Texas Tech University

Visual Rhetorics, New Media, and User-Centered Design

Theories, applications, and research in visual communication from a rhetorical and user-centered perspective, including subjects such as Document design, Web design, Multimedia design, Usability studies, Media studies, Instructional design, and Interaction design


Of the 27 graduate courses available in the TCR program, the following focus especially on visual rhetoric, new media, and user-centered design:

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.

Note: All courses may be repeated for credit when the topic varies.

Facilities and Resources

  • Usability Research Lab (URL). The TCR program has a dedicated lab for testing the usability of documents, web sites, and other communication designs.
  • Media Lab. The Media Lab offers hardware, software, and training for using digital media, video, audio, podcasting, streaming, and instructional design
  • Servers. The TCR program manages a number of servers, including Apache and IIS web servers and a Windows Streaming Media server.

Selected Dissertation and Publication Titles

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