Spring 2018 – A Retrospect

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The summer semester is underway, but I want to take some time to recap my spring semester.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into by taking on a full-time load of classes while maintaining my full-time job, but I pulled it off satisfactorily.  Nearly every other aspect of my life is on hold until I graduate, but it will be worth it.


Some Background

Due to my abundance of credits from completing lower-division engineering coursework, I was able to transfer into the BS in Technical Communication as a junior – no back-tracking required.  I had one final upper-division, general education credit to complete.  The BS in Tech Comm also requires 12 credit hours in a related topic.

I chose Graphic Information Technology (GIT) courses to satisfy the related topic requirement.  These courses are given by the Fulton Schools of Engineering, which I attended as a Computer Systems Engineering (CSE) major.  GIT courses have a reputation for being demanding, and I’ve found that to be true.

This first semester fulfilled that last general education requirement and gave me my first taste of both TWC (my major) and GIT coursework.

One thing I find frustrating about ASU is the lack of information available about a class until you are actually taking it.  The 2- or 3- line description in the course catalog doesn’t tell the student what to expect from a course.  What follows is my impression of each class, and an overview of the material in case any search engines bring curious students-to-be this way.


REL 374 – Witchcraft & Heresy in Europe (L or HU) & H

Fascinating course for anyone interested in history, psychology, and the use of religion to wield power.  Concentrates on Germany’s obsession with witchcraft in the Middle Ages.

  • Inexpensive textbooks, also available as Kindle books
  • Writing-intensive with high grading standards
  • Yellowdig projects were required in addition to essays
  • Witchcraft and heresy concerns/accusations in recent U.S. history must be researched

TWC 301 – Fundamentals of Writing for Digital Media

Create documents relying on basic principles of writing for the web:  scanability, chunking, easily digestible.  Think of it as using Word to make web page or blog-like documents.

  • 3 or 4 assignments per week, every week
  • Textbook necessary for referencing in assignments and learning about web-authoring principles
  • Presentation requiring narration part of the final exam

TWC 401 – Fundamentals of Technical Communication

Could be considered more business or professional communication than technical communication at times. A good primer for students who have not had to write in/for the workplace.

  • Covers formatting and content for emails, memos, letters, proposals, procedures, and reports
  • Required text book is the reference book for the Society for Technical Communication’s foundational certification exam which may be valuable to some

GIT 230 – Digital Illustration in Publishing

Very challenging course for anyone not fluent in Photoshop and Illustrator. The first half is spent learning Photoshop, the second half – Illustrator.  By far the most career-relevant course to me as I am making use of Photoshop’s more advanced features in the workplace regularly now.

  • Required textbooks are Adobe’s Classroom in a Book for Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC
  • Reading every chapter and performing every exercise is crucial for those not proficient in these programs
  • Mid-term is a ‘final’ in Photoshop, and the final is a ‘final’ in Illustrator