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.
A major challenge in engineering education is to prepare professionals for communicating well in writing and speaking, using appropriate technologies, within professional contexts. Communication in the global engineering world includes collaboration on cross-functional teams, virtual-project team management, and writing for multiple, complex audiences. This tutorial discusses how one small engineering school has integrated technical communication teaching and assessment throughout the curriculum with demonstrated success. The integrated curriculum, formative and summative assessments, and real-world contexts offer one model to address growing communication challenges.
Given the disconnections between technical communication classroom assessment and professional workplace assessment, the author suggests that technical communication programs learn from workplaces’ best practices to develop authentic classroom assessment and better prepare students for workplace performance. Authentic classroom assessment also generates meaningful student learning evidence, which can be used in outcome-based program reviews for us to reach more comprehensive and accurate assessment of programs’ education success. The article details how this integrated, two-tier framework can be carried out at both the classroom and program levels and discusses its programmatic benefits.
To help students better understand and be better prepared for professional workplaces, the author suggests that business communication teachers examine and learn from workplace assessment methods. Throughout the article, the author discusses the rationale behind this proposal, reviews relevant literature, reports interview findings on workplace assessment, and compares classroom and workplace practices to suggest areas where we can meaningfully bridge the two.
Technical communicators and academics share an interest in higher education program assessment because the quality offiture employees is at stake. If universities fail to adequately educate, on-the-job training must pick up the slack. This paper describes Michigan Tech's efforts to learn what skills their recent graduates use, and where they learned these skills.
The authors' goal was to model the role played by the relationship between a writing teacher and her students in the feedback and revision cycle they experienced in an English-as-a-foreign-language context. Participants included a nonnative teacher of English and 14 students enrolled in her English writing class in a Korean university. Data came from formal, informal, and text-based interviews; semester-long classroom observations; and students' drafts with teacher comments. Findings showed that caring was enacted in complex and reciprocal ways, influenced by interwoven factors from the greater society, the course, the teacher, and the student. Students' level of trust in the teacher's English ability, teaching practices, and written feedback, as much as the teacher's trust in particular students based on how they revised their drafts, played a great role in the development of a caring relationship between them.
To teach students how to write for the workplace and other professional contexts, technical writing teachers often assign writing tasks that reflect real-life communication contexts, a teaching approach that is grounded in the field's contextualized understanding of genre. This article argues to fully embrace contextualized literacy and better teach workplace writing, technical writing teachers also need to contextualize how they assess student writing. To this end, this article examines some of workplaces' best assessment practices and critically integrates them into an introductory technical writing classroom through a method called student-centered assessment instruments. This method engages students, as workplaces engage employees, in the assessment process to identify local requirements for writing tasks. Aligned with theory and practice, this method is not only an effective classroom assessment method, but becomes an integrated part of students' genre-learning process within and beyond the classroom.
We recently conducted survey research to discover students' responses to our web-based courses and online programs. We wanted to know their reactions to the course materials, teaching methods, interactions with faculty and other students, as well as their own competence in the particular subject area following such as course. While we are discovering that students are generally satisfied with all aspects of the courses, they express valid and noteworthy concerns.
Designers today are involved in the development and design of new products and their interactions, software, virtual identities, web sites, strategic plans, wearable computers, digital libraries, games, and interactive exhibitions. The old monikers of graphic and industrial design aren't descriptive of the new fields of practice and research that are being explored today. These disciplines in fact have come to realize that they do not own the word `design.' The activity of design, as described by Simon (1969), is being practiced by a host of disciplines that include engineering, computer science, information systems, professional writing, and business. We encounter job titles such as software design, engineering design, human-computer interaction design, and systems design, to name a few. If design is so pervasive, who, then, is a designer and how is s/he educated?
The importance of oral presentations in professional environments related to Computer Science is unquestionable. Therefore, oral and writing skills are included in the set of competences to be developed by students through the application of recent academic initiatives for Computer Science degrees in an international context. This article describes activities performed at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid aimed at the development of presentation skills in students. This initiative is based on the application of learning activities in combination with the delivery of different presentations that the students themselves evaluate. Results show a significant competence improvement and very satisfactory acceptance results from the students.
Recent technological developments have provided a powerful stimulus for the production of a range of electronic materials for education. A number of products and prototypes to assist teaching and learning have been produced and educational materials have been extensively published electronically, but it is still unclear to what extent all of this is of use to students and lecturers/tutors when it comes to real teaching and learning. Looking at the example of electronic books indicates not only the main reasons why electronic materials have not completely replaced the physical counterpart, but more importantly suggests how to improve the quality of the materials and tools currently available.
The administrators of many programs, organizations, and associations often wonder if their program is functioning effectively and for the best purposes of the program's members. In this era of wireless, global communication modes and social network sites, these administrators may wonder if newer communication channels meet the needs of the members and the program. This study reports the results of a survey of a national organization of teachers of technical communication, a survey that asked the membership to report their perceptions of the effectiveness of the current communication channels and their interest in forging new, networked communication channels. The results revealed to the administrators the changing population demographic of the membership, the members' willingness and interest in using newer communication channels, and their reasons for not using other channels of communication. Ultimately, the authors argue that such reflective analysis of communication channels is healthy for the continued success of a networked program.
Program directors could use data from protocols and interviews to identify 'natural sources of resistance', and 'translation and follow-up problems'.
Currently, colleges and universities have developed assessment systems that can collect student work products for evaluation in an effort to make student learning transparent and ensure accountability in higher education. At the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, we have developed a digital portfolio system, the RosE Portfolio System (REPS), that allows for efficient data collection; the results of portfolio evaluations are used by academic departments and programs to improve curricula and provide evidence to external accrediting agencies. The results of evaluations of student performance are also used to ensure the quality of academic curricula.
There has been a remarkable improvement in access and rate of adoption of technology in higher education. Even so, reports indicate that faculty members are not integrating technology into instruction in ways that make a difference in student learning. To help faculty make informed decisions on student learning, there is need for current knowledge of faculty integration practices. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the nature of the relationship between faculty integration of technology into classroom instruction and students' perceptions of the effect of computer technology to improve their learning. A sample of at least 800 undergraduate students at a participating medium-sized midwest public university was selected using a stratified random sampling technique. The researcher delivered and administered the surveys to the participating students and collected them after completion. 98% of the questionnaires were complete and retained for analysis.
Discusses the potential of goal-based scenarios as an approach to designing online learning environments. Explores practical applications of goal-based scenarios for online training. Presents a procedural approach to designing a goal-based scenario.
The information that follows is the text of the web-based survey described in 'How Much is Enough? The Assessment of Student Work in Technical Communication Courses,' TCQ Winter 2003.
Because of accreditation, budget, and accountability pressures at the institutional and program levels, technical and professional communication faculty are more than ever involved in assessment-based activities. Using assessment to identify a program's strengths and weaknesses allows faculty to work toward continuous improvement based on their articulation of learning and behavioral goals and outcomes for their graduates. This article describes the processes of program assessment based on pedagogical goals, pointing out options and opportunities that will lead to a meaningful and manageable experience for technical communication faculty, and concludes with a view of how the larger academic body of technical communication programs can benefit from such work. As ATTW members take a careful look at the state of the profession from the academic perspective, we can use assessment to further direct our programs to meet professional expectations and, far more importantly, to help us meet the needs of the well-educated technical communicator.
In my recent experience as an external assessor invited to participate in San Francisco State University's Technical Communication Program assessment, I felt that surely the process taught me more than I was able to provide in return.
Decisions about distance education, whether from the perspectives of academic or corporate organizations, are often made on the basis of economical, pedagogical, and psychological perspectives. Decisions are also made by potential distance learning students. Distance learning delivery organizations often include student self-surveys in their initial online promotional materials. This metaanalysis of several student distance learning 'readiness' surveys identifies their major common elements, and it offers a checklist of topics to include in distance learning student 'readiness' surveys. Finally, recommendations are offered concerning the ethical and research dimensions of the decision-making required for effective distance education delivery.
This article describes a pilot effort for an accreditation-driven writing assessment in a business college, detailing the pilot's logistics and methods. Supported by rubric software and a philosophy of "real readers, real documents," the assessment was piloted in summer 2006 with five evaluators who were English instructors and four who worked or taught in business environments. The nine evaluators were each given 10 reports that were drawn from a sample of 50 reports completed in a writing-intensive course. They created 88 individual assessments using a 10-category rubric. While the overarching purpose of the pilot was to determine the effectiveness of the methods used, the results may also be of interest to those involved with the assessment of writing.
We asked TAs who were using a common assignment sequence to turn in student papers responding to a prompt which asked for the analysis of information in a piece by Clifford Geertz. We invited departmental instructors to read four unmarked papers and to grade them using the citeria for evaluation that had been given to the students and used by their instructors. These criteria were customized for the assignment from a one-page list of course criteria, not unlike the “outcomes” document recently published by the WPA. Our idea was simply to see the grading by TAs, lecturers and tenured faculty. We put the grades on a chart, which showed that there was not perfect consistency of grading for any one paper. Some were very close, but some papers received a wide array of grades. The departmental review took place just after we had collected these data, and we shared with the reviewers this interpretive but uninterpreted document.
This article discusses ways that an oral communication, Professional Communication course was assessed not only to meet the requirements of the university’s outside governing board but also to increase instructional effectiveness within the course while collaborating with faculty who teach it. As a result of course faculty’s taking ownership of the assessment process, despite difficult politics, the faculty created a new assessment form genre, which allows them to begin assessing required characteristics for the governing board, as well as characteristics identified by the faculty as essential for students to master as they learn specific oral communication genres within the course. The article focuses on assessment processes and politics while also proposing a framework for assessment that goes beyond meeting requirements to expanding the process by meeting specific student and faculty needs.