Students often come into writing courses expecting to finally be taught "how to write." I start my writing courses (in both first-year composition and professional writing) by telling them I can't do that. I don't know how or what students will have to write outside of my course, but I do know they won't always be writing for me. For this reason, I develop a curriculum that is both accessible and useful to students, focusing on how writing plays a role in the communities around them. My goal is to acknowledge and value the histories and experiences my students bring into my classroom, and to guide them as they work to communicate effectively with various audiences in diverse physical and digital spaces. Below, you'll find some examples of how I work toward these objectives in specific courses.
I have taught technical communication at both Michigan State University and at the University of Texas-El Paso, both face-to-face and online. In my technical communication courses, students are given the opportunity to practice the activities of ethical technical communication by partnering with a wide range of clients and community members. For example, my technical communication students have partnered with The Language Services Department at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan, learning how technical communication is practiced in community settings for multilingual audiences. Through these partnerships, students learn how technical and scientific communication impacts the interactions and well being of marginalized communities. My goal as a teacher of technical communication is to help students understand the cultural and ideological implications embedded in all technologies. I also challenge my students to design and create across a variety of media, through projects like the creation of software reviews and tutorials, as evidenced in the student example below.
Introduction to Professional Writing (WRA 202)
In the Fall of 2014, students in WRA 202: Introduction to Professional Writing class partnered with the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at MSU. CAMP supports students with migrant or seasonal farm working backgrounds, facilitating their transition into college. Students in WRA 202 worked with CAMP students to develop accessible documents and materials to assist CAMP students enroll for health insurance. Students in WRA 202 created posters, websites, and other digital resources that translate health-related information to their peers in the CAMP program. Through this project, WRA 202 students practiced working with and learning from their communities. They were able to use their training in rhetoric and design to develop informational materials, and they presented these materials to CAMP administrators as a team. Some examples from this project are pictured above.
Composition (ENC 1101 & 1102)
After graduating with my MA in Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Central Florida, I spent 3 years teaching and developing courses in the same department. During this time, I taught a total of 16 composition courses, focusing on teaching transferrable, rhetorically-situated conceptions of writing. As part of the the new department of Writing and Rhetoric at UCF, I participated in the initial development of a Writing and Rhetoric Major, developing courses in Writing Across the Curriculum and Writing with Technology. My composition teaching materials were selected to be included in a Program Profile of our department published in Composition Forum.
The selected student videos highlighted on my YouTube channel (below) illustrate how students operationalized rhetorical concepts (e.g., audience; context; exigence) through both the analysis and production of media. My goal for these project (as well as for all writing in my courses), is not necessarily to have students develop perfectly polished work, but rather to create spaces in which students can take risks, build knowledge, and communicate to the audiences that are relevant in their daily interactions.