Capstone and Open Topic Course Descriptions - Spring 2021

Special Topics Courses

ENG 310 B | Special Topics in Rhetoric and Persuasion: Professional Writing for Healthcare

Heidi McKee (mckeeha@miamioh.edu)

Course Format: Online synchronous‐‐in the semester about one‐half of the classes will asynchronous and one half will be synchronous; synchronous times will be MW 1:15‐2:35

The healthcare industry is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy with extensive career opportunities. This course is for people who are interested in possibly working as professional writers and strategic communicators in the healthcare industry, particularly as social media specialists, print designers, technical communicators, publication editors, and public relations specialists. This course may also be of interest to others working in various capacities in healthcare who would just like to learn more about healthcare communications.

For each of the projects below we will have 1 or more guest speakers. Projects in this class will intersect with projects in other PW courses, but will all have a specific healthcare focus, including some of the following (you will be able to tailor many of the projects to your particular interests within the broad field of healthcare):

  • social media content strategy‐‐analyzing and then designing a social media campaign for a hospital
  • technical communication‐‐writing documentation for medical devices
  • data visualization report‐‐writing an internal report based on health data for company/organization decision‐making
  • document design‐‐redesigning an existing medical brochure (may be patient information, marketing, etc.)
  • press release and/or newsletter‐‐taking the findings from a research report within an organization and rewriting for more general consumption
This is a new class in Professional Writing, so if you have any questions, please contact Professor Heidi McKee (mckeeha@miamioh.edu).

* You may take ENG 310 more than once.

ENG 450 A | Studies in Genre: “Victorian and Neo‐Victorian Fiction”

Mary Jean Corbett (corbetmj@miamioh.edu)

Course Format: FTF at WF 11:40‐1:00 if viable; if not, synchronous meetings on Zoom

“Victorian and Neo‐Victorian Fiction” How and why do later writers reread and revise the Victorians in their own writing, and to what ends? This course will explore these questions by taking up the ways in which selected 20/21C writers (including Margaret Atwood, Peter Carey, Emma Donoghue, Jean Rhys, Colm Toíbín, and Sarah Waters) rework ‘classic’ Victorian texts—Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1849) and Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (1861‐62) among them—from feminist, postmodern, queer, and postcolonial perspectives. Requirements for the course will include an independent project that explores the reimagining of “the Victorian” in a work of contemporary fiction of the student’s choice.

ENG 490 | Special Topics in Literary Study: Old English New ‐ Early Medieval Literature and Its Afterlives

Patrick Murphy (murphyp3@miamioh.edu)

Medievalists study the medieval period: its histories, its cultures, its languages, its literatures. They aim to uncover an unvarnished view of the past, unobscured by layers of thick fantasy applied by a later age. It is true that modern creators have found endless inspiration in the sandbox of the Middle Ages, dreaming up dark‐age fantasies and building anachronistic castles in the sky. But mere medievalism of this kind is something the serious scholar avoids. The vast expanse of the past is profound enough, without worrying about these modern residues and pop culture sediments! And yet, what if the liquid line between creative and scholarly engagements were more in flux? Even some of the most influential medievalists of the last century—M.R. James and J.R.R. Tolkien—are today better known for their creative work than for their important scholarly contributions. And in our own time the Middle Ages remains as much an idea as an academic subject—for better and for worse. In this course, then, we will aim to take a binocular view of the past by studying the literature of two famous medieval manuscripts: the Exeter Book (a tenth‐century anthology of Old English poetry) and the Nowell Codex (the unique vellum copy of Beowulf and other Old English texts). We will strive to understand these books on their own terms, to consider them according to their own enigmatic lights. But at the same time we will also study the way writers and artists have remade these texts in the here and now, drawing on the energies and anxieties of the present to remake the past. How now, we will ask, do we make Old English new?

Along with several translations of Old English texts, readings will likely include: J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, “The Monsters and the Critics,” and Sellic Spell; M.R. James, Ghost Stories of an Antiquary; Santiago Garcia, Beowulf (and other examples of Beowulf in comics form); Maria Dahvana Headley, The Mere Wife; Miller Obermann, The Unstill Ones; Sarah Perry, After Me Comes the Flood; Gillian Allnutt, "The Unmaking"; Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant; and the 2009 animated film, The Book of Kells

Capstone Courses

ENG 406 | Capstone in Linguistics: Computational Linguistics 1

So Young Lee (lees44@miamioh.edu)

Course Format: Asynchronous + Synchronous (synchronous zoom meeting: W 10:05‐11:25)

Description: This course provides an introduction to how computers process language and solve language‐related tasks. The objective of this course is to help students acquire a basic understanding of the language technologies in our daily life as well as basic programming skills.

Topics covered at ENG 406:

  • How do computers process human language?
  • Why do they succeed in some areas (spell checker), yet fail miserably in others (translation)?
  • Will we ever have perfectly fluent Artificial Intelligences as depicted in science fiction and movies?
  • How to write scripts for basic language tasks with Python?

ENG 415, Capstone: Professional Writing Instructor: Michele Simmons (simmonwm@miamioh.edu) Course Format: Synchronous class meetings via Zoom at 11:40‐ 1:00 T/R. Description: This course serves as a culminating experience for Professional Writing majors and Rhetoric/Writing minors, providing experience in identifying, researching, and solving a communication problem in a semester‐long, collaborative, community‐based project with a real community partner. Our project for this course will be to research and design a content strategy plan for print and online recruitment campaigns in the major (including a set of print flyers, posters, and curriculum overviews as well as online social media). You will have the opportunity to develop collaboration and project management skills as well as hone your skills at conducting usability and UX research to develop useful and usable design. Projects include rhetorical analysis of existing materials, designing style guides, designing print and online materials that circulate a consistent message, usability and UX research with current and prospective end users, and a content strategy plan for future campaigns.

ENG 415 | Capstone: Professional Writing

Michele Simmons (simmonwm@miamioh.edu)

Course Format: Synchronous class meetings via Zoom at 11:40‐ 1:00 T/R.

This course serves as a culminating experience for Professional Writing majors and Rhetoric/Writing minors, providing experience in identifying, researching, and solving a communication problem in a semester‐long, collaborative, community‐based project with a real community partner. Our project for this course will be to research and design a content strategy plan for print and online recruitment campaigns in the major (including a set of print flyers, posters, and curriculum overviews as well as online social media). You will have the opportunity to develop collaboration and project management skills as well as hone your skills at conducting usability and UX research to develop useful and usable design. Projects include rhetorical analysis of existing materials, designing style guides, designing print and online materials that circulate a consistent message, usability and UX research with current and prospective end users, and a content strategy plan for future campaigns.


ENG 495 D | Capstone in Literature: Food, Race, and Belonging

Anita Mannur (mannura@miamioh.edu)

Course Format: Online Blend of Synchronous and Asynchronous (Synchronous zoom meetings will be held regularly 11:40‐1 MW ; approximately 25 ‐ 30% of class days will be fully asynchronous)

Food, Race and Belonging. Are we what we eat? In this course we explore how foodways are expressions of individual and cultural identity. Special attention is given to how culinary patterns reflect the struggles and aspirations of minority and immigrant communities. While food brings us together, it also differentiates us. We will use food in cultural texts as a lens to examine the complex social, economic and cultural relations that determine what we eat and the people we become. Food is a symbolic and material medium for establishing social relationships, creating meanings and sustaining practices that revolve around family, kinship, religion, gender, class, ethnic, national and other collective identities. It marks banal routines and important life events. Food influences how we see ourselves in relation to others. It is a vehicle for creating intimacy or for discriminating against people. The course delves into the literary and culture study of food in order to better understand how food practices, culinary cultures and dietary rules are embedded in our individual and collective memories, desires, and everyday struggles. NB: Some class sessions will offer the possibility of participating in synchronous cook alongs connected to the readings for the week.

ENG 495R | Capstone in Rhetoric & Writing

Jason Palmeri (palmerjr@miamioh.edu)

Course Format: Online Blend of Synchronous and Asynchronous (Synchronous zoom meetings will be held regularly 10:15‐11:15 TR; approximately 25‐30% of class days will be fully asynchronous)

Description: Writing Studies Research, Pedagogy, and Advocacy In this course, we will explore foundational and current research in the field of writing studies — with a special emphasis on how that research can influence the learning and teaching of writing in workplace, community, and educational settings.

Some questions we will explore include:

  • What are common points of consensus in writing studies research about how people best learn to write across their lifetimes in different contexts?
  • What are some debatable or novel research questions in the field of writing studies right now and how we might go about contributing to those scholarly and public conversations?
  • What key methodologies do writing studies researchers employ to study how people learn and enact writing in diverse contexts?
  • How do diverse technologies and modalities of composing influence the study and practice of writing in diverse contexts?
  • How does writing play a role in the construction of identities and power structures?
  • What theoretical concepts and reflective habits of mind might be most useful for you in preparing for a lifetime of writing in your profession and in your broader communities?

In addition to writing regular reading responses and reflective narratives about experiences of writing, students in this class will also develop a substantial research project investigating a question about writing that is personally meaningful to them.