Assignments

Reading responses and discussion 10%
Discussion leader 15%
Pedagogy discussion leader 15%
Research proposal 10%
Conference presentation 20%
Research paper 30%

Reading response and discussion (10%)

For each week when readings are assigned, you will write a 400–500 word response to the readings. (Discussion leaders and pedagogy discussion leaders are not required to complete a reading response.) These responses will serve as a starting point for our classroom discussions about the readings, and for many of you they will be the place where you form the ideas that will lead to your presentation and paper projects. Your responses can take many different forms: you can engage with a single author or text, digging deeply into a particular idea; you can engage ideas that you agree with and expand on them or apply them to new objects of study; you can challenge ideas you disagree with; you can make connections between current and past readings or with outside sources that you feel would benefit the class discussion. As long as you are engaging with the material, you will have broad latitude with the form of your response.

Discussion Leader (15%)

For one class meeting when readings are scheduled, you will lead a 25–30 minute class discussion of one of that week’s the assigned readings. In lieu of a reading response, you will prepare a 7–10 minute presentation that summarizes the reading and identifies potential areas of interest, controversy, or concern that can serve as a springboard for the ensuing discussion with the other members of the class. Although you will not be required to focus your presentation on any readings besides the one you choose, you will have wide latitude in your response and the ensuing discussion to connect the reading to ideas in other readings, pedagogical practice, or any other topic germane to professional and technical communication.

All presentations must be accompanied by a visual presentation and either a handout or digital resource—such as a blog post—that summarizes its findings and can be shared with the other members of the class.

Pedagogy discussion leader (15%)

This assignment was adapted from one by Brian Ballentine.

On one of the weeks when chapter a chapter from a 304 or a 305 textbook is assigned, one student will present the class with a short summary of the chapter and lead the class in a discussion of it. The presentation should be a roughly 7–10 minute summary and review of the chapter that will serve as the basis for a 15–20 minute discussion of the reading’s pedagogical content and uses.

Your presentation should contain the following:

  • A general overview of the chapter
  • A brief discussion of an assignment that connects with the chapter (for example, an assignment from the 304 or 305 course packets, from the chapter itself, or of your own design)
  • A brief discussion of where you would assign this chapter within the semester and where or with what content in the chapter undergraduate students may struggle

Pedagogy discussion leaders are not required to turn in a reading response.

Research proposal (10%)

The major project for the course will be a research paper on a topic related to professional and technical communication. As the first step in completing this project, you will write a one-page proposal with an annotated bibliography. The goal of the proposal is to convince your reader(s)—in this case, myself—that the project is both viable and addresses a research area related to the field of professional and technical communication.

The proposal should detail the goals of the project, the work you have completed on it up to this point, and your plans for achieving those goals within the context of the research paper assignment.

Entries in your annotated bibliography should be APA-formatted and be accompanied by a one paragraph summary and description of how the source will contribute to the project described in your proposal.

Proposals and annotated bibliographies will be submitted as hard copies in person at our proposal meetings.

Mock conference presentation (20%)

During the second half of the semester, we will hold a series of mock conference panels where students will present their work in progress on the research paper in the form of a conference presentation. In groups of 3-4, you will form a panel, give it a title and description, and then give presentations of 15–20 minutes 8–10 minutes each. After your presentations, you will answer questions from the class about your projects.

These presentations can be speculative. While they should contain more detailed research and arguments than your proposals, they are not required to be finished, polished arguments (although finished, polished arguments are certainly welcome). Rather, you can use these presentations as an opportunity for you to showcase your work in progress for an audience of engaged colleagues.

Your presentation should be accompanied by some form of visual or handout that helps elucidate your argument or supplies your audience with crucial evidence or sources that are difficult to share via an oral presentation.

Research paper (30%)

You will write a 10–12 page research paper on a topic related to professional or technical communication. The paper should be of publishable quality and demonstrate the argumentative, organizational, methodological, and stylistic features characteristic of the genre. The paper should be formatted according to the APA guidelines.

This paper will be the culmination of your work in the course, and it should incorporate feedback that you have received on the project from myself and your peers during the proposal and presentation stages.

These papers should be shared with me via Google Drive.

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