Writing 250/251: Teaching Technical Communication

Course Description
This course offers graduate students a theoretical and pedagogical foundation for teaching introductory courses in technical communication and, in particular, UCSB's writing courses for freshmen engineering majors. The course focuses on key issues in the teaching of technical communication through reading and reviewing articles in professional publications. Preparation for teaching is developed through observation reports of class visits, analyses of technical communication textbooks, and/or design of assignments and class materials.

Required Text
Foundations for Teaching Technical Communication, Katherine Staples & Cezar Ornatowski, Eds.
Note: additional readings are posted at ERES. The URL is http://eres.library.ucsb.edu. Find my name under Instructor, select Writing 250, and use the password to access the readings.

1. There's a "professional" and a "pedagogical" option for the major project for this course. For the professional option, you can begin (and perhaps finish) writing a book review, annotated bibliography, conference paper, or article on a specific issue in the field of technical communication. For the pedagogical option, you can do a comparative textbook analysis or produce materials for use in the engineering writing sequence (for instance, an assignment sequence and rationale). On the final day of class, I'll ask you to make a brief (10 minute) presentation of your work.

2. I'll ask you to lead a discussion of one of the articles assigned for weeks 4 through 7. These articles focus on some of the key issues being discussed in technical communication: workplace/academia, ethics, globalization, service learning, gender, collaboration, computers, and new media design. Ideally, you'll be able to choose a topic that interests you (and one that you might pursue in the project described above).

3. Finally, I'll ask you to visit a section of Writing 50E at some point during the quarter and informally report to us about your observations.


Tentative Reading Schedule
All readings are in Staples & Ornatowski, unless otherwise indicated.

Week 1: April 3

Week 2: April 10
Coney, "Technical Communication Theory: An Overview"
Ornatowski, "Technical Communication and Rhetoric"

Week 3: April 17
Harrison & Katz, "On Taking Organizations Seriously"
Subbiah, "Social Construction Theory and Technical Communication"

Week 4: April 24
*Faber & Johnson-Eilola, "Migrations" (*available online at ERES)
Sanders, "Technical Communication and Ethics"

Week 5: May 1
Thrush, "Multicultural Issues in Technical Communication"
*Matthews & Zimmerman, "Integrating Service Learning and Technical Communication" (*available online at ERES)

Week 6: May 8
LaDuc, "From Schroedinger's Cat to Flaming on the Internet"
Burnett, White & Duin, "Locating Collaboration"

Week 7: May 15
Shirk, "The Impact of New Technologies on Technical Communication"
Selber, "The Politics and Practice of Media Design"

Week 8: date TBA

Week 9: date TBA

Week 10: June 5
Presentations of research