I teach a variety of classes, including first-year writing, advanced writing, technical writing, and theory courses at the university level.
Introductory two-course sequence / GE requirement for all incoming first-year students.
In first-year writing, I take a dual approach of (1) teaching concepts about writing, and (2) teaching critical analysis of digital technologies. First, I introduce students to key concepts about writing that they are probably not familiar with. Here my pedagogy resembles a Writing about Writing (WaW) or Teaching for Transfer (TfT) approach, in that I focus on understanding concepts about writing that, once explored, will help them learn the skills of writing. Many of these concepts come from the open-access textbook Bad Ideas About Writing and include concepts like:
- Everyone is a writer and writing is not a natural ability. For instance, you are not just “a math person” or just “bad at writing”!
- The “five paragraph essay” taught us some useful rhetorical moves, but in college, it can really hold you back if you take it as the ultimate writing model.
- There is not just one correct way to write and speak. These assumptions are often rooted in unexamined racist, sexist, and classist assumptions what it means to be a legitimate writer.
Secondly, my first-year writing courses include a focus on thinking critically about digital technology. We examine the (un)ethical decisions tech companies make in their designs and hiring decisions, which often leave marginalized folks out of the picture. I incorporate readings by Sara Wachter-Boettcher, Gretchen McCulloch, and other popular and scholarly writers who address tech’s effects in society. I encourage my students to think about their own future careers in light of making ethical and wise decisions about how to treat people well, especially when those interactions are mediated through digital technologies.
Internet Culture and Information Society
Fulfills the “advanced writing” and “technology and society” core requirements.
This upper-division course is sort of an advanced version of my first-year writing courses. I have students reflect on certain concepts that they likely learned in their introductory writing courses, such as the importance of writing to an audience. And then I complicate it. What happens when we write to an algorithm as our audience? How does this change our impression of an audience and of what it means to be a human and a writer? This course dives deeply into the (mobile) internet’s role in changing many aspects of daily life, including personal workflow, educational systems, and social and political issues around the globe.
Fulfills several core requirements for the engineering majors, including the “advanced writing” core requirement.
This course is half technical writing specific to engineers, and half getting engineers to think critically about communication as engineers. In this course, I teach these advanced engineering students how to incorporate rich, effective visuals into their writing, as well as how to research what’s been done and said before in their area of interest (and how to write about it). Students take away an indisputably valuable set of skills on how to ethically collect and communicate in the increasingly complex information world of engineering.
Introduction to Rhetoric
Fulfills English Major elective, Professional Writing Minor requirement, and the “advanced writing” core requirement.
This very popular course focuses on the many definitions of “rhetoric,” and looks at a variety of rhetorical theories, including ancient and contemporary, mainstream and marginalized traditions. The main focus of the course is taking these definitions and theories and applying them to everyday things, like speeches, videos, physical objects’ design, performing arts, disability, mental health, and other areas that interest students in the course.