Graduate Special Topics: Teaching Professional and Technical Writing

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Fall 2016
Days & Times

Online class: meets in Skype each Thursday at 6:00-7:30pm (CT)

Dr. Sally Henschel (view Profile)


Solving Problems in Technical Communication.
Innovative Approaches to Teaching Technical Commun
E-text free on DigitalCommons)

Course Objectives

We will examine the theory, pedagogy, and practice of teaching an IPW or TC course. By the end of the course, students will be able to

  • identify and describe theories and pedagogical approaches significant to IPW and TC
  • compare and evaluate syllabi, textbooks, and materials related to teaching IPW or TC
  • develop and evaluate objectives and outcomes for student learning in an IPW or TC course
  • plan, develop, and justify a syllabus for a semester-long IPW or TC course
  • evaluate the usefulness of various technologies for teaching IPW or TC
  • develop and evaluate assessments for a course in IPW or TC
  • produce a variety of IPW, TC documents (e.g., memo, handouts, reports, electronic presentation)
  • compose a teaching philosophy statement that reflects on their approach to teaching the IPW or TC course worked on this semester

Course Expectations





Reading responses


Responses to assigned readings




TC concept discussion lead


Lead 30 min. class discussion




Syllabi analysis


Analysis of 3 course syllabi




Textbook recommendation


Memo recommending adoption of  textbook for selected course




Assignment development


Instructions (handout) and grading guidelines for two class activities/assignments.

Presentation of the lesson to online class.




Onsite class presentation


Teach one of the prepared lessons to an onsite IPW or TC class, includes an electronic presentation




Syllabus proposal


Produce a syllabus and write a theoretical rationale for the syllabus




Statement of teaching philosophy

Craft a teaching philosophy statement




Course Total



Grading Standards

100 - 90% — A 

89 - 80% — B 

79 - 70% — C 

69 - 60% — D 

     < 60% — F 

Submission Format Policy

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

All assignments will be due on dates assigned. No late work will be accepted unless specific arrangements have been made prior to the due date. Students falling two assignments behind are subject to administrative withdrawal from the course by the instructor.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Students with three unexcused absences are subject to an administrative withdrawal from the course. Three tardies are counted as one absence.  School closure policy: Since this is an online class, we will meet even if the school is closed for a weather day or other emergency.

Other Policies

See attached syllabus & assignment calendar

Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at