Professional Writing courses

Computer-Aided Publishing (Purdue University)


Multiple sections

In this Professional Writing major course, students confront low and high stakes design tasks to develop a toolkit of design skills that support their semester-long work with typography, audience, document design, usability, accessibility, and visual rhetoric.

Students gain proficiency using programs such as Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, and Acrobat Pro. I structure my semester around two small-focus projects that build toward three larger projects. The small projects include developing an illustrated, five-item design term glossary and a design narrative essay. The larger semester projects focus toward a logo case study and collaborative re-design, an interface to infographic remediation project, and a final portfolio.

Syllabus: Computer-Aided Publishing

Sample Assignment: Logo Analysis + Re-Design

Sample Projects:

Essential Communication Skills for Engineers (Purdue University)


For Fall 2016, I’m co-teaching a technical writing elective course within the Nuclear Engineering major at Purdue. I work alongside a librarian and nuclear engineering professor to build assignments focused on research in the major, oral and written communication, and technical writing best practices for engineering scenarios.

Syllabus: NUCL 480, Essential Communication Skills for Engineers


Technical Writing (Purdue University)


Multiple sections

Students are urged to consider the needs of readers, assess the rhetorical messages behind design and layout choices, and develop best practices for ethical research & language in crafting technical documents. For the technical instructions unit, students work individually to write brief instructions about a familiar process or object (like how to administer a vaccine) then transition into a partnered project to compile a longer technical description about a detailed subject (for example, the history & development of the flu vaccine). The final project focuses on a collaborative analytical report in which groups of students choose a consumer product or website, design & complete usability testing, and compile a report assessing the initial documentation while offering suggestions for improved user experience.

Syllabus:  Technical Writing

Sample Assignment: Interface Usability Tests

Sample Project:

Technical Writing, Online (Purdue University)

One section

This course is a condensed, 8-week version of the typical 16-week-long Technical Writing course. In the online setting, I prioritize asynchronous class discussions, blog posts, and scaffolded tasks for students to complete each week. The 8-week course features three assignments: employment documents (resume, cover letter, memos, and website); technical instructions; and a collaborative technical description report.

The collaborative project challenges small groups of students to manage a shared virtual space for their files, brainstorming, and development while communicating effectively and delegating project tasks toward completion. I offered narrated lectures and screencast demos for programs such as InDesign.

Syllabus: 421Y Syllabus, Online


Business Writing (Purdue University)


Multiple sections

Students learn to evaluate the rhetorical principles behind business writing and workplace communication. Each project in the semester focuses on visual design, marketing & oral presentation skills, and web-based writing.

The first unit asks students to compile a backgrounder report about a workplace scenario in an unfamiliar genre, urging each student to conduct research, theories, and a coherent report of their findings and solutions. Another unit focuses on a fictional marketing case study as students work in teams to develop a well-researched business plan and marketing campaign for their imagined clients, culminating in an oral presentation.

Syllabus: Business Writing

Sample Assignment: Civic Engagement Business Plan

First-Year Composition courses

First-Year Composition (Purdue University)

Multiple sections, two syllabus approaches

During my first year of teaching 106, I worked within the Writing about Writing syllabus approach that used the corresponding textbook to spotlight writing theory, rhetoric, and literacy. Assignments in this iteration ranged from a literacy self-study essay, a blog-based literacy archive displaying personal literacies, and a discourse community research essay and subsequent remediation of the essay into a webspace.

My second year teaching this course followed a Digital Rhetorics syllabus approach using the Compose, Design, Advocate textbook, with assignments centered on document design, digital research and remediation, and collaborative documentary projects about discourse communities.

Syllabus: ENGL 106: Digital Rhetorics, First-Year Composition

Sample Assignment: Remediating Literacy Narratives

Sample Project: see video below

Rhetoric & Composition 1 (DePaul University)

With this course, I designed and implemented assignments focused on writing process, rhetorical and visual analysis, and multimodal composition. Students created projects such as multimodal essays analyzing an Associated Press
photo from 2012, presenting short videos, Prezis, or PowerPoints assessing the rhetorical situation and visual composition of the  photograph.

Other assignments included rhetorical analysis essays of a public speech and a research essay focused on a cultural artifact pertinent to the student’s chosen research community.

Syllabus: WRD 103: Rhetoric & Composition I

Sample Assignment: Multimodal Analysis of Visual Rhetoric

Student Work

All work is used with permission and names have been omitted.

This video shows student literacy narrative blogs from a digital rhetorics section of First-Year Composition that corresponds with the “Remediating Literacy Narratives” assignment. It accompanies the article my co-authors and I wrote detailing this specific assignment design.

Remediated Literacy Narratives