2021S WRDS 150B Topics

WRDS 150B is offered in a wide variety of topics from departments and instructors across UBC.

Course topics and descriptions are subject to change depending on the instructor and their availability. Below is the schedule for the upcoming 2021 Spring and Summer sessions.

2021S Term 1

Below are course descriptions for each topic, as well as instructor and scheduling information.

Instructor: Connor Byrne

Section: 500

Available times: T/TH 9:00AM

This course explores the city as an object of scholarly investigation in order to introduce you to the rigours of academic writing and research. By reading academic research articles from a range of disciplines, you will become familiar with the conventions and goals of academic criticism: novel, evidence-based research; critical dialogue; argumentation and analysis. As engaged readers and writers, and through a series of scaffolded assignments and workshops, you will become adept at the genre of research-driven writing: summary and citation, literature review, research proposals, conference papers/posters, peer review, and the research paper.

Guiding this work will be investigations of the city—of urban phenomena and experience but also, crucially, of key technological advancements that have shaped and continue to shape urban experience—carried out by the six research articles that model the kind of research and writing for which this course serves as an apprenticeship. In response to course material and discussion, you will reflect on your own evolving positions as modern city dwellers and ultimately develop a novel research project that contributes to scholarly conversations about technology and the city.

Instructor:  Rohan Karpe

Sections: 501

Available Times:  9:00AM

In recent months, you may have incorporated behaviours such as: Washing hands with soap or sanitizer more frequently and regularly than you did before; Maintaining physical distancing in public places, while also wearing face masks; working and studying from home; socializing virtually with friends, family and colleagues. These actions represent behavioural change at societal levels. We have voluntarily adopted some of these behaviours, some have been enforced, and still others have been influenced by those around us. This has resulted in new products, technologies, ways of doing things, and serving within our communities. With such changes come newer challenges. Considering the currency of this topic, in this WRDS 150B section we explore behaviours, norms, and behavioural change and how these have been investigated by non-Arts disciplinary researchers and scholars.

Our focus will be on peer-reviewed journal articles in disciplines including but not limited to Business, Hospitality, Design, Engineering, Computer Sciences, and Occupational Health and Safety Science

We will:

  • Examine and practice the ways and means researchers employ to inquire into their chosen behavioural phenomena, express themselves, and communicate their findings, insights, and solutions.
  • Learn to inquire into and model the creative craft of research and academic writing that enable us to contribute to scholarly conversations:
    • How do various researchers use language, expressions, images, diagrams, tables, figures, and numbers within their disciplines?
    • What kind of rhetorical moves do authors demonstrate to lead readers through their evidence, reasons, arguments?
    • How do they persuade their readers of particular facts and points of views?

 

Instructor:  Jonathan Otto

Sections: 511

Available Times:  M/W  9:00AM

In this section of WRDS 150 we will explore the world of academic research and writing by engaging with the concept of sustainability. Scholars from diverse research disciplines have used the concept of sustainability to guide their studies of present and future ecological wellbeing. Moreover, actors from inter-governmental, governmental, non-governmental, and private sector organizations have used the concept to motivate the development of policies and business practices that they identify as having a positive environmental impact. Many definitions of sustainability and what counts as ecological wellbeing have emerged from this scholarly and non-scholarly work, as have critiques of mainstream and western thinking about these terms. In this course, we will begin to participate in scholarly conversations about ecological sustainability as a concept and a practice by reading the work of researchers in the fields of forestry, biology, engineering, business, and others. We will examine how scholars within these disciplines and others conceptualize, use, and critique the concept. As we engage with this scholarly work, we will identify the distinct analytical tools and rhetorical practices used by members of these disciplinary communities. We will then have the opportunity to use these tools and participate in these practices by conducting our own research on sustainability and by communicating our work in a variety of genres, including a research proposal, a presentation, and a research paper.

Complete Title:  Communicating Knowledge: Scholarly Discourse and “Popular Talk"

Instructor: Laura Baumvol

Section: 512

Available Times:  M/W  12:00PM

In this section of WRDS 150, we will focus on how researchers of various disciplines study and write about issues related to changes in the communication of knowledge from scholarly to public discourse in areas such as environmental sciences, health sciences, engineering, and commerce. The popularization of knowledge can be understood as a recontextualization process that involves the relocation of texts from a primary scholarly context (e.g. academic journals) to a secondary popularized context (e.g. mass media, such as newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, advertising, outdoor media, TV, radio, and the internet - YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, podcasts, blogs, Q & A websites, etc.). When knowledge is recontextualized, variations in meaning and shifts in parts of discourses and/or genres occur. Considering advancements over time in the relationship between scholarly knowledge and discourse and “popular talk”, the model of knowledge dissemination to a passive audience has been replaced by one that includes a two-way interaction between the academic community and the public. The readings in the course, along with the writing assignments and class activities, will allow students to explore the research methods, types of data, and writing practices of different disciplines and will prepare them to develop their own original research project.

Instructor: Tara Lee

Section: 513

Available times:  M/W 6:00PM

During this recent COVID-19 pandemic, troubling data has emerged in relation to racial inequalities when it comes to the effects of the virus. What role does race play in your life? How do you see it circulating in universities, workplaces, social media, the political realm, and social environments? Although “race” is considered to be a social construct, as an identity marker, it continues to have significant material consequences in terms of access to resources, perceptions of legitimacy, marketing strategies, and even socializing patterns. This course looks at research by scholars in a variety of disciplines who examine complex issues related to race (e.g. how race figures in conservation projects), often also taking into account other intersectional identity categories (e.g. gender, class, sexuality). As you read and discuss relevant scholarly articles, you will also become acquainted with the conventions of scholarly discourse, disciplinarity, as well as the production of new research knowledge within a field. Ultimately, the goal is for you to increase your critical engagement with the world around you, in addition to cultivating your skills and confidence as an academic writer and researcher.

Instructor: Dilia Hasanova

Section: 514

Available Times: M/W 6:00PM

WRDS 150 introduces undergraduate students to academic research and writing practices. By reading a range of texts across disciplines and conducting a variety of writing exercises, students learn how to recognize and interpret methods of academic scholarship, and how to incorporate these methods into their own writing.

In this section of WRDS 150, we will explore the role of language in the construction of social identities. The course will focus not only on social factors that contribute to construction of multiple identities but also on how aspects of everyday language relate to social categorizations, such as class, age, gender, and ethnicity. The course also aims to broaden your understanding of language and society from sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives. The assignments (in-class and homework) will provide you with the opportunity to study current theories and debates in the field and to reflect on your own experience as a language user in a multicultural society.

This course will be a combination of interactive lectures, case studies, and in-class activities. The lectures will present information on basic linguistic concepts and how culture affects language. The in-class activities will allow you to put the information and skills you learn into practice. The activities require active engagement by students. You will be expected to contribute ideas and participate in active learning.

Instructor: Susan Blake

Sections: 520

Complete Title:  Linguistic Landscapes — Scholarly Research Practices, Language Use, and Disciplinarity:
A Corpus-Based Discourse-Analytic Perspective

Available Times:  T/TH 9:00AM

This course aims to explore the question of how scholars in a variety of different disciplines within the university use language to write up their research results in the form of academic research articles (RAs).  This course also connects scholarly writing practices (academic literacy) with a wide-range of scholarly research practices, and views academic writing as a “complex social activity” that takes both content and context into consideration.

We engage in asking the following kinds of questions: How do researchers from different disciplines formulate research questions? What kinds of research methods do they use? What kinds of data (evidence) do they incorporate in scholarly research articles? How are those scholarly research articles organized? How are the data and their research findings presented in written and/or visual form? What is the relationship between the authors and their intended readers? What kinds of scholarly activities are researchers engaged in?

This course focuses on corpus construction and discourse analysis (method) & provides relevant examples from the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) as a point of departure.

Students will build their own working corpus (research articles from their own discipline) and analyze this textual material. They will have opportunities to draft and revise and present their own original research findings in both oral and written forms. Research will be carried out either collaboratively (2-3 students per research team) or individually (1 student per team), and provides students with opportunities to reflect on their own research and writing practices, as they become apprentice members of different research communities on campus.

Instructor:  Katja Thieme

Available Times: T/TH  12:00PM

Section:  521

Complete Title:  Research and Writing in Academic Contexts: Surveillance

This course inquires how different research disciplines write and communicate. To help us focus that inquiry, we trace how the concept of surveillance is developed and used in areas such as public health, engineering, and media studies. Surveillance has become a research issue of practical concern (e.g., with what surveillance tools can global spread of diseases be effectively observed and controlled?), as well as of ethical questions (e.g., what should the ethics be for using drones for military purposes?).

Looking at examples of how these questions have been discussed in research writing, this course will help you identify and use different research methods, types of data and evidence, and elements of style in research writing. You will also pursue your own questions on this topic by conducting research on a critical question related to surveillance. Assignments are structured so as to build on each other; this means that much of the reading and writing you do throughout the term can contribute to your final project. Please be aware that most of the writing you do in this course will not only be read by the instructor but also by other students in the course.

Instructor: Mi-Young Kim

Sections:  522

Available Times:  T/TH 12:00PM

The Atkins diet, K-pop, fidget spinner, Pokémon Go, virtual reality games, mindfulness, body modification, and media hype of certain news… what do these have in common? They were (or are) once a fad. When does a fad become a fashion and finally settle as a “fit”? (or does it?) Which one of these has informational social influence or normative social influence? How does this particular type of social influence affect us as producers, distributors, and/or consumers? In this section of WRDS150, we will address some of these questions and explore how fad shapes and forms our identities and values. We will also become familiar with the conventions of academic writing and the basic premise of research, as well as participate in academic conversations through our own research on the topic of “fad, fashion, or fit”. A selection of unabridged, peer-reviewed scholarly articles on the topic (for Summer I 2020, three subtopics of media hype, Korean Wave, and body modification) from several disciplinary perspectives including but not limited to media studies, socioeconomics, science, and psychology will help us see how scholarly texts with various research methods and writing styles can produce different types of knowledge and understanding of this particular type of the social influence.

Instructor:  Meredith Beales

Sections: 523

Available times:  T/TH 3:00 PM

Living in the modern world means being immersed in a sea of textual and internet-based media: we are constantly reading and responding to the infinite variations of electronic texts, videos, images, and memes. But how do the different media in which we encounter these messages change the way we respond to them? And how do our brains and our societies interact under the impact of these new media? In this section of WRDS 150 we will explore how different societies responded to new forms of communication, now and in the past. We will explore, as well, how our brains respond to these same challenges, and how the rise of electronic communication has altered (or not) the ways we respond to it and to each other.

Instructor: Deo Nizonkiza

Sections:  524

Available Times: T/TH 6:00PM

Everybody has a story to tell! In this section of WRDS 150B, students examine the questions related to storytelling across disciplines. By examining the way such questions have been explored by scholars from different disciplines, such as Information Communication Technology, Health Sciences, and Engineering, students are expected to learn and familiarize themselves with scholarly practices through this topic of storytelling. Among other things, students will explore the nature of research questions scholars from different disciplines ask, the methodologies devised to answer them, and how they report the results. Through readings and related writing tasks and discussions, students will get used to writing conventions and principles. Students will then develop their own writing strategies which they will apply as they develop their own research projects as the course progresses.

2021S Term 2

Below are course descriptions for each topic, as well as instructor and scheduling information.

Instructor: Dennis Foung

Section: 551

Available times:  M/W 12:00 PM

“Big data” is a term commonly used by laymen, scholars, and professionals to describe a wide range of technological innovations. Big data is, in fact, a big leap in scientific research, because the collection of primary data does not rely only on researchers conducting surveys or observing subjects, but on retrieving existing mega datasets from servers. In this course, we will examine how a range of disciplines conduct scientific enquiry using big data and how they present their research findings in scientific articles. For example, what can data scientists do with big data in general? How do educators identify at-risk students? How do marketing specialists profile their customers for improved business outcomes? More importantly, how do scholars in these disciplines answer their questions to extend their knowledge of the disciplines?

Instructor:  Dilia Hasanova

Section:  552
Available Times:  M/W  3:00PM

WRDS 150 introduces undergraduate students to academic research and writing practices. By reading a range of texts across disciplines and conducting a variety of writing exercises, students learn how to recognize and interpret methods of academic scholarship, and how to incorporate these methods into their own writing.

In this section of WRDS 150, we will explore the role of language in the construction of social identities. The course will focus not only on social factors that contribute to construction of multiple identities but also on how aspects of everyday language relate to social categorizations, such as class, age, gender, and ethnicity. The course also aims to broaden your understanding of language and society from sociolinguistic and sociocultural perspectives. The assignments (in-class and homework) will provide you with the opportunity to study current theories and debates in the field and to reflect on your own experience as a language user in a multicultural society.

This course will be a combination of interactive lectures, case studies, and in-class activities. The lectures will present information on basic linguistic concepts and how culture affects language. The in-class activities will allow you to put the information and skills you learn into practice. The activities require active engagement by students. You will be expected to contribute ideas and participate in active learning.

Instructor:  Deo Nizonkiza
Section:  561
Available Times: T/TH  9:00AM

Everybody has a story to tell! In this section of WRDS 150B, students examine the questions related to storytelling across disciplines. By examining the way such questions have been explored by scholars from different disciplines, such as Information Communication Technology, Health Sciences, and Engineering, students are expected to learn and familiarize themselves with scholarly practices through this topic of storytelling. Among other things, students will explore the nature of research questions scholars from different disciplines ask, the methodologies devised to answer them, and how they report the results. Through readings and related writing tasks and discussions, students will get used to writing conventions and principles. Students will then develop their own writing strategies which they will apply as they develop their own research projects as the course progresses.

Instructor: Michael Schandorf

Sections: 562/563

Available Times: T/TH 12:00PM / 3:00PM

The idea of competition is so fundamental to Western culture that we often take it for granted as a natural good. Nearly every aspect of our lives involves competition: we compete in school and for jobs, we compete both socially and at work, we compete in games for fun, and when we’re not competing ourselves we spend much of our time enjoying watching others compete. But our obsession with competition has complications. For example, a world divided into winners and losers is an inherently inequitable world: there will always be more “losers” than “winners”. Competition also has interesting relationships with our need for social cohesion. Attempting to disentangle cooperation from competition, in fact, can undermine both: a lack of either can lead to unproductive stasis, and worse, but a complete integration of cooperation and competition can lead to us-versus-them thinking and even war (which American rhetorical scholar Kenneth Burke called “the ultimate disease of cooperation”). This seminar will explore some of the ways that competition has been investigated in recent scholarship, and students will design and produce a research project of their own contributing to that scholarly conversation.

Instructor: Mary Ann Saunders

Sections: 564

Available Times: 6:00 PM

We will focus on transgender studies, a multidisciplinary research field which investigates the increasing visibility and importance of transgender people in contemporary culture. A fundamental premise of trans studies is that ethical research in this area must be attentive to and prioritize the voices and knowledge which trans people have about themselves and their experience. We will, therefore, cultivate such an attentiveness in our course. By studying trans research representing several academic disciplines you will develop a sense of how different disciplines approach this research area, and then apply this knowledge to research and writing projects of your own. What do trans people say about themselves and their lives? How can you, as apprentice researchers, ethically translate that lived experience into research scholarship of your own?

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