Advanced Technical Editing (Eng 6400/7400)

This online course is a requirement in the online masters program in technical communication at Utah State University. It focuses on teaching students how to edit documents with consideration to audience and context, including readability and accessibility issues. I taught two sections of this course, with two different preps: Spring 2006 and Summer 2007.

SPRING 2006 summary
This was the first time I taught Editing, and also the first time I taught in our online-only, practitioners-based MA program. (There were no doctoral students enrolled this term.)

  • sections taught in department this term: 1
  • number of students enrolled: 13
  • numeric evaluations (none available)

teaching innovations
I introduced students to the procedures of editing scholarly, digital texts, and we used webtexts from the journal I edit, Kairos, as the major project. In groups of four, students collaboratively edited one webtext (including written content and website design) from developmental stages to the text’s final copy-editing and proofreading. In addition, they wrote introductions for their webtext, the themes of which were focused on the history and future of the journal. None of these students lived in the same area and so all group work had to be completed using online communication.

Another innovation was my use of an offsite FTP location where students could upload and view their in-progress websites. (USU doesn’t offer this ability to students, and so I used other resources at my disposal to accommodate learning.) Because of the theoretical and technical expertise students had to learn to complete the major assignment, I learned how to write more detailed assignment sequences. I also learned to organize my online teaching better using a content management system so that students can more easily find the information they need.

teaching challenge
The class progressed fairly well, with the exception of one problematic student group who had difficulty communicating and collaborating in the online environment. I ended up moderating their discussions, and group work progressed smoothly after that. From this experience, I learned how to react in appropriate ways to inappropriate online communication from adult learners.

narrative evaluations

  • not available

accompanying materials

SUMMER 2007 summary
This was the second time I taught this online-only class to graduate students at Utah State University. I changed the syllabus, since the summer course was only six weeks long (as opposed to the 15-week semesters), and we focused on the rhetorical and aesthetic situations of editing different media. We “progressed” through levels of editing (developmental, copy-editing, proofreading, etc.) on written texts whose layouts had yet to be completed (i.e., an unformatted article), to visual texts such as poems, to audio-only texts such as radio commercials, to multimodal texts such as websites with graphics and videos. This course proceeded much more smoothly than the previous iteration did, in part because I was more comfortable teaching online and in part because I had earned the trust of many onsite graduate students in the Literature & Writing program who enrolled in this online course because it was my last class at Utah State.


  • These were lost in a database crash. (I can provide an email from the college systems administrator attesting to this.)

accompanying materials

  • Summer 2007 syllabus (to come)