Welcome to Advanced Technical and Professional Communication
Summer 2005
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 completed my PhD in Rhetoric and Technical Communication at Michigan Technological University in Fall 2003. My dissertation studied the creation of a science-based multimedia web site for middle school students that I created for a U.S. Forest Service research lab in Northern Michigan (if you are interested, you can check it out at http://forest.mtu.edu/kidscorner).

I have been teaching writing, technical communication, web design, and oral and visual communication for the past nine years and am very happy to have landed at New Mexico State. This will be my fifth time teaching this particular online course. I am very comfortable using technology in general and working in an online environment in particular.

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 student with the support they need to accomplish the course goals. If you have questions about assignments at any time, please don't hesitate to contact me.

One last note I want to make is that I am genuinely looking forward to learning from you about communication in your field and professional context. While I obviously don't have a background in health care, one of my main areas of interest is in workplace interaction and communication. I hope that through the various assignments of the course that you will be willing to share your knowledge and practices with me while I do the same with you. I have learned a great deal from the previous sections of this course I have taught and look forward to finding out more from your experiences.