revising of existing thinking and research, often through specific lenses such as feminist, narrative, or Indigenous. This course will serve as a critical overview to these theories/methods, acknowledging (and honoring) their origin as well as their application/overlay onto more traditional methods/ways of thinking. Students will maintain a reflective journal as we learn about narrative, Feminist, and Indigenous ideology, methodology, and methods. We will, as a group, design a research project that uses these concepts, again understanding the responsibility we take on when we opt to use these methods. Students will propose an individual final project. At the end of the course, students will have experience using these methods respectfully, and they will receive the grounding necessary for critiquing, choosing, and applying them in the future.