ISP250 and ISP350 Special Topics in Writing Studies

Fall 2024 Topics

ISP250H5 LEC0101: Queer/ing Composition (HUM)

  • This course is taught by Dr. Amanda Paxton
  • Offered Tuesday 12:00-3:00pm
  • Prerequisite: ISP100H5

This course takes a queer studies approach to writing and rhetoric to examine the connections between composition, language, and sexual identity. Through critical readings and research into communicative practices in diverse queer communities, students will theorize and practice “queer” forms of writing that resist normative frameworks and traditional categories. The course will begin with an introduction to queer theories of writing and then apply those theories to topics that may include coded languages of persecuted communities, institutional uses of language to exert power on LGBTQ+ groups, pressures towards/resistance of linguistic assimilationism, the queering of traditional genres, and multimodal communicative strategies in queer digital spaces. Over the course of the term, students will develop a theory of queer communication within a community of their choice and compose various pieces of “queer” writing applying that theory.

ISP350H5 LEC0101: Designing Text and Meaning Making with AI Tools (SSC)

This course will explore the compelling and convoluted role that artificial intelligence (AI) plays in communication design. We will draw upon ideas from design thinking and multimodal meaning making to evaluate how, when, and how much AI can be used to support text design. To do so, we will map our understanding of design and multimodality onto wider understandings about writing, such as genre, audience, and context. Students do not need to have prior experience with using AI tools to participate fully in class activities. Students should also not expect that AI tools will be used to complete all tasks. The course can be completed without using AI at all, though thoughtful and critical AI use will be permitted. We will be learning together as we understand the ins and outs of our AI-influenced reality.

Winter 2025 Topics

ISP250H5 LEC0101: Emoji Rhetoric: A New Paradigm in Communications (SSC)

  • This course is taught by Dr. Jordana Garbati
  • Offered Tuesday 9:00am-12:00pm
  • Prerequisite: ISP100H5

In this course, students will critically examine the development and use of emoji in digital written communication. The course will begin with a historical view of emoji. Students will then explore how and why emoji are used in diverse digital writing genres (e.g., discipline-specific uses, mass communication), can communicate emotions, can lead to miscommunication, and can be used in persuasive communication. Students will also examine the impact of gender, age, and culture on emoji use. Students will explore the semantics of emoji and question whether emoji is a language in and of itself. The course will draw on rhetoric, theories of intercultural communication, as well as symbolic interactionism, positive, and politeness theories to inform students’ exploration of emoji. Finally, this course will push students to consider the future uses and contributions of emoji in writing.

ISP250H5 LEC0102: Joining the Conversation: Citation and Source-Use in Academic Writing (SSC)

  • This course is taught by Dr. Jonathan Vroom
  • Offered Friday 11:00am-1:00pm
  • Prerequisite: ISP100H5

Students often view citation as this annoying thing they have to add to their writing after they’ve constructed an argument, as a means of supporting the points they’ve made. In this course, students will learn that citation is not a supplement that we add to our writing. Rather, citation is fundamental to the nature of academic writing. The main purpose of this course, therefore, is to examine the various dimensions of citation in academic writing—the why and the how of using sources in academic texts. We will examine scholarship on the various issues related to the act of citation—such as intertextuality, stance, reporting signals, citation forms, citation functions, citation and reading, citation and genres, citation and authority, academic integrity, citation and AI, … and more! By the end of the course, student will have a better understanding of the nature of citation. What is more, they will also understand how to use sources more effectively in their own writing, so that they can understand how to better summarize, compare, and respond to their sources--and ultimately find their voice in the scholarly conversations of their academic disciplines.

How do I enroll in ISP250 and ISP350?

Students from all disciplines interested in taking ISP250 and ISP350 will be able to enroll in the course through ACORN when course enrolment becomes available. Please ensure that you select the correct LEC section for your desired topic. You will find important information about how to enroll in courses on the Office of the Registrar website.


Please direct your questions to:

Laura Cesario
Academic Advisor and Faculty Support Administrator
Institute for the Study of University Pedagogy