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Teaching Technical Communication Classes

A helpful introduction to teaching tech/biz-comm as a Brittain Fellow can be found here.

Beyond their different student populations, LMC 3403 general is different from LMC 3403 business in that it focuses on the genres found in technical, scientific, and engineering workplaces; the business course focuses on genres found in business workplaces.

You can think of LMC 3432/3431 as LMC 3403 general split into two semesters—a two-credit “part 1” class (LMC 3432) and a one-credit “part 2” class (LMC 3431). The 3432/3431 sequence is paired with a corresponding sequence in Computer Science: CS 3331 (with LMC 3432) and CS 3312 (with LMC 3431). The LMC and CS courses together work as one three-credit class taught by two instructors: an LMC instructor and a CS instructor. A thorough explanation and discussion of these innovative courses can be found here.

Teaching LMC 3403

LMC 3403 builds on the competencies developed in English 1101 and 1102, with a special emphasis on communicating in scientific, business, and technological disciplines. Students create workplace artifacts—from traditional print documents such as reports, proposals, and memos to electronic forms such as instant messages, emails, blogs, and websites. Students also learn to assess the rhetorical situations underlying each of these artifacts as they discuss theories and research that define technical communication as a discipline. The artifacts are purposeful, audience specific, and usable.

Teaching LMC 3431 and LMC 3432

These tech comm courses are linked to the computer science junior design courses (CS 3311 and CS 3312). LMC 3431 and LMC 3432 are distinctive in several ways: (1) They are co-taught with an instructor from the College of Computing. (2) They are structured around student teams working on computing projects (and the associated tech comm artifacts essential for such projects) with actual clients. (3) They are taught over two semesters. On this last point, the 3432/3431 sequence takes LMC 3403 (a three-credit class) and splits it over two semesters: students first take 3432 (a two-credit class) and then take 3431 (a one-credit class) the next semester. Otherwise, the outcomes and expectations are the same as those for LMC 3403.

Learning Outcomes for LMC 3403, LMC 3431, and LMC 3432

Category Outcomes

Rhetoric

Rhetoric focuses on available means of persuasion, considering the synergy of factors such as context, audience, purpose, role, argument, organization, design, visuals, and conventions of language.

·  Fashion artifacts that address the exigencies of diverse contexts, exhibiting effective persuasive strategies, tact, and sensitivity to theoretical, ethical and legal concerns.

·  Collect, craft, and present technical information in ways that convey a clear purpose to a specific audience.

Process

Processes for communication—for example, creating, planning, drafting, designing, rehearsing, revising, presenting, publishing—are recursive, not linear. Learning productive processes is as important as creating products.

·  Construct, select, craft, revise, and repurpose information to reflect individual, cultural, and/or organizational values.

·  Collaborate on artifacts that meet the needs of the specific audiences.

Modes and Media

Activities and assignments should use a variety of modes and media—written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal—singly and in combination. The context and culture of multimodality and multimedia are critical.

·  Create WOVEN (Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal) artifacts— such as memos, emails, proposals, reports, instructions, manuals, websites, and short and long presentations— that display strategic uses of generic and stylistic conventions.
Design
Documents and other artifacts should arrange visual elements according to consistent, efficient, and effective principles.

·  Use theories and principles of document design to create and present accessible, comprehensible, and usable artifacts.

·  Integrate graphics to achieve maximum clarity in print documents, presentation slides, websites, and other artifacts.