Concurrent Session D

3:30-4:45 pm

D.1—History of a Rubric for Globally Studying and Teaching the Ethics of Scientific Authorship: Promises, Problems, and Progress
Room: Benton, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Steven Katz, Clemson University

Too often, ethics in scientific communication are confused with ethics in scientific research, and thus the former are conflated and hidden. Further, once the ethics of scientific communication are distinguished and identified, researchers are immediately faced with issues of classification that span both epistemology and geography. The two-fold problem is not only distinguishing communication ethics from research ethics in science, but also developing a means for capturing and representing the ethical dimension of scientific communication—a rubric that can be used by researchers and teachers both locally with a specific set of constituents, and globally with other populations and in other locations.

This panel primarily grows out of a NSF-CCLI grant just concluded, which investigated the development, testing, and refining of a rubric for communication ethics in a bioscience lab at a southern university; this panel will set the issue of developing a rubric into a wider context. After the project and the panel are introduced, presenters will share and discuss with the audience:

  • the relatively brief history of scientific authorship and ethics, particularly as it is understood by the federal Office of Research Integrity (ORI) and by scientific community at large (nationally and internationally);
  • the processes and reasoning the investigators used in facing the challenge of defining and representing communication ethics in a rubric that could detect relevant social, epistemological, argumentative, and stylistic dimensions of students’ individual written responses to pre and post survey questions about communication ethics in science;
  • the challenges of operationalizing definitions and then applying them in analyzing and interpreting student responses, and how the scores and responses of the investigators themselves were used to capture emerging categories and refine the general structure(s) of the rubric;
  • how international issues of globalization are affecting authorship ethics in science (as recently reported in American Scientist [Anderson et al.]), and the impact and representation of that in impact the future development of a “glocal” rubric;
  • the epistemological, practical, and ideological problems of developing rubrics that preserve productive ambiguity in scientific visualizations of communication ethics—in the graphic representations of individual and/or social tensions, and international dimensions, of authorship.

Introducing Scientific Communication: Studying, Teaching, and Our NSF Grant
Steven B. Katz, Clemson University

Scientific Communication Ethics vs. Ethics in Science
Scott A. Mogull, Clemson University

Do the Ethics of Authorship Matter? A Rhetorical and Historical Analysis of Authorship Ethics in Science
C. Claiborne Linvill, Clemson University

Rubrics, Rubrics, Rubrics, Oh My!: The Process and Challenges of Developing Rubrics for Capturing Students'  Perceptions of Ethics in Scientific Communication
Barbara Ramirez, Clemson University

Research and Pedagogical Implication of our Ethics Rubric for Scientific Communication
Huiling Ding, Clemson University

Preserving Ambiguity: Representation, Authorship, and the Ethics of Scientific Visual Literacy
Curtis Newbold, Clemson University


3:30-4:45 pm

D.2—Redefined Identity: Fulfilling Our Role as Facilitators
Room: Kingsbury, Level One
Chair: Rebecca Walton, Utah State University

Globalization has redefined the identity of technical communicators by shifting our primary role from "interpreter" to "facilitator." As facilitators in a global environment, technical communicators help people (previously framed more passively as "audiences") to convey their own messages. For many technical communicators, our role is no longer focused on interpreting technical information but rather on facilitating the messages of people who may differ from us in terms of culture, language, location, experience, etc. Our panel will discuss how to fulfill our role as facilitators in a global environment through medium, best practices, and research methods.

Media Selection and Rhetorical Savvy in Virtual Teams
Christon Walker, Utah State University
Virtual teams require rhetorical savvy and media awareness; members must interpret (and reinterpret) unintended, between-the-lines content associated with non-face-to-face communication. Speaker one will discuss the professional communication perspective of virtual teams, suggesting ways to create more intentional nonverbal messages.

Best Practices: Developing a Cultural Lens
Jolynne Berrett, Utah State University
In a four-month, multi-site project for the Cairo USAID office, our team found that our perception of best practices did not align with that of our clients.  As a result, we discarded many of our ideas to more closely align with our client's ideal.  This project provides a glimpse into evolving communication needs in our global economy; we must be willing to meet our clients on their cultural grounds, reinterpreting our notions of best practices to better suit their needs.

Sharing Control: Methods That Shift Power Toward Research Participants
Rebecca Walton, Utah State University
Facilitation requires understanding relevant work practices, values, and organizational culture. Appropriate research methods can be crucial to developing this understanding. Research methods appropriate for facilitation differ from traditional approaches by shifting power toward participants in terms of topic, location, timing, approach, and interpretation. Speaker three will describe research methods for facilitation in a global environment, illustrating these descriptions with examples from her research in Mozambique and Kyrgyzstan.



3:30-4:45 pm

D.3—Digital Literacy and Digital Divide in a Globally Networked Society
Room: Westmoreland, Level One
Chair: Adrienne Lamberti, University of Northern Iowa

Divide or Divergence? Complicating the Mediated Networks of Technical Communication
Adrienne Lamberti, University of Northern Iowa
Anne Richards, Kennesaw State University
The presentation will address moments of network connectivity as supported and hastened by emerging digital technologies.  For instance, the speakers will explore the emergence of technologies that fold multiple genres and products into one, the use of social media in instances of political action (e.g., during recent regime overthrows), and the relevance of digital divergence to gaming communities.  They will conclude by offering a heuristic for professional communication teachers, scholars, practitioners and other communities of engaged practice that are interested in exploring the divergent aspect of technologically mediated networks. 

Digital Literacy in Underserved Communities: How (and Why) Technical Communicators Should Build Lead Users in Resource-Poor Environments
Michael R. Trice, Texas Tech University
The speaker will present a three-tiered approach toward the expansion of digital literacy in underprivileged communities that draws heavily upon existing methods in technical communication: usability, iterative design, and field practices. By critically examining the successes and limitations of a series of six digital literacy workshops in a high poverty, high crime neighborhood within Bristol, UK, the speaker relates the effectiveness of a literacy ladder:

  • Using rejuvenation projects for hardware literacy
  • Using social identity to write collaboratively
  • Using personal goals to achieve network literacy

The workshops provided key insights as to how community members could transition skills as activists, entrepreneurs, and archivists into stepping stones toward additional literacies.

Efficiency Management, Globalization, and Technical Communication
Joanna Schreiber, Michigan Technological University
This presentation focuses on how recent trends in management practice that focus on efficiency and specifically set out to systematize communication and creativity affect rhetoric as a generative knowledge, its relationship with cultural studies, and technical communication practice in an increasingly global environment. As practitioners face an increasingly globalized workplace, it has been more important than ever to question how management practices inform and control how we work across cultural boundaries.


3:30-4:45 pm

D.4—Global Gateways: Rhetoric-Focused Study
Room: Aubert, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Michael J. Salvo, Purdue University

Two International Study-Abroad Programs, based in Europe and Asia, are described as part of curriculum development in doctoral granting institutions with undergraduate Technical Writing Majors. Each speaker addresses the process of designing, implementing, and recruiting for international study-abroad programs focused on professional writing and rhetoric. These programs are housed in technical writing programs that support PhDs in rhetoric and writing. Special attention is given to the connection between curriculum and the travel experience, the goals of the undergraduate rhetoric and writing curriculum, and the design and implementation of the study-abroad program. The session is envisioned as a guide for faculty interested in creating a sustainable professional writing focused international study-abroad program and presenters are interested in supporting future program design, creating gateways both to study global issues with professional writing studies as well as literal gateways to international travel for students in undergraduate programs. If technical writing curricula are to be taken seriously as major concentrations of study, we argue for establishing and maintaining international study-abroad programs.

Postindustrial Scotland: Emplacing Technical Writing Instruction
Michael J. Salvo, Purdue University
High-technology research in a variety of fields hosted by the University of Xxxxxx characterize today’s Scotland: digital technology, bioinformatics, clean energy, and cutting-edge medical research, challenging the stereotype of kilts and bagpipes, replacing it with an identity of an energized, dynamic, youthful country that has, most recently, created the Falkirk Wheel that opened Scotland’s canals to pleasure craft and reinvigorated the local economy. The program has been designed to bring the global challenges of post-industrial work home to students, and to allow international discussion of solutions envisioned in Scotland, site of modern industrial thought and source of new post-industrial thinking in renewable energy, recycling, sustainable mobility, and how these impact higher education—specifically technical writing instruction and curriculum seen in international, inter-institutional context.
Sustaining International Collaboration: Co-creation of Writing Identity
Tammy S. Conard-Salvo, Purdue University
Working from three years of sustained engagement between two writing centers, the author describes an ongoing dialogue that has lead to an exchange of ideas that have lead to a co-creative relationship of identity formation. This presentation focuses on the importance of establishing and nurturing a sustained engagement in support of international writing program development, and articulates the potential outcomes of the collaborative co-creation of an international writing identity.

Collaboration requires partners with both similarities and differences. If potential partners are too radically different then they share little in common with which to build collaborative solutions to shared problems. Too similar, and their problems and solutions are too easily adopted, displacing indigenous decision-making. Here are institutions similar yet different enough to make a valuable partnership, the end of a process of finding commonalities as well as celebrating difference. What brought them together—similar fiscal challenges—articulated numerous shared challenges experienced in very different contexts. Both campuses see themselves as partners working on solutions that will work at both campuses: shared brainstorming and problem-solving, the internationalization of innovative thinking for Institutional Writing that we understand as Professional & Technical Communication, but it new in Scottish context as Great Britain has little experience with formal writing instruction at the postsecondary level.

Research and Teaching in India Using “Glocalized” New Media Approaches
Rich Rice, Texas Tech University
Central Universities in India are formed through Acts of Parliament. In 2009, 15 new central universities were formed, raising the total number in India to 35. The vision statement of the Central University of Kerala (CUK), in particular, relates that we are in a time of "unprecedented competition"; emphasizes expansion and equity across India in the present "globalized socio-economic world"; highlights "inter-disciplinarity" in the humanities, social sciences, and science and technology programs; and promotes innovations in "modern teaching-learning process(es)" including establishing "linkages with industries" and distance learning across nation-wide and international boundaries (

This paper discusses the development of an Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative grant proposal using the new media-rich “smart” connect-exchange study-abroad model and its possible impact on a sustainable programmatic approach to connecting partner institutions. The study includes theories relevant to andragogical and universal design for learning approaches to technical communication. The analyses offered draw on important work in globalization and intercultural studies (Appadurai, Hall), advancing the use of multimedia as an essential component in transcontexulized adult learning processes.

Postcolonial Dynamics of Developing Faculty Exchanges & Study-abroad Programs
Kanika Batra, Texas Tech University
In April 2010, I participated in an annual international conference on Comparative Literature that was held with invited speakers and participants from over 10 different countries. One presenter came from a newly established university in India with the express purpose of setting up exchange programs with U.S. universities. With the help of this presenter, I worked to set up a semester long faculty exchange between an Indian and American university, in the hope that this would lead to a long- term collaboration.

With the rise of the rupee and a booming economy, universities and foundations in India are willing to support exchange programs with little or minimal cost to U.S. faculty and students. The expectation of reciprocity that this implies is unfulfilled in the drive towards an Americanization of Indian education. Such exchanges and programs should be about learning as well as processes of “unlearning” privileges enjoyed by American faculty and students. One key aspect of such unlearning is to recognize that study-abroad carries a different meaning in the two contexts: for most American students it is about acquiring an “experience” of a world different from their own, while for most Indian students it is about speed learning skills and acquiring knowledge that give them an edge over others. Even as India is working to train a global workforce, the instrumental approach to exchanges and study abroad displaces American expectations. This paper highlights disciplinary, pedagogic, and institutional challenges encountered in setting up long term exchange programs.


3:30-4:45 pm

D.5—Global v. Local: Technical Communication in the Age of Austerity
Room: Parkview, Mezzanine Level
Chair: Julie Staggers, University of Nevada Las Vegas

This panel will explore the implications of the current global economic crisis on technical communications as a profession and an academic discipline. We will consider the effects of the downturn on three arenas: the job market (academic and professional), academic program design, and online delivery. As budget cuts become the new normal, the long-term health of technical communication depends on our ability to evolve and adapt to local and global conditions.

Up, Down, and Sideways: An Analysis of the Post-Millenial Academic and Non-Academic Tech Com Job Markets.
Julie Staggers, University of Nevada Las Vegas
At a time when the demand for tenure-track technical communication faculty seems to be bottoming out (job listings have dropped from a high of 187 in 2000 to just 92 in 2009), the job outlook for technical communication practitioners remains fairly strong. Jobs in tech comm are projected to increase by 18% between now and 2018, with the greatest growth in those positions requiring Web and multimedia experience. This presentation examines trends in the academic and non-academic technical communication job markets since 2000, situating them within the contexts of the global economic downturn and the technological developments that enable technical communicators in the field to add value, even in a tight economy.
Academic Program Design and Development: Responding to Change Inside and Outside the University
Denise Tillery, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
This presentation will explore the consequences of the economic downturn for academic programs in technical communication. It will consider curricula in both well-established and newly developed programs in technical communication (at graduate and undergraduate levels) to trace the evolution of skills and values embodied in curricula and program design. Curriculum revisions are notoriously slow processes; how have programs revised their course offerings, emphases, even degree titles, to keep up with changes in the marketplace? Is it possible to see the impact of the recession on curricular design in major programs? To what extent is it possible for us to keep with changes in the global marketplace? This presentation will consider these questions through the lens of program design and development.

Online Delivery in the Age of Austerity
Ed Nagelhout, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
With the growth of digital technology and social media, universities, for-profit educators, and professional organizations are turning to online program and course delivery as the cost-effective strategy for addressing funding shortfalls. This presentation surveys the growth and application of online delivery for technical communication education at the post-secondary level and posits a series of questions from an "austerity" perspective. This presentation begins by theorizing ways that austerity affects our choices for online delivery, then examines the implications of these choices from three perspectives: program development, course development, and the support structures for online delivery. Budget cuts as the new "normal" for technical communication programs, at least in the near future, will entail more transparency, more accountability, and more justification. This presentation concludes by critically interrogating these "answers" with a series of questions for future consideration.


3:30-4:45 pm

D.6—Community-Based Knowledge and Civic Action in Risk-Sensitive Technical Communications
Room: Portland, Mezzanine Level
Chair: RJ Lambert, University of Texas, El Paso
Responding to the “global turn” in Rhetoric and Composition, Hesford (2006) has called for “new collaborations and frameworks, broader notions of composing practices, critical literacies that are linked to global citizenship, a reexamination of existing protocols…” This 45-minute panel contends that the global turn requires technical communicators to integrate intercultural audience participation in the design and guidance of their risk-sensitive communication projects. For instance, Spinuzzi (2005) has described “participatory design… as a methodology useful for technical communication,” and Grabill (2007) demonstrated how rhetoricians negotiate between various public stakeholders when communicating environmental risks. We draw upon the scholarly frames of intercultural rhetorics, participatory design, and stakeholder negotiations to position our three presentations.
Interculturality and Participation Taken Seriously: Minga Peru’s Model for Communication and Mobilization in the Amazon
Lucia Dura, The University of Texas at El Paso
Speaker 1 describes an interactive, educational radio project in rural communities and schools of the Peruvian Amazon in terms of participatory rhetoric. The UN capitalized on the popularity and credibility of Minga’s thrice-weekly radio program (Bienvenida Salud), its on-the-ground community resource persons (community promotoras), and strategically leveraged it with a school-based initiative, involving teachers, students, and community members to prevent and reduce domestic violence and HIV/AIDS, empower victims of violence (mostly children and women), and reduce prejudice, stigma, and discrimination associated with HIV. The interactive radio project is analyzed in terms of technical and risk communications, including a discussion of the training of teachers and radio correspondents, integration of domestic violence and HIV/AIDS topics in the existing school secondary curriculum, and the development of culturally-resonant radio scripts in a participatory process aptly labeled “listener-as-producer”.
Technical Consultations for Risk-Sensitive Cancer Education
Russell Willerton, Boise State University
Speaker 2 notes that technical communication textbooks (e.g., Lannon; Johnson-Sheehan) often include a section on oral presentations. Other technical communication scholars (Garner et. al, 2009; Mackiewicz, 2008) have explored the use of PowerPoint in oral presentations, usually within workplace settings. Speaker 2 argues that scholarship should consider another form of oral communication that may be called the technical consultation. A technical consultation is a one-to-one or one-to-few interaction in which someone with technical knowledge educates an interested and participatory audience with specific needs. This model is particularly useful in intercultural or risk-communication contexts, and Speaker 3 focuses on its application in health contexts such as audience-initiated cancer education, reflecting audience participation in the consultation design.

Gateways of the Gulf Disaster Zone: Technical Communications for Victim Compensation
RJ Lambert, University of Texas El Paso
Speaker 3 builds on scholars who have begun addressing technical communication concerns related to democratic risk communication (e.g., Hart- Davidson; Johnson-Eilola), but argues that we must similarly theorize technical discourse in official and organized responses to large-scale disasters (such as the Gulf Oil Spill) that define linguistically and culturally diverse communities as “victims” seeking limited resources. Legislated victim compensation and other governed resources have become the primary gateway through which “victims” of disaster events can actively negotiate and overcome disaster circumstances. Speaker 3 concludes that culturally-sensitive technical communication, in the forms of participatory victim counseling and online application instructions, is integral in helping diverse communities navigate gateways to assistance, both in the U.S. and globally.

Go to top