Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Working Out Loud: Courses for Spring 2016

In an effort to Work Out Loud more effectively, I plan to post many of my course materials for the upcoming semester. To begin, I offer the course descriptions, course outcomes, and project distribution from each course's syllabus.

ENG 407C: Advanced Professional Communication
This is a new course (or at least a revision of a course that I last taught in 2009). Based on our student population, my hope is to introduce them to a wide variety of digital and online publishing platforms. 

Syllabus Material

ENG 407C explores the work of professional writers in digital and multimedia environments. As a required course in the Professional Writing Minor at UNLV, this course offers a rhetorical approach to the social and collaborative nature of digital writing by examining, analyzing, and producing digital genres in professional academic and workplace contexts. Students will be equipped with tools and strategies for a more complex understanding of writing as textual production by studying and creating "texts" for different audiences, purposes, and contexts in a variety of styles and genres.

As a teacher, I am committed to creating the most conducive learning environment possible. Part of this means that you will be expected to collaborate throughout the course, discussing ideas and articulating concepts. In other words, your active participation is crucial to effective learning for everyone in this course. Active and meaningful participation is required, which means that you are invested in the course, in your classmates, your course work, and your education.

Through a variety of activities, the successful student will achieve the following course outcomes by the end of the semester:
  1. Analyze and understand rhetorically different digital and professional communication contexts
  2. Recognize, learn, and employ appropriate digital and software applications for professional communication
  3. Design, draft, revise, edit, and present professional materials based on genre, purpose, and audience
  4. Perform effective research and incorporate source materials into professional materials
  5. Work collaboratively and productively at all stages of textual production
As a class, we will meet the course outcomes by discussing principles of professional communication (defined broadly, not just as corporatocracy) in a sophisticated manner and build critical frameworks for examining the rhetorical nature of digital and multimedia professional communication. These critical frameworks will serve both analytical and generative purposes, helping us become better consumers and better producers of professional written materials in different rhetorical situations.

As a class, we will use the following guiding questions to frame our discussions:
  • Has the relationship between text and visual shifted?
  • How do visuals and written text work together to influence readers/viewers?
  • How do different disciplines and professions read, make meaning from, and compose "texts"?
  • What influences do screens, hypertexts, and multi-modality have on “professional texts"?
  • How do cultural and social contexts influence viewers' responses to "professional texts"?
Each module will include a variety of in-class collaborative, online, and out-of-class activities, a process for understanding the material, and the submission of formal deliverables for evaluation. You will receive detailed explanations of the requirements, formats, and strategies for completing each module. Specifically, each of you will be responsible for the following work:
  • Transmedia Project (Individual/Group) = 62% (31 points x 2)
    • Group Planning Presentation (4 points x 2)
    • Peer Review (Draft Submission) (1 point x 2)
    • Peer Review (Response) (2 points x 2)
    • Teacher Review (Optional)
    • Group Preview Presentation (4 points x 2)
    • Final Deliverables (5 points – group; 15 points – individual x 2)
  • Podcast Review (Individual) = 11% (8 + 1 + 2)
  • Usability Screencast (Individual) = 11% (8 + 1 + 2)
  • Infographic Project (Individual) = 11% (8 + 1 + 2)
  • Final Reflection = 5%

ENG 411B: Principles of Modern Grammar
This is a course that I've taught numerous times over the past few years, but this is the first time in a long time that I've taught it as online only delivery. My goal is to create a variety of videos (mini-lectures and walkthroughs) to supplement the course materials and free online textbook that we've developed.

Syllabus Material

English 411B will introduce you to the patterns of English grammar and their influence on sentence structure, punctuation, and style. You will be equipped with analytical methods to understand its structure and explore the relationship between grammar and writing, reading, and thinking.

By the end of the semester, students in English 411B will be able to:
  1. Describe fully English words, phrases, and clauses
  2. Distinguish between the form and function of words, phrases, and clauses
  3. Analyze a sentence for grammatical elements
  4. Recognize how phrases and clauses function in a variety of sentences
  5. Understand rhetorical choices for sentence structure and punctuation
Through a variety of activities, students of English 411B will achieve the five course outcomes by exploring the complexity of the English language, discussing the grammatical structure of English in a sophisticated manner, and learning to reach consensus on grammar-related problems in different rhetorical situations.

Analyzing Grammar in Context (Free Online Textbook): https://faculty.unlv.edu/nagelhout/AnalyzingGrammarInContext/index.html

Each module will include a variety of individual and collaborative activities, a process for understanding the material, and the submission of formal documents for evaluation. You will receive detailed explanations of the requirements, formats, and strategies for completing each module. Specifically, each of you will be responsible for the following work:
  • Quizzes = 10% (10 x 1 pt. each - two quizzes each in Modules 1-5)
  • Online Exercises (OLEs) = 8% (8 x 1 pt. each - 2 OLEs each in Modules 2-5)
  • Discussion Posts = 10% (10 x 1 pt. each - two posts in each Module )
  • Group Analysis = 8% (4 x 2 pts. each - one group analysis each for Modules 2-5)
  • Proficiency Worksheets = 32% (4 x 2 x 4 pts. each - four proficiencies each in Modules 2-5)
  • Module Exams = 18% (3 x 6 pts. each - one exam each in Modules 2-4)
  • Final Reflection = 3% (1 x 3 pts. each - one final reflection in Module 6)
  • Final Exam = 11% (1 x 11 pts. each - one final exam in Module 6)

As I prepare for the beginning of the semester, I plan, over the next two weeks, to post all of the project descriptions for ENG 407C, as well as samples of the videos that I plan to use in ENG 411B. 

I have discussed in some detail our approach to project design in our Professional Writing Minor at UNLV here. Based on this approach, I will also offer other thoughts on the design and implementation of the projects and supplemental materials in future posts.

Stay tuned!

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