Authors: Bryan Kopp, Kate Parker, Lindsay Steiner, English Department, UW La Crosse.
Discipline: Professional & Technical Writing,
Submission Date: April 29, 2019,
Course Name: Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing (ENG 335)
Course description from the catalog: This course is designed as an introductory course for students who are interested in writing in professional settings. The course will include an introduction to various field definitions of professional and technical writing, an overview of professional and technical writing history and theory, provide space to study key concepts that are currently relevant in the field, and apply these histories and concepts to concrete documents that constitute study in the field of professional and technical writing.
Description of the course as it relates to this lesson study: Regularly offered in the fall and spring, Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing (ENG 335) is an introductory course for the Professional and Technical Writing minor and is part of the core for the English Writing and Rhetoric Emphasis, the Literature Emphasis, and the English Education major. The course cap is 18 students, many of whom have majors other than English. This course focuses on theories, histories, and concepts from the field as well application and analysis of professional and technical writing documents in different genres and modalities. This lesson fits into a unit on ethics and user advocacy, which will occur in the middle of the semester. Several course student learning outcomes intersect with this lesson, but especially the following: “Understand ethics as a core component to professional and technical writing theory and practice” and “Awareness of audience and users: to understand needs and expectations, to empathize, to assist, and to plan what needs to be done next.”
Abstract This lesson study investigates how students in Introduction to Professional and Technical Writing (ENG 335) explored the topic of intimate partner violence at UWL and sought to empower students as “upstanders,” advocating for survivors and, by extension, other marginalized identities. After examining existing awareness campaigns, students created prototypes, made recommendations, and provided feedback that can improve campus communications related to sexual violence. Preliminary findings indicate that students 1) increased rhetorical awareness and sense of advocacy, 2) shifted from an individual standpoint to a user perspective, and 3) moved from awareness, to affect/struggle, and to advocacy driven by empathy.