Courses in the Spotlight

Fall 2018 Upper-Level Offerings


WTNG 270 – Travel Writing

Dr. Kate Mele T/TH 9:30-10:50, T/TH 11:00-12:20

Travel Writing Picture
Photo by Gianna Grant

Like so many travel writers who have taken up residence in the places they write about, students in this course will tell the story of their home away from home: Bristol, RI. Bristol’s history, culture, natural environment, and favorite pastimes will serve as the sites of exploration and inspiration for travel pieces that inform, persuade, and reflect.

This is an experiential, collaborative learning course. Our goal is to present Bristol (and beyond) to prospective RWU students and their families by creating a variety of documents that are well researched, accurate, imaginative, and personable. Not only will we focus on generating this content, we will also create a travel website to give us practice with design and editing. (3 Credits) Special Offering

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor

WTNG 299: Writing Grants and Proposals 

Dr. Catherine Forsa M/TH 2:00-3:20, M/TH 3:30-4:50

This course gives students an introduction to grants and proposals from a writerly perspective. Non-profit, corporate, and government organizations offer many opportunities to fund projects; and clear, persuasive writing is a key part of securing this funding. Students will learn about the grant application process (from researching opportunities to submitting final drafts) and the basics of writing strong proposals. Throughout the course, students will study genre conventions so that they can start working on projects tailored to their interests. They will locate potential funding sources and practice writing for different audiences. Ultimately, the course aims to help students understand how to make thoughtful rhetorical decisions in order to produce effective, persuasive arguments about their work.

Students in all majors can benefit from learning about funding opportunities requiring grants and/or proposals. Students will have the opportunity to explore opportunities specific to their fields and interests. The course will spotlight grants related to the sciences (National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation), humanities (National Endowment for the Humanities), arts (Rhode Island State Council on the Arts), justice studies (Department of Justice), and a range of other government and non-profit sources of funding. It will also feature proposals related to business and engineering. (3 Credits) Special Offering

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor

WTNG 311 – Technical Writing

Dr. Mel Topf T/TH 11:00-12:20

Students will learn how to apply fundamental concepts of effective technical writing that will prepare them for writing in industry, government and other professional contexts. Technical documents help move industry, government and the professions. The technical writer must make judgments about his or her audience, subject, and purposes that go far beyond transferring information. Students will study key principles of rhetorical theory, the idea of genre and its purposes, and the concept of professional audience. Technical documents may include feasibility studies, proposals, and policy statements. (3 Credits) Spring Alternate Years

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor

WTNG 320 – Writing for Business Organizations

Dr. Paul Bender  MWF 10:00-10:50; MWF 11:00-11:50

In Fall 2018, students will work as professional writers to produce high-quality documents that solve real-world problems. We will use a hands-on approach to study writing as it relates to business issues affecting the campus, community, state, or region. Students will be challenged to consider how to use innovative and dynamic strategies to appeal to a range of stakeholders. They will experiment with texts and learn strategic ways to plan, create, and evaluate written texts. We will focus on interpersonal, public, professional, intercultural, and collaborative writing both online and in print. Parts of the course may focus on a project connected with the Community Partnership Center to give students skills that they can translate to internships and jobs. This course explores the causes of the success or failure of business communications. The course takes a case-based approach. Students will study the theory and practice of business communications as a pragmatic enterprise to accomplish actual change in the world. The course includes the study of the nature of domestic and global business communication, the causes and effects of communication failures, the social, legal, and ethical nature of professional communication, and the problems in determining the professional interests of readers. (3 Credits) Spring Alternate Years

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor

WTNG 321 – Multimodal Writing in Public Spheres

Dr. Christian Pulver T/TH 12:30-1:50; T/FR 2:00-3:20

What does it mean to live and practice rhetoric in a world saturatedword cloud for multimodal writing with texts and media? A world where print and alphabetic writing are no longer the central mode of communication, and where other modes—image, sound, video, speech, and gesture—carry as much, or more, rhetorical power in the 21 st century as print did in the 20th?

This course will explore such questions to think about how everyday writers draw on different communicative modes like image and sound to more effectively participate in our ever-evolving digital public. We’ll consider both the theory and practice behind composing multimodal texts and explore the social, rhetorical, and ethical implications that such texts, and their rapid circulation, present for us and the audiences we are attempting to connect with.

As writing in public spheres is produced across a variety of media – from posters to books to blogs to tweets to images, video, and memes, we’ll consider how each mode offers different possibilities for rhetorical action and apply this understanding to produce dynamic, meaningful multimodal texts intended to engage audiences both online and off.

Note: Previous experience with digital or multimodal composing not required. (3 Credits) Fall Alternate Years

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102 and at least sophomore standing or consent of instructor
  • Fulfills the second of two University Core Curriculum requirements in the University Writing Program
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Writing Core Concentration and Minor

WTNG 470 – The Writing Thesis/Portfolio 

Dr. Mel Topf T/TH 12:30-1:50

Portfolios are used in a variety of academic and professional contexts. Artists use portfolios to showcase their work over time; architects use them to present projects to clients. As writers, we use portfolios to collect and curate a showcase of our individual and collaborative writing projects, to show connections academic, professional, civic, and creative purposes and audiences.

For the purposes of this class, the portfolio entails assembling, analyzing, and evaluating a body of original work (primarily the writing that you have done in your writing classes at RWU) that demonstrates your ability to apply rhetorical knowledge and skills to writing tasks in a variety of contexts, including the professional, academic, and public. You will critique and reflect on the purpose, production, and reception of these texts as well as the ways the texts contribute to our knowledge of writing as a means of relating to others and to the opportunities and challenges presented to us. (3 Credits) Special Offering

  • Prerequisite: Successful completion of two Writing courses at the 300-level or above. Successful completion (C- or higher) of WTNG 102. At least junior standing or consent of instructor
  • Fulfills a course requirement in the Professional and Public Core Concentration and Minor