Concurrent Session C

1:45–3:00 pm

C.1—Career Workshop
Room: Benton, Mezzanine Level

Chair: Richard Johnson-Sheehan, Purdue University

The Career Workshop brings together graduate students who are or are thinking of going on the job market and faculty members who are serving or have served on job search committees or whose department/program is currently hiring. This workshop will feature faculty members who will provide one-on-one coaching to students who want to explore the job market. The workshop will begin with a brief discussion of job-finding strategies, including how to develop vitas, letters of application, and dossiers. Then, participants will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with faculty members from twenty universities. We will rotate every five minutes to allow participants to meet with as many different universities as possible.


1:45–3:00 pm

C.2—Global Perspectives in Service Learning and Engineering Communication
Room: Portland, Mezzanine Level
Co-Chairs: Teena A. M. Carnegie & Molly K. Johnson. Eastern Washington University

Exploring Cross-Cultural Issues in a Civic-Engagement Based Engineering Design and Technical Communication Course
Alan Chong, University of Toronto
This paper describes the pedagogical and logistical challenges of implementing a civic engagement based engineering design and communication course for first year students. More specifically, it describes the challenges presented by cultural diversity - in terms of both the students and the community at large - for developing and articulating a shared and accurate understanding of a design problem and its potential solution. Focusing on how cultural difference can impact assumed knowledge about local issues, willingness to engage with the community, and ability to communicate their findings, we also present strategies for mitigating these challenges, and argue for the value of a civic engagement model for teaching both engineering design and technical communication.

Persuasive Evidence in International Engineering Communication: A Cross-Cultural Study of US and UK Engineers
Marjorie Rush Hovde, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
For this presentation, the speaker draws on the findings of an observational study she completed in which engineers from the US and the UK collaborated on an extensive design project.  She will draw results from the interviews she conducted of engineers from both groups and from the notes of oral interactions of engineers from both groups in order to illuminate how each group used evidence in persuasion.

Programmatic Integration of Service Learning: Preparing Students to Be Global Citizens
Teena A. M. Carnegie & Molly K. Johnson, Eastern Washington University
Programmatic integration of service learning empowers students to see themselves and their work as connected to others in a variety of social contexts.  Such integration, however, requires that we rethink the models we use for organizing the service-learning experience in the classroom and for training new teachers to manage and enact service learning.  As part of this presentation, we will outline the model we use to fully integrate service learning into our technical communication major and discuss how the model reduces some of the challenges of service learning and changes the ways we all define and participate in communities, local and global.



1:45–3:00 pm

C.3—Ambient Data, Mobile Learning, & Kairos: Technical Communication Researchers Making Direct Interventions in Public Health
Room: Parkview, Mezzanine Level
Chair: William Hart-Davidson, Michigan State University
In this presentation we report on a series of three projects completed in 2011 that seek to improve public health outcomes related to obesity and the prevention of diseases linked to obesity. As writing researchers, our work on these projects falls into a category that the National Institutes of Health terms “translation studies,” wherein we work to implement communication-based interventions that implement treatments that have previously been shown to have high clinical efficacy in disease prevention. Speakers one and two will present the design [1] and results [2] of three demonstration projects.

Creating Feedback Loops to Increase Situational Awareness & Influence Public Health Outcomes
William Hart-Davidson, Michigan State University
Working with agency partners such as the [State] Council on Physical Fitness and the [State] Nutrition Network, our team has built a web services infrastructure that leverages social media, location-aware mobile devices, embedded sensors, and wireless internet connectivity to create feedback loops that may positively influence individual and group decision-making in nutrition and physical activity domains.

Robot Writers: Building Bots to Listen for Ambient Writing Behavior and Assemble New Texts
Mike McLeod, Michigan State University
The demonstration projects show that we can deliver real or near-real time information to users that may influence decision-making for fitness and nutrition-related activities with hundreds or thousands of participants. In one of our projects, for instance, we successfully projected the health benefits for participants in a large fitness event (an organized run) a week ahead of the event, with full group and individual participant data displays with the goal of influencing participation and effort.

Visualizing Data, Encouraging Change: Technical Interventions in Food Purchasing Decisions
Donnie Johnson Sackey, Michigan State University
Our third speaker will discuss how we are using this system currently in a quasi-experimental study that investigates how individuals and groups may be motivated to make lifestyle decisions about both physical activity and nutritional habits. In this study our system provides access to various “treatment conditions” consisting of combinations of narrative, image, and analytical data. These are the primary interventions meant to improve the health of individuals and the public by motivating behavior changes leading to improved health and fitness.


1:45–3:00 pm

C.4—Instilling Good Habits of Cultural Interrogation
Room: Aubert, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Stuart Blythe, Michigan State University

If teachers are going to address globalization in technical writing classrooms, they must also address the concept of culture. And any account of culture must, as writers such as DeVoss, Jasken, and Hayden (2002) argue, be set within overlapping contexts. Such contexts can be economic, political, and historical. Appadurai (1996) provides a heuristic say of thinking about concepts with his “global flows of textuality” (see also Hunsinger 2006):

  • ethnoscapes: performances of ethnicity from which a person feels sanctioned to draw
  • mediascapes: media that a person encounters
  • technoscapes: technologies with which people work
  • finanscapes: global flows of money
  • ideoscapes: ideologies


To understand culture without resorting to stereotype, teacher and students need to adapt methods that prompt them to engage all of these scapes. The presenters in this panel will describe ways to fulfill such a purpose.

Seeing Cultures in Context
Stuart Blythe, Michigan State University
Speaker 1 contends that some genres are poorly adapted to exploring culture in context. Therefore, we need to create genres, especially visual genres, that represent cultures in their complex contexts. Speaker 1 will describe ways to engage professional writing students in representing culture in context.

How Time Informs the Way We Read Cultures: Temporal Logics of East Asian Blepharoplasty in Online Video
Jennifer Sano-Franchini, Michigan State University
Speaker 2 explores how we can use time to interrogate the way we understand cultures. Using a cultural rhetorics approach, she discusses the discourse on East Asian blepharoplasty and the changing nature of East Asian eyelids as they are mediated through online video, and through a number of temporal logics.

Cultural Awareness in the Workplace: Whose Responsibility Is it Anyway?
Matt Cox, Michigan State University
Speaker 3 examines the important contributions queer theory and cultural rhetorics can offer to help teachers of technical writing and their students become effective cultural interrogators. Using his own two-year study of LGBTQ professional identity in a large company’s headquarters, he asks, how do individuals and institutions keep cultural awareness in the foreground, and how would cultural rhetorics and queer theory read these efforts.


1:45–3:00 pm

C.5—Global Issues in Medical Technical Communication
Room: Westmoreland, Level One
Chair:  Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch, University of Minnesota

Technical Communication’s Role in Intercultural Healthcare Communication
Laura Pigozzi, University of Minnesota
Culturally competent healthcare and culturally targeted health education are important steps in alleviating healthcare disparities. Included in the subject of healthcare are the materials that are used to communicate preventative and treatment information; these materials must employ many aspects of technical and intercultural communication. This presentation shares results from a formative study that seeks to understand the effectiveness of available healthcare materials provided for members of the Latino community in a Midwestern metropolitan area.  Specifically, the study attempts to identify which rhetorical modes, communication formats, and communication instruments (e.g. brochures, videos) produce effective and persuasive healthcare communications for members of the Latino community.

Global Privacy and Access Issues in Medical Data
Abigail Bakke, University of Minnesota
Varying cultural attitudes towards privacy and access raise questions about effectively targeting different geographic and demographic audiences. This presentation provides insight into how technical communicators at a global biotechnology company negotiate the privacy expectations of different countries.  Specifically, speaker two describes the results of a textual analysis of this biotechnology company’s online material pertaining to telecardiology patient data management systems. This study contributes to existing research about medical privacy by showing how technical communicators can rhetorically balance the risks and benefits afforded by new technology in light of varying conceptions of privacy around the world.

Analytics, Technical Reports, and Knowledge Creation in Health Care
Brenton Faber, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
The presentation will show the forms/events that introduced the real-time data reporting and performance analysis at the hospital and suggest that these simultaneously introduced an alternative epistemology within the organization. Hospitals have typically been subject-to their environment and knowledge about the hospital is descriptive: Patients arrive, sickness occurs, accidents happen. Physicians and nurses “know” they have little influence over day-to-day activities. Health reform turns this perception against itself insisting that medical professionals can proactively know, anticipate, and plan day-to-day activities: Knowledge here becomes operational, intrusive, productive. Here we have the emergence of a firmly modern articulation of knowledge in which technical reporting is tied to actions, events, and intention.

Online Health Narratives: Rhetorical Cultural Structures and Purposes
Susan L. Popham, University of Memphis
This presentation examines the structure and purposes of online narratives through a cultural-rhetorical lens and argues that such cultural examination and awareness is essential for technical communicators of health-related information in a global society.

1:45–3:00 pm

C.6—(Re)Shaping Research: Eye Tracking in Technical Communication
Room: Kingsbury, Level One
Chair: Tharon W. Howard, Clemson University

Usability studies rely on the ability to triangulate data demonstrating the users’ actions, capturing measurable data, and gauging user response. Through such data, usability researchers understand how users engage with products and processes to develop more sound approaches that enhance user experience. Eye tracking technology is one such tool usability can use in this triangulation process. Eye tracking mitigates inconsistency in user feedback and measurable data; it allows researchers to pin point where users are looking for information in digital environments.  Yet, many technical communicators have yet to engage with eye tracking technology due to its high cost. The members of this panel collaborated to work with a more affordable eye tracking technology, EyeGuide™, experimenting with how eye tracking benefits studies in technical communication. EyeGuide™ was created at Texas Tech University’s Usability Lab and was tested in Clemson University’s Usability Testing Facility. As with all new technologies, understanding the impact of eye tracking on usability studies (and technical communication more broadly) is a necessary component to integrating this new research component into our existing methodologies. For this panel, each presenter will respond to the question, “Based on your experience working on the EyeGuide project, what are issues technical communicators need to confront as a result of new eye-tracking technologies?” Each panelist will give a three-minute position statement, followed by a mediated discussion, facilitated by Dr. Howard, between the panelists and the audience.

Migrating from Accommodationist Testing to Constructivist Usability
Dr. Tharon W. Howard, Clemson University

Innovation and Insight with Eye Tracking Data
Deneshia Smith, Clemson University

From Biological to Practical: What the Physiology of The Human Eye Means for the Technology of Eye-tracking
Dan Liddle, Clemson University.

Getting Skew(er)ed: What Complications in Setup Effect the Reliability of Eye-Tracking Results
Kimberly Sulak, Clemson University

Closing the Gap between Education and Implementation
Matt Betz, Texas Tech University

The Rhetoric of Eye Tracking: Selling UX through Visual Rhetoric
Kate Crane, Texas Tech University

Go to top