The academy/industry debate usually centers on whether instruction should be education-based or experience-based, and on whether instructors should have more academic or industrial experience. Distance education can change both of these debates, lessening the difference between the workplace and the academy. The academy can be relocated within the workplace through dedicated classrooms and online courses performed on workplace computers, and by making classes asynchronous so that practitioners can fit them into their structured schedules. The debate over instructor training is changed because of the additional industry-based expertise needed to produce a distance education class and because distance education technology facilitates participation of practitioners.
Career theory should inform any individual or corporate needs analysis for professional development. A useful career theory for technical communicators is one developed just for them. For this reason we designed the multi-phase study. This discussion focuses on the definition of career theory and how existing career theory can inform technical communication training theory. The research design used to create our survey has evolved from the relevant literature on career planning and career management. The literature on career planning and management contains no career theory specific to technical communicators. Traditionally, training personnel have assumed that professional development, training, and to some degree, post-graduate education are determined by the employer’s needs. This is true particularly in cases of tuition assistance for expensive technical or graduate training.
One privilege enjoyed by new-media authors is the opportunity to realize representations of Self that are rich textual worlds in themselves and also to engage the wider world, with a voice, a smile, imagery, and sound. Still, closer investigation of multimedia composition practices reveals levels of complexity with which the verbal virtuoso is unconcerned. This article argues that while technology-afforded multimedia tools make it comparatively easy to author a vivid text, it is a multiplicatively more complicated matter to vividly realize and publicize an authorial intention. Based on analysis of the digital story creation process of a youth named 'Steven,' the authors attempt to demonstrate the operation of two forces upon which the successful multimodal realization of the author's intention may hinge: 'fixity' and 'fluidity.' The authors show how, within the process of digital self-representation, these forces can intersect to influence multimodal meaning making, and an author's life, in consequential ways.
Explores how to have a technical community adopt a new communication strategy that challenges the common practice of PowerPoint. Reveals the sources of resistance to that communication strategy. Finds that resistance is diminished when learners see the strategy being used effectively by someone with credibility in that learner's community.
Mathematics and computer science can be difficult subjects for the communications teacher to penetrate. In 1997, the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Waterloo initiated the development of a pilot course in communications for Mathematics and Computer Science students. This paper explores the research and discoveries that built a successful course: a definition of “numeracy” that equates with academic “literacy” as knowledge creation; perceiving the students as “end users” and doing ongoing “usability tests” during the pilot course; and using case studies as social action to empower students and envision math and technology as dynamic, socially rich fields through communications.
Interactive lectures include lecture material interspersed with short activities that call upon students to review or develop their knowledge of the lecture topic. This module describes some of the benefits of using interactive lectures. Descriptions and examples of selected interactive lecture strategies are also given.
Knowing more about how web site characteristics work to reach non-e-commerce goals can guide web designers working towards some of those goals. Environmental advocacy sites are apt to provide rich examples of how web sites try to educate, change behaviors and values, induce action, and promote participatory decisionmaking. Studying them, then, may help us understand how the characteristics of their web sites work. This paper explores how a particular advocacy group web site, www.seedcoalition.org, educates and induces action in its visitors. The site seems likely to effectively educate and induce action, but could do more to induce deliberation and encourage interpersonal communication and discussion about issues, which might better support the group’s long term goals.
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.
Taking a course online sounds easy and convenient--you can go to class whenever you want from the comfort of your own home. But you have to learn or know the software and tools necessary to navigate in this environment. Also, you give up the traditional classroom, perhaps never seeing your classmates or instructor. Distance learning is here to stay, but online courses may not be for everyone.
Authors often are unreceptive to editing because they see editorial comments and changes as arbitrary. Editing that offers “rules,” asks questions, gives choices to authors, and provides examples of better ways to express ideas takes very little additional editorial time and enables authors to see editing as a significant contribution to document quality. Writing problems that cannot be addressed during editing can be addressed in brief training sessions that encourage authors to incorporate what they learn into their writing.
The field of technical communication is transforming at a rapid rate, responding to scientific and technological advancements, economic pressures, and social changes. This makes our field exciting and challenging. The excitement and challenge is intensified for educators and trainers, because we must stay high on the learning curve in order to help prepare others to meet the challenges and prosper by the changes. At the same time, we must be sure to integrate new knowledge, technologies, and skills with what is valuable in the old rather than simply letting the new displace the old.
The integration of technology into education includes increased educational Internet and web use. However the websites used in and for education are rarely critically examined, especially in regard to gender equality, design, and use. Print has been argued to carry with it certain attributes that disturb gender equality, so it is likely that electronic writing might cause similar problems.
How do you develop effective online learning? This interactive half-day workshop introduces you to 18 techniques, including the must-ask questions of a needs analysis, the must-consider issues for writing objectives, different learning models you can incorporate into courses, ways to keep learners' attention, and tips for designing screens and writing for online presentation.
This presentation provided a rationale for electronic support systems and an overview of how such systems can be designed to meet the needs of technical communication teachers and programs.
The reviews of engineering education carried out in the USA, Canada and Australia have highlighted the importance of developing the communication skills of engineering students. An innovative curriculum has been developed at the University of Technology, Sydney (Australia) to prepare students for effective professional practice. The program has drawn on developments in writing studies and research into workplace practice. A core subject in Engineering Communication acts as a ‘hub’ for a Communication System which extends the development of communication abilities to staff, practitioners and self-directed learners.
To remain viable in this economy, executives and administrators must produce efficiently and hence must assure sound evaluation of training programs in technical communication. These decision-makers can benefit from the insights of professional evaluators of educational programs so as to establish goals, secure resources, review the activities, and report results. Described and then illustrated here is the CIPP-model to review the activities, that is, the contexts, input, processes, and products. Well-done evaluations lift the level of communication skills, the morale of the students and faculty, and the organization’s products.
Discussion about fostering international relationships for academic programs in technical communication.
This paper discusses the author’s experience of teaching an English as a Second Language (ESL) technical writing class. The class consisted of students from several European and Asian countries who work for the same company as the author. The class began as an email “correspondence” class, but the author developed a web page which served as a “home” for the class to meet. As with most good classes, the teacher ended up learning as much or more than the students. This paper shares some of what the author learned from teaching.
Technical communicators who desire to “spread the word” about their profession will find ready audiences in the educational institutions of their local communities. This paper examines techniques which the author has used in elementary, middle, and high schools to explain technical communication. They are techniques which require the students to do a simplified form of technical writing. The author also explains why doing these types of presentations is an enjoyable activity.
Education is hot in business as well. The rise of corporate universities is well established, with companies literally spending billions of dollars to educate their employees. Education is now a business, with multiple companies offering courses and degrees as a successful, profit-making business. Of course, one of the problems when everyone is for something is that everyone has a different idea of what it is that they are for. Everyone who is for education seems to have a different idea of what to do, hence the challenge. The one thing everyone agrees upon is that our educational system is in trouble. Something has to be done to fix it. But what? To me, anything that is truly worthwhile is something that is also a major challenge. If you were facing an easy task, why bother? So it's a great year to be graduating, for anything truly worthwhile, anything that will make a difference, not just to you, but to many, is going to be hard. This is a great year, for there are great challenges ahead of you.
The market for Web-based Training (WBT) products and services is expected to grow from $197 million in 1997 to $5.5 billion in 2002. Many technical communicators and trainers are already interested in creating WBT, but they do not know how to get started. In this session, I will explain the advantages and disadvantages of WBT, when to consider WBT, who is using it—and why, how much it costs to develop WBT, and design issues to consider. I will also share some WBT examples.