Special Sections of Writing & Communication Program Courses

As part of its mission to foster communication across the curriculum and in the disciplines, our Writing and Communication Program offers special sections of its core courses. Special sections address the same objectives and outcomes as other sections but tailor themes and assignments to the concerns, controversies, and conventions of a specific discipline. These examples of special sections indicate the range of possibilities:

  • A section of English 1102 for students in architecture focused on ways in which representations of space and architecture in American literature and film become staging grounds for constructing, defending, and renegotiating definitions of both individual and national identity.
  • A section of English 1102 for students in science and engineering explored the ethical and sociological ramifications of scientific “advancements” such as cloning, transgenics, and genetic enhancement as they appear in film and literature.
  • A section of English 1102 for students in computational media and in computer science examined live performance events, videos, films, and electronic texts crafted by artists using advanced computer technologies.
  • A section of LMC 3403 for students in computational media and computer science developed strategies for planning, creating, and using technical documents that meet the needs of video game developers, designers, players, and promoters.
  • A section of LMC 3403 for students in management simulated the organization and activities of a small business by asking students to research, create, and market a guide for life after college.
  • A section of LMC 3403 for students in management and athletics explored issues in technical communication related to professional and amateur athletics, focusing on sports technology, media, marketing, and medicine.

The Brittain Fellows who taught these sections created courses that matched both their own research and professional interests and the interests of their target disciplines. If you have an idea for a special section or would like to volunteer to teach one, please let Rebecca and Andy know.

Extra Classes for Brittain Fellows

Occasionally, additional sections of English 1101 and 1102 and LCC 3403 are available during the fall and spring semesters for extra pay. Rarely, additional upper-level LCC courses are also available for extra pay. When additional sections and/or courses are available, Rebecca and Andy will usually request applications and assign courses according to the instructors’ suitability for the available courses, their seniority, and their service to the program.

Summer Teaching
Some English 1101 and 1102 and LMC 3403 courses are usually available during the summer for extra pay. Rarely, additional upper-level LMC courses are also available for extra pay. Summer teaching is not guaranteed. When courses are available, applications are required.

Undergraduate Thesis Writing Preparation
The UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) at Georgia Tech offers undergraduate students an opportunity to obtain research experience in a field of interest related to their majors. In preparation for their UROP thesis (not to be confused with the LMC thesis), students take a sequence of two 1-hour courses—a proposal writing course (LMC 4701) and a thesis writing course (LMC 4702). Brittain Fellows frequently teach these courses. An announcement of opportunities to teach these courses includes a request for a letter of application and an updated CV.

Typical LMC Courses Brittain Fellows Occasionally Teach

LMC 2500: Introduction to Film.
Georgia Tech’s course catalog specifies that LMC 2500 “introduces film techniques and vocabulary in an historical and cultural context. Written texts are supplemented by viewings of specific shots, scenes, and films.” The course focuses on film rhetoric and analysis, helping students to consider films from the perspectives of narrative, genre, mise-en-scene, cinematography, editing, sound, and acting.

The course usually has weekly film screenings. Films selected usually represent a range of genres, styles, cultures, and historical periods and movements. Some instructors construct their syllabi as a kind of historical survey, but LCC does offer a separate course on Film History. Instructors tend to make film lists overlap with their research interests, but the course should not be a study of a single genre, auteur, or theoretical approach.

Some instructors make analytical papers and exams the major assignments; others include multimodal assignments such as PowerPoint analyses of a sequence of images and a documentary or creative short film. For Brittain Fellows with backgrounds in film, this course represents an opportunity not only to add a key course to the CV but also to experiment with intersections between digital pedagogy and film studies.

One standard textbook for this course is David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s Film Art (McGraw-Hill), but some instructors use Richard Barsam’s Looking at Movies (Norton) or similar texts. [This section was contributed by former Brittain Fellow and former Assistant Director Andrew Cooper.]

LMC 3314: Technologies of Representation.
Georgia Tech’s course catalog specifies that LMC 3314 “explores historical, cultural, and theoretical issues raised by technologies of representation, including written, spoken, and gestural languages; print, painting and illustration; still and moving photography; recorded sound; and computer-mediated communications and interactive digital media.” This description allows a breadth of interpretation. In the past, this course has served as an outlet for instructors interested in technologies such as film, and other relatively new media, and has also served as a platform for meta-critical investigation of classically-conceived texts.

While 3314 provides the latitude for its instructors to explore their secondary research interests, it can also require an extension and specialization of the instructor’s knowledge base within those fields. Instructors must be prepared to meet the challenges of upper-level students who are often more savvy and engaged than those with whom Fellows are accustomed. Though some upper-level students might know very little about technologies of representation, other upper-level students might know a great deal—having, for example, their own web design companies, experience as a professional photographer, or a history designing commercial video games. Because you might be surprised by what students already know (and/or don’t know), you might adopt a pedagogical style that differs from your approach to English 1101 or 1102. Past instructors of 3314 have benefitted from playing the role of a guide, allowing students to use their own strengths as they explore the many curricular and extra-curricular knowledge sources available to them. [This section was contributed by former Brittain Fellow Paulette Richards.]

LMC 3404: Design for the Internet.
Georgia Tech’s course catalog specifies that LMC 3404 is “an introduction to the theory and practice of effective communication on the Internet through the design of documents for the World Wide Web.” Given the constraints of a 15-week semester, instructors of 3404 face tough decisions about how to address the course’s potential breadth. Each iteration finds its own balance between analysis of existing websites, teaching best-practice principles of website design, and creating new websites to implement those principles.

Instructors of 3404 should consider hardware, software, and their prospective students’ skills before the semester begins. Laboratory classrooms such as Skiles 357 or 370 are generally preferred, as they provide student workstations with access to the Adobe Creative Suite and other development software. While instructors need not be code mavens, they must be prepared to guide students to some level of proficiency with the design software or mark-up language (Flash, Dreamweaver, XTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) that will be native to the course. Assume students to enter the class with negligible design experience but the capacity for a reasonably steep learning curve.

Selecting textbooks for this class can be particularly troublesome. Few books address both design principles and the technologies by which they are implemented. Thus, many instructors choose to supplement their printed textbooks with free online resources.

[This section was contributed by former Brittain Fellow Olin Bjork.]