Rachel’s Intro

Hello everyone,

My name is Rachel, and this is my second to last semester, as I’ve elected to complete my master’s project over the spring/summer semester. I’m in the Professional Writing track of the Written Communication MA program.

I work full time as a staff auditor at the moment. I also have a fiance who’s already my husband, as we’re doing our belated bigger ceremony in March. I’m also woefully behind in learning more Chinese.

The focus of this class is very intriguing, and I look forward to experiencing this semester with you all!


Hi All!

I’m Meg, and this is my final semester as a graduate student. I plan to graduate this April with an MA in Written Communication, specializing in the Teaching of Writing. Currently, I teach First-Year Writing (FYW) and work in the University Writing Center (UWC) here at EMU. When I grow up, I want to teach FYW at EMU.

I have three daughters and three cats. Like Aristotle, I support compiling many facets of my life into groups of three. I love to cook and bake because I come from a long line of feeders, and I might also be secretly obsessed with movies based on Jane Austen stories…maybe.

This semester, I’m completing work on my MA project, which concerns instructor/student rapport in a FYW classroom and the impact of that rapport on students’ cognitive learning. Though I’m still working through my data, this project has provided me with much insight on my innate ability to procrastinate. I’m hoping to escape from the procrastination abyss soon.

I look forward to spending the rest of the semester with you who I’ve come to know and love, as well as with my future friends in this class.




Hello, everyone. My name is Justin and I am in my second semester of the Written Communication MA program, with a professional writing focus. I am an EMU alumnus – I graduated in 2013 with a BS in English and a Philosophy minor. Prior to my pursuit of higher education, I was on a special duty in the Marine Corps, guarding embassies abroad.

It seems as though I am in good company; I too identify as a nerd! I especially enjoy tabletop gaming, and have a particular love for Dungeons & Dragons. Unfortunately, I don’t have as much time to play as I would like; on top of taking two courses this semester, I work full time at the University of Michigan Health System doing communications work for the IT department, am a new home owner, have a seven-month old puppy, and am planning my wedding for this August.

As I mentioned in my in-class introduction, I do a good deal of design work in my career; however, I have had little formal or theoretical training in visual rhetoric. I look forward to exploring this topic and getting to know all of you better throughout these next few months!

Ja’La’s Intro

Hi everyone,

I’m very excited to be in this class with you all. I’m Ja’La (Jay-Luh) and this is my last semester in the Written Comm program here at EMU. My time at EMU has been multifaceted, as I have been a graduate assistant in the Holman Success Center for two years, teaching Introduction to the University and being a success coach to students on academic probation.

I have a variety of interests and before joining the program in 2015, I was an assistant writer for two years at a large church in Columbus, OH. That experience informed my decision to pursue the technical writing track because a lot of my work had to do with fundraising, writing copy for the web, editing copy, and social media management.

Whenever people ask me “what do you do/want to do” I don’t have a standard answer. On one hand, I am passionate about mentoring college-aged students, working in the University, and doing work overseas with non profits. I love traveling because I grew up in a military family and lived outside the United States for over 10 years before moving to Michigan. On the other hand, I love the fast-paced business world and working with organizations or people who could use staffing help in the communications department.

With all that being said, I’m looking forward to learning more about the fascinating world of visual rhetoric as I continue to work on my final MA project that has a key focus in this sub-discipline!

Intro, Head Map, Definition

As follow-up to the call for a blog entry in the closing minutes of Monday night’s class, here goes.

Derek Mueller is Associate Professor of Written Communication and Director of the First-year Writing Program at Eastern Michigan University, where he regularly teaches courses in visual rhetorics, writing pedagogy, and research methods. His research attends to questions concerning networked writing practices, rhetorical aspects of computational methods (e.g., data mining and visualization), and discipliniographies or field narratives related to rhetoric and composition/writing studies. Mueller’s work has been published in Kairos, Enculturation, Computers and Composition, Present Tense, Composition Forum, and JAC. For more, visit derekmueller.net.

Head Map

Head Map - WRTG540
Head Map – WRTG540

Visual Rhetorics Definition
Study of images, graphics, and visuals, how and why they are made, what are their effects, and how they circulate. But “study” is dissatisfying because rhetoric requires action and “study” hints at knowing too passively.

Hello World: An Introductory Note from Natasha

As I’m sitting here trying to compose an introductory blog post about myself, I’m having mildly traumatic flashbacks to the seven-or-so drafts of an Introduction Memo that I wrote for WRTG 424 when completing my bachelor’s degree at EMU, majoring in both written communication and speech communication. Just as a heads up… you’re only getting one draft. Sorry, friends.

I’m Natasha, and I am enrolled in EMU’s Written Communication MA program, concentrating my studies in the Teaching of Writing. As a graduate assistant, I teach in EMU’s First-Year Writing Program and consult in the University Writing Center. However, I’m feeling a bit more than a little bitter-sweet, since this is my last semester in the program, and I know that I’ll deeply miss my friends, colleagues, and faculty here–and the weekly snacks in class.

Like Cortney, I also identify as a nerd, though not quite as strongly as I did a few years ago when I attended anime/comic conventions and sewed my own cosplay costumes. Now, when I’m not researching the ways that written self-advocacy practices influence student agency and responsibility, I spend most of my free time crafting, assembling puzzles, watching musicals–can we just talk about Hamilton for a second?–reading, and developing travel plans. It’s a bit old-lady-ish, but that’s okay by me.

I’ll close by saying that I’m really excited for this class and interested to see the visual rhetoric designs that everyone creates. And, if we don’t yet know each other well, I look forward to correcting this circumstance soon! 🙂

What Materials Do I Need?

Will I need other materials for the course? Maybe.

Beyond the required books and access to Canvas where you will find PDFs (under Files), you don’t need any specific materials for the class. I am still sorting through the details, and I will have on-hand seven sets of colored pencils, seven sets of watercolors, several piles of index cards, and a handful of pencil sharpeners. So while this is not an art class, per se, we will take up some of the guidance offered by Lynda Barry. Every class meeting will include at least one “stop-draw” and “stop-write.” Think of these as productive or generative digressions, moments in which we pause, turn our attention to a drawing or writing activity for only a couple of minutes, and then pick up again with our seminar modeled discussion.

If you are inclined–if, for example, you don’t prefer to share colored pencils or watercolors–you’re welcome to pick up your own materials. For under five bucks, you can put together a kit comparable to what’s in the photo above, which will be more than enough to support your in-class work in the weeks and months to come.