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About the MA Program and Portfolio

After a year of research, I determined that the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR) offered the most dynamic professional writing program available as an online MA degree. I was enrolled as a graduate student pursuing the Professional and Technical Writing degree in the fall of 2020. 

The program offered three different tracks of academic focus as well as three different types of final "capstone" graduate projects. After weighing my options, I decided that I would be in the technical writing track as it provided the most number of courses in my varied interests. I chose to do a portfolio website instead of a thesis paper or project (such as authoring a book) because the portfolio option required me to take a few more course credits than the other two. I wanted to learn as much as I could. If you'd like to read my portfolio proposal submission, click here.

From a practical standpoint, I opted for a technical writing degree because in early 2019 and 2020, I was a new young mother now staying at home in the midst of a global pandemic. I strategized that I wanted to become knowledgeable and employable in a field of expertise that could be applicable in any industry in order to be able to help financially provide for my family. After practical online research and some personal soul searching, the online UALR Professional and Technical Writing MA was where I needed to be. 

 

Three years later (as I write this in July of 2023), I'm proud to say that I have completed all the MA outcomes of the program and have catered my efforts through projects and a practicum to my professional interests in teaching, political communications, and digital content creation. 

The program outcomes are:

  1.  Demonstrate an understanding of the history and major theories of their profession.

  2. Analyze a variety of rhetorical situations and create documents that work in each particular situation.

  3. Conduct primary and secondary research that adds to knowledge in their field.

  4. Compose discursive and audience specific arguments using appropriate evidence and rhetorical appeals.

  5. Explore and experiment with technologies and the distinctive rhetorical exigencies they create.

  6. Demonstrate attention to correctness in editorial details and citations.

  7. Act as professionals in and outside the classroom

  8. Participate in an active and ethical way in the profession beyond the classroom.

As you explore my portfolio website, you'll find papers, projects, and other pieces of work that demonstrate my abilities in these eight outcomes. 

Program Courses Taken

Document Design

Fall 2020

Writing for Business and Government

Fall 2020

Journalistic Freedom & Responsibility

Summer 2021

Preparing to Freelance

Summer 2021

Rhetorical Theory

Fall 2021

New Media Publishing (Intro to Journalism)

Spring 2021

Study and practice of the use of visual elements in technical communication. Emphasis on typography, page layout, data displays, pictorial communication, and usability testing for both print and online documents.

Theory of and practice in writing for business and government organizations; includes writing strategies, appropriate diction, report formats.

Journalistic ethics and practices; professional conduct, responsibilities of the journalist in a free society.

Theory and practice of technical communication; topics vary each semester. May be repeated for credit when topic varies.

Nature, extent, practice of rhetoric; emphasis on the necessity of integrating a solid understanding of rhetorical theory with extensive writing in a variety of modes for a variety of audiences and reasons.

This course involves learning how to design and publish multimedia mass communication content on the Internet. It is a lecture, lab and project based course that focuses on the principles of convergent journalism and the processes of responsive design and publishing mass media content on the Internet.

Composition Theory

Spring 2022

Contemporary research and theory on composing processes; includes the text itself, writing behavior, relationship between cognition and writing, writing contexts and communities, development of the individual writer; requires extensive research.

Writing on the Web

Spring 2022

An introduction to the rhetorical aspects of web design and construction that emphasizes audience(s), purpose(s), and accessibility issues such as website navigation, readability, visual design, and ADA compliance.

Practicum: Teaching Composition 1 & 2

Fall 2022-Spring 2023

Intro to Research Methods

Fall 2022

Usability Testing & Design

Spring 2023

Experience creating courses and preparing to teach those courses consultation with the practicum coordinator  May be repeated for credit.

An introductory course in research methods used to study writing in the classroom and workplace; quantitative and qualitative design; ethics of human subject research.

An introduction to principles of user experience (UX) design, usability, and usability testing in the context of new media. Topics covered include interaction design, audience and requirements analysis, prototyping, document aesthetics, and usability testing procedures. May be taken for credit by students who have taken RHET 4372 as undergraduates. No programming experience required.

Thesis Seminar & Project Hours

Spring 2023-Summer 2023

This seminar course prepares students who have chosen the thesis option for the MA in Professional and Technical Writing for the process of researching a thesis topic, writing a thesis proposal, forming a thesis committee, and defending the thesis proposal. Students also produce a web-based portfolio showcasing writing they have completed during their program coursework.

Writing for Social Media

Summer 2023

This course presents an overview of the need for social media writers and managers in the workplace.  students will analyze online audiences and write content that will attract more readers, build trust with the readers, and keep them coming back.  Students will create an editorial calendar based on a social media strategy, plan a social media campaign, and execute this plan by writing the content or managing a social media team.

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