Below, I offer a complete index of the courses I have taught at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, 2014–2017. For each course, I link to representative syllabi and assignment materials (from the latest iteration of the course if I have taught multiple sections). In my 3 years at UA Little Rock, I have taught 9 different courses spanning the developmental, undergraduate, graduate, and honors levels.
For a sketch of the courses I have taught during my entire teaching career, please see my Curriculum Vitae.
Thesis Proposal Seminar, RHET 7390
Thesis Proposal Seminar gave me the opportunity to work closely with students as they imagined and invented research projects that would sustain them through the rest of their degree and propel them onward to other dreams. What a privilege it is to work with scholars as they find their feet and think critically about the impact their work might have on people and the communities that matter to them.
Writing on the Web, RHET 4371/5371
Writing on the Web can be a challenging course, but its rewards and lessons have had a significant impact on my teaching. I have taught the course 3 times, and each semester I encounter students who have a very wide range of computing abilities and an even wider range of web design skills. I have responded to this diversity by relying on a workshop format driven by specific student needs. In other words, I spend a lot of time assessing (through informal emails, face-to-face conversations, and project updates) what students know how to do and what they want to learn. We then work together to share skills so that students are learning from each other as well as from the specific workshops I design. By the end of the semester, students who entered the classroom with little or no knowledge of HTML and CSS have the chance to share their “from scratch” websites with a sincerely enthusiastic and supportive class of fellow students. To view some sample websites created by students in the course, see the image gallery below. To read articles edited and published by students (with graduate students acting as the editorial board), browse our 2015 and 2016 WordPress sites.
Topics in Technical Communication: Digital Narrative, RHET 4346/5346
I designed Digital Narrative as a play-based, creative nonfiction course focused on multimodal expressions. By drawing on scholarship in visual studies, multimodal rhetorics, indigenous rhetorics, disability studies, narrative theory, and queer theory, I emphasize the role of community and the body in storytelling. As we move through units on sight, sound, touch, and space, I ask students to imagine ways we can engage audience senses and be attentive to the diversity of bodies called to and invoked by our stories. In particular, we wonder: In what ways do digital composing practices open up opportunities to explore and express identities through alternative modes and forms? Where, perhaps, do those opportunities begin to dissipate? To answer these questions, I ask students to read scholarly work, engage in critical writing/questioning exercises, and participate in hands-on, play-based narrative experiments that combine both digital and non-digital techniques. To view some sample digital narratives created by students in the course, see the image gallery below.
Document Design, RHET 4305/5305
I have taught this course face-to-face and am currently teaching it online. In both sections, I draw on scholarship in visual rhetoric, technical communication, and design theory to help students think critically about what constitutes “document design” (as opposed to information design, communications design, or graphic design). I have designed the course to emphasize project-based workshops that require multiple drafting cycles—from invention to final delivery through project portfolios. Since my current experience with the course is completely online, you can browse all course materials at our class website: documentdesignfall17.weebly.com.
I have worked with two students (one undergraduate, one graduate) to develop and propose independent study projects.
- Spring 2017 with Kristena Merritt: Digital Narrative
- Fall 2015 with Erica Ivy: Feminisms, Rhetorics, Silences
Donaghey Scholars Program, Rhetoric Communication II, SCHL 1301
I was invited to co-teach the spring 2017 second-semester composition course for the Donaghey Scholars Program (UA Little Rock’s honors program). Heather K. Hummel (Department of English) and I were invited to teach together in the program, and we collaboratively designed this course to focus on alternatives to more traditional or formal genres of academic writing and research. Students explored the intensity and focus that flash creative nonfiction offers, and they mapped the affordances and limitations of multimodal composing in digital contexts. Over the course of the semester, students explored flash writing, community research, digital composing methods, and collaborative interview strategies as they worked to create a digital archive of the Donaghey Scholars Program. You can view our syllabus and assignments at our course website. After a successful year, I was invited to teach for the program once again, and this time I am working with Kristen McIntyre (Department of Applied Communication) to co-create a course focused on difference, world view, and the collaborative creation and circulation of community knowledges.
Composition II, RHET 1312
In Composition II, I help students deepen their understanding of how arguments work in the world by emphasizing rhetorical analysis as a method of inquiry that can lead to more dynamic, nuanced, and effective public arguments. For several semesters now, I have opened Composition II with a unit on documentary photography as public argument. I have found that photography piques their interest because it is a fine art that smartphones have rendered more accessible. Yet, the increasing ubiquity of the digital photograph demands critique. When do our digital expressions move from personal reflection to public argument, and how do we engage with these texts when we begin to understand this personal/public line as sometimes ill-defined, difficult to pin down, or problematically reductive? From an analysis of documentary photography as public argument, we move to an extensive research project that asks students to compose their own documented arguments by making informed decisions about argument structure (Aristotelian, Delayed-Thesis, and Rogerian); audience engagement through analysis; Internet research and source credibility; and academic citation practices. As the semester comes to a close, I invite students to re-imagine their documented arguments by pursuing the same claims and reasons through another genre and another set of multimodal concerns.
Throughout these units and projects, I ask students to approach their writing at different levels: we practice “rainbow revision” exercises to encourage attention to sentence variety and rhythm, we use copy and compose activities to explore different sentence forms, and we use workshop-based peer response activities to investigate more global concerns related to organization, thesis development, and audience appeals.
Composition I, RHET 1311
Composition I is the first half of a two-semester first-year composition sequence. I have taught similar courses at other institutions (see my Curriculum Vitae), but fall 2016 was my first experience with it at UA Little Rock. Because Composition II is a focused study of argumentation, I approached Composition I as a launch pad for argumentation. I wanted students to leave the course with a better understanding of how academic research can be informed by and benefit from personal experience and community engagement. Throughout the semester, we focused on issues related to place, community, and the spaces of our daily lives, and I asked students to explore these issues with personal narratives, community analysis and research, and public argument through zines.
Composition Fundamentals, RHET 0310
Composition Fundamentals is a studio course that links with a Composition I course, and it provides students with the extra writing support they need as they begin their college life at UA Little Rock. This was a new prep for me in fall 2016. As I designed my approach to this course, I focused on three objectives grounded in both modeling and practicing: critical, engaged reading methods; recursive, scaffolded drafting exercises; and guided revision and editing techniques. As students worked on their projects, I worked alongside them, producing my own materials to use as teaching tools. For example, when students selected a literacy narrative for analysis, I brought in Elaine Richardson’s 2009 Gender and Education article, “My Ill Literacy Narrative: Growing Up Black, Po, and a Girl in the Hood.” As we discussed and practiced critical annotation methods, I shared my challenges and joys as I worked through my own annotated reading of Richardson’s creative and critical text.