Writing and Rhetoric Department:College of Arts and Humanities

Thomas B Cavanagh

Thomas B Cavanagh, Ph.D.

Thomas Cavanagh has been in the e-learning world for 18 years and has worked as an instructional designer, program manager, faculty member, and administrator. He has developed award-winning e-learning programs for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and the military. Prior to that, he spent several years in film and television entertainment where he wrote a number of award-winning children’s television programs for producers such as Nickelodeon, the Disney Channel, and Anheuser Busch Entertainment. In addition to courses at UCF, he has taught Technical Report Writing at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Digital Storytelling at Valencia Community College, and Screenwriting at Full Sail University.

Currently, Tom is UCF’s Associate Vice President of Distributed Learning.

In addition to his film and television writing, he has extensive experience in professional/business documentation, including the types of technical writing and editing covered in the courses he teaches at UCF. He has also published various articles, chapters, and papers related to technical communication in scholarly/professional books, journals, and conferences.

Finally, he is also the published author of several mystery novels, including a two book series from St. Martin’s Press. His novel HEAD GAMES won the Florida Book Award Gold Medal in Popular Fiction and, among other recognition, was nominated for a Best Novel Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America (for more, see: www.thomasbcavanagh.com).


  • Ph.D. in Texts & Technology from University of Central Florida (2006)
  • M.B.A. in Technology Management from University of Phoenix (2000)
  • B.S. in Communications / English from University of Miami (1988)

Research Interests

E-learning; technical communication; technological literacy; and the societal influence of technology on education training, culture, and commerce

Recent Research Activities

  • Pending: Principal Investigator of Faculty Development for Online Education. Florida State University System Board of Governors: $441,654.

Selected Publications


  • Prodigal Son. (2008) New York: St. Martin’s Press (Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Minotaur)
  • Head Games. (2007) New York: St. Martin’s Press (Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Minotaur)
  • Murderland. (2005) Fredericksburg, MD: Hilliard & Harris Publishers.


  • Cavanagh, Thomas B. “Prosthetic Gods: The Posthuman Threat of Self-Service Technology” Misuse and Abuse of Interactive Technologies, Special Issue of Interaction Studies: Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological and Artificial Systems 9.3 (2008): 458-480
  • Cavanagh, Thomas B. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production” International Journal of Technology and Human Interaction 4.3 (July Sept. 2008): 27-42.
  • Cavanagh, Thomas B. “The New Spectrum of Support: Reclassifying Human Performance Technology.” Performance Improvement 43.4 (April 2004): 28-32.

Book Sections/Chapters

  • Forthcoming Cavanagh, Thomas B. “Leveraging Online University Education to Improve K-12 Science Education: The ScienceMaster Case Study Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Community Partnerships:  Concepts, Models and Applications Eds. Melody Bowdon and Russell G. Carpenter. Hershey, PA: IGI Global Publishing
  • Forthcoming Dziuban, Chuck, Hartman, Joel, Cavanagh, Thomas B., Moskal, Patsy. “Blended Courses as Drivers of Institutional Transformation.” Ed. A. Kitchenham. Blended Learning Across Disciplines: Models for Implementation, Hershey: PA: IGI Global
  • Cavanagh, Thomas B. “Participant Portrait: The Realtime Forum Fan” in Writing and the Digital Generation: Essays on New Media Rhetoric Ed. Heather Urbanski. Jefferson, NC: McFarland (2010): 86-89.
  • Cavanagh, Thomas B. “Bridging the Academic Divide: A Collaborative Production Model for Learning Objects in Workforce Development” in Learning Objects for Instruction: Design and Evaluation. Ed. Pamela Northrup. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Publishing (2007): 213-230.


  • Online Learning Consortium Fellow (formerly the Sloan Consortium) (2014)
  • Team award: WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award (2013)
  • Unit award: Sloan-C Excellence in Institution-wide Online Education (2012)
  • Best-in-Track Selection, Leadership and Administration: Sloan-C Blended Learning Conference (2012)
  • Sloan-C Effective Practice Award: UCF’s Online Faculty Readiness Assessment (2011)
  • Best-in-Track Selection, Faculty Development: 16th Annual Sloan-C Conference (2010)
  • Distinguished Graduate, University of Miami Department of English
  • Blackboard Exemplary Course Award: ENGL 221 Technical Report Writing (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - 2008)
  • Doctoral dissertation (The Kiosk Culture: Reconciling the Performance Support Paradox in the Postmodern Age of Machines):
    • Winner of the Outstanding Dissertation Award: University of Central Florida College of Arts & Humanities (2006/07)
    • Nominated for a CCCC Outstanding Dissertation Award in Technical Communication (2007)
  • Mystery novel Head Games:
    • Florida Book Award: winner of the 2007 Gold Medal in Popular/Genre Fiction
    • Shamus Awards: Nominated as a 2008 Best Hardcover by the Private Eye Writers of America
    • Selected as a 2007 “Killer Book” by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association
  • Project Award: Excellence in Training & Employee Development: E-Learning/Blended Learning (2003): University of North Florida Division of Continuing Education
  • Project Award: Multimedia & Internet Training Gold Medal (1998): Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Competition
  • Project Award: Multimedia & Internet Training Silver Medal (1998) Brandon Hall Excellence in Learning Competition
  • Head Writer of two television series nominated for 1992 Cable ACE Awards
  • Writer of a television series that won the 1991 Christa McAuliffe Award for Space Education
  • Contributing Writer for a television series nominated for 1991 Cable ACE Award
  • Writer of an educational television program nominated for a regional Emmy Award


No courses found for Summer 2013.

No courses found for Fall 2013.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
19148 ENC6217 Technical Editing Web - Not Online
No Description Available

No courses found for Summer 2014.

No courses found for Fall 2014.

No courses found for Spring 2015.

Department of Writing and Rhetoric • College of Arts & Humanities at the University of Central Florida
Phone: 407-823-2295 Fax: 407-823-1287 • Website Technical Support: cahweb@mail.ucf.edu