Course Descriptions & Fliers

ENGL6364: Research Design in Rhetoric and Writing
Blacksburg | M 4-6:50 | Spring 2020 | Derek Mueller
At myriad points between utter mess and staid empiricism, research methods and methodologies in Rhetoric and Writing have, since Lauer and Asher’s 1988 volume, Composition Research, bloomed spectacularly. Accepting as a given the discipline’s continuously learning from other research traditions in the social sciences and humanities, as well as beyond the academy, ENGL6364 orients researchers to possible research designs selected and adapted from this expansive constellation. Our inquiring together into research designs will include analysis and application of methods and methodologies; that is, we will notice what others have done, puzzle over choices, and try it out ourselves. The course will key especially on terminologies and ethics, while extending to its participants experience crafting researchable questions. Such questions—and the provisional rationale accompanying them—will be informed by well-established scholarly accounts, contemporary debates, and recent award-winning dissertations.


CRN 90863 | ENGL5454: Studies in Theory: Theory & Practice of University Writing Instruction
Blacksburg | W 2:30-5:15 | Fall 2019 | Derek Mueller

N.b. So that it can be offered as a three credit hour course, ENGL5454 is listed in Fall 2019 as a substitute/equivalent for ENGL5004: Theory & Practice of University Writing Instruction. Please note this exception for advising, in relation to programs of study and in consultation with graduate program directors.

ENGL5004 provides an introduction to the histories and purposes of college composition in the U.S., a laboratory for developing into a thoughtful, innovative teacher cognizant of contemporary pedagogical approaches, and a space for studying cultural shifts impacting what literate citizenship—in the academy and elsewhere—looks like now. Consistent with principles at the core of the field of rhetoric and composition/writing studies, the course balances and blends together (i.e., mixing in equal and mutually informing measure) theoretical and practical matters negotiated over several decades by composition researchers, scholars, and practitioners. Required readings this semester include selections from Writing About Writing, Bad Ideas About Writing, Writing Spaces, and several PDFs, all of which are open access or otherwise provided to those enrolled. Students will also gain fluency with the first-year writing curriculum at Virginia Tech as preparation to teach ENGL1105 and/or ENGL1106 in the future. Contact Derek Mueller at dmueller@vt.edu for more information. 


CRN 19102 | ENGL5004: Theory & Practice of University Writing Instruction
Blacksburg | Spring 2019 | Mueller
ENGL5004 provides an introduction to the histories and purposes of college composition in the U.S., a laboratory for developing into a thoughtful, innovative teacher cognizant of contemporary pedagogical approaches, and a space for studying cultural shifts impacting what literate citizenship—in the academy and elsewhere—looks like now. Consistent with principles at the core of the field of rhetoric and composition/writing studies, the course balances and blends together (i.e., mixing in equal and mutually informing measure) theoretical and practical matters negotiated over several decades by composition researchers, scholars, and practitioners. Students will also gain fluency with the first-year writing curriculum at Virginia Tech in anticipation of applying to teach ENGL1105 and/or ENGL1106 in the future.


CRN 40445 | ENGL3764: Technical Writing
Online | Winter 2019 | Mueller
In its accelerated, three-week online format, English 3764: Technical Writing will begin to introduce you to theories, issues, and practices of technical communications common in contemporary workplaces, such as general correspondence, proposals, reports, and presentations. From a foundation based on the principles of rhetoric, you will learn to analyze writing situations, consider the needs of your audience, assemble research-based evidence, and develop final documents that are user friendly and visually persuasive. By the time this course is over, you should be able to understand these documents and produce them with greater fluency and confidence.


CRN 83911 | ENGL1105: First-year Writing: Introduction to College Composition
Blacksburg | Fall 2018 | Mueller
This semester you will gain grounded, practical experience with the conventions of academic discourse. The subject of the course is writing: how effective writers write in all variety of situations, in and beyond college, what successful writing looks like, and how specific practices, strategies, and concepts will aid you in becoming a more flexible, adaptive, and skillful communicator. ENGL1150 is a small, studio-based course, which means you will spend considerable time writing, workshopping drafts, and discussing writing and related concepts with your peers and your instructor. The course progresses through a series of “projects.” We refer to them as projects because they involve a gradual build-up among many different components, much of which will be assembled into a portfolio at the end of each unit and at the end of the semester. The three major projects for the course are 1) Literacy Narrative, 2) Reading Spaces, and 3) Worknets. Each project will accompany an Invention Portfolio–a collection of in-class writing and shorter pieces you prepared as you developed the project. The course portfolio will include a reflective essay that introduces its contents, recounts striking moments of learning and insight, and draws explicit connections between the work of the course and course outcomes.

CRN 52944 | WRTG326: Research Writing (EMU)
Online | Summer 2 2018 | Mueller
In the course of a written research project’s development just how much can its trajectory drift, its shape shift? This section of WRTG326 will introduce enduring tensions in research writing between generating and focusing, between drifting and anchoring to a narrow and well-set purpose, between reading for invention and transitioning from reading to writing. The course emphasizes researchable questions, gathering and annotating scholarly sources, and drafting and revising a research proposal and literature review.