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Current Course Offerings

Spring 2017

English 5310.251: Digital Literacies

M 6:30-9:20 pm, FH G14 


Instructor: Dr. Deborah Balzhiser

Description: What does it mean to be digitally literate? In this course, we define digital literacies in relationship to the different areas of English Studies and as they relate to educational, workplace, and public lives. We think about digital literacies rhetorically, sociocognitively, culturally, and in relationship to identity formation and (career, cultural, and economic) capital. Students will regularly engage scholarship and technology.

Materials: Multiliteracies for a Digital Age (Selber). The Culture of Connectivity: A Critical History of Social Media (van Dijck) Other books, journal articles, news, and readings will be added. There will be about 80 pages of reading a week. This course changes every time it is taught in order to keep current, and I am currently assessing the new focus.

Evaluation: Face-to-Face Discussions 10%; Weekly Digital Reading Responses 10%; Digital Peer Responses 10%; Short Digital Text (3) 10% each; Presentation 10%; Annotated Bibliography 10%; Final Project 20%



ENG 5312.252: Editing the Professional Publication

M 6:30-9:20pm; Flowers 114/Hybrid

Meets: 01/23 and 5/1 in San Marcos; other meetings online.



Instructor: Miriam F. Williams

Description: This course is an internship in which students will practice writing, editing, designing, and proofreading a professional publication.

Goals: The goals of the course are to give students the opportunity to:

  • participate in an applied learning experience,
  • provide a useful service to others while gaining professional technical communication experience,
  • conduct qualitative research and negotiate user/client needs,
  • write, edit, and design print and web content in collaborative online environments, and
  • write, edit, and design print and web content for personal or MATC exam portfolios.

Required Books: Students will be assigned weekly readings from scholarly journal articles. Also, students will be assigned readings from E-reserved book chapters.

Format: Hybrid course: Meets: 01/23 and 5/1 in Flowers Hall 114.
 All other meetings are held in Skype for Business, an online meeting environment.

Evaluation: Class Participation (Individual Assessment) = 20 percent

Midterm Progress Report (Individual Assessment) = 20 percent

Content Editing Project (Group Assessment) = 30 percent

Recommendation Report (Group Assessment) = 20 percent

Final Presentation to Client (Group Assessment) =10 percent

For more information: Contact Dr. Miriam F. Williams at



English 5313.251: Principles of Technical Communication

Technical Editing

Th 6:30-9:20 pm, FH G14


Instructor: Dr. Scott Mogull

Course Description: In this course, students will learn professional copyediting skills and the publishing contexts in which editors work. Students will learn to copyedit at the sentence level and conduct comprehensive editing at the document level. Students will also explore the current research, technologies, and issues in editing.

Course Objectives: The primary objectives for this class are for students to learn sentence-level editing, document editing, and editor-author relationships. Additionally, students will learn to edit by hand and use Microsoft Word’s tracking and formatting features as well as various documentation styles. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be prepared to be technical editors in industry, government, or academia.

Required Textbooks: Course Pack available from the University Bookstore.

Format: This course requires student engagement and activity. During the first part of the semester, students will learn much of the material by weekly hands-on practice and in-class discussion in which they share editorial changes with the class. Students will practice functioning as professional editors in which they explain and describe editorial decisions to authors. During the latter part of the semester, students will research current research, technologies, and issues related to the editing profession and present this information to the class.

The anticipated evaluation criteria are as follows:

  • Sentence-level copyediting practice/discussion (25%)
  • Document editing practice/discussion (25%)
  • Editing exam (25%)
  • Research/presentation of current research, technologies, or issues in editing (25%)



English 5314.251: Specializations in Technical Communication 

Topic: Writing for the Government

T 6:30-9:20 pm, FH G04



Instructor: Libby Allison

This course offers students theories and applications of writing for a wide variety of government agencies. Students will learn genres for government documents such as rules and regulations, policy statements, public policy reports, and impact statements. In addition, students will practice Plain Language style while they analyze the audience, purpose, cultural contexts, legal and ethical matters related to government documents and websites.

Goals: Students will learn about the following:

  • fundamental writing methods to enhance their writing and editing abilities;
  • genres and formats used by local, state, and federal government agencies;
  • how to understand the audience, purpose, and context for government documents;
  • the Plain Language movement and its impact on communication effectiveness;
  • new ways, such as social media, for communicating to government audiences;
  • how to prepare for careers as technical communicators for government agencies.

Required Readings: Allison, Libby and Miriam F. Williams. Writing for the Government. Pearson, 2008. (The Allyn and Bacon Book Series in Technical Communication.) Supplemental readings will be assigned during the semester.

Format: Graduate discussion seminar.

Evaluation: Attendance and participation: 20%

Homework: 30%

Research paper: 30%

Class Facilitations and Presentations: 20%

Email: Contact Dr. Allison at  

English 5314.252: Specializations in Technical Communication 

Topic: Proposal Writing

Th 6:30-9:20 pm, Hybrid Course FH G04
 and online


Instructor: Aimee Roundtree

Description: The course will engage students in searching for public and private funding sources and writing grant proposals for real-world funding needs. They will use print and electronic tools for identifying funding sources, preparing proposals, and making professional presentations. They will learn about the grant cycle and budgeting basics, as well as databases and other resources for identifying funding opportunities.


  • Dustin, J. C. (2012). Grant Writing and Fundraising Tool Kit for Human Services. Pearson Higher Ed. ISBN: 9780205088690
  • Carlson, M., & O'Neal-McElrath, T. (2013). Winning grants step by step (Vol. 4). John Wiley & Sons.  ISBN: 9781118378342

Format: Hybrid Seminar (every other Thursday online)

Evaluation: Letter of Intent, Grant Proposal, Presentation, and Final Exam

Office Hours: T 10-11, W 11-1


5383.251: Rhetorical Theory

W 6:30-9:20 pm, Hybrid Course ARR and online


Instructor: Pinfan Zhu

Description: The course is a hybrid course, which means we will meet three times in Round Rock on 01/18, 03/08, and 04/26 respectively. All through the spring semester, we work together to define “rhetoric” and study how rhetoric can serve technical communication. Definitions of “rhetoric are always in flux. When studying rhetorical theory as socially and culturally situated throughout history, we can better understand notions of civic, professional, and institutional discourse as well as underpinnings of power, politics, and participation, and, some would argue, reality. As a course in an English Department, we are particularly concerned with how rhetoric is related to technical communication. Also, we will examine the development and evolution of rhetoric theory from classical to modern eras. We will focus on some selective readings so as to understand how the development and evolution were made and how classic and modern rhetorical theories can solve practical problems in technical communication.

Required Books: 
Bizzell, Patricia and Bruce Herzberg. The Rhetorical tradition: Readings from Classic Times to the Present. 2nd ed. 2001

Whitburn, Merrill Rhetorical Scope and Performance: The Example of Technical Communication. 2000.
 Some online readings.

Goals: To teach rhetorical theories of different historical periods and introduce famous rhetoricians and their contributions to rhetorical theories over the history. The course will also enable students to apply rhetorical theories to technical communication and understand the rhetorical scope and performance in the field of technical communication.

Format: primarily discussions, lectures, and presentations

Evaluation: 20% Web board responses

10% Class Participation

40% Four short analytical papers

10% Oral presentation

20% Final project.

For more information: see Dr. Zhu in FH 142.

Email: Phone: (512) 245-7665

Spring Office Hours: W 4:30 to 6:30pm