When she learned that I would be teaching a course in her department, the department secretary made a mailbox for me and made sure that I received a copy of every memo and announcement distributed to the rest of the faculty. Other part-time faculty appreciated this service, so it became a part of the secretary's standard operating procedures. But I never received the mail because the mailbox was in Crookston, Minnesota and I taught the course by instructional television (ITV) from St. Paul, Minnesota, approximately 350 miles away.
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.
This article introduces a new IText technology called Classroom Salon. The goal of Classroom Salon is to bring some of the benefits of social media—the expression of personal identity and community—to writing classrooms. It provides Facebook-like features to writing classes, where students can form social networks as annotators within the drafts of their peers. The authors discuss how the technology seeks to capture qualities of historical salons, which also built communities around texts. They also discuss the central features of the Classroom Salon system, how the system changes the dynamics of the writing classroom, current efforts to evaluate it, and future directions.
Developing a strong student STC chapter is a challenging and rewarding experience. Those of us who are involved in this process can certainly benefit from sharing our ideas in a directed workshop atmosphere. Participants will exchange ideas and formulate working strategies for the development, maintenance, and growth of a student chapter.
Interuniversity partnerships are widely encouraged as a way for public universities to pool increasingly scarce resources, to minimize duplication of academic programs, and to cooperate rather than compete. Joint programs in technical communication have not been widely studied, but they seem especially logical for several reasons.
Technical communication practices have been changed dramatically by the increasingly ubiquitous nature of digital technologies. Yet, while those who work in the profession have been living through this dramatic change, our academic discipline has been moving at a slower pace, at times appearing quite unsure about how to proceed. This article focuses on the following three areas of opportunity for change in our discipline in relation to digital technologies: access and expectations, scholarship and community building, and accountability and partnering.
With the shift in writing pedagogy from product to process, from emphasizing the individual writing--in a vacuum--to emphasizing the social context and social nature of writing, collaboration of some sort has found a place in most writing classes. The inclusion of collaborative projects in technical writing courses has a second, practical justification: the idea that these courses should prepare students for writing on the job, where collaborative writing is common.
Research indicates that teams are more effective when they satisfy the social goals of their members. Therefore, teams that focus on interpersonal communication (the internal performance process) as well as the team's objective (the external product) improve their chances for success. It follows, then, that classroom instructors can enhance team success by adding interpersonal communication components to courses that use teams. This paper shows how we used this research to design an innovative NSF program. The program incorporated an interpersonal communication component to motivate student teams to succeed.
Without denying the significance of traditional lectures and instructor-led discussions in undergraduate education, an increasing number of teachers are recognizing the value of also assigning collaborative work to their students. Small group work, used both in and out of class, can be an important supplement to lectures, helping students master concepts and apply them to situations calling for complex applications of critical thinking skills.
In May 2007, the Department of English at Utah State University (USU) redesigned its computer lab to increase mobility and collaboration during writing projects. Our study shows that despite the Professional and Technical Communication (PTC) field's efforts to promote writing as a socially active, collaborative practice, many students view computer labs as spaces for conducting isolated, single-authored work. In this article, we discuss how a combination of movable furniture and mobile technology, including wireless access and laptops, can enhance student collaboration in group-based writing assignments. The lab included both desktop and laptop seating areas, so the authors created a modified worksite analysis designed to evaluate team collaboration in this new layout. These material changes in the lab allow students to configure the space according to their needs, offering them some measure of control over three crucial elements of successful collaboration: formality, presence, and confidentiality.
Technical and professional writing pedagogies have traditionally understood collaborative writing as an aggregate, cooperative venture between writers and subject matter experts. In contrast, this tutorial argues that Web 2.0 technologies offer technical and professional communication pedagogies more advantageous conceptions and practices of collaborative writing. The tutorial analyzes how new media technologies create a different collaborative writing environment and then discusses how these environments help collaborative writing methods create an alternative writing situation. The study concludes by examining the outcomes of student Web 2.0 research projects and by offering technical and professional writing instructors new pedagogical strategies for teaching collaborative writing.
Much of the material we generate for teaching is digital, perhaps most obviously lecture notes and presentation slides. Some instructors put this material online as part of the course materials available to students. For most of us, I think, this kind of material is not consciously designed to be used by students in this way, but that doesn’t mean that it would be impossible to do so.
This study employed a quasiexperimental control group design in a university setting to test the effect of a rater-training program on reducing social style bias in intragroup peer evaluations after controlling for ability based on GPA. Comparison of rating scores of the test group to the control group indicated minimal social style rating bias in the test group, whereas significant bias was exhibited in the control group. Implications for college instructors who use peer evaluations for grading in team projects are discussed.
To help students develop teamwork skills, teachers should be aware of the strategies students already employ to assert authority and manage conflict. Researchers studying engineering students have identified two such approaches: transfer-of-knowledge sequences, in which students emulate teacher and pupil roles; and collaborative sequences, in which students use circular talk to reach consensus. As demonstrated in this article, these strategies are also used by students in professional communication courses. The second half of this article provides specific suggestions for designing team assignments, interacting effectively with student teams, and developing evaluations that value the process of teamwork.
In an advanced technical and professional writing course, a pair of in-class exercises integrates the teaching of teamwork with other class topics of project management and observation-based research. The first exercise introduces teamwork in a positive way, by raising awareness of strategies for solving problems successfully. The second exercise follows up on the first, focusing on assessment of problem-solving teamwork. The pair of exercises is memorable and effective, showing students in an engaging, thought-provoking way that they have control and responsibility for the success of their teamwork. The materials for conducting the exercises, provided here, encourage reflection and discussion.
From my side of campus, it's a pain in the rear to get help with a technology thing that our TLT folks really want us to use. I'm not a super early adopter or a computer whiz, but I'm not anti-technology right off the bat. My love for technology corresponds very closely to how user friendly or learnable the technology is, how useful it is, and how fun it is (and, if I'm purchasing it myself, how it fits into my budget). I think a week and a half is too long to wait to get help with three or four smallish questions.
Office politics goes on in most work environments. Learning the rules of office politics helps employees of both genders reap the rewards to which they are entitled. As future employees, students must become knowledgeable about office politics to be successful in the world of work.
In the Netherlands, most universities have a Faculty of Humanities that offers several bachelor’s and master’s programmes in the field of communication and information sciences. Each of these programmes outnumbers the classical studies such as linguistics, history, and philosophy, in terms of students that is, not in terms of teaching staff. The high student-staff ratio in the communication programmes necessitates a careful investment of teaching resources. Here we report on some recent developments within our institutes. The Need for Team Teaching A teacher has two challenges when facing a large group of 50 to over 300 students: to instill an active attitude toward learning and an academic attitude toward knowledge. The first challenge is addressed in all our courses by fostering the students’ repertoire for self-directed learning.
This handbook prepares students to lead small discussion groups in large lecture classes. Instructors may also want to access the Group Leader Training Materials, which provide an overview of training new group leaders.
The concept of team teaching is attributed to William Alexander, known as the “father of the American middle school,” who delivered a presentation at a 1963 conference held at Cornell University. Alexander’s main idea was to establish teams of three to five middle school teachers who would be in charge of team teaching content to large groups of pupils, ranging from 75 to 150. In 2002, the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB-I) Board of Directors formed the Management Education Task Force to examine existing and future critical educational issues. The task force identified “curricular relevance” as a “critical priority”. In an attempt to achieve “curricular relevance,” the task force recommended that business schools “blur boundaries between educational disciplines. Cross-disciplinary programs facilitate market relevance by encouraging boundary spanning teaching and thinking”. Embedded into this “critical priority” is the practice of team teaching, with the objective of blurring disciplinary boundaries. This article provides a description of instructional strategies to accommodate a team-teaching approach and gives recommendations for developing an effective team-teaching learning environment.
A rich discussion of collaboration as integral to writing in academia and the workplace has been on-going for some time among writing instructors and researchers. The outcomes of this discussion have convinced some writing instructors to promote peer feedback as one of the forms of collaborative writing in the classroom. In this paper we report on the preliminary stages of a longitudinal study of the role and place of peer feedback in the development of students' writing.
I am the course director of MGT 3373 (Managerial Communication), a basic business communication course required for all business students attending a large university in the American Southwest. The course I inherited was functioning adequately, but it needed an infusion of energy and ideas to help it evolve into a more positive, relevant part of students’ educational experience. I was hired to transform MGT 3373 and given the charge to modernize the course, which had not been significantly updated for several decades. The transformation process is still in progress, and it involves revising curriculum, updat- ing policies, implementing technology, and promoting pedagogical innovation. I am committed to making the managerial communication course an exemplary course, recognized for pedagogical innovation and curricular excellence. MGT 3373 uses an integrated model of classroom instruction. This means that students attend one large lecture and two labs every week during the semester. I teach the large lecture, and seven instructors (including me) teach the 19 lab sections. In previous years, the lecture and labs functioned separately, with little coordination between what students learned in lecture and what they did in lab. Further, the instructors of these lab sections exercised “pedagogical autonomy”; instructional goals, classroom instruction, and assignments reflected individual preferences, styles, and habits.
Aside from Writing Program Administration, the WPA journal, very little scholarly work about—or interest in—the topic of academic program administration has been manifested in the rhetoric-related disciplines. We believe that a mutual mentoring approach is an effective way to develop our community’s sense of the importance of program administration work as a scholarly endeavor in its own right.
Writing centers play very important roles in the academy, supporting writing processes from brainstorming ideas to researching evidence to bolstering claims to presenting final deliverables. Purdue’s Online Writing Lab, for instance, is one of the most well-used support tools available for writing instruction. Similarly, media labs support multimodal, divergent, and iterative design composing processes. And the ever-increasing use of new media and emerging technologies for technical communicators in the workplace suggests that students are underprepared if technical communication instructional programs do not support the creation, design, and delivery of new media content and knowledge in integrated and systematic ways.
This article examines many surprising problems that arise in the process of distance education using the Internet and describes ways in which instructors and administrators can solve these problems. The information in the article is based largely on the experience of educators at Utah State University who have been exploring distance education for the past six years by teaching a wide range of online courses via the Internet. As a result of this varied online teaching, we have encountered a broad spectrum of challenges to which we have tried to respond and from which we have tried to learn. The solutions described are generalizable to other programs using online delivery for instruction.