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Current Course Offerings

Fall 2018



English 5311.001: Foundations of Technical Communication

Online/Hybrid: First class meets at Round Rock; other meetings online

M 6:30-9:20 pm; Online


Instructor: Dr. Miriam F. Williams

Description: This course is an introduction to technical communication history, theory, research, and practice.

Goals: In this course students will:

  • Understand the history of technical communication;
  • Discuss the theoretical perspectives that shape our field;
  • Discuss the relationship between theory and practice in technical communication;
  • Negotiate various definitions of technical communication and evaluate the legitimacy of these definitions;
  • Identify common genres of technical communication and sites where this discourse is disseminated;
  • Learn to use new technologies for collaborative writing, online presentations, web conferencing, and online training; and
  • Discuss the cultural contexts in which technical communication is invented.

BooksSolving Problems in Technical Communication, edited by Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber; Central Works in Technical Communication, edited by Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber

Format: Seminar and online discussions. Synchronous class discussions will be held in Zoom; asynchronous discussions will be held in the TRACS Forum. We will meet face-to-face at RRHEC for the first meeting.


Reading responses posted to TRACS: 20% Attendance and class participation: 20% Annotated bibliography: 20%

Research paper: 30%

Presentation: 10%

Office Hours: 5:30-6:30pm on Mondays in the Adobe Connect Office Hours meeting room. Contact:

See information regarding Zoom here:



English 5313.001: Visual Rhetoric

Online/Hybrid; Meets in Round Rock on 8/27, 10/17, and 12/05; all other times online

W 6:30-9:20 pm; room 456


Instructor: Dr. Pinfan Zhu

Course Description: The world today is full of visual images. Mass media such as television, cinemas, films, magazines, advertisements, internet, billboards, books, videocassettes, etc., are all inalienable from visuals. In technical communication, use of visuals is even more important. Few technical documents or presentations could be considered as effective without the help of visual elements. Naturally, it is important that we learn to use visuals effectively. The goals of English 5313, Visual Rhetoric, are to develop students' visual intelligence and train their visual literacy so that they are able to properly interpret, critically analyze, and effectively use visuals both in technical communication and other fields. Specifically, students will learn principles of visual perceptions such as Gestalt theories, the use of rhetorical theories, semiotic theory to interpret, analyze, and create visuals. They will also understand the rhetoric of images and design, and the use of five cannons in document design. Topics cover the study of document design, typographic applications, and the interpretation and analysis of images. On the whole, the course will be interesting and practical. I hope you will enjoy yourself immensely by taking this course. The course is a hybrid one. We will meet online on Wednesday evenings from 6:30 pm to 9:20 pm. The other three face-to-face meetings will be in Round Rock in room 456.

Meeting Dates are 8/27, 10/17, and 12/05.

Books: Charles Kostelnick, Designing Visual Language: Strategies for Professional Communicators; Carolyn Handa, Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World. A Critical Source Book. Online readings.


10% Reading responses (5 responses)

20% Class participation 30% Three short papers 15% Analytical paper

5% Photoshop project

10% Presentation of your document design project 10% Document Design Project

Office: M18, FL Hall



English 5313.003 

Topic: Technical Editing 

T 6:30-9:20 pm; Online 


Instructor: Dr. Scott Mogull

Description: In this course, students will learn professional copyediting skills and be introduced to the publishing industry. Similar to an advanced undergraduate course in editing, students will practice editing at the sentence level and comprehensive revision at the document level. Learning to be an effective copyeditor requires extensive reading, practice, and engagement in class discussions. In addition, students in this seminar will conduct graduate-level research and prepare training (or teaching) presentations that cover advanced editing skills, software, and publishing issues. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be prepared to work as editors or lead editors in professional settings.

NOTE: As an online course, students are required to have access to a high-speed internet connection and participate through audio/video online conferencing during class times. Before the first class, students will need to have registered an account for Skype and Google (both are free).

Books: TBA

Evaluation: 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%)

Office: FH 131

Phone: (512) 245-3718





English 5383.001 (7383): History of Rhetoric/Rhetorical Theory

W 6:30-9:20 pm; FH G04

Also fulfills TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION program requirements.


Instructor: Dr. Eric Leake

Description: This course is a survey and introduction to rhetorical theory. We will begin with classical rhetoric and continue through contemporary theories. That is a lot to cover, and so the course aims to balance historical breadth with some contemporary depth. Our driving questions throughout the course will be: what is rhetoric and what does rhetoric do? We will address these questions by considering how rhetoric has developed in different times and places and how it remains relevant, particularly for composition, pedagogy, public discourse, and other areas across English studies.

Goals: Students will be able to demonstrate familiarity with key rhetorical figures and concepts, articulate the historical development of rhetoric, perform rhetorical analysis of a variety of texts, map rhetoric’s relationship with other fields of inquiry, and design and complete graduate-level research in a significant rhetorical issue.

Books (tentative)The Rhetorical Tradition and supplementary readings.

Format: Class discussions and student presentations.

Evaluation: Weekly responses, student presentations, rhetorical analysis project, seminar paper.