Studies in Technology and Writing (Eng 6480/7480)

This is a special-topics seminar for masters students in the Literature and Writing program and for PhD students in the Theory and Practice of Professional Communication program. I taught two very different iterations of this course: Fall 2006 and Summer 2006.

FALL 2006 summary
I was asked last spring to prep for this new course, which was easy considering this is my dream syllabus. My focus is on multimodal composition pedagogies. The readings and assignments of this onsite class focus on composition pedagogies from the last 20-ish years. Assignments include reviewing journals in the field, writing an academic paper, and producing a multimodal project, along with reading an average of 200 pages of theory each week. We also cover professional development in the field.

  • sections taught in department this term: 1
  • number of students enrolled: 5 masters and 3 PhD students

teaching innovations
The first innovation was an in-class assignment that we worked on throughout the semester. This assignment includes having students map out their understandings of the readings (in relation to composition pedagogies) on the wall of our classroom. We constructed a large board on which students posted index cards filled with major and minor theories, themes, important authors and articles, and other useful information, all of which helped them to visually conceive of the scope of composition studies as an academic field.

The second innovation was the inclusion of professional development discussions that enhance the students knowledge about becoming an academic, joining the field of writing studies (as many of them would, in some form), and demystifying that process. The PhD program was new at the time and so these discussions were built on informal questions about the academic job market at the beginning of class. I was happy to provide a setting for these discussions since it relates to my professional mentoring work at national conferences.

narrative evaluations

  • to come

accompanying materials

  • Fall 2006 syllabus [doc]
  • photograph of the student-produced ‘map’ of composition pedagogies

SUMMER 2006 summary
I taught an online summer course for masters students, focused on Teaching Writing with Technology. When I offered this course, it had a different course number (basically as a special topics) but USU has reconfigured their course catalog since 2007 and now that course number no longer exists (6/7480 is the next closest). I taught this version of 6480 as a reading group where students were invited to choose a list of 5 books in the field of digital writing studies, according to their particular interests, read a book a week, write a formal book review about it, and post that review (along with responses to and discussions about each others’ selections) on an online discussion forum. This class helped me enact a happenings pedagogy through open assignments (i.e., allowing each student to choose, and negotiate with me, their book lists).

narrative evaluations

  • student evaluations were not available for summer, online classes at the time

accompanying materials

  • none available