Course Descriptions

Here you can find more information about courses I have taught at Penn State and Florida State University. To access PDF or web versions of my syllabi, use the buttons below.  

English 602: Composition Pedagogy

The second semester of 602 moves beyond the day-to-day specifics of the English 015 syllabus in order to prepare instructors for creating and directing their own composition courses in the future. The aim of 602 is to introduce PWR instructors to a variety of pedagogical practices and concepts through assigned readings, discussions, and guest speaker panels assessing issues of pedagogy and course design. Spring 602 will also provide instructors opportunities to develop their own courses, units, assignments, and lessons.


At the end of this course, instructors will be able to

  • assess and accommodate students’ needs and institutional demands in designing a course;

  • evaluate digital technologies, textbooks, classroom activities, and assessment mechanisms in terms of their impact on student learning;

  • facilitate students’ rhetorical development through unit and assignment design, lesson planning, and constructive evaluation and feedback;

  • and recognize their own skill sets as educators in order to develop best practices suited to their teaching styles.

English 202C: Technical Writing, Penn State 


English 202C, Technical Writing, serves students who are studying and preparing for careers in the sciences and applied sciences, including engineering. This advanced course in writing familiarizes students with the discourse practices prized in their disciplinary and institutional communities—and helps them to manage those practices effectively in their own written work. In this way, the course teaches those writing strategies and tactics that scientists, engineers, and others will need in order to write successfully on the job.

Accordingly, students in the course can expect to:


  • Discover and understand the discourse features that distinguish their disciplinary and institutional communities from others.

  • Discover and specify the purpose(s) of their writing.

  • Develop a range of writing processes appropriate to various writing tasks.

  • Identify their readers and describe the characteristics of their readers in a way that forms a sound basis for deciding how to write to them.

  • Invent the contents of their communications through research and reflection.

  • Arrange material to raise and satisfy readers’ expectations, using both conventional and rhetorical patterns of organization.

  • Reveal the organization of their communications by using forecasting and transitional statements, headings, and effective page and document design.

  • Observe appropriate generic conventions and formats for technical documents.

  • Design and use tables, graphs, and technical illustrations.

  • Compose effective sentences.

  • Evaluate their documents to be sure that the documents fulfill their purpose and to ensure that they can be revised if necessary.

  • Collaborate effectively with their peers in a community of writers who provide feedback on each others’ work and occasionally write together.

  • Write several specific kinds of documents that recur in technical, scientific, and other communities.

  • Employ computer technology effectively in the solution of communication problems.

  • Communicate in an ethically responsible manner.


English 15: Rhetoric and Composition, Penn State 

English 15 is an intensive, rhetorically based experience in reading and writing that will prepare you to understand the communications that surround you and to succeed in your own communication efforts.  Thus, in this course, we will focus specifically on analyzing verbal and visual texts (our reading) as well as on producing such texts (our writing)—always in terms of rhetorical principles. 

Even if the term rhetoric isn’t familiar to you, you bring a good deal of rhetorical skill to this class: you already know how to gauge the way you perceive and produce language according to the speaker, the intended audience, and the purpose. You may not always gauge perfectly, your perception may not always be accurate, and your production may not always be successful—but you often consider ways to interpret and choose language that are appropriate to the rhetorical situation. And when you do not succeed, you often try again to communicate and to make knowledge.

The goal of English 15, then, is to help you build on what you already know how to do as you become a more confident and resourceful reader and writer. You will become more attuned to your goals as a writer, more aware of the on-going conversation surrounding the topic, and more resourceful in terms of the appropriate delivery of your information, the rhetorical appeals at your disposal, and the needs and expectations of your audience.  In other words, we hope you’ll come to write with skill, conviction, sophistication, and grace—if not immediately, then soon.  In the process, you’ll learn how to read more critically as well.

English 2135: Research, Genre, and Context, Florida State 

English 2135 fulfills the second of two required composition courses at Florida State University. While continuing to stress the importance of critical reading, writing, and thinking skills emphasized in ENC 1101, as well as the importance of using writing as a recursive process involving invention, drafting, collaboration, revision, rereading, and editing to clearly and effectively communicate ideas for specific purposes, occasions, and audiences, ENC 2135 focuses on teaching students research skills that allow them to effectively incorporate outside sources in their writing and to compose in a variety of genres for specific contexts. 

By the end of the course, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  • convey ideas in clear, coherent, grammatically correct prose adapted to their particular purpose, occasion, and audience. 

  • understand that strong writing skills are not some mysterious gift bestowed on a lucky few at birth, but are instead the result of a process involving reading, drafting, revision, editing––and above all, practice.

  • analyze and interpret complex texts and representations of meaning in a variety of formats.

  • gain experience reading and composing in several genres to understand how genre conventions shape and are shaped by readers’ and writers’ practices and purposes.

  • develop facility in responding to a variety of situations and contexts calling for purposeful shifts in voice, tone, level of formality, design, medium, and structure

  • locate and evaluate (for credibility, sufficiency, accuracy, timeliness, and bias) primary and secondary research materials, including journal articles and essays, books, scholarly and professionally established and maintained databases or archives, and informal electronic networks and internet sources

  • use strategies—such as interpretation, synthesis, response, critique, and design/redesign—to compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from appropriate sources.

  • gain experience negotiating variations such as structure, paragraphing, tone, and mechanics in genre conventions

  • practice applying citation conventions systematically in their own work

Below, you can access copies of my course websites and digital syllabi for two strands of ENGL 2135 I designed around sonic rhetorics and contemplative pedagogy.