Texas Tech University

Areas of Emphasis

Our graduate program houses two degrees: the Master of Arts in Technical Communication, and the PhD in Technical Communication & Rhetoric. We emphasize:

Rhetoric, Composition, and Technology

The art, history, and theory of persuasion, argumentation, and expression and how such activities are applied and taught.

Courses

5060: History and Theory of Composition. Seminar in history and contemporary theories of composition and rhetoric studies. Required for all new teaching assistants and graduate part-time instructors.

5067: Methods of Teaching College Composition. Introduces methods of teaching writing through assigned readings, supervised participation in teaching activities, and seminar discussion.

5361: Introduction to Rhetorical Theory. Classical and modern theories of rhetorical invention.

5362: Rhetorical Analysis of Text. Classical and modern theories of rhetorical analysis.

5364: History of Rhetoric. Survey of history and theories of rhetoric with an emphasis on applications to written communication.

5368: Studies in Written Argumentation. History and theories of written argumentation.

5369: Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowledge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.

Former Student Work

  • Dissertation: Rhetorical Organization in Contemporary Chinese and English Argumentation: A Contrastive and Comparative Study
  • Dissertation: Understanding Users Undergoing Change: An Examination of an Innovative Hybrid First-Year Composition Course
  • Publication: "New Process, New Product:  Redistributing Labor in a First-Year Writing Program."
  • Publication:"Argument in Hypertext: Writing Strategies and the Problem of Order in a Non-Sequential World"
  • Publication:"Writing Dialogically: Bold Lessons from Electronic Text."
  • Publication: "The Necessity of Teaching Intercultural Communication Competence in Literacy Classes"

Technical Communication

Theory, history, practice, teaching, and management of workplace communication, including the genres of reports, manuals, and proposals, and the skills of document design, style, and editing in a variety of media.

Courses

5366: Teaching Technical and Professional Communication. Theory and teaching of technical and professional writing with special attention to developing course objectives, syllabi, and teaching techniques.

5371: Foundations of Technical Communication. Theory and practice of technical communication.

5372: Technical Reports. Theory and practice of reports and proposals.

5373: Technical Manuals. Theory and practice of manual development and design.

5374: Technical Editing. Substantive editing and design of technical documents.

5375: Document Design. Theory and practice of creating comprehensible, usable, and persuasive texts.

5376: Online Publishing. Design and testing of online documents to support instruction and information retrieval.

5383: Grants and Proposals. Theoretical issues and practical experience dealing with the genre and process of writing grants and proposals.

5387: Publication Management. Strategies of managing processes and knowledge that support publication.

5388: Usability Testing and Research. Methods of planning, conducting, and analyzing usability tests.

Former Student Work

  • Dissertation: Knowledge-Building Spaces in Technical Communication: Navigating a Tertiary Orality
  • Dissertation: Teaching Intercultural Communication in a Service Technical Writing Course: Alternative Ways of Presenting Intercultural Issues in Technical Writing Textbooks and in Real Classrooms
  • Dissertation: Open-Source Software Development and User-Centered Design: A Study of Open-Source Practices and Participants
  • Dissertation: The Role of Rhetorical Invention for Visuals: A Study of Technical Communicators in the Workplace
  • Dissertation: Technical Communication in the Public Sector: Convergence Analysis of Historical Discourse and the Reports of the Immigration Commission, 1911
  • Dissertation: Web-based Training Evaluation in the Workplace: Practices, Instructional Architectures, and Skills
  • Dissertation: Ethos and Exigence: The White Paper in Technical Communication
  • Dissertation: Decision-Making as a Rhetorical Act: The Role of Choice in the Design and Delivery of an Online Education Program
  • Publication: Editing from the Author's Viewpoint: Results of an International Survey
  • Publication: Editing from the Author's Viewpoint: Cross-cultural Results
  • Publication: Editing from the Author's Viewpoint: Results of an International Survey
  • Publication: Editing from the Author's Viewpoint: Cross-cultural Results

Rhetorics of Science and Healthcare

Consideration of discourse and communication within scientific, technical, and medical fields.

Courses

5384: Rhetoric of Scientific Literature. The foundational, canonical course for the emphasis. It deals with rhetorical critique of classic science arguments, such as Darwin's Origin of the Species. It also introduces ideas developed further in the specialty courses.

5386: Discourse and Social Issues. Especially when it is taught with a focus on social issues also being those of a scientific nature (e.g. environmental, risk communication, classification, etc.).

5369: Discourse and Technology. Especially when it is taught with a focus on documentation of technology as used in the medical profession or in other applications of science.

5382: Theory and Research in the Written Discourses of Health and Medicine. Current theory and research in the written discourses of health and medicine, focusing on the roles of technical and professional.

Former Student Work

  • Dissertation: The making of knowledge in science: Case studies of paleontology illustration
  • Publication: Metaphor and Knowledge: The Challenges of Writing Science.
  • Publication: Optimism and Pessimism on the High Plains: A Tale of Archaeological Reports.
  • Publication: You Just Don't See Enough Normal': Critical Perspectives on Infant-Feeding Discourse and Practice
  • Publication: Understanding Women's Concerns in the International Setting Through the Lens of Science and Technology
  • Publication: The Medical Normalization of Abnormal Bodies: Intersex and Resistance
  • Publication: Artificial Intelligence as a Discursive Practice: The Case of Embodied Software Agent Systems

Technology, Culture, and Rhetoric

History, theory, and analysis of tools, techniques, and various cultural factors (feminism, ethics, intercultural analysis) in the production and reception of discourse.

Courses

5381: Global Technical Communication. Introduction to theories and practices in global technical communication.

5365: Alternative Rhetorics. Consideration of non-western, feminist rhetorical texts

5369: Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowledge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.

5377: Theoretical Issues. Special topics in areas such as cultures, feminisms, and genres.

5385: Ethics and Technical Communication. Definitions, philosophies, and applicability of ethics to technical communication problems and solutions.

5386: Discourse and Social Issues. Study of uses of written discourse in problem solving on social issues involving science or technology.

Former Student Work

  • Dissertation: Linking Contextual Factors with Rhetorical Patterns in Chinese and American Business Letters: Moving toward Convergence?
  • Dissertation: Culture and Context: Invention and Style in Historical and Contemporary Regulations
  • Dissertation: Translation Issues in Chinese Folk Medical Texts
  • Dissertation: Technical communication learning on the United States-Mexico border: Factors affecting cross-cultural competence in globalized settings
  • Dissertation: A Comparison of Greek and Chinese Rhetoric and Their Influence on Later Rhetoric
  • Dissertation: The Untold Story about Greek Rational Thought: Buddhist and Other Indian Rationalist Influences on Sophist Rhetoric
  • Publication: Toward a Feminist Rhetoric of Technology
  • Publication: International Digital Studies: A Research Approach for Examining International Online Interactions

Visual Rhetoric, New Media, and User-Centered Design

Analysis, theory, and production of non- or extra-textual aspects of communication and discourse.

Our faculty also emphasize research methods in our PhD program; we have the most rigorous methods requirement of any doctoral program in the discipline.

Courses

5365: New Media Rhetoric. Introduction to theoretical and practical complexities and practicalities of working with new media and graphics.

5369: Discourse and Technology. Study of the effects of computer networks and digitally mediated knowledge management on theoretical, practical, and pedagogical notions of discourse and discourse communities.

5375: Document Design. Theory and practice of creating comprehensible, usable, and persuasive texts.

5376: Online Publishing. Design and testing of online documents to support instruction and information retrieval.

5377: Visual Rhetoric. Analysis and theory of the persuasive, discursive, and argumentative nature of the visual components of documents.

Former Student Work

  • Dissertation: The Role of Rhetorical Invention for Visuals: A Study of Technical Communicators in the Workplace
  • Dissertation: Open-Source Software Development and User-Centered Design: A Study of Open-Source Practices and Participants
  • Dissertation: Exploring User / Webtext Interactions: An Examination of Gender and Sex Differences in Web Use
  • Dissertation: The Making of Knowledge in Science: Case Studies of Paleontology Illustration
  • Publication: Web Development: A Visual Spatial Approach.
  • Publication: Writing Software Documentation: A Task-Oriented Approach
  • Publication: Cruel Pies: The Inhumanity of Technical Illustrations
  • Publication: Hiding Humanity: Verbal and Visual Ethics in Accident Reports
  • Publication: Multimodal Composing: Teaching Effective Communication Through Exploring Oral, Chirographic, Typographic, and Electronic Culture
  • Publication: ePortfolio Performance Support Systems: Constructing, Presenting, and Assessing Portfolios
  • Publication: New Media Labs as Key Technical Communication Support Spaces