COM/ENG395 – Rhetoric and Digital Media – User Experience
3 Credits, Spring 2017
Class Location: Tompkins Hall, G110
Class times: 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm, Tu-Th

Course Overview

This class is an introduction to User Experience (UX) and designed to help students interested in technical communication explore a set of concepts to the broader field of UX research focused on the development of user-centered design process. People who work in UX are strategists who assist in the creation of products, services, and policies across digital and physical environments. They contribute to the processes of design, research, and development of information tools. Designing rhetorical experiences requires empathy for people and an understanding of context of use.

In this class students will explore concepts from rhetoric, design, and development that are foundational strategies used by UX practitioners. Thanks to the ongoing growth and convergence of the internet and software industries, UX designers an emerging and viable professional field of study for those interested in technical communication. The content of this class capitalizes on a vital need for people-centered experiences across converging technologies, services, and processes. Students will engage in inventive problem solving and ideation of a project as well as develop products through user personas, journey mapping, and wireframing. Finally, students will learn to develop live interactive prototypes of software solutions. No previous technological experience is required to take this course but a willingness to learn new digital tools is.

In this class, we will address questions like:

  • What is “experience”?
  • What how do UX designers think about, research, and solve experience and problems?

Learning Outcomes

After COM/ENG 395, you should be able to:

  1. Given a problem setting, critically discuss the appropriateness of potential user experience design methods such as storyboarding, experience design, etc.
  2. Describe the issues and challenges to achieving a human-centered design process, especially with regard to user experience design
  3. Develop an appreciation for the use of storytelling as a means of designing and evaluating user experience
  4. Use, adapt and extend design standards, guidelines, and patterns focusing on user experience
  5. Employ selected design methods at a basic level of competence: storyboarding, sketching, and experience prototyping
  6. Create storyboards and experience prototypes for a small system and plan and perform a real world deployment study of a user experience



  • Kalbach, J. (2016). Mapping Experiences: A Complete Guide to Creating Value through Journeys, Blueprints, and Diagrams (1 edition). O’Reilly Media.
  • Lichaw, D. (2016). The User’s Journey: Storymapping Products That People Love (1 edition). Brooklyn, New York: Rosenfeld Media.