Concurrent Session A

9:00-10:15 am

A.1—Technological Persuasion, New Rhetoric, and the New Media
Room: Benton, Mezzanine Level
Chair: James Zappen, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rhetoric, Romance, and the Atom: The Role of Technological Persuasion in the Global Context
Robert R. Johnson, Michigan Technological University
This presentation provides stories of two major events. First, the presenter speaks to the ways that the Bikini Islanders were persuaded in 1946 to leave their homeland so that the U.S. military could experiment with atomic bombs on and around their tiny Pacific island. The result of this persuasion, in short, is that the U.S. tested sixty seven bombs there by 1960 and that the Bikinian people have never been allowed to return to their now radioactive home. Next, the speaker discusses the role that persuasion played in the development, and eventual breakdown of communication regarding the recent Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster.

A Rhetoric for Technical Communication in New Media
James P. Zappen, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
As corporations embrace new media including Web 2.0 applications and a wide range of social media (blogging, tweeting, etc.), technical communication becomes less a challenge of presenting information effectively and more a challenge of engaging users in meaningful interactions in a quality total user experience. In this context, traditional rhetorics of persuasion become less useful nationally and, especially, internationally, across cultural boundaries, and new rhetorics emerge as tools and resources for interactions between corporations and their customers and between customers and other customers.

Technically Mobile: The Confluence of Technical Writing and Mobility Studies
Ehren Helmut Pflugfelder, Purdue University
This presentation bridges scholarship between the two fields, offering a theoretical and pedagogical grounding for technical and professional writing that employs the basic tenets of mobility studies. The speaker illustrates how mobility studies can be brought into the classroom as a way to show how technical writing exists in a matrix of global, rhetorical practice. Specifically, the presentation focuses on understanding how the Aristotelian concept kinesis, physical movement that includes temporal limits (like “building a house”), can be of value in teaching technical writing. Moving from rhetorical conceptions of movement, it also suggests a framework for technical writing courses, including interface design and logistics planning projects, based upon a mobilities paradigm.

9:00-10:15 am

A.2—Technical Communication in the Networked Environment
Room: Portland, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Geoffrey Sauer, Iowa State University

Back to the Future: Retooling the Curriculum for Linux, the Command Line, and Open Source
Karl Stolley, Illinois Institute of Technology
The speaker contends that responsibility for technological infrastructure belongs (back) in the hands of instructors and program directors, not a separate IT department or cluster. Additionally, he argues that the problems of production literacy facing our students (and instructors) originate at the source and language levels, including the ability to control and manipulate Linux-like computers and servers at the command line. Finally, the speaker highlights how the simple act of teaching with open-source and command lines has fundamentally changed technology instruction in his classroom/lab, and student learning and interaction over electronic channels.

Rhetorical Ecologies of the Server Side: Globalized Stability in a Network Environment
Nathan R. Johnson, Purdue University
This presentation describes the rhetorical situation that technical standardization generates for technical communicators. It analyzes web server standards as important means of persuasion to be exploited by technical communicators. It argues that although globalization creates new complexity for technical communicators, it simultaneously creates durable affordances that provide a powerful place for technical communication in the 21st century.

Proceduralizing Our Chaotic Worlds: Help Files, Software Agents, and Non-Player Characters
Ryan M. Moeller, Utah State University
In this presentation, the speaker briefly examines three iterations of user tools that demonstrate a collective, corporate response to the chaotic, uncontrolled nature of software, networked environments, and virtual worlds. He argues that these user tools—help files, software agents, and non-player characters—operate under the metaphors of assisting or helping the user accomplish her individual goals while ultimately serving the needs of capital to tame or proceduralize the chaotic worlds and users they serve.

Technical Communication’s Role in Language Learning: What Intensive English Courses Taught Us
Geoffrey Sauer & Eric York, Iowa State University
This paper argues that the work of building and maintaining a server for teaching online courses is appropriate and important work for technical communication faculty and graduate students. It will describe the work our team has done to develop a system which fosters the distinct but allied disciplines of writing instruction and language learning, and how the work to develop technologies for international students has led to systematic improvements in the technologies which underlie writing instruction at our university.

9:00-10:15 am

A.3—User, Design, and Production: What Counts?
Room: Parkview, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Lee Sherlock, Michigan State University

Theorycrafting as Techne: How to Engineer and Document What You Do for Fun
Lee Sherlock, Michigan State University
This presentation examines what the practice of theorycrafting, a form of “scientific play” in online gaming (Ask, 2011), offers to technical writing research and pedagogy. In particular, it raises questions about how theorycrafting challenges what the objects of technical writing are—what it is “about,” what counts as technical writing—while opening up potential venues for students to engage with computational rhetorics and processes alongside the production of technical communication.

Balancing Entertainment and Information Content in Technical Communication Comics
Carlos Evia & Tim Lockridge, Virginia Tech University
The proposed presentation reports on a pilot project to develop an XML grammar for tagging technical comics in a manner that allows technical communicators to quantify and balance elements of content and humor. Based on elements of ComicsML (a markup language for archiving comic books) and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA, an international standard for structuring technical documentation), the proposed grammar allows technical communicators to structure and evaluate instructional and entertainment content in comic-based documentation.

(Re)Examining the User’s Role in Product Development
Jeffrey A. Bacha, Purdue University
This presentation demonstrates a research and design methodology Professional and Technical Communicators can use to start seeing users and their input in product development differently. It presents the results of a four-year design and development study the speaker completed for the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue, an online educational resource serving a global network of online learners, which resulted in the construction of a new, specifically tailored, online content-development system.


9:00-10:15 am

A.4—Document Design within Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Contexts
Room: Aubert, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Antonio Ceraso, DePaul University

XML, Structured Authoring, and the Rhetoric of Globalization
Antonio Ceraso, DePaul University
This presentation will explore these definitions and demonstrate how they serve as a warrant for expanding structured authoring practices. The presentation will further suggest that the definitions of globalization present cultural and rhetorical differences in static terms; as a result, it will be argued, the relationship between structured authoring and localization is represented as a matter of selection of content from repositories rather than dynamic and rhetorical interactions through which both these content repositories and local audiences are themselves transformed.

International Technical Communication: Re-Considering Quality
Tatiana Batova, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee
The presenter argues that this situation is largely due to the enormous learning curve necessary for culture- and language-dependent quality evaluation in the work place. She then examines how approaches to and struggles with quality evaluation in translation/localization industry can help introduce translation quality into technical communication curriculums and inform teaching strategies. In such a way, technical communication students will learn how to take more control and show their value in multilingual projects.

Designing Documents in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Contexts: The Example of the Europass CV
Laurence José, Grand Valley State University
In order to illustrate some of the tensions underlying a pedagogy of global technical communication, this presentation analyzes an example of multicultural document design. Specifically, I examine a recent initiative from the European Union (E.U) to develop communication practices that rise above cultural and linguistic boundaries.


9:00-10:15 am

A.5—Crossing Cultural Boundaries in Social Networking Media
Room: Westmoreland, Level One
Chair: Elizabeth Keller, Michigan State University

Traversing Workplace Boundaries: The Visibilization and Globalization of Work through New Media Objects and Spaces
Elizabeth J. Keller, Michigan State University
In this presentation, the speaker discusses specific instances where digital and online tools (like GoogleDocs, e-mail, and social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook) highlight the reciprocal relationship(s) between workplace culture and technical communication. By making work processes and practices visible, the speaker argues that rhetoricians will be able to identify, analyze, and reflect on the intimate relationship between academic and non-academic work practices, and also how networked environments can both sustain and complicate this relationship.

Yammering and Chattering: The Role of Enterprise Social Networking in Intercultural Communication
Ritu Raju, Houston Community College
This presentation addresses the increasing use of social networking tools such as Yammer and Chatter by international companies in an attempt to provide global, multicultural employees with a business-appropriate equivalent of Facebook.

Tracing the Local Development of Social Networking Services with a Culturally Sensitive Design Approach in a Glocalization Age
Huatong Sun, University of Washington Tacoma
The presentation begins with two case studies, and then introduces the CLUE approach to trace the local development of SNS and probe into the deeper issues behind their peculiar use patterns. It shows the integration of action and meaning in design is key to the success of global social media. The talk ends with a discussion of the pedagogical implications for technical communication in this glocalization age.  


9:00-10:15 am

A.6—Dissecting the “Global” and “Culture”
Room: Kingsbury, Level One
Co-Chairs: Joseph Bartolotta & Christina Haas, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Globalization and Social Justice: Interrogating the International in International Technical Communication
Godwin Y. Agboka, University of Houston-Downtown
This paper will interrogate and critique the international in international technical communication discourse, especially in this second phase of globalization. The speaker draws from a specific study that studies intercultural pharmaceutical products in two cultural contexts, as well as highlight dominant pedagogical and theoretical approaches in technical communication discourse that challenge social justice perspectives.

What We Talk about When We Talk about Global: Enacting the Global in Writing Research Articles
Joseph P. Bartolotta & Christina Haas, Universitsy of Minnesota-Twin Cities
This presentation discusses results from a study analyzing articles for a special issue on globalization, submitted to a writing research journal.  Using inductive, content-analytic  methods, the speakers examined the multiple ways that authors understood and enacted two key terms, global and writing.  A preliminary analysis of articles that dealt specifically with professional writing reveals that the definitions of these key terms are fluid:  writing and global are instantiated differently across instructional, workplace, academic, scientific, political, and everyday contexts.

Insights and New Questions from Global Workplace Narratives
Han Yu, Kansas State University
Gerald Savage, Illinois State University
This presentation will focus on the above insights we and the narrative writers arrived at as well as questions the authors encountered: for example, “How have we come to believe that a certain cultural difference is true? What political purposes have motivated the construction of particular beliefs about cultural difference?, and What alternative understandings of cultural difference, or counter-discourses, are available to transform our taken-for-granted knowledge?” 

Go to top