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Course Descriptions

Courses I'm currently teaching.

RHE-225 Journalism and Media Workshop       

 This course will introduce several forms of writing for both print and electronic media.  We’ll begin with the basics of news writing, then move on to our focus:  writing print and online feature stories.  We’ll polish our interviewing skills, learn to gather information, structure stories, and create and revise several cohesive, informative pieces including a multimedia package.

Our topics will be local:  news-pegged feature stories that originate on campus, in Cedar Rapids, and in eastern Iowa.  Completed projects will be posted on a course website, and can be added to your own professional portfolio.

During the term you will create approximately 6 feature stories for print and online sources.  The best of these articles will be posted on our course website.

RHE-265 Professional Writing

What are you going to do when you graduate?  Work in sales, public relations, retail management?  Work for an admissions office, a law office, a non-profit organization?  No matter what you do, you’ll need to write well for a variety of situations.  This course is designed to help prepare you for the types of writing you’ll encounter in managerial, public relations, or other professional positions.  Although we will spend time on routine writing projects, such as correspondence, our main focus will be on special writing projects that require research, decision-making, design, stylistic choices, and revision.

We don’t just learn from a textbook in this course.  Every year, this class also does some professional writing for a local non-profit organization—which might include writing brochures, newsletters, grant materials, web site material, or operations manuals. 

RHE-415 Advanced Writing Workshop

This is a multi-genre course for the serious writer, exploring the demands and possibilities in various forms of writing, especially non-fiction forms:  professional writing, creative non-fiction, journalism, and writing for the internet.  The focus will be on enlarging the writer’s repertoire of strategies and skills.

Students will choose projects they’d like to work on for a final portfolio and be responsible for setting up timetables for research, drafting, revision, and editing.   

            As the main work of the course, students will prepare a portfolio of their work for course credit; they will be able to draw on this portfolio when submitting their written work to potential employers. 

            Students will also do extensive research and self-reflection to create a personal statement that might be used for graduate school application or for a job search.

RHE-535   Rhetorical Theory and Practice

What is Rhetoric?  Is it inherently untrustworthy?  Is it a politician’s “hot air?”  Aristotle has a less negative definition.  He says rhetoric is “finding the available means of persuasion.” That is something we all need to know how to do when we use written or spoken language.  

In this class we will use readings from Classical Rhetorical Theory—Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and Quintillian—to help us understand the scope of rhetoric, and how it can be used.  We will practice the theories we read about, discuss audience, education, invention, arrangement, and style in rhetoric.  As we do this, you will be able to sort through, assemble, and synthesize a comprehensive approach to rhetoric that will help you any time you need to use language to communicate with others.  Two major written projects, a reader’s log, and several short projects are required.

Subpages (1): Professional Writing