Lecture: Gopen and Swan’s “The Science of Scientific Writing”

In “The Science of Scientific Writing,” George D. Gopen and Judith A. Swan argue that dense, difficult to read prose is far more often a problem of violating reader expectation than it is an issue of long sentences, technical jargon-heavy writing, and complex topics. As this is the case, they discuss reader expectations and offer key […]

Lecture: Technical Communication Strategies: Ch. 13

Note: Unless I hear otherwise I will assume you understand the readings from Technical Communication Strategies for Today. Therefore, lectures on readings from the book will tend to be short, focusing on specifics I want to highlight. Just because I don’t address something doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. If you have any questions or need further elaboration on anything about […]

Lecture: Prelli’s “The Nature of Rhetoric”

Lawrence Prelli’s “The Nature of Rhetoric” is the second chapter of his book A Rhetoric of Science: Inventing Scientific Discourse, a book I recommend if you’re finding these readings on the rhetoric of science interesting. 1)1. Prelli, Lawrence J. A Rhetoric of Science: Inventing Scientific Discourse. Columbia: U of South Carolina P, 1989. While there’s more recent […]

Lecture: Ethos, Pathos, Logos

Ethos, pathos, and logos can seem like fairly simple concepts — ethos is about the credibility of the rhetor (the speaker or writer), pathos is about emotion and empathy, and logos is about logical reasoning and structure, and we often talk about them as something that is either there (or present in a rhetorical act) or not […]

Lecture: Introduction to the Enthymeme

This lecture supplements and extends this week’s reading on the enthymeme that is available in Blackboard.1)1. Gage, John T. “The Enthymeme” from The Shape of Reason: Argumentative Writing in College. 4th ed. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2006. 82-85. This lecture draws heavily from Gage’s The Shape of Reason and from Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee’s Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary […]

Lecture: Defining Rhetoric

Despite its 2,500-year history and its place of privilege in the Trivium as one of Seven Liberal Arts, rhetoric is often thought of as something negative: as empty speech or pretty or flowery language used to deceive. Immanuel Kant wrote that rhetoric is the art “of deceiving by a beautiful show (ars oratoria)” (171) and […]

Solving Problems in TC, Ch. 1: Boundaries, Artifacts, and Identities

In chapter 1 of Solving Problems in Technical Communication, Richard Selfe and Cynthia Selfe explore technical communication through the heuristic question: “What Are the Boundaries, Artifacts, and Identities of Technical Communication.” As with all the chapters in this anthology, this chapter is divided into seven sections: a chapter summary followed by an introduction, a review […]

Lecture: Solving Problems, Introdution

Solving Problems in Technical Communication, Introduction In their introduction to Solving Problems in Technical Communication, Johndan Johnson-Eilola and Stuart A. Selber introduce technical communication as a “problem-solving activity” and technical communicators as “problem solvers”(3), and explain that the anthology and each of the chapters within it explore technical communication from the perspective of “understanding and […]

Lecture: Technical Communication Strategies: Ch. 1

Note: Unless I hear otherwise I will assume you understand the readings from Technical Communication Strategies for Today. Therefore, lectures on readings from the book will tend to be short, focusing on specifics I want to highlight. Just because I don’t address something doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. If you have any questions or need further elaboration on anything about […]