Dr. Mark W. Jordan

Index to Courses Taught



"I have learned to have very modest goals for society and myself, things like clean air, green grass, children with bright eyes, not being pushed around, useful work that suits one's abilities, plain tasty food . . . "

--Paul Goodman

Who I am:

I teach English at Odessa College in Odessa, Texas, where I have worked for over 20 years. Like most community college teachers, I teach or have taught virtually every course on the schedule: composition, literature, basic writing, technical writing, and more.

Unlike some college teachers, I have a varied background. I spent twelve years as a machinist while working my way through school. I have also worked at trades ranging from restaurant waiter to magazine columnist to heavy equipment operator. Before teaching at OC, I owned and ran a commercial printshop for six years. I like to think that this rich and varied (some might say checkered) background helps me empathize with my students, many of whom, like myself, juggle their roles as students, parents, and employees.

My own family consists of my wife, Dr. Donna Smith, my daughter Hannah, who loves Black Keys, my daughter Molly, who loves Harry Potter, my Aussie Shepherd Lucy, who likes to herd her soccer ball around the yard, Murphy the Retriever, who likes to, well, Retrieve, and too many cats to count, all of whom love to lie around cluttering up the pathways of our house.


Academic background:

  • B.A. in American Studies, University of Texas at Austin, conferred 1977
  • M.A. in American Literature, University of Houston at Clear Lake, conferred 1987
  • Ph.D with specialization in Composition and Rhetoric, Texas Tech University, conferred 1999

    CLICK HERE to view a Powerpoint condensation of my dissertation, A Cultural Critique of the Use of Networked Electronic Discourse in a Liberatory Composition Pedagogy. For optimum viewing, click on "slideshow" in the lower right hand corner; advance through elements of the slides by left-clicking with the mouse anywhere on the screen. (Caution: Large file. Viewing may not be practical with a dial-up connection.)


Before attempting one of my web courses, please read these frequently asked questions!

  1. Is this course as much work as the same course on campus? Yes!  Major assignments are virtually identical in my Web and on-campus courses. True, your time is more your own because you do not have to attend class as with a traditional course, but you will spend that much time--if not more--reading my web links to learn the same material you would learn in the classroom, otherwise. My Web courses are not less work!
  2. So how important is reading in this course? What if I haven't passed the Reading portion of TASP or if I am a substandard reader, or if I just plain hate to read? Reading is absolutely crucial to any Web course, for the obvious reason that everything is delivered back and forth in written language. So if you hate to read or your reading abilities are poor, you should not be taking a Web course, mine or others.
  3. Is this course self-paced? No, it is not. I announce the various assignments and their due dates as we go along.
  4. How important are motivation and self-discipline to a Web student? These are crucial qualities. If you are not mature enough to be motivated and disciplined in working my Web course, then you will fall among the quite high numbers of students who waste their money and time because they do not complete the course.
  5. What technology do I need to take this course? You need very easy access to a computer (almost certainly at home) which has (a) a full-fledged word processing program, and (b) Internet access, along with a Web browser and email software which allows you to attach files to email.
  6. What if I just bought my computer and I'm still learning how to use it? Do not take a Web course at the same time you are learning your equipment. I have seen very intelligent students have to drop my course because of this.
  7. What do you mean, "very easy access"? I mean that you will need to spend lengthy periods of relatively uninterrupted time, often several hours at a stretch, at your computer, especially when it comes time to write essays for ENGL 1301 or more complex documents for ENGL 1302. A few minutes here and there simply will not do.
  8. Why can't I just use my computer at work? I strongly advise against this, except perhaps to check for new assignments, email from me, etc. Will your boss really be pleased when you need to spend several hours of company time working on your English assignment?
  9. What about just using one of the computers on campus, in the LRC? I don't believe I have yet had a single student complete a web course when the student has to go to a public-access building and perhaps wait in line to use a computer. The barriers of geography and time are simply too much. It becomes too hard to make the time and make the journey to the distant computer, even if it is just across campus.
  10. What do you mean by "a full-fledged word processing program"? You will need something other than NotePad, in other words. For 1301 you will need to be able to center a title, change line spacing, perhaps use bold and italics, spellcheck, do a wordcount, and most of all, you will need full editing capabilities such as cutting and pasting.   You will also need a program which will allow you to save files in RichText, though I have to explain how to do that to most of my students.  I'll do that elsewhere.  For 1302, you will need several additional formatting capabilities.
  11. What do you mean by "browsing the Web"? If you do not know how to use a browser, you should not be taking this course. I am very serious. That skill is a prerequisite for this course.
  12. How do I attach a file to an email message? Once again, if you do not know how to do that, you should not be taking this course. I expect my students to already know this.  File attachment is how you will submit all of your major assignments.
  13. So given all of the above warnings and rules, what advantage is there in taking a Web course? If you are looking for less work or an easier time of it, there is no advantage at all. But if you are willing to work hard and have an awkward work or family schedule, for instance if your work shifts change or if you are seldom able to leave the house for various reasons, and if you have the technology, the know-how, and the motivation, then Web courses can be of huge advantage to you.
  14. Does this course use Blackboard? As of Fall 2008, yes, all web courses run via Blackboard.  See the Getting Started page for instructions.

For more detailed information on either ENGL 1301, ENGL 1302, or ENGL 2311. . .

follow the appropriate link below. Keep in mind that I constantly change my courses, though usually incrementally rather than drastically.

Courses I currently teach on the Web:

ENGL 1301: Composition and Rhetoric
  • Current Offering:  Fall 2012
ENGL 1302:  Composition and Literature
  • Current Offering:  Fall 2012
ENGL 2311: Technical Writing
  • Next Offering: To Be Announced


work: 432.335.6549
surface mail c/o Odessa College, 201 W. University, Odessa TX 79764

This site last modified 01/09/12