Welcome to Advanced Technical and Professional Communication

Spring 2007
NMSU- Distance Education Course

Course Overview

I am happy that you can join me in this online edition of English 318 at New Mexico State. I am enthusiastic about teaching this course because the readings and assignments are well tailored to the communication demands you are already or will soon face in your profession. Through background reading and through speaking with Dr. Sizemore about the unique communication contexts of nursing and health care, this course's assignments provide an opportunity for you to further develop the practices you use to interact with a variety of audiences for a variety of purposes in your workplace.

The assignments in this course will give you experience with a range of written genres. I have designed a sequence of projects which build upon one another to help you become more aware and in control of the communication in which you already engage, as well as to provide you with additional rhetorical strategies for creating more effective and persuasive documents. In general, I like to avoid busywork for students and I have constructed the assignments to have as much relevancy to your real life as possible. Throughout the course I encourage you to apply the readings and assignments to your workplace context and to select issues of study that relate to your professional interests. Additionally, I am open to negotiation on several of the major assignments if you can provide a solid justification for modification.

About the Instructor

Since we likely won't have the opportunity to meet face-to-face during this course, I want to briefly introduce myself (you are of course welcome to set up an appointment to meet with me in person if you are in Las Cruces). My name is Jennifer Sheppard and I have been at NMSU since Fall 2003. I completed my PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Technological University in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (yes, it was cold and snowed a lot, especially for someone originally from California). My research focuses on web-based multimedia development and workplace communication.

I have been teaching writing, professional communication, web design, multimedia development, and oral and visual communication for the past 10 years (you can see my other course syllabi and my multimedia work at http://web.nmsu.edu/~jasheppa). This will be my eighth time teaching this online course and I am very happy with the way this syllabus works. I am looking forward to getting to know all of you and your particular professional interests.

Through this course, I think you will find that I enjoy teaching, that I like to challenge students to expand their range of capabilities, and that I think it is necessary to provide students with the support they need to accomplish the course goals. I am very comfortable using technology in general and working in an online environment in particular. If you have questions about technologies or assignments at any time, please don't hesitate to contact me.