There are many reasons to further your education. You may have just graduated from college and are wondering, "what's next?" The career path laid out before you is ambiguous and you think that furthering your education will allow you to discover the field that's right for you.
This paper overviews a discipline-specific educational technology assistance program titled Digital Language and Literacy, which links technologically literate graduate students in English with faculty developing online courses for the first time. Such models not only help with online course design but also help to establish technological and pedagogical learning communities among current and future faculty.
Describes the activities of a university “directed research group,” highlighting interesting tensions that emerged therein. Asserts that actively exploring such tensions with students creates a rich learning environment.
How we leveraged Apple's iTunes U program for a seamless capture of in-class enhanced podcasts, developed a one-click iTunes U course creation solution via Blackboard, and more. This presentation will focus on how to make the implementation of university-wide learning technologies transparent and nondisruptive to the teaching and learning process. Why? To assist faculty in expanding their teaching strategies for a more diverse student learning experience. We created a technological infrastructure that allows faculty, independent of their digital literacy skills, to make use of existing social and instructional technologies in and outside the classroom.
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.
For the past year and half, Tom Klinkowstein has conducted workshops, called Horizon Projects, with design students in four countries using a methodology adapted from John Anderson, a NASA scientist. The workshops lasted from 1/2 a day in New York, to two days in Istanbul, Turkey, three days In Shanghai, China and five days in Mumbai, India.
To effectively prepare students to participate in this industry we need to provide them with a skill set that is a blend of technological expertise, industry-specific knowledge, e-business skills, inter-cultural communication effectiveness, linguistic savvy, cultural understanding and international business orientation.
In this article, we trace the journey our professional writing program took from marginal area to well-supported specialty in an English department—a journey we made without sacrificing our commitment to prepare students for professional-level employment. In so doing, we explore the grounds of intellectual compatibility between our field and English studies and describe the conditions most conducive to professional writing's finding a respected place in English departments.
The use of simulation games in business courses is a popular method for providing undergraduate students with experiences similar to those they might encounter in the business world. As such, in 2003 we were pleased to find a classroom simulation tool that combined the decision-making and team experiences of a senior management group with a fun, realistic, and competitive plot: We selected the Business Strategy Game, an online simulation for use with the textbook Crafting and Executing Strategy: The Quest for Competitive Advantage. We then enhanced the student experience by blending the simulation game with reflective writing tools that help students recognize how team experiences and decisions ripple though an enterprise.
Do programs in technical communication thrive when administered in English departments or in other configurations of administrative units? This article examines the variations in professional, technical, and scientific communication programs at four universities across the north central U.S. The first three programs have histories that led them to be housed at increasing distances from their universities' English departments. The fourth is a nascent program emerging in its university's English department.
A key element for the success of any business that operates in today's fast changing business environment is the optimization of communication and training resources. This is especially critical for a medical device company. The challenges of local language, culture, and regulations must be addressed by an iterative examination and adaptation of sales training and product literature to local needs. We developed strategies for planning, training, translating, producing, and implementing that provide our sales staff, physicians, and patients with useful product and therapy information.
Many students see instructor commentary as not constructive but prescriptive directions that must be followed so that their grade, not necessarily their writing, can be improved. Research offering heuristics for improving such commentary is available for guidance, but the methods employed to comment on writing still have not changed significantly, primarily because we lack sufficient understanding of how students use feedback. Usability evaluation is ideally equipped for assessing how students use commentary and how instructors might adapt their comments to make them more usable. This article reports on usability testing of commentary provided to students in an introductory technical writing course.
Kuhn reminds us that although collaborating researchers in different disciplines may observe the same phenomena and use similar terms to describe it, their articulation of their findings can be radically dissimilar. Pointing out that what we see is largely dependent on what we have been trained to see, Kuhn cautions that individuals from two academic disciplines who work together will find themselves “always slightly at cross purposes.” Consequently, even though consultants and clients may use the same word, the meaning of the word may be quite different. Such differences often affect the entire consultation process including the client’s expectations, as well as, their willingness to accept the consultant’s recommendations. This article is a case study of the authors’ experiences when they were asked to engage in a cultural assessment of a student affairs department at a large Midwestern University.
In an earlier Programmatic Perspectives piece (DeVoss & Julier, 2009), we presented a profile of the Professional Writing program at Michigan State University. In this piece, we focus specifically on a senior capstone experience—a portfolio seminar. We first describe some recent changes to the undergraduate program, then describe the intellectual framework that scaffolds the course. We then share course materials, assignments, and insights gained from our experiences teaching the course. We share student work, connecting the work to how it reflects the university’s larger “Liberal Learning Goals,” and describe some of the course outcomes and the work of the course in helping to prepare students for careers in technical writing, information architecture, media production, nonprofit communications, social media strategy, web authoring, grant and proposal writing, publications management, and editing and publishing.
This article describes our process for revising the technical communication service course at UMass Dartmouth, using Robert Reich’s (1991) description of the symbolic analyst. Reich’s framework helped us identify our curricular needs, providing a rhetorical ground for defining our course and its objectives. This framework also placed rhetorical principles at the center of our curriculum, creating a space for active student learning.
In this microanalysis, a university writing center conference with an experienced tutor and a student he has never met before is analyzed for the tutor’s use of direct instruction, cognitive scaffolding, and motivational scaffolding. Along with verbal expressions of scaffolding, this analysis also considers the tutor’s hand gestures—topic gestures, which operationalize instruction and cognitive scaffolding, and interactive gestures, which operationalize motivational scaffolding. As defined in this analysis, instruction is the most directive of the three strategies and includes telling. Also directive, cognitive scaffolding leads and supports the student in making correct and useful responses, while motivational scaffolding provides feedback and helps maintain focus on the task and motivation. The microanalysis points to the importance of the student’s cognitive and motivational readiness to learn and the need for the student to control the agenda throughout the conference. It also contextualizes admonitions against tutor directiveness.
This article describes the process of planning and implementing a problem-based learning community. Business and communication students from a large university in the Western United States competed in teams to solve an authentic business problem posed by a Fortune 500 company. The company's willingness to adopt some of their recommendations testified to the professional quality of their final product. This experience gave students an opportunity to apply communication concepts to a business problem. They learned how to make vital connections between theory and practice and between shared knowledge and shared knowing. In the process, students grew personally and professionally.
This article reports results from a survey of US technical and professional communication undergraduate programs concerning core concepts emphasized and most commonly taught procedures, skills, and tools. Snapshot views of current programs are derived from the results, and the developmental processes and directions of four new programs are described in more detail. The article concludes with challenges for programs to maintain humanistic concerns while also providing effective professional and technical preparation.