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[ 431



ENG 431–001 :: Spring 2011
T/TH 2:00–3:15 :: RB 105

Dr. Brian J. McNely
RB 2111

Ofce Hours :: T/TH 3:15–4:30 and by appointment
“One confrmed generalization that distinguishes professional writing from general writing is that
professionals in the workplace respond to particular audiences as opposed to general audiences.”

—Barbara Couture, 1992

“Introducing a new perspective on professional writing, Sullivan and Porter argued that professional writers
have the unique responsibility to advocate on behalf of their readers, to be 'audience advocates, in other
words, who write for the betterment of people.' … They claimed that the role of the professional who
communicates … 'is not to better represent the company to the public but, rather, to help the company
better understand the needs and interests of the public.”

—Brenton Faber, 2002

“If you didn't blog it, it didn't happen.”

—Anil Dash, 2011

HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ajax, Processing, et al.: these markup and programming languages drive and support
much of the content we see on a daily basis, shaping our interactions with emerging media applications and,
much more importantly, each other.

At a fundamental level, emerging media applications rely on writing work that is carefully and strategically
designed for specifc audiences to produce a range of specifc human activities. This course will demystify
many of those strategies and much of this writing work, taking a critical perspective on people acting with
technology (Kaptelinin and Nardi, 2006).

Professional writers are makers. They do things with emerging media for specifc contexts and purposes.

431 explores and then puts into practice critical theories and approaches to networked writing activity
inherent in emerging media platforms and applications.

This course has an applied focus: you will produce professional and public content for the web, sometimes
in collaboration with others. 431 extends ideas and practices introduced in ENG 213 and ENG 231, and serves
as the capstone course for the Minor in Professional Writing.

The course culminates in a series of related, professional deliverables:

[ research brief + IRB protocol + infographic + qualitative study ]

Students will—

• Recognize and categorize important genres and styles of professional communication
• Consider the prevalence of professional writing in everyday experience
• Practice using common tools and technologies of professional writing production with profciency and
• Critically examine the logic and infrastructure of those technologies, and their impact on humankind

• Plan and implement in situ qualitative research on practices and activities that impact professional
writing contexts and specifc audiences
• Recognize appropriateness of diferent methods for producing and researching practices and contexts
• Apply rhetorical and design principles to producing professional artifacts
• Apply principles of fair use, copyright and documentation conventions for print and digital media
• Recognize rhetorical possibilities of diferent modes (alphabetic text, images, graphics, video, audio, etc.)
and make sound rhetorical choices when combining modes

• Explore and practice networked, professional writing as a way of thinking, knowing, and being
• Critically interact with professional writing in everyday experience—from organizational communication
to the impact of branding and visual rhetorics
• Explain rhetorical choices (metacognition) made as a result of both individual and collaborative work
• Engage in public conversations about and for one's work


Selected academic journal articles sourced via Blackboard
Selected blog posts, articles, images, and videos sourced via Twitter [ #4E1 ]
Shirky, C. (2010). Cognitive Surplus.
Rushkof, D. (2010). Program or Be Programmed.
Lanier, J. (2010). You are Not a Gadget.
Reas, C. & Fry, B. (2010). Getting Started with Processing.
Golombisky, K., & Hagen, R. (2010). White Space is Not Your Enemy.
Spilka, R. (2010). Digital Literacy for Technical Communication.
Doctorow, C. (2008). Little Brother.


Practica (4) 400
Research Brief 100
IRB Protocol 100
Infographic 100
Qualitative Study 300

Course Total: 1,000

Grading Scale

A 950–1,000
A- 900–949
B+ 860–899
B 830–859
B- 800–829
C+ 760–799
C 730–759
C- 700–729

Grading Policy

Deliverables are assessed according to criteria distributed through Blackboard.

Storage and Backup

This course will require the consistent use of one or more of the following methods of digital storage and

BSU iLocker :: Dropbox :: Google Docs

Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty

Proper citation is a hallmark of good scholarship. Crediting someone else's work—whatever form that work
takes—is a nice thing to do.
It's nice to be nice to people.

Don't use someone else's work without giving them credit. Don't submit work for this class that you did for
another class. Don't falsify data. If in doubt, see BSU's statement on academic integrity. But mostly? Be nice
to people and give credit where it's due.

Attendance, Withdrawals, and Incompletes

Come to class—it's fun!

Don't be late—you'll miss important stuf!

If you miss more than 3 classes—for any reason—your fnal grade will be lowered by one step for each missed
class beyond the limit (for example, 4 absences will result in a reduction from a B+ to a B).

Let me know early in the semester if you will miss class for university business or religious holidays. Please
see the University Catalog for more information on withdrawals and incompletes.

Students Needing Accommodations

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical
information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated,
please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. My ofce location and hours are listed on the frst
page of this document.

For additional information, please contact Larry Markle, Director of the Ofce of Disabled Student
Development, at or 285-5293; TTY 285-2206. The DSD ofce is located at Student Center

Writing Center

The Writing Center ofers free one-to-one assistance on all of your writing projects for all of your classes.
Also? The Writing Center is full of awesome people.

They are located in RB 291, and are open 10 am to 8 pm, Monday–Thursday, and 10 am to 2 pm on Friday.
Important Dates

Research Brief 3.15
IRB Protocol 3.22
Infographic 4.28
Qualitative Study 5.4

[ Complete the readings before the class for which they are assigned, and prepare to interact in class. ]

[ NB: please read a chapter of White Space is Not Your Enemy before Tuesday, each week of the semester. ]

Week 1
1.11 Want to Know the Name of Your Band and its Last Album?
How to Have an Idea

1.13 Scott, R. (1967). On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic. [BB]
Is Rhetoric Relevant? Considering the “Message in Context”

Week 2
1.18 Bitzer, L. (1968). The Rhetorical Situation. [BB]
Vatz, R. (1973). The Myth of the Rhetorical Situation. [BB]

1.20 Thompson, C. (2008). Brave New World of Digital Intimacy.
Spinuzzi, C. (2009). Starter Ecologies: Introduction to the Special issue on Social
Software. [BB]

Week 3
1.25 Shirky Ch. 1 & Ch. 2
Practicum Due

1.27 Shirky Ch. 3
Spilka Introduction

Week 4
2.1 Shirky Ch. 4 & Ch. 5

2.3 Shirky Ch. 6
Processing pp. vii–14

Week 5
2.8 Shirky Ch. 7
Spilka Ch.1
Practicum Due

2.10 Rushkof Introduction & Ch.1
Processing pp. 15–35

Week 6
2.15 Rushkof Ch. 2 & Ch. 3
Spilka Ch. 2

2.17 Rushkof Ch. 4 & Ch. 5
Processing pp. 37–50

Week 7
2.22 Spilka Ch. 3
Rushkof Ch. 6
Practicum Due

2.24 Rushkof Ch. 7 & Ch. 8
Processing pp. 51–75

Week 8
3.1 Rushkof Ch. 9
IRB Training :: Qualitative Research Workshop

3.3 Rushkof Ch. 10
IRB Training :: Qualitative Research Workshop

Week 9
3.8 Spring Break :: No Class!

3.10 Spring Break :: No Class!

Week 10
3.15 Lanier Ch. 1
Processing pp. 77–90
Research Brief Due

3.17 Lanier Ch. 2
Spilka Ch. 4

Week 11
3.22 Spilka Ch. 6
Lanier Ch. 3
IRB Protocol Due

3.24 Lanier Ch. 4, 5, & 6
Segel, E. & Heer, J. (2010). Narrative Visualization: Telling Stories with Data.

Week 12
3.29 Lanier Ch. 7 & Ch. 8
Processing pp. 91–114
3.31 Spilka Ch. 7

Week 13
4.5 Lanier Ch. 9, 10, & 11

4.7 Processing pp. 115–127

Week 14
4.12 Spilka Ch. 8

4.14 Processing 129–155

Week 15
4.19 Lanier Ch. 12 & Ch. 13
Practicum Due

4.21 Lanier Ch. 14

Week 16
4.26 Distilling Findings

4.28 Infographic Due

5.4 2:15–4:15

Qualitative Study