Abby Koenig

Professor Abby Koenig is Lecturer of Communication Studies at the University of Houston - Downtown. 


Abby Koenig

Professor Abby Koenig is Lecturer of Communication Studies at the University of Houston - Downtown. 

My name is Abby Koenig and I am an Assistant Professor of Business Communication at the University of Louisville’s College of Business. Prior to that, I taught for seven years as a Lecturer of Communication Studies at the University of Houston - Downtown. There I received the 2018 Outstanding Lecturer of the Year.

My areas of expertise include Business Communication, Public Speaking, Public Relations, Rhetoric, Mass Communication, Algorithmic Literacy, Online Organizations, Social Media Studies, Digital Media, and Intercultural Communication.

I hold a PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University. My
research interests include Networks and Algorithms, Algorithmic Literacy and Organizational Advocacy.

Select Teaching Experience, Writings, and Conference Presentations below. For complete Curricula Vitae please see: Abby Koenig CV

University of Houston – Downtown, 2012-2019

Social Media Campaigns (developed in Fall 2018,
Service Learning Designated Course)
Rhetoric and Public Discourse (Developed in Fall 2018)
Advanced Media Studies
Introduction to Communication Theory
Introduction to Speech Communication
Intercultural Communication
Introduction to Public Speaking
Media Effects Theory (developed Spring 2013)
Race, Ethnicity and Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Advanced Public Speaking

Koenig, A. (2018) [Review of the book Communicating and Technology: A material rhetoric for persuasive transportation. By E.H. Phlugfelder]. Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 32(3).

Koenig, A., & McLaughlin, B. (2017). Change is an emotional state of mind:
Behavioral responses to online petitions. New Media & Society, 1461444817689951

Koenig, A. (2015) A lifetime of regret and the Barbie Hotdog Stand.
The Community College Moment, v15.

Contributing writer Arts & Culture, TX. Houston, TX .

Conference Papers/Presentations
Koenig, A (2018, October) High Impact Pedagogical Practices for Promoting Intercultural Understanding Across Communities. Panel presentation at the Association of Rhetoric and Writing Studies conferences, Austin, TX.

Koenig, A. (2018, March 13) Don’t Tweet At 911: Grassroots Technologies, Kairos, and Hurricane Harvey Relief. Panel presentation at Association of Teachers of Technical Writing Conference. Kansas City, KS

Koenig, A. (2017, April 21). Connecting Students through Online Collaboration Software. Lecture presented at University of Houston, Innovative Teaching and Learning Symposium in Houston, TX

Koenig, A. (2016, April 7). Like My Activism: Examining motivation of online petition signers through textual analysis. Workshop presented at Research Network Forum: The Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), in
Houston, TX

Koenig, A. (2016, April 6). Sign my petition or else: A sentiment analysis of online petition signers. Paper presented at Southern States Communication Association Conference in Austin, TX.


Service Learning Grant, University of Houston - Downtown, 2018

Outstanding Lecturer of the Year, Winner, University of Houston - Downtown, 2018

Outstanding Lecturer of the Year, Finalist, University of Houston – Downtown, 2017

HCC Bedichek-Orman Grant, Houston Community College, 2016

Service Learning Grant, University of Houston – Downtown, 2016

Individual Artist Grant, Houston Arts Alliance, 2015-2016

Teaching Statement

Teaching Statement

Abigail Koenig
Lecturer, Communication Studies; University of Houston – Downtown
PhD Student, Technical Communication & Rhetoric, Texas Tech University

My Approach to Teaching: Aristotle is quoted with saying “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” As communicators, our words have a power that transcends, and many young minds come into their college years unable to wholly grasp the power of those words and the ethics therein. Given the predominance of the Internet and mediated social networks, there is a general acceptance of “if I read it, it must be true.” I feel it is my job to not only present truths but to also present skepticisms. As an instructor of communication studies, I want my students to understand that questioning the words around them is a good thing. In my opinion, this is the purpose of a higher education: looking beyond the words to get to the truer meaning.

Dialogue Driven Approach. This style of teaching is facilitated through a dialogue. Throughout the daily lesson, I ask questions of the class that pertain to their understanding of the topic and how it is incorporated into their writing. I make sure that students understand my classroom is an open environment where they are free to ask questions without fear of judgment or contempt; all respectful inquiries are welcome. I have watched this ethical approach help students apply their learnings to real-world situations, including their own lives. It is a thrill to see light bulbs go off as students evaluate lessons through critical analysis. 

To foster this open dialogue, I often begin class with a “question of the day” pertaining to the daily topic. Students first write their response, and then we turn those responses into a class conversation. This is two-pronged: it is a writing activity and an open reflection. I move our daily talks into online discussion forums, as well.  This online/offline discussion also encourages reticent students to participate. To evaluate the effectiveness of this approach, written discussions are assessed through a checklist. Additionally, I use these discussions to foster formative analysis; as the course progresses, we return to many of these discussions and reflect.  

New Media Approach. To enhance the traditional lecturing and written work, I find students respond well to videos and images. We live in a visual culture and, for better or worse, young adults have grown up with online videos. I have found that incorporating contemporary videos (TV shows and movie clips) and news broadcasts help broaden understanding and tie the daily topic to relatable scenarios. In fall 2015, in fact, I presented how to use YouTube videos in the classroom at the Michigan State University Center for Research on Writing in a Digital Environment annual conference–in a video presentation. This method has been continuously affirmed through my student evaluations, which regularly exceed department averages. 

Additionally, I have been teaching online classes for five years and have worked very hard to improve student engagement in this space. As any online instructor can attest, it is a struggle to keep students engaged in asynchronous courses. To combat disinterest, I foster that same dialogic approach approach, through discussions that require conversation amongst peers; these are evaluated based on quality of interaction, along with content. With respect to the medium, I encourage students to submit relevant assignments with links to videos, blogs and memes, I create short video lectures for each lesson, and I require that online groups use Skype/FaceTime or other video conferencing. 

Personal Growth Approach. To grow as a professor and a scholar, I am completing my PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric from Texas Tech University’s esteemed program. My areas of research are digital communication, online organizations, algorithmic literacy, and the rhetorical effects of online spaces such as social media and online activism. Learning along with my students as I grow as a scholar has been monumental to my instruction. As I add to my own knowledge of communication theory and real-world application, I am incorporating those concepts into my courses. Additionally, the students appreciate that I am a student just like them! It fosters a dynamic immediacy between us all that supports the dialogic approach I encourage.

Professional Experience Approach. I have extensive experience as a professional communicator for both corporate and non-profit organizations, as well as writing for the media. I have managed and executed marketing communication for several non-profit organizations and public television stations, I have created web copy and promotional materials for science and technology companies, and I have written grants and proposals that have garnered success for several Houston-based non-government organizations.  All of my various experiences are interwoven into my teaching. Because I can “talk shop,” I find that students feel more comfortable discussing career possibilities with me, and this is yet another way to connect the coursework to their futures. I am able to offer my students personal examples that I have used in the workplace and continue to use.

An Ethical and Inclusive Approach. Houston is one of the most diverse cities in the country. This fact is worthy of observance within and outside of the classroom. I encourage a celebration of diversity in all my courses as this reflects my belief system. And I challenge the students to be inclusive in their lives as well.

I recall some of my own beloved professors and how their impact extended way beyond the classroom. They stressed ethics and transparency. They challenged me to think outside of the textbook and question everything; it is my goal to fire up the budding minds I meet in the same way. This questioning approach, to me, is one of the main goals that communication scholars should have, and I feel privileged to be an integral part of that goal. 

Syllabus Example

Syllabus Example

Below you will find a sample syllabus created for the course Social Media and Contemporary Communication for the University of Houston - Downtown. A complete PDF can be found HERE

COMM 2310

Social Media and Contemporary Communication

CRN: 13905      Semester: Fall 2016



Instructor:      Abigail Koenig          

Office:             S-1013                                                                                                                                              

Course Catalog Description:

Social Media and Contemporary Communication

Broken into three sections, this course will examine the recent integration of social media into society and communication. In the first section, we will explore the historical roots of new medias, spending time understanding the roles of each of the major social media platforms. In the second section, we will investigate a variety of ways that new media have influenced our interpersonal relationships, corporate communications and ethical implications. Lastly, students will gain an understanding of social media communication through hands-on activities.


Program Outcomes

BA COMM Studies Learning Outcomes:

·      Graduates will explain the elements common to all communication contexts. 

·      Graduates will use principles, theories, and concepts to analyze a variety of communication interactions.

·      Graduates will a) evaluate effectives messages b)prepare and deliver effective oral presentations using technology c) develop effective written messages.

·      Graduates will a) find, interpret, and evaluate communication research b) design and conduct experimental communication research.

·      Graduates will discuss the impact of communication in a real world setting.


Course Outcomes

After completing the course students will be able to:

·      Identify social media fundamentals, including the various platforms and differences between each

·      Recognize the historical, contemporary and future implications of social media

·      Examine and critique ethical dimensions of social media in interpersonal and corporate communications

·      Demonstrate a basic understanding for how to use social media as a written form of communication


Textbook & Materials

·      There is no required text for this course. Readings will be assigend weekly and delivered through Blackboard.

·      Access to Blackboard Learn

·      This course requires you to access social media websites (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc) while you do not need to log in to these sites, it may help with access.

·      You will be required to use our classroom blog and post to it weekly





1. Attendance

Poor attendance will adversely affect your performance and grades. Attendance will be taken each day at the start of class. If a student is not present when attendance is taken, s/he will be counted as absent or tardy. Coming to class late or leaving early twice will be counted as one absence.


Please make every effort to be on time for class. If you arrive late and a student is giving a speech, DO NOT enter until the student finishes the speech. Entering the classroom during another student’s speech will result in the student being asked to leave and counted as absent for the day.


It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that s/he is marked as present, absent or tardy. These stringent policies are necessary for a variety of reasons:

(1) To prevent unnecessary interruptions

(2) To be courteous to the professor and fellow students

(3) To foster a fair and friendly learning environment for everyone

(4) To ensure that students have ample time to learn material


A class meeting twice a week:

You are allowed to miss class 3 times.

4 absences=final grade lowered by one letter.

6 absences=final grade lowered by two letters.

8 absences=final grade lowered by three letters.


A hybrid class:

You are allowed to miss class 2 times.

3 absences=final grade lowered by one letter.

4 absences=final grade lowered by two letters.

5 absences=final grade lowered by three letters.


A class meeting once a week (that is not hybrid)

You are allowed to miss 1 class.

2 absences=final grade lowered by one letter.

3 absences=final grade lowered by two letters.

4 absences=final grade lowered by three letters.



Effective Fall 2013, the University of Houston-Downtown will implement Class Attendance & Administrative Drop Procedures in compliance with electronic code of Federal Regulations: e-cFR 34-668.21(b).

Your failure to attend class (face to face or hybrid), engage course material (Online only); or make contact with faculty to adequately explain your absence by the 10th class calendar day of the semester will result in your being administratively dropped from this course.  Being dropped from this course may affect your enrollment status and/or your financial aid eligibility.


2. Emergency Preparedness

If severe weather closes the campus, an announcement will be posted on  Students are encouraged to update their contact information at, so they will receive any emergency information automatically.  Announcements will be posted by the instructor on Blackboard Vista in order to minimize any class disruption caused by the closing of the campus.


3. Academic Misconduct

The penalty for misconduct is a grade of “F” on the assignment or for the course, depending on the severity of the infraction.

  • You are expected to work independently on all assignments unless classified as a “group assignment.” To do otherwise is to cheat and will be considered academic misconduct.
  • A student observed copying answers from another individual on class assignments (which are not group work) or on the exams will meet the criteria for academic misconduct.
  • If you have questions regarding what comprises academic misconduct or plagiarism, please contact me. Ignorance of the definition of plagiarism or academic misconduct is not a valid excuse and will not keep a student from being charged.


All students are subject to UHD’s Academic Honesty Policy and to all other university-wide policies and procedures as set forth in the UHD University Catalog and Student Handbook. To review the catalog, visit and click on Catalog.



4. Make-up Assignments

There are no make-up exams without a doctor’s note. There are required presentations in this course as a part of your final grade. If you are not present on the day you are assigned, you will receive a zero for the presentation.


5. ADA Policy

The University of Houston-Downtown complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, pertaining to the provision of reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids for students with a disability.  In accordance with Section 504 and ADA guidelines, UHD strives to provide reasonable academic adjustments/auxiliary aids to students who request and require them.  If you believe that you have a documented disability requiring academic adjustments/auxiliary aids, please contact the Office of Disability Services, One Main St., Suite 409-South, Houston, TX 77002.  (Office) 713-226-5227 (Website) (Email)


6. E-mail

Your instructor may contact you via your GatorMail e-mail account or Blackboard Learn mail. Therefore, it is important that you check these regularly. The instructor will ONLY contact you/respond to you at these accounts for confidentiality reasons. Students can obtain their username and password for these accounts via Student e-Services at


Please make sure to put your full name and your class in your email. Please use appropriate language (no text speak)


7. Extra Credit

Extra credit may be offered depending on available activities; however, extra credit is not guaranteed. 


8. Withdrawals

If for any reason a student cannot complete this course, it is the responsibility of the student to withdraw and receive a ‘W’ on his/her transcript. Otherwise, the instructor will assign the grade ‘F’. International students: Receiving a ‘W’ in a course may affect the status of your student visa. LAST DAY TO WITHDRAW FROM THE COURSE: 


10. Grades

Grades will be assigned by points using a standard grading system. You are encouraged to keep track of your own grades. The point scale is based on 1000 possible points. See below.

900-1000      A

800-890         B

700-790         C

600-690         D

Below 600      F


Grade Breakdown


Weekly blog posts/discussion                                 300    _________

(15 posts at 20 pts each)


Listening Project/Write Up                          200     ________


Social Media Group Project/                                    250                            
Service Learning Component

Reflection Essay                                            50     ________




Present on your Service Learning project  150     ________



                                                             50      ________



TOTAL                                                            1000________





Service Learning Component


This course is a UH-D designated Service Learning Course. Service-learning is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students:


a) participate in an organized service activity that meets identified community needs

b) reflect on the service activity in such a way as to gain further understanding of course content

c) gain a broader appreciation of the discipline, and an enhanced sense of personal values and civic responsibility.


Service-leaning is defined as one of the high-impact educational practices that benefit students.


In this course you will be teamed up with a community organization. You will work with them to create and implement a social media plan – based on the readings/discussions and lectures of the course. This project is 30% of your overall grade for the course, but moreover, it offers you an opportunity to work with an organization in a real world scenario.


Social Media management/marketing is a career path that is expanding daily. The organization will be your “client” and you will be required to treat them with professional/business communication. This is not an internship, but rather an opportunity to make an impact in your community through the tools of social media. Additionally, this is a desired skill that can be used on your future resumes.




Listening Project/Write-up




Students will “listen” to an organization’s use of social media and write-up an informed analysis of what they have found.



Social Media Group Project/Service Learning




Students will create original content for a social media channel. Further instructions will be detailed. Groups will present their content at the end of the semester.



Weekly Blog Posts




Each week you will be required to post to our class blog based on the topic of the week (detailed in BlackBoard and in class) The posts must be at least a paragraph long. Links, images, video embeds are encouraged.    





See attendance requirements above