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EServer TC Library: Recent Additions

Recently-indexed online resources in technical, professional and scientific communication (including web design and human-computer interaction).


Content Strategy Service-Learning Partnerships with Nonprofit Organizations: A Guiding Heuristic and Overview of Deliverables

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 14:37:29 CST

In this experience report, we describe a three-step heuristic to guide educators as they design content-strategy focused service-learning partnerships with nonprofit organizations. The heuristic moves students along an arc from conducting research to making recommendations. Each of the three heuristic steps also suggests an array of deliverables---many of them described in this report---that might be produced in the course of a partnership. Dush, Lisa, Giuseppe Getto, Suzan Flanagan and R.J. Thompson

Spurring UX Innovation in Academia Through Lean Research and Teaching

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 14:34:48 CST

User experience (UX) is emerging as a cross-functional field bridging professions as diverse as marketing, graphic design, web development, and technical communication. To build better user experiences, many industry-based organizations are creating teams across departments to spur innovation and collaborative problem-solving. At the same time, academia has been slow to offer courses and programs devoted specifically to training job-ready UX designers. With its focus on relationship-building with industry stakeholders, the field of Technical and Professional Communication is uniquely positioned to lead the way when it comes to UX innovation in academia. In order to encourage UX research and teaching, below we present heuristics for spurring UX innovation across both these fronts. Getto, Guiseppe, Robert J. Thompson and Karan Saggi

Digitally Mapping the Buddhist Holy Land: Intercultural Communication, Religious History, and Networked Rhetoric

Tue, 07 Mar 2017 14:32:23 CST

Intercultural communication presents an array of well-known and much-discussed challenges to scholars and practitioners of Technical and Professional Communication and related disciplines. When addressing the religious culture, there is the added dimension of deeply-engrained worldviews. Likewise, the transmission of academic research in disciplines—such as religious studies, technical and professional communication, and digital humanities—depends upon communications across diverse cultural boundaries. In the wake of such challenges, we present an exploratory methodology behind a new research and instructional program that utilizes versatile digital tools and best practices from religious studies, digital humanities, and technical and professional communication. Maher, Derek F. and Guiseppe Getto

I Don’t Need Help

Tue, 14 Feb 2017 14:13:10 CST

We have no excuse…admit it. UX may brag about intuitive and pretty, but we sure suck at helping people—this one thing that most defines, most embodies great user experience. Singh, Neha

Introducing Agile Project Management Strategies in Technical and Professional Communication Courses

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:31:40 CST

Technical and professional communicators spend a good deal of time man- aging teams and documentation projects, and their organizations are increasingly introducing new project management practices. This article introduces Agile project management strategies that were created in soft- ware development environments, exploring how these iterative strategies can complement the traditional linear project management approaches that are taught in technical and professional communication (TPC) programs. To do so, the author presents a brief history of Agile, a case study of how the author applied specific Agile strategies in a grant writing course, and a comprehensive set of tips for implementing Agile in other TPC courses. Pope-Ruark, Rebecca

Toward a Typology of Activities: Understanding Internal Contradictions in Multiperspectival Activities

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:29:32 CST

Professional writing scholars have often turned to activity theory (AT) as a rich framework for describing and theorizing human activity. But AT-based studies typically emphasize the uniqueness of activities rather than examin- ing how certain types of activities share configurations. Consequently, these analyses often miss the chance to examine activities’ internal contradictions that are a result of interference between different configurations of activity. This article argues that a typology of activities can deepen our understand- ing of these internal contradictions. Drawing from a range of literature, it describes the general characteristics of different types of activities, provid- ing examples from other AT-based studies. It concludes by discussing how this typology can help such studies to better analyze internal contradictions in activities. Spinuzzi, Clay

Locating the Semiotic Power of Writing in Science

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:28:19 CST

This article explores how a doctoral student in theoretical physics constructs computational simulations and reports his work within the constraints of an academic dissertation. The author specifically identifies principal elements of the work ensemble that the student deployed to complete different tasks and analyzes two dissertation chapters in order to examine the semiotic resources that the student used to warrant the outcomes of his research. The study finds that these are not instru- mental procedures in which the researcher represents material objects in a mimetic sense; they are epistemic practices through which he generates digital objects that do not have an experimental counterpart and must therefore be justified through references to technical production. Based on these findings, the author argues that theorizing writing as coextensive with the practical work of science demonstrates what makes it powerful as a semiotic resource and constructive rhetorical activity. Wickman, Chad

Network Analysis as a Communication Audit Instrument: Uncovering Communicative Strengths and Weaknesses Within Organizations

Mon, 06 Feb 2017 13:27:16 CST

Network analysis is one of the instruments in the communication audit toolbox to diagnose communication problems within organizations. To explore its contribution to a communication audit, the authors conducted a network analysis within three secondary schools, comparing its results with those of two other instruments: interviews focusing on critical incidents and a communication satisfaction questionnaire. The results show that network analysis may complement interview and survey data in several ways, by uncovering unique problems or by explaining or corroborating problems that were uncovered by the critical incidents or the survey. The results also show that additional data are sometimes needed to make sense of network characteristics. Zwijze-Koning, Karen H. and Menno D. T. de Jong

Sites of Experience Architecture: Methodology for Community Formation

Thu, 24 Sep 2009 09:20:39 CST

Recent attempts to define core interests of technical communication act as distraction of a priori definition of the field. In contrast, this technical paper uses a descriptive method for articulating existing core interests and sites of productive study , ranging from memorials to applications to videogame spaces . Prescriptive definitions reveal tempt ations of defining core interests and limit future potential. P roductive research will, over time, descr ibe core interests and provide sustainable means of supporting the field’s growth as well as clarifying productive sites for research. To define the boundaries of productive research prior to conducting exploratory research establishes artificial boundarie s, labels some practices legitimate while delegitimizing others, and impedes development of method, practices, and sites. The presentation offers a name for a broad array of emerging research practices of Experience Architecture suitable for a variety of w orkplace context by stressing descriptions of emergent research over prescribing practice. Salvo, Michael J.