- EDEC 617: Critical Internet Studies: Discourse, Technology, and Culture
- EDEC 635: Advanced Written Communication
- EDEC 305: Communication in Management II
As any even cursory glance at the major headlines in the news reveals, stories about the contested nature of digital technologies in education abound. On an almost daily basis, we read, for example, about students being disciplined over their use of blogs, social networking sites, wikis, and other digital writing spaces, about Wikipedia being banned from writing assignments in entire university departments, or about students protesting the ways in which digital technologies, such as plagiarism detection software, have been used by institutions to police their writing.In this course, we will examine these and other controversies over technologies as instances of larger power struggles over how established social orders, practices, and hierarchies are to be reproduced, challenged, or questioned. For this purpose, students will work on their own technology-related research projects, and together, we will explore diverse theoretical perspectives of technologies that allow us to understand the ways in which we as students and teachers are participating—knowingly or unknowingly—in nothing less than a historic struggle over the shape of the societies, institutions, and communities we will inhabit. Teachers and education researchers find themselves at the forefront of these struggles as they help students develop the critical acumen to analyze what is at stake and facilitate their critical engagement —not as docile users, but rather as citizens who participate in the deliberation, contestation, and shaping of technology design, use, and regulation in education and beyond.
Advanced Written Communication is designed for graduate students who are working on research writing projects in their discipline or profession (e.g., thesis chapters, dissertation proposals, grant proposals, journal articles, comprehensive exams, graduate projects, workplace reports, etc.). As such, the course is designed to introduce students to issues of disciplinarity, culture, and politics in academic discourse. The main goal of the course is to empower students in their development as productive and confident writers in their research or professional communities. Accordingly, the course serves three purposes.
First, the course helps students develop a conceptual framework for participating and locating themselves in their research or professional communities. Students learn that participation in such communities involves understanding their shared discursive knowledge-making practices, many of which are often unspoken and tacit, leaving newcomers struggling with a sense of inadequacy as they are trying to find answers to such questions as what does the community consider a valuable contribution? What kinds of knowledge claims based on what evidence are appropriate at a particular time by a particular member? How has discourse in a given research community become regularized and regulated over time, stipulating what is sayable, what not, how, and under what conditions? How and why do members draw on each other’s work to advance or contest knowledge claims?
Second, based on this conceptual framework, the course provides students with a forum in which they can explore the genres, practices, and tacit assumptions of academic discourse within and across disciplinary communities. They examine how writers consider their readers and interact within and across their disciplinary communities.
Third, building on their increasing understanding of their disciplinary communities, the course provides students with a workshop environment in which they receive constructive feedback on their writing both from the instructor and from their peer writing group. Students learn how to invite and provide insightful feedback on writing, and they work together to solve writing problems and to develop strategies for overcoming writer’s block; for generating, developing, and focusing ideas; and for revising and editing.
EDEC 305, “Communication in Management II,” introduces undergraduate students to written and oral communication practices in business settings. Students learn how to analyze a business communication situation, including their audience, rationale, outcomes as well as the regularized practices organized and facilitated through business documents (e.g. proposals, memos, progress reports, and formal business reports), media, and contextual constraints. Based on their analyses, students learn how to develop communication strategies that are appropriate, effective, and ethical in a given situation. To implement these strategies, students learn how to develop effective and ethical business communication processes, including drafting, organizing, editing, designing, and revising professional documents while working both individually and collaboratively.
At the same time, an important goal of the course is to help students develop a critical perspective on management communication because as future managers, they will need to be able to collaborate and communicate with a wider range of stakeholders to achieve social and environmental goals in addition to financial ones. That is they need to learn how to ask critical questions about management communication, such as whose interests are being advanced, normalized, or marginalized; how power relations are inscribed in management communication practices; and how these practices enable or constrain communication with a growing range of stakeholders.