This course raises definitional and exploratory questions: What is literacy? How does it change across time? Who has access to it? How can literacy both empower and marginalize people? To explore these complex questions, students will investigate the ways in which contemporary practices of literacy—reading, writing, listening, speaking, digital composing, and critical thinking—function in the lives of individuals, communities, and cultures. Students will interrogate current definitions of literacy, study scholarship about literacy, explore literacy myths, and reflect on how their own literate lives have been shaped. They may engage in fieldwork and interact with local literacy communities. This course satisfies the core curriculum requirement for the Language and Writing Studies area.
Today’s technical writers generate a wide variety of products for businesses and
industries worldwide. No longer restricted to paper-based materials, or to text-based communications, technical writers are called on to produce such things as technical manuals, specifications reports, online help systems, graphical user interfaces, multimedia training modules, and even multimedia/Web-based business and marketing communications. In fact, the majority of technical writing in business and industry today is not written by trained writers, or “word-smiths,” but by engineers, scientists, and others who know well the content about which they are writing. This course teaches students theoretical approaches, strategies, and techniques that writers can use to be creative and effective when dealing with technical information.
Writing in the Sciences
Although scientists are technically not writers by profession, they must learn to write well because no work or experiment, however brilliant, can contribute to a scientific body of knowledge unless it has been clearly and accurately described. Writing is so deeply involved in the many processes in which scientists “do” science, that a course that focuses just on “writing” abilities would not do any student justice. Instead, Writing in the Sciences conveys that writing is a deep-rooted and critical part of the scientific process, focusing on the literacy that embeds itself into almost every scientific process and activity. The goal of this course is to leave students feeling confident in how they communicate scientific ideas to others. In other words, this course treats writing as an integral part what science is.