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Current Course Offerings

Fall 2019

English 5311.001: Foundations in Technical Communications

M 6:30-9:20 pm; Online only


Instructor: Dr. Miriam F. Williams

Description: Foundations of Technical Communication is an introduction to technical communication history, theory, and practice. At the end of the course you will be able to do the following:

• Discuss technical communication history, practices, theories, and research methods;

• Discuss the relationship between theory and practice in technical communication;

• Negotiate various definitions of technical communication and evaluate the legitimacy of these definitions;

• Improve your knowledge of some markup language, software application, programming language, or technology of your choosing; and

• Use common genres of technical communication to communicate your understanding of some markup language, software application, programming language, or technology of your choosing.



• Selected journal articles available in the Texas State University Library Online


Format: Online: Synchronous class discussions will be held in Zoom; asynchronous discussions will be held in the TRACS Forum.


• Project I – Project Proposal 20%

• Project II – Mid-Semester Status Report 20%

• Project III – Instructional Manual 20%

• Project IV – Instructional Video 20%

• Discussion Forums – 20%

Office: Flowers Hall 132

Phone: (512) 245-3015



English 5313.001: Studies in the Principles of Technical Communication

Topic: Scientific and Medical Rhetoric and Writing

TH 6:30-9:20 pm; Online only


Instructor: Dr. Aimee Kendall Roundtree

Description: This course introduces students to key theories, principles, and issues in the writing, editing, and designing of scientific and medical communication. The course offers students opportunities to practice applied genres like articles, health education materials, public health campaigns, and grants, to name a few. A key element of the course is the integration of a service- and active-learning component in which students work on real-world communication activities. During the semester students will also reflect on their learning experiences so they will carry the principles they have learned and practiced beyond the semester into careers.

Goals: Students will (i) understand and apply terms, issues, and concepts of scientific and medical writing; (ii) analyze and evaluate scientific and medical communication; (iii) create common genres of scientific and medical writing; (iv) collaborate with others; (v) conduct research and use research software; and (vi) write, communicate, and edit with correctness and proficiency


• Medical Writing: A Guide for Clinicians, Educators, and Researchers (ISBN-13: 978-3319701257)

• The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science: Second Edition (ISBN-13: 978- 0226144504)

• Landmark Essays on Rhetoric of Science: Case Studies Second Edition (ISBN-13: 978- 1138695894)

• Methodologies for the Rhetoric of Health & Medicine (ISBN-13: 978-1138235861)

Format: Online

Evaluation: Presentation (20%); Review (20%); Proposal (20%); Article (10%); Decision Aid

(10%); Book Review (10%); Guideline Evaluation (10%).

Office: Flowers 313

Phone: (512) 245-2317



English 5314.001: Specializations in Technical Communication

Topic: International Technical Communication

W 6:30-9:20 pm; Online only


Instructor: Pinfan Zhu

Description: This course prepares students with the necessary theories and skills for international technical communication. It mainly consists of three parts: understanding cultural differences, translation theories and techniques, and website internationalization and localization. Students will first learn important models for understanding cultural differences and other theories regarding how to communicate with cross-cultural audiences ethically, verbally, visually, and non-verbally in an effective manner. They will also learn how to analyze international audiences in terms of their values, cultural needs, and their communication styles. In the translation part, students will learn principles that can help them cope with language problems. The final part emphasizes web site internationalization and localization, a very important part in international technical communication. Students will conceptually understand how to internationalize or localize websites using relevant software, in addition to theories and principles of internationalization and localization. Since this is a course totally online, students will work mainly independently but will also be in consultation with me throughout the semester. They must have access to a computer and Internet browsing capabilities and will be responsible for learning some new technology and/or software on your own, but tutorials might be given if necessary. In this course, you have to know how to use Zoom; tutorials are available online.


1. Understanding cross-cultural communication theories,

2. Commanding the theories, principles and skills to internationalize information for web

interface display for international audiences,

3. Using translation and contrastive rhetoric as a guide to create effective language for web

internationalization and localization.


1. Aykin, Nuray (2005). Usability and Internationalization of Information Technology.

Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.

2. Singh P (2005). The Culturally Customized Web Site. Burlington: Elsevier.

3. Mona Baker (2005). In Other Words: A Course Book on Translation. New York:


4. Online readings.


• 25% Web Board responses for each week’s reading

• 30% Three short papers

• 10% Mid-term exam

• 10% Exercises

• 30% Long term paper

Office: FH M18 Spring Office Hours: 4:30- 6:30 PM

Phone: (512) 245-3013




English 5383.001: Studies in Rhetorical Theory

Topic: History of Rhetorical Theory

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


Instructor: Deborah Balzhiser

Description/Goals: This course examines the development and evolution of rhetorical theory from the classical era to the twentieth century. The course provides a broad view of rhetorical theory, an historical perspective that encompasses how rhetoric has been defined and practiced, how its definitions and practices have been challenged and changed, and how it affects the fields of rhetoric and composition and technical communication. Primarily we will read canonical texts but you are invited to bring in counter or additional perspectives each week. Rhetoric resides at the core of our understanding of writing and writing pedagogy; civic, professional, and institutional discourse; power, politics, participation, and voice. Rhetoric can even constitute, rather than merely reflect, reality. Studying rhetorical history, we come to understand the impact this history has on contemporary notions of writing, writing instruction, language, literacy, textual production, agency, power, and culture. The course revolves around the following central questions: What is rhetoric? What does rhetoric DO? What does it mean to answer the question “What is rhetoric?” How have aims, definitions, and uses of rhetoric changed and evolved? What do changes in aims, definitions, and uses of rhetoric suggest about the relationship between language and knowledge? What presence does rhetoric occupy in the study, teaching, and practice of composition and technical communication? Of what value is the study of rhetoric as both a discipline and a tool? Who is included in traditional history of rhetoric? Who has been excluded? How might traditional rhetorics and history of rhetorics be rewritten? How does rhetoric relate to truth? To knowledge? To ethics? This course focuses on primary texts but values secondary works. While this is a survey, one seminar does not provide anywhere near a complete picture of rhetorical theory in history or even within one historical movement. A “coverage model” is unrealistic. You will tour some important issues that you can revisit, if you so choose, at another time. You may bring in secondary works to challenge what we cover or explore more deeply. We will be doing a lot of reading, and some of it may challenge you in ways that you are not used to texts challenging you.


• Bizzell, Patricia and Bruce Herzberg (Eds.) The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. Current edition. Boston: Bedford, 2001.

• Lucaites, John Louis, Celeste Michelle Condit, and Sally Caudill’s (Eds.) Contemporary Rhetorical Theory. Current edition. New York: Guilford, latest edition.

• Supplemental readings

• Your work

Evaluation: Weekly reading responses 20%; short texts 30%; peer discussion 20%; seminar text 30%

Office: ASBN 101A

Phone: (512) 245-7660