Concurrent Session B

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

B.1—Blogs, Websites, and Other Space: From Content to Context
Room: Kingsbury, Level One
Chair: Quan Zhou, University of Wisconsin-Stout

Culture, Language, Ideology, and Web Design: A Case Study of Chinese Websites
Quan Zhou, University of Wisconsin-Stout
This presentation uses numerous examples Chinese web design that are typical and representative for particular genres. The speaker discusses the homepage strategies of popular portal websites and government websites and language-specific navigation design. Using related theories on cultural models, the speaker then explores cultural factors in the design of Chinese-language websites of American corporations and comparing them with their English-language websites. Finally, the speaker discusses approaches in teaching web design in a broader cultural and linguistic context. 

Micro-blog Marketing Communication in China’s Sina Weibo: Two Case Studies
Yuejiao Zhang, University of Texas-Arlington
Following an introduction to the history and major functions of Sina Weibo, the presentation profiles two influential implementations of Sina Weibo for marketing communication. Using Thatcher’s (2010) five-point communicative heuristic (purpose, audience, information, organization, and style) to analyze marketing entries generated since the two micro-blogs’ launch, the speaker categorizes major ways in which Sina Weibo is used for marketing communication, and discusses the communicative traditions that affected such usages. The presentation concludes by discussing how US technical communicators might adapt their communication approaches for producing marketing communication materials on Sina Weibo or on micro-blogs in a similar culture.

From Determinism to Contingency: Culture as a System of Short Duration in the Changing Global Technical Communication Context
Anirban Ray, Texas Tech University
This speaker suggests a perspective of interspheres as imagined cluster of spaces, whose boundaries are bent by accretions, and where the cultural, the rhetorical, and the technological meet.  The duration and the size of these spaces are determined by the individual needs, interests, and compulsions—collectively understood as ‘affective accretions.’


11:00 am – 12:15 pm

B.2—Usability, Disciplinary Boundaries, and the Authentic Cultural Experience
Room: Westmoreland, Level One
Chair: Mark Hannah, Arizona State University

Cultural Usability Testing and Authentic Cultural Experience in the Technical Communication Classroom
Kyle T. Mattson, University of Central Arkansas
The speaker conducted a classroom-based study that investigated the following questions: How might selected corporate, transnational texts (e.g., websites) frame U.S. undergraduate students' experience as readers and writers of intercultural texts? How might we prepare such students to understand cultural difference beyond initial, immediate commonplaces of the "international" and "intercultural" that many such websites suggest? Within one semester, what kinds of texts would help technical communication instructors guide undergraduate students in "culturally fair" inquiry? How might "culturally fair" inquiry support student work on culturally relevant technical communication projects supportive of technical communication pedagogy and practice?

Transdisciplinary Engagement in Global Contexts
Mark Hannah, Arizona State University
Using transdisciplinary rhetoric as its lens, this presentation asserts that the work of technical communication requires a nuanced understanding of how cultural forces affect expertise and its articulation in global contexts. Drawing from Peter Galison’s work with expertise and incommensurability in Image & Logic (1997), specifically his recognition of the need to develop shared languages or creoles in multidisciplinary projects, the presenter will articulate a theory of transdisciplinary engagement that supports the development and sustainment of shared languages in global, multidisciplinary work.

Humangineering: Bridging Disciplinary Gaps through Collaborative Technology
Enrique Reynoso & Adam Strantz, Purdue University
In this presentation we aim to analyze this process of collaboration while describing those moments where difficulties arose. For example, we attempted to submit a Wikipedia article on Rhea in order to widen our user base but our page was rejected and our sources, published in IEEE journals, were deemed “un-verifiable.” In light of this rejection, we began thinking about the role of technical writers in disseminating information, especially between academic and non-academic audiences. Additionally, though the architecture of the site maintains Jenn and Ken Visocky O'Grady's "transparency" through its wiki-based architecture, we began to reflect on whether it was really "adaptive to the kinetic needs of the user" in its design (Information Design Handbook 12). In doing so, we hope to both outline one possible approach to creating these interdisciplinary bridges and look towards maintaining those connections.


11:00 am – 12:15 pm

B.3—Linguistic, Cultural, and Global Literacies in the Technical Communication Classroom
Room: Benton, Mezzanine Level
Co-Chairs: Stuart Selber, Penn State University
       Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Clarkson University

Global Pedagogies for Technical Communication
Stuart Selber, Penn State University
Johndan Johnson-Eilola, Clarkson University
This presentation provides a framework technical communication programs can use to prepare students who are sensitive to globalization issues. The framework is presented as a visual heuristic. It emerges from the recursive relationship between practice and theory discussed in the research literature. It asks teachers to oscillate between contexts and applications of technical communication, taking both local and global views.

Developing Global Literacies in the Technical Communication Classroom: A Comparative Case Study of Two Client Projects
Jingfang Ren, Michigan Technological University
The presenter will start with a brief background on the classes, the clients, the students, and the audiences and purposes of the communication pieces completed for each client. Using Starke-Meyerring’s taxonomy of four prominent themes in globalization discourses as an analytic framework, the presenter will offer analyses of classroom-based data, including pre-project and post-project student surveys, interviews with clients, as well as analyses of student work, course materials, and email correspondence between and among the clients, the students, and the instructor. The presentation will conclude with pedagogical recommendations for technical communication teachers and administrators.

Using World Englishes to Inform the Teaching of Technical Communication: Curriculum and Pedagogical Approaches
Corinne C. Renguette & Ellen Harley, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
The English of technical communication continues to evolve rapidly, especially with the advent of new technologies and the influence of global English from nativization and interlanguage. This presentation will explore curriculum and pedagogical approaches to teaching technical communication that can evolve with the language. We will discuss some possible strategies and approaches to enhance the teaching of technical communication to both native and nonnative speakers of English by incorporating an awareness about World Englishes into our classrooms.

Implementing a Translingual Approach to Technical Communication
Scott Wible, University of Maryland
This presentation outlines how and why a translingual approach to technical communication can be implemented both within the classroom and across a program. A translingual approach to writing is one that sees language difference as “a resource for producing meaning in writing, speaking, reading, and listening.” This presentation lays the groundwork for this translingual approach to technical communication in two ways: first, by articulating how it aligns theoretically with the major aims of technical communication programs, and second, by describing three strategies for pedagogy and curricular design that focus students’ efforts on learning how to work effectively, ethically, and efficiently across lines of language difference.


11:00 am – 12:15 pm

B.4—International Collaboration in the Technical Communication Curriculum
Room: Portland, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Donna J. Kain, East Carolina University

International Collaborations in Technical and Professional Communication Programs
Donna J. Kain, East Carolina University
The speaker presents emerging results from a project supported in part by a grant from CPTSC to research the state of collaborations among U.S. and international programs in technical and professional communication and to develop a resource that supports international/cross-cultural collaboration. The project uses data from literature, previously collected information identifying international programs in technical and professional communication, a web-based survey, and a follow-up protocol aimed at collecting information about U.S. and international programs’ experience with, and interest in, collaborations.

A Crash Course in Cultural and Pedagogical Negotiation: Lessons from an International ESL Writing and Technical Editing Collaboration
Steve Benninghoff, Eastern Michigan University
This presentation will report on the challenges and results of an international collaboration between two ESL writing courses in Costa Rica and a technical editing course in the United States. The presentation will share the considerations and logistics of setting up the project at our institution, the negotiation of the project and its parameters with our Costa Rican partners, and the course of the project. But the presentation will also share evidence gathered from multiple sources—the ESL students in Costa Rica, our technical editing students, the ESL teachers in Costa Rica, and potential employers and reviewers of our students’ work locally.

Examining Technical Communication Instruction in a Central-Northwest Chinese University: Practices, Attitudes, and Possibilities
Xiling Wang, Texas Tech University
This paper will examine technical communication instruction at a central-northwest Chinese university located in Xi’an, the largest global city in that region and China’s emerging hi-tech hub. To gain separate perspectives on the issue at three different levels, I will conduct an on-site survey of 400 undergraduate and graduate students and person-to-person interviews with 10 faculty members in the Department of English as well as 2 university administrators. The purpose of learning about their practices and attitudes with regard to technical communication is to explore the possibilities of either establishing an undergraduate specialization or developing a Master’s program in technical communication at the university. The aim of my study, in short, is to promote the teaching of technical communication in the central-northwest part of China. Thus, my research in that school will be an extension of the previous research work in an attempt to offer more thoughtful insights into technical communication and its instruction in China.

11:00 am – 12:15 pm

B.5—Theorizing Social Media in Transnational Contexts: Technical Communication Pedagogies in “Socially Networked” Spaces
Room: Parkview, Mezzanine Level
Co-Chairs: Ammy C. Kimme Hea & Elise Verzosa, University of Arizona
This panel investigates ways in which technical communication scholars can productively integrate social media into their professional and technical writing pedagogies and curricula. Many students regularly engage in social media networks for entertainment purposes, but students may be less aware of the potentials and constraints of deploying social media in local and global technical communication contexts. Thus, our panel explores specific pedagogical concerns, curricular implications, and theoretical examinations of social media in transnational contexts.

Social Media, Emergency Communication, and Technical Communication
Melody Bowdon, University of Central Florida
Nonprofit, government, and news organizations respond to high impact global events differently. This presentation will compare social media communications about recent global crises from the American Red Cross, the Centers for Disease Control, and mainstream press organizations to yield suggestions about how we can teach technical writing students to be thoughtful and responsible producers and consumers of social media materials in an era when bad news can be spread rapidly and inaccurately. 

The Rhetoric of “Reach”: Preparing Students for Technical Communication in the Age of Social Media
Amy C. Kimme Hea & Elise Verzosa, University of Arizona
With the proliferation of social media technologies, technical communicators must be attentive to the ways their work necessarily complements and contests certain assumptions about audience and purpose. In this presentation, we will draw upon Product Developer Bob Pearson’s concept of “reach”--particularly the abilities to form relationships and address user interests--to discuss the ways in which our introduction to professional and technical writing course requires students to consider crowd sourcing, peer ratings, user reviews, and status updates as integral to technical communicators’ deployment of social media.

2 kewl 4 school: Using Social Media (Rhetorically) in the Technical Writing Classroom
Brian D. Blackburne, Ph.D., Sam Houston State University
The casual, often ungrammatical, writing style prevalent in social media is leaching from personal discourse into our classrooms. Regardless of the cause, social media are rife with abbreviation, idiom, and writer-oriented prose--the very elements that can stymie unfamiliar, or global, audiences. To ensure that our students succeed in global discourse communities, we must embrace social media in our classrooms and help students create effective, accessible prose--using the very tools that currently make bad writing cool.


11:00 am – 12:15 pm

B.6—Culturally Informed Visual Design
Room: Aubert, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Charles Kostelnick, Iowa State University

The Rhetoric of Human Forms in Global Communication: Visualizing People across Cultures
Charles Kostelnick, Iowa State University
This presentation visualizes and critiques two approaches for deploying human forms in cross-cultural communications: the universal approach of modernism and the culture-specific approach.  To assess these approaches, and to propose an alternative hybrid approach that melds the two, the speaker presents print and online examples from around the world.  

Visual Design in Cross-Cultural Perspectives: High Context vs. Low Context
Yongkang Wei, University of Texas at Brownsville
The proposed paper/presentation will focus on one key aspect of difference: high context vs. low context, as defined and formulated by Edward Hall. It will compare and analyze dozens of Chinese and Western (mostly American) design samples, selected from both online and offline sources, to show how the notion of high context or low context can influence the way visuals are utilized and designed, due to the rhetorical—ultimately cultural—differences in communication styles.

Map-Making, Pandemic Disease Representations, and Technical Communication Considerations for Global Culture
Candice A. Welhausen, The University of Deleware
In this presentation the speaker presents several recent and older HIV disease maps including Gould’s predictive models (see Koch). I argue that these maps privilege Western readers and that particular types of cultural knowledge are needed to decipher their meanings.

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