Graduate Course Descriptions:

E387M The Rhetoric of Academic Disciplines

E387 Developing Relationships Among Readers, Writers and Texts

E387N Methods of Research in Rhetoric and Composition

E387M Scientific and Workplace Writing: Theory and Practice

E398T Teaching Practicum for Rhetoric and Composition

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E387 The Rhetoric of

Academic Disciplines

This seminar will analyze the shape of written discourse in a variety of academic disciplines, from the humanities to the sciences. We will begin by tracing the development of specialized journals in several disciplines and the emergence of the genres of academic articles. We will read studies comparing the formal and rhetorical features of written discourse in these fields. We will also examine what practitioners in these fields understand about their disciplines’ rhetorical habits and formal constraints… and how they learn to apply and exploit them. We'll consider how undergraduates, graduate students and faculty develop sophisticated reading and writing processes and how these processes are influenced by motivation, social pressures, formal and informal apprenticeships, and individual learning styles. Finally, we will consider the political and philosophical implications of academic discourse.


 

E387 Developing Relationships Among

Readers, Writers and Texts

Contrary to popular belief, kids don't really learn to read and write in elementary school.We learn in elementary school and in high school and in college and in graduate school and on the job. While some composition teachers may feel that high school students don't learn much of use, the research suggests that that is when some major developments in their writing processes occur. Of course students don't finally learn to write in college either--how many beginning graduate students think they have all the necessary skills for writing a dissertation or publishing books and articles? How many new faculty members consider their writing skills adequate for grant proposals? The relationships among readers, writers and texts depend on much more than "skills,"however; they often turn on complex conceptions of "authority."

This seminar will examine the research on how relationships to texts change for readers and writers as they move from classrooms to professional settings, when "formal instruction" ceases and practices are shaped by the demands of various text-hungry discourse communities. We'll consider how reading and writing are influenced by motivation, school curricula, social pressures, disciplinary affiliations, technological media, and individual learning styles.

This course will be of interest to anyone who wants to find out more about reading and writing processes--those who would like to conduct research, those who want to learn how to read the research and those who want some insights for teaching students at any level to analyze or write texts. The reading material for the course will include observational and experimental studies, but no prior experience with research on learning is required.

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E387M Scientific and Workplace Writing:

Theory and Practice

One of the most interesting developments in rhetoric and composition in recent years is an increasing focus on scientific and professional writing--including writing in government, business, and industry. This focus reflects both a broadening in our discipline's conception of language studies and a growing skepticism towards the familiar scientific trope of nonrhetorical objectivity. A wide range of issues have emerged: what role writing plays in the social functioning of the workplace; how scientific and professional discourse differ from writing in the arts and humanities; how scientists and other professionals learn to write effectively; and what constitutes "effective writing" in these domains. More recently, other concerns have emerged about the political and philosophical implications of scientific and technical work. Accordingly, this seminar will approach professional, technical, and scientific writing from multiple perspectives: we will study theories of technical and scientific discourse, examine texts critically as rhetorical and literary objects, and review current approaches to studying scientific and professional writing.

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E387N Methods of Research in Rhetoric and Composition

The past 20 years have brought an explosion of research in rhetoric and composition, with investigations of how people write and how to teach writing effectively. This seminar addresses the assumptions, methods, successes, and limitations of this research, including cognitive, text-analytic, sociological, and ethnographic approaches. The first goal of the seminar is to enable students to read current research critically and apply it to current issues in composition theory and pedagogy. The second goal is to provide a foundation for designing independent research projects by considering what sorts of questions can emerge from each approach and how the results can be evaluated. Considerable time will be devoted to the nuts and bolts of conducting research, from the proposal stage, through data collection, analysis, and presentation.

This course will be of interest to anyone who wants to find out more about research on writing--those who would like to conduct research, those who want to learn how to read the research and those who want some insights for teaching students at any level to analyze or write texts. While students who already have a research project in mind will be able to advance their work most, no prior experience with research methods is expected.

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E398T Directed Teaching in English

E398T is for Assistant Instructors teaching RHE 306 for the first time at the University of Texas at Austin. E 398T is designed to support your teaching of RHE 306: Rhetoric and Composition and to explore your teaching responsibilities and opportunities at the college level. Some course meetings take place in a computer classroom to provide opportunities for exploring teaching the computer-assisted sections of DRC and English courses. In class, we will follow the RHE 306 syllabus adapted for new instructors. Together, we will prepare assignments, examine drafts, grade papers, practice techniques of peer-editing, and discuss teaching problems as they arise. We'll explore issues basic to composition classes, including how to teach handbook proficiencies. For the final class session, we will invite some first year students into the seminar to tell us what we've done right or wrong&emdash;from their perspective.

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