A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.


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ABET Countdown   (PDF)

How could four letters strike such fear in the hearts of normally stalwart faculty? Why would administrators loathe the mere mention of the word 'accreditation'? The source of their fear and frustration is a cycle of evaluation, assessment, and reporting that constitutes a six-year accreditation period.

Williams, Julia M. IEEE PCS (2006). Articles>Education>Academic>Engineering


Academic Programs in Information Design: The Bentley College Approach   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The focus of Bentley College's information design programs is the user, addressing universal behaviors (human factors) and task-related behaviors (goal-driven needs). All too often in the past, professional communicators have rushed to design external information products (books, illustrations, online help systems, and the like) to support the information requirements of a system. Increasingly, however, solutions are found much deeper in the system design, a concept we call knowledge-infused design.

Gribbons, William M. Technical Communication Online (2000). Articles>Education>Information Design


Access to Web-Based Special Education

Although, web-based distance education programs address geographical and cost barriers, they usually ignore access barriers to students with special needs (i.e. those with sensory, motor or cognitive disabilities). Distance education programs should ensure that conduits, and not barriers, to information are created. When planning a web-based special education program the following concerns should be considered: how to increase Web access to persons with disabilities by addressing access issues on both the client and the service side; how to optimize the use of innovative web technologies to transmit interesting yet accessible learning materials; how to increase community amongst special education students and teachers.

Nguyen, Kevin K. University of Toronto (2008). Articles>Education>Accessibility>Online


Accessibility for Special Education Students

Accessibility is an issue that is bigger than just students. In order for there to be change for students with special needs there first needs to be a change about accessibility for the entire World Wide Web. While this will continue to be an issue, there is at least room for growth to make the internet more accessible for students with special needs.

Rogers, Kristin. Orange Journal, The (2010). Articles>Education>Accessibility


Accessible Podcasting: College Students on the Margins in the New Media Classroom   (peer-reviewed)

Students with disabilities are in danger of being either excluded from the new media revolution or accommodated as after-thoughts of pedagogies that fail to anticipate their needs. Too often, our excitement about new media, even when that excitement is tempered by sober reflection, leaves intact a set of normative assumptions about students’ bodies, minds, and abilities. These assumptions operate behind the scenes. They are activated readily and unconsciously as beliefs about how well or poorly students move, see, hear, think, learn, know, act, and use specific technologies. Normative or so-called “ableist” assumptions about our students – e.g. that they hear, see, and move well enough or in certain anticipated ways to engage directly with course learning tools — threaten to undermine our commitments to accessibility and inclusivity.

Zdenek, Sean. Accessible Rhetoric (2009). Articles>Multimedia>Accessibility>Education


Accommodating Various Abilities and Disabilities

Training sessions invariably have participants that come from a wide array of backgrounds and have various talents and levels of expertise. Some will be outspoken and others more withdrawn. Some will already have a background in accessible design, while others may have never heard of Web accessibility. Your participants will also have a wide range of technical expertise. You may have die-hard developers that program in text editors or an administrator who doesn't know what HTML stands for. It's important that you gain an understanding of what your training participants' talents and knowledge levels are, and then take advantage of their skills and abilities.

WebAIM (2005). Articles>Education>Accessibility


Accountable Assessment in the Age of Digital Labor   (peer-reviewed)

Entrepreneurship is THE economic mode of the digital age and entrepreneurship is defined by risk. Students who will become workers must be comfortable, even engaged by, risk-taking.

Glaros, Michelle. Kairos (2001). Articles>Education>Assessment>Online


Acrobat How-to: Enhancing Tutorials With Interactive Elements

A funny thing happens to students after class: They forget what they've learned. But adding interactivity can engage the reader. Try these simple methods.

McCue, Claudia. Creative Pro (2004). Articles>Education>Tutorials>Adobe Acrobat


Across the Great Divide: Embedding Technical Communication into an Engineering Curriculum

The University of Maine has begun a multi-year effort to redesign the way it teaches technical communication to students in the College of Engineering. At its core, this new design will mean replacing the existing requirement of a stand alone course in technical communication.

Adams, David. CPTSC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Education>Engineering


Actively Learning About Readers: Audience Modelling in Business Writing   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

The advantages of peer feedback in business writing classes are clear. Students receive more appraisals of their writing than any single lecturer can ever realistically deliver. Also, the feedback comes from different perspectives and sometimes carries extra credibility coming from fellow students. Students gain from giving one another feedback as well. It is certainly learning by doing. Critiquing the work of colleagues raises awareness of the many ways to approach a given task and demands skills of analysis and attention to detail. Delivering feedback also requires tact and the ability to look for positives to commend as well as areas to improve. Reviewing written documents is a skill that students will certainly use in their future work lives. However, many of us have experienced problems with peer reviewing. Students hesitate to criticise their friends and prefer praising in a general way rather than suggesting improvements, which requires confidence.

Holst-Larkin, Jane. Business Communication Quarterly (2008). Articles>Education>Business Communication>Audience Analysis


Activity Theory and Its Implications for Writing Instruction   (Word)   (peer-reviewed)

Proposes that educational institutions continue to improve the uses of writing in society in two ways: extend writing across the curriculum efforts and raise the awareness of students, the university community, and the public to the role of writing in society by having those who study writing teach an introductory liberal arts course on it. Both are important steps toward removing the remedial stigma attached to writing and its teaching, and toward combating the myth of autonomous literacy that reinforces the remedial stigma.

Russell, David R. Iowa State University (1995). Articles>Education>Writing>Activity Theory


Activity Theory, Speech Acts, and the ‘‘Doctrine of Infelicity’’: Connecting Language and Technology in Globally Networked Learning Environments   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

This article draws on activity theory, politics of the artifact, and speech act theory to analyze how language practices and technology interplay in establishing the social relationships necessary for globally networked teams. Specifically, it uses activity theory to examine how linguistic infelicities and the politics of communication technologies interplay in virtual meetings, thereby demonstrating the importance of grounding professional communication instruction in social as well as technical effectiveness. That is, students must learn not only how to communicate technical concepts clearly and concisely and recognize cultural differences but also how to use language and choose media in ways that produce the social conditions necessary for effective collaboration in globally networked environments. The article analyzes two case studies—a workplace and a classroom—that illustrate how the mediating functions of language and the politics of technology intersect as mediating tools in globally networked activity systems. It then traces the implications of that intersection for professional communication theory and pedagogy.

McNair, Lisa D. and Marie C. Paretti. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2010). Articles>Education>International>Activity Theory



The ADDIE model is the generic process traditionally used by instructional designers and training developers. The five phases—Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation—represent a dynamic, flexible guideline for building effective training and performance support tools.

InstructionalDesign.org. Articles>Education>Instructional Design>Methods


Adding to Your Tool Box

You've applied and interviewed for a position, but you don't get it because you don't have a particular skill set that the employer needs. You want to learn a new tool, but the software is expensive and you can't afford to spend a lot of money on software at this time. Do either of these scenarios sound familiar to you? If they do, you have some options for learning new tools and can add to your portfolio at the same time.This article looks at the options that you have for learning software -- teaching yourself, taking classes, volunteering, and on-the-job training.

Puffer, Paula. STC Northeast Ohio (2001). Articles>Education>Software>Volunteering


Administering Teacher Technology Training   (peer-reviewed)

The collection of materials included here are designed to assist those, who for the first time, find themselves administering and developing an ongoing program for training teachers to use technology in the composition classroom.

Carnegie, Teena A.M., Amy C. Kimme Hea, Melinda Turley and David Menchaca. Kairos (2003). Articles>Education>Technology>Writing


Administration of an Electronic Classroom   (PDF)

The electronic classroom in the Oklahoma State University English Department is now a little over a year old. In the three semesters we've been using it, a number of administrative challenges have surfaced. Some of those challenges were easily overcome, but others have been consistent dilemmas with no clear solution in sight. The day-to-day administrative issues in operating the facility center on issues of access and maintenance and repair. This article will focus on some of the major challenges with the intention of pointing out potential problems that may occur as other writing programs establish similar electronic teaching facilities.

Turner, John R. STC Proceedings (1995). Articles>Education>Online


Administrative Decisions in Online Graduate Education   (PDF)

Much of the discussion about online education appropriately focuses on pedagogy and technology. Any planning for online education must consider teaching methods and the technology to support them as well as the appropriateness of these methods and technology for the students and course materials. However, administrative decisions also influence the success of the course or degree program. This paper reviews these issues based on the experience of Texas Tech University in five years of offering an online Master of Arts in Technical Communication. Issues include course concept, costs, administrative authority within the university, and student selection and retention. The paper looks briefly at legal issues and at the concern about impersonality in online education.

Rude, Carolyn D. STC Proceedings (2003). Articles>Education>Graduate


Adobe Captivate 3: Is It Legal to Add Copyrighted Music to eLearning?

I'm not a copyright lawyer (and I don't play one on TV). However, I have had more than one copyright lawyer in my Captivate classes over the past few years who have agreed that it is "perfectly fine to use copyrighted music in Captivate projects, provided the lesson you create is meant for educational purposes and that you do not use more than 10% of the copyrighted works or 30 seconds, whichever comes first."

Siegel, Kevin A. Blogs.com (2008). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Education


After Enron: Integrating Ethics into the Professional Communication Curriculum   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Recent scandals in the business community have alerted professional writing teachers to the importance of highlighting ethics in the curriculum. From former experiences in teaching courses emphasizing ethics, the authors have adapted the curriculum to include a limited discussion of ethical approaches and terms and assigned group writing projects that consider the effects of business on the broader community. As a result of the integration of this ethical component into the entire course, students learn major ethical approaches; gain a vocabulary of ethical terms they can apply in the business world; interrogate the larger questions of business and its interactions with the local, national, and international community; and engage in the kind of dialectical discussions that require critical thinking.

Kienzler, Donna S. and Carol David. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2003). Articles>Education>Ethics


After Frustrations in Second Life, Colleges Look to New Virtual Worlds

Some colleges that have built virtual classrooms in Second Life—the online environment where people walk around as avatars in a cartoonlike world—have started looking for an exit strategy. The virtual world has not lived up to the hype that peaked in 2007, when just about every day brought a new announcement from a college entering Second Life. Today, disenchanted with commercial virtual worlds but still convinced of their educational value, a few colleges have started to build their own, where they have more control.

Young, Jeffrey R. Chronicle of Higher Education (2010). Articles>Education>Social Networking>3D


An Alternative to a Master's Program   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

Discussions concerning the structure of technical communication programs raise a multitude of questions: how do we include both theory and practice? How much theory is appropriate for a program in an applied area? What do our students need and want? How can we meet our students’ needs and ourown academic goals? These questions can become even more intense when they relate to master’s degree programs and the demanding students they attract. We are faced with decisions about what thenature of a master’s program in technical communication should be.

Allen, Nancy J. CPTSC Proceedings (2001). Articles>Education>Graduate


Analysis of Virtual Classroom Environments: Survey of Classroom Dynamics in RSVP Courses   (PDF)

Students can earn Master's degrees or continuing education certificates by at tending courses offered live satellite or compressed video or on videotape for delayed viewing. This panel discussion evaluates the effects of the various forms of technology and modes of interaction on the classroom dynamics in a live satellite class offered by Rensselaer Polytechnic institute (RPI).

Brunner, Kirsten, Roger A. Grice, David F: Hans, Teresa L. Hood and Leo J. Smith. STC Proceedings (1997). Articles>Education>Online


Applying Audience Invoked Models to Instructional Design Methods

You should know what appeals to and motivates your audience before you approach them with a suggestion for action. The same point is also true for writers. The writer must have a good idea of who the audience is and what motivates them in order to create arguments that will convince his or her audience to not only to read the text, but also to behave in the desired fashion after they have read the text.

Cleman, Kelly A. Orange Journal, The (2001). Articles>Education>Instructional Design


Approximately "Real World" Learning with the Hybrid Model

Most workplace professionals write documents in a fairly mature way. They typically write: Independently or with collaborators, without direct or constant supervision; With frequent interaction with team members at remote locations, and not just with those at their own division or company; With computers and other electronic equipment; and With the freedom to make important decisions about project and time management, such as determining when and how to interact with others, how to collaborate with irresponsible writing partners, how to resolve unexpected problems that arise, and how to meet deadlines despite mishaps and obstacles. How can instructors of business and professional writing prepare students for the relative freedom and independence of this kind of thinking and writing?

Spilka, Rachel. Teaching With Technology Today (2002). Articles>Education>Writing>Workplace


Are You Blogging Yet?

Web logs (also called 'weblogs' or 'blogs') are frequently updated website commentaries, short or long, organized chronically and sometimes include the blogger’s personal life.

Berger, Pam. Scarsdale Schools (2004). Articles>Writing>Education>Blogging



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