1,484 Matching Annotations
  1. Sep 2016
  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. topoi

      Topos. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/203433?redirectedFrom=topos#eid

      "A traditional motif or theme (in a literary composition); a rhetorical commonplace, a literary convention or formula."

    2. As distinguished from problems in the natural sciences, which are definableand separable and may have solutions that are findable, the problemsof governmental planning—and especially those of social or policyplanning—are ill-defined; and they rely upon elusive political judgmentfor resolution. (Not “solution.” Social problems are never solved. At bestthey are only re-solved—over and over again) [p. 160].

      Even more complicated problems arise when they are interdisciplinary, that is, encapsulating both natural sciences and governmental planning problems. An example would be disease epidemics, such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic of the 1980s (even though HIV/AIDS continues to be an ongoing epidemic). It posed a problem to researchers in the field of natural sciences as they tried to determine what caused the disease, and it posed a problem to the general public due to social discrimination that was ongoing against homosexual men during the decade. I would classify the HIV/AIDS epidemic as a "wicked problem" because it meets at least four of the 10 characterizations of a wicked problem that were discussed in this article.

      (1) It (currently) has no stopping rule, people are on antiretroviral drugs, but they do not cure the disease, and individuals and their relationships are still being impacted by the disease

      (2) Solutions may or may not be effective; not every solution works (or is accessible) to every individual.

      (3) Uniqueness: the virus itself is unique, and its structure is part of what makes it so difficult to "fix" the disease.

      (4) Wicked problems do not have an enumerable set of potential solutions; as mentioned beforehand, not every solution is feasible to implement.

      Both cover pages create a sense of unease, which elicits an emotional response from the audience.

      Rothman, L. (2015, April 20). What Caused the Worst Oil Spill in American History. Retrieved September 06, 2016, from http://time.com/3818144/deepwater-horizon-anniversary/

      Pierce, B. (n.d.). TIME Magazine Cover: AIDS Hysteria - July 4, 1983. Retrieved September 06, 2016, from http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19830704,00.html

    3. Even so, lingering effects of the spill continue to persist,from the long-term impact on marine life to environmental policies that continueto be revised to accommodate offshore drilling in the United States.

      Likewise, we must continue to come up with new solutions (and revise old ones) to continue to combat these ongoing environmental problems. Throughout the paper, the issue is termed as a "wicked problem" because it does not have one solution, and the solutions that fix the situation (or seem to fix the situation) must continually be resolved.

    4. we mustbe able to grapple with problems that arise in time (e.g., capping the rupturedwell and containing the spread of oil) and with problems that continue toemerge over time (e.g., revitalizing the coastal ecology and scrutinizing environ-mental policies that allow for domestic drilling in the United States).

      The rhetorical/classical Greek idea of kairos can be applied to this. To elaborate, kairos is to take advantage of a circumstance that arises out of a specific time; it is the "right place at the right time." In this article, the issue of the Gulf oil spill was a time sensitive one. For many complicated problems, it is necessary to develop a workable plan of action and implement it at the right time. To be effective, the plan of action must be implemented in the right social situation.

    5. pedagogy

      Pedagogy. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/139520?redirectedFrom=pedagogy#eid

      "The art, occupation, or practice of teaching. Also: the theory or principles of education; a method of teaching based on such a theory."

    6. heuristic

      Heuristic. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/86554?redirectedFrom=heuristic#eid

      "A heuristic process or method for problem-solving, decision-making, or discovery; a rule or piece of information used in such a process."

      In this paper, the students formulated solutions through their own research -- with little direction from the instructor. The framework in this article can be used as a heuristic, or reference tool for other students to create solutions that develop throughout their lives.

    7. rhetoric

      Rhetoric. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/165178?rskey=Nuf1dR&result=1#eid

      "The art of using language effectively so as to persuade or influence others, esp. the exploitation of figures of speech and other compositional techniques to this end; the study of principles and rules to be followed by a speaker or writer striving for eloquence, esp. as formulated by ancient Greek and Roman writers."

      Rhetorical conventions and inventions are used throughout this article.

      • Rhetoric searches for persuasive ways to present info and elicit an audience response

      • Rhetoric uses concise organization in its media; in technical writing, we utilize different modes

      • Rhetorical conventions include precise, compelling, and appropriate language. Technical writers must always keep their audience in mind, and must use the right type of language for their user base. It should not be too technical or too simplified.

      • Rhetoric functions off of a framework and purposeful planning; technical writing should have a work log, drafts, and revisions.

      • Rhetoric and technical communication have a heavily audience-based delivery.

    8. problem-based inquiry

      Problem-based inquiry is valuable because it shifts the "teaching" responsibility from the teacher and encourages student-based learning. It stimulates students to think critically and gives them an opportunity to learn using hands-on techniques.This method is important for us, as students, because it develops skills that are applicable to class situations, professionals situations, and day-to-day situations.

      Problem-based inquiry can also teach us to be more engaged and active citizens. It is important that we think critically for ourselves, and question information we come into contact with.

    9. Table 1. Rittel and Webber’s Wicked Problems andRelation to the Gulf Spil

      It is really interesting to see all the information of Webber and Rittel's information on what they would have thought were wicked problems in the Gulf spill. It helps to make a clearer understanding of what exactly were the issues that were addressed in the situation. I am really glad that he added this into the reading because I feel that it laid out all the information affectively.

    10. When we choose to address incidents likethe Gulf spill, we accordingly take part in a rhetorical act in which we definespecific issues according to perspectives that have been shaped by social, cultural,disciplinary, and political factors (to name a few).

      I never saw taking place socially in an issue as defining that issue but I now realize that everyone has a small part in doing so especially when we are responding rhetorically, which is hard not to do in most cases. Social and cultural issues are usually environments where persuasion and rhetoric thrive and encourage argument and counterarguments. I can see how disasters create situations, especially political ones, where rhetorical problem solving occurs.

    11. suggests that technical communication scholarship has oftenbeen motivated by a desire to engage with controversies and enact social change

      Rhetoric <=> Technical communication

      Rhetoricians aim to persuade their audience, or influence them to make an action. Engaging with controversial topics, developing a provoking argument, and encouraging social change through the language they use; whether it be through a speech, essay, article, etc.

      Technical communicators are crafty rhetors; technical communication is a form of rhetoric. The two fields have an overlapping relationship. For technical communicators to be effective they must be open and aware of the situation at hand and more importantly, their audience. (Likewise, rhetoricians must have the same awareness). Timeliness and appropriateness are two additional factors that technical writers and rhetoricians must keep in mind while trying to solve problems.

    12. wo important lessons emerged out of these student collaborations. First, theoutput of each group’s research was often complicated by the indeterminacy ofthe issue(s) that the groups as a whole were investigating. Indeed, even though thewell was officially capped on September 19th, 2010, the spill continued to be anongoing point of disputation. One prominent issue for my students—and a usefullesson for me as an instructor—was that individual groups did not always agreewith one another regarding the information they were gathering. How much oilhad actually been released into the Gulf? What effects would dispersants haveon the marine ecology? Who was ultimately to blame for the incident?

      I really enjoyed that WIckman used the Gulf spill to demonstrate the use of wicked problems, this really had his students take on a whole new meaning of critical thinking when addressing research. And like i stated before this research didn't just take place in a environment research but also in politics and economics.

    13. Such thinking is exemplified, for instance,in research that has explored documents and rhetorical practices related tothe shuttle Challenger explosion

      I think Wickman uses the Challenger explosion as another example because it shows how a failure in communication on a routine or seemingly small part of a process can cause a breakdown of the whole system. I think it's interesting that there is enough documentation on these disasters and the communication issues that created them to write whole books about them and how they could have easily been averted in some cases.

    14. Rittel and Webber claim that responding to wicked problems is at once avaluative and deliberative process. It isvaluativein the sense that doing soinvolves making choices and identifying problems within a causal network; andit isdeliberativein the sense that it involves promoting some course of actionbased on one’s assessment of the situation at hand.

      In this part Wickman addresses valuative and deliberative in a sense of definition to explain what Rittel and Webber meant when it was important to respond in this way toward wicked problems. I appreciated this very much, because I wasn't very sure exactly what was meant when saying the two for this process. I like that he mentions this before going into more depth on what the two were saying.

    15. Buchanan associates these placements with a corresponding emphasis onsigns,things,actions, andthoughts. All provide viable strategies—individually andcollectively—for conceptualizing and responding to wicked problems that mustbe addressed on multiple fronts.

      I really like what Buchanan did here with identifying placements to help take note of wicked problems. These steps ike stated helps others to notice signs, things, actions and thoughts. This will allow others to really take in critical thinking to a whole new level because they are looking at so many different ascents of the wicked problems.

    16. I will show how this framework can be used,specifically, to help students develop strategies for rhetorical invention; defineproblems and develop sustainable research projects; refine their disciplinaryexpertise and abilities to take part in inter-disciplinary collaborations; respondto multiple audiences through their writing; and write for social action.

      The interdisciplinary nature of rhetoric and technical communication are a resounding theme in many of the articles, like Sullivans. I think this is because both authors acknowledge the importance of knowing ones audience and how it is essential to adapt your message and medium to fit that audience and purpose. Wickman again ties social action and also a sense of social awareness to rhetorical invention and problem solving as well. Being able to respond to multiple audiences at one time is also an important skill to have when engaging with situations that can be multimodal.

    17. The Gulf spill elicited an extensive response from citizens, advocacy groups,and environmental organizations around the world

      The Gulf spill demonstrates a wicked problem that occurred in real life. It caused many questions from who did it and caused the situation. What we were supposed to do next when handing the oil spill. Why the it was still spilling when the well was closed. This is a great way to discuss a dilemma and find multiple issues with when looking into research.

    18. Rittel and Webber’s

      Horst Rittel and Melvin M. Webber are the ones who created the term wicked problems as I made note of before. They wrote together "Dilemmas In A General Theory of Planning" and both studied at the University of Berkley.

    19. we are equipping students with practical skillsthat they can use to obtain employment and write for the workplace;

      I think Wickman is also vouching for the applicable nature of technical communication here in more than one area. For example, the author doesn't just see technical communication only in the context of education or the workplace but also a tool that enables people to make informed decisions and make the right action, something that becomes especially relevant in a decision making situation like a crisis.

    20. I found that Buchanan’s essay “Wicked problems in design thinking” clarifiedstudent understanding of wicked problems, and his doctrine of placements offeredthem a functional heuristic for developing coherent research projects.

      By Wickman giving his students this guide of Buchman's essay it did help to assist them in the research issue of wicked problems and help them to address the issues of the Gulf spill. Wickman points out that there are things that he could have done better when addressing the relationship between rhetoric and design to his students in a way that could helped them further understand theory and practice of technical communication.

    21. Indeed, many of the issues that demand our collective attention(e.g., global climate change, educational reform, widespread unemployment)are so “wicked,” andill-defined, that they require us to expand our thinkingbeyond a linear, definition/solution model for research and social planning

      I found this line interesting because I think it mirrors Sullivan's view of technical communication in some ways as well. For example, in both texts social issues ,and technical communication itself in Sullivan's article, are both defined as fluid terms with nonlinear and changing meanings. I also think it's interesting the relationship the author draws between pedagogy and technical communication, using issues like climate change and educational reform to teach effective ways of communication.

    22. A Wicked Problems Framework

      Like ccooper51 stated (wouldn't allow me to comment on his post), this would be a very effective way to help encourage students to think critically in school. By using the way that Rittel and Webber characterized wicked problems it helped for his students to expand their thinking to not just how the Gulf spill affected the environment but also how it was affected economically and politically. It allowed them to have "multiple perspectives" when analyzing the situation that was then at hand.

    23. Instructors of technical communication are uniquely positioned to engagestudents with concrete problems in local workplaces and community settings

      Technical communicators are essential in catastrophic situations because it is such an important time for messages and contexts to be analyzed, created and relayed effectively so the crisis can be managed and dealt with, especially when dealing with a time constraint like in the Gulf Coast oil spill. In this situation responders success depended on first how quickly they could stop the oil from spilling and then cleaning up the oil left behind. Without proper analysis of the situation the situation could have become even worse.

    24. The value (and potential frustration) of focusing on wicked problems is thatthe object of analysis is ill defined and thus requires careful engagement withmultiple issues.

      Again like I stated before in one of my annotations, the wicked problems that we face can cause a major challenge and frustration.There isn't just one solution or conclusion to it there are multiple issues that are at hand with them. Overtime though, as Wickman states here, people are able to identify them.

    25. socio-technical issues

      "We analyse the reasons for this, highlighting some of the problems with the better known socio-technical design methods. Based on this analysis we propose a new pragmatic framework for socio-technical systems engineering (STSE) which builds on the (largely independent) research of groups investigating work design, information systems, computer-supported cooperative work, and cognitive systems engineering. STSE bridges the traditional gap between organisational change and system development using two main types of activity: sensitisation and awareness; and constructive engagement."http://iwc.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/1/4.full

    26. Rittel and Webber [9] developed the concept of “wicked problem” as a wayto characterize social policy issues that cannot be addressed through techno-scientific rationality alone.

      Not mush of a note for the text, but I found this really interesting and amusing that the term this two men came up with was "wicked term" for a problem that they had when trying to address social policy. But it points out that not everything involving this topic with have solutions to the answer. Only some parts of it can be truly understood, others there can be many conclusions drawn.

    27. Rittel and Webber claim that responding to wicked problems is at once avaluative and deliberative process.

      Surely not at ONCE. Wouldn't deliberating on a problem before you've properly identified lead to a conclusion based on incomplete information? Or do you keep evaluating the problem as it evolves?

    28. Indeed, many of the issues that demand our collective attention(e.g., global climate change, educational reform, widespread unemployment)are so “wicked,” andill-defined, that they require us to expand our thinkingbeyond a linear, definition/solution model for research and social planning.Environmental catastrophes like the 2010 Gulf oil spill are noteworthy in thisregard: that is, because they are so complex in their causes and effects, theycannot necessarily be “solved” in any simple sense of the term.

      This is very true. Real world problems are far too sophisticated for quick fix answers. Instead, they require long term solutions, and for those solutions to come to fruition, there has to be a significant amount of planning and communication involved. This is where technical writing can be very useful.

    29. Rather, they needto be addressed continuously, through careful scrutiny and ongoing action thatextends beyond the proximity of our immediate communities—and beyond thescope of course requirements and classroom assignments. What follows is anattempt to show how the wicked problems framework worked for my coursesand how it might be modified to accommodate other types of inquiry in theteaching of technical and professional communication.

      I find this statement central to tackling wicked problems such as homelessness and environmental problems within a classroom. Oftentimes, when students are asked to propose a solution to a problem in a persuasive essay format, students can research a narrow issue to find a reasonable solution that could potentially fix it. When students must address a wicked problem, it is a different story. Not only must students address the issue from the perspective of several disciplines, but they must also consider the longevity of solutions to problems and news ways to address wicked problems as society and circumstances evolve. Wicked problems are not problems that can be solved with a single solution, but rather with multiple solutions that constantly change and grow in scope over time.

    30. A relatedissue involved the individual proposals that each group made based on theirresearch. It might make sense, for instance, to limit fishing in the Gulf if marinelife were contaminated by the oil or chemical dispersants; yet it also makes senseto keep workers in the fishing industry from being laid off. The research processthus became an object of deliberation and tapped into issues of problem definitionand policy planning that we were forced to confront throughout the term

      This statement exemplifies the difficulty of policy making regarding the oil spill as well as general policy making in the United States. In regards to Wickman's example, limiting fishing in the gulf would seem to be a viable option to nutritionists and other healthcare professionals. However, sociologists, activists, and workers would be concerned about fishermen losing jobs. Many people are under the impression that policymakers must only consider public opinion in regards to the political binary of liberal/conservative, but countless groups are affected by policy changes in various ways. For instance, Wickman's example of limiting fishing in the gulf would affect several other groups indirectly. If fishing was limited in the gulf, local grocers and restaurants would experience profit decrease, which would then negatively affect the local economy.

    31. “wicked problemsare not objectively given but their formulation already depends on the viewpointof those presenting them” [17, p. 6]. When we choose to address incidents likethe Gulf spill, we accordingly take part in a rhetorical act in which we definespecific issues according to perspectives that have been shaped by social, cultural,disciplinary, and political factors (to name a few)

      Coyne's statement here appears to be both a cornerstone of wicked problems as well as a weakness. First, as noted earlier in the article, wicked problems differ from tame problems in their complexity. As Coyne noted, the issues within a wicked problem are constructed, depending on "social, cultural, disciplinary, and political factors." Therefore, there is not one single problem or solution to the gulf spill because people will view the issues and circumstances within the problem differently. For example, as Wickman noted, nutritionists may be concerned with the effect of the spill on the safety of fish for human consumption, while engineers may be concerned with the technical errors that caused the spill in the first place. Second, the non-objective nature and social construction of wicked problems could make it difficult to declare certain problems wicked, even if they fit the criteria. For example, to many people, global warming is a complex wicked problem, but to some people, it is not a problem at all and is actually a myth. Although only a small subset of people in the United States believe that global warming is a myth, the fact that "wicked problem deniers" may exist should be considered in addressing any wicked problem.

    32. Indeed, students researched the Gulf spill and its effects in different ways: frominterviews with business owners along the coast to surveys that attempted todetermine perceived risks and consumption habits of everyday citizens in thecoastal states more generally. Through these activities, they learned to defineproblems in concrete ways and pose questions similar to those raised by expertsin their fields; they also learned to situate their inquiries in relation to otherproblems that continued to arise throughout the duration of our course—andthat would continue to arise well after the course came to an end.

      Wickman's decision to use the Gulf spill as the wicked problem for his class projects was a very smart one. Earlier in the article, i noted that the Gulf spill is a very difficult wicked problem to tackle because it is a current event, rather than a historical event, like the space shuttle Challenger. Because the issue is so current, academic resources pertaining to the spill would be limited, so students would have to research creatively. Luckily, Wickman and his students live in the gulf area, so they had the privilege to gain insight from primary sources and in-field research by interviewing individual business owners affected by the Gulf spill. Because the students utilized their location to produce better data, it is likely that their projects were much stronger than they would be if Wickman's class was in the Midwest. Also, their firsthand experiences with the Gulf spill and hands-on research would add to the credibility, or ethos, of their projects.

    33. Similar to the Challenger tragedy, the explosion onboard Deepwater Horizonled to disastrous consequences.

      Because of the similarities to the Gulf spill, Wickman could have used the Challenger tragedy of 1986 as the wicked problem for his class project. However, because of the timing of the Gulf spill, it proved to be a much more difficult task than hypothetically addressing the issues of the Challenger tragedy. Because the Gulf spill is such a recent occurrence, less concrete, accurate information is available about the Gulf spill. In part, this is due to the urgency of publications regarding the spill, meaning that proper fact-checking was no deemed as vital as getting the story out as fast as possible. Addressing the Gulf spill as a wicked problem is also more challenging than addressing the Challenger explosion because effects of the spill continue today. The long-term impact of the Gulf spill is still a mystery, so in tackling the wicked problem, students must also predict all of the possible effects of the spill 5, 10, and even 15 years down the road.



      Chad Wickman’s article, “Wicked Problems in Technical Communication,” begins by discussing problem-based inquiry as a method for teaching technical communication. In teaching problem-based inquiry, students can become equipped to address real –world problems in both the classroom and professional settings. Many non-linear, complex problems such as the Gulf spill, can be defined as “wicked,” because they are “ill-defined,” and lack concrete solutions. Based off of Ritel and Webber’s “Dilemmas for a General Theory of Planning,” Wickman further explains the definition of a wicked problem by comparing their “10 Characteristics of Wicked Problems,” to the Gulf spill via a chart on the following two pages. Next, Wickman discusses Richard Buchannan’s concept of “placements,” which act as commonplaces for students or researchers to utilize in addressing wicked problems at the invention stage. In the following section, Wickman explores how he utilized the wicked problems framework for addressing the Gulf spill in his technical communication class. He established several objectives for the Gulf spill project, such as addressing a wicked problem with multiple potential solutions, “understanding problem-definition as a rhetorical and methodological activity, and applying general rules of technical communication and rhetoric “toward documents that are designed to address particular audiences and situations.” In addressing a wicked problem that was also local in nature, Wickman’s students were able to engage in broadening their overall social consciousness, while learning technical writing skills that would prove beneficial in academic and professional settings. During the Gulf spill project, students worked in interdisciplinary groups and utilized a variety of data-collecting methods to promote solutions that address the multiple varying issues that occurred as a result of the Gulf spill. In closing, Wickman noted one benefit of addressing wicked problems. By engaging with a wicked problem like the Gulf spill, students can learn effective ways to address complicated, unforeseen problems in the future as well as the importance of research and writing when it comes to solving complex, large-scale problems.

    35. I will show how this framework can be used,specifically, to help students develop strategies for rhetorical invention; defineproblems and develop sustainable research projects; refine their disciplinaryexpertise and abilities to take part in inter-disciplinary collaborations; respondto multiple audiences through their writing; and write for social action.

      In Patricia Sullivan's article, "Beyond a Narrow Conception of Usability Testing," she noted that usability researchers, and especially technical communicators who study usability, must strategically develop plans of action utilizing a variety of methods, to effectively find a solution a problem of usability. Similarly, Wickman's students also had to develop a rhetorical strategy in order to tackle the wicked problem of the Gulf spill. However, addressing a usability problem has one major advantage over addressing a wicked problem: testing. For example, if a website has proven to be hard for users to navigate, technical communicators and other usability testers can conduct experiments that test proposed solutions by analyzing individuals' responses to changes in the website. In regards to a wicked problems, students cannot test whether or not limiting fishing in the gulf would be beneficial to the local population. Instead, they can only predict the results of potential solutions.

      Sullivan, Patricia (1989). Beyond a Narrow Conception of Usability Testing. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication 32(4).

    36. Buchanan has argued that both rhetoric and designare productive arts that, together, help to unite words with things and bring theoryinto line with practice. He also suggests that despite this potential, “traditionalrhetoricians have been slow to recognize their resources for exploring the newdirections of technology” and, further, have not fully “considered the way inwhich design—as the intellectual and practical art that provides discipline in thecreation of the human-made world—employs rhetorical doctrines and devices”[19, pp. 187-188]. Scholars of rhetoric and technical communicationhaveinfact drawn on principles of design in their research and teaching [20-22]. Evenso, these developments often reflect disciplinary imperatives (e.g., adapting tothe needs of multimedia environments) rather than interdisciplinary problemsolving applied to issues in the public sphere.

      Although design is not the first thing that comes to mind in regards to addressing a wicked problem, it is a key tool in addressing rhetorical situations, especially in multimodal and non-linear projects. According to Writer/Designer: A Guide to Multimodal Projects, a rhetorical situation is the "set of circumstances in which an author creates a text." The five design concepts, emphasis, contrast, organization, alignment, and proximity do not look applicable to the oil spill project in Wickman's class at first glance. However, they can all be utilized to produce rhetorically strong projects addressing the wicked problem. For example, students should use the design concept of contrast when drafting multiple documents for the project. By noting within texts how one document contrasts another, both documents will appear rhetorically stronger and a connection between multiple documents will be made.

      Arola, C. (2014). Analyzing Multimodal Projects. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects, 20-40.

    37. According to Buchanan, placements are systematic yet flexible tools for invention.Similar to rhetoricaltopoi, they serve as loci, or commonplaces, where studentscan initiate their inquiry, gather data, create arguments, and, importantly, developnovel ways of thinking about novel problems. Under this description, placementsconstrain meaning but are not determinate; thus, they do not re-inscribe existingmethods or ways of thinking, but, rather, facilitate invention and discovery in theface of wicked problems

      By using Buchanan's method of placement, students can incorporate one of the five canons of rhetoric in their projects. The first canon, invention, is rooted in "invenire" which means "to find." At this "finding" stage, students begin to develop and explore their argument utilizing topoi, or topics, such as cause and effect. Similarly, Buchanan's placements, act as loci, or "commonplaces" regarding "signs, things, actions, and thoughts." These commonplaces act as starting points for students to generate ideas within the invention stage. Because wicked problems are so complex, it is difficult to know where to begin from a rhetorical standpoint, but Buchanan's placements are like prompts that get students to brainstorm about different aspects of the oil spill. One excellent aspect of the placements is the fact that students can begin by examining and researching any one of the four placements. This breaks down the concept issue into a more manageable and organized process.

      Burton, G. O. The Five Canons. Silva Rhetoricae, Brigham Young University. http://rhetoric.byu.edu/Canons/Invention.htm

    38. The Gulf spill elicited an extensive response from citizens, advocacy groups,and environmental organizations around the world. Living and working in acoastal state, I also found that members of my university community respondedto it in their own, more localized ways. Some were engineers who developedstrategies to cap the ruptured well and keep oil from seeping into the coastalestuaries; some were sociologists who interviewed citizens along the coast abouttheir perceptions of the incident; and others were communication experts whoexamined how mass media discourse shaped public understanding of BritishPetroleum’s activities in the Gulf. The spill warranted these varied approaches: itwas not a problem that could be fixed, let alone solved, in any simple sense of theterm. By August 2010, then, at the start of our Fall term, students on campus wereabsorbing information about the incident through multiple avenues (e.g., throughfriends and relatives along the coast, through their classes) and were thus learningabout it as a multi-dimensional problem that could be addressed through theirdisciplines and, eventually, through the rhetorical expertise they would developthrough their experience in the technical writing classroom.

      Because the author lives in the gulf area, he was able to see both localized and global responses to the gulf spill. On a university campus, he was also able to witness the various reactions to the spill among several disciplines. His students were also able to absorb information about the oil spill through multiple avenues. Because the spill was such a "wicked problem," it could not be solved in one particular discipline or with one simple solution, so it is important that multiple disciplines were engaged in discussing potential solutions. The concept of multiple disciplines engaging with a wicked problem reminds me of the concept of "dialectic," or a conversation between several people in an effort to find a truth or "essence," of an idea (such as in Plato's Gorgias). In this situation, solutions could likely be found if as many people as possible, from a variety of disciplines, were to engage in a dialogue to narrow down potential solutions.

    1. "Contradictions always exist. It is through contradication, in fact, that change occurs."

      This quote was deep! I love this and I am going to keep it. I think Schryer is so right we she notes how simple relationships can exist between both big and small things, like people and society.

    2. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized at MICHIGAN

      Recognizing problems- The examination of the genre revealed that the characteristic rhetoric, in spite of lacking cohesiveness, was inherently understandable for people in the field and commonplace in the community. However, it only applies towards the in-group; any outside group (like a non medical student) would likely have issues in understanding.

    3. On page 9, Schryer makes connections between Miller and Bazerman in how rhetorical genres can be social action. I think this is important in establishing how technical communication can reach across broad spectrum.

    4. RIES on

      Creating a Data Base- The development of data-keeping had a specific structure consistent among practitioners of the field.

    5. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized at MICHIGAN STATE UNIV

      The medical records genre has a social use and it was developed for that particular purpose.

    6. on.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized at MIC

      POVMR is another example of genre development.

    7. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. N

      History- Weed developed the medical record genre to better fit the needs of the community. This is an example of how rhetoric evolves to better suit the audience.

    8. At the end of the article, Schryer suggests that students should not acquiesce to genres. We need to able to see what parts of certain genres work for our intended audience, why they work, and how to improve them if they don't. Technical communication has to rely on presenting information in different ways through different mediums and different genres. To fully comprehend the best way to do that, we need to learn and write and immerse ourselves in writing in different genres.

    9. On the bottom of page 228, it is suggested that because we spend so much time in school practicing only a few genres, the lack of knowledge about other genres actually ends up hurting our overall writing. I think this is so true; years and years of writing essay after essay makes me knowledge about writing essays and what goes in it and what my essay writing process is, but what about everything else?

      The fact that lots of GSU classes are starting to lean away from "traditional" writing assignments to broaden our knowledge of how to write makes us more marketable in our future, but also more literate. Understanding how to write in different genres adds a whole level of literacy to our lives that most people before us never got. It is not enough anymore to know how to write essays; being literate in all forms and genres of writing makes you more valuable. to the advancing world around us.

    10. Reading this article helped me understand the importance of the consultation/study they received by the author. The school will better understand the student's issues that they should or should not address.

    11. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserv

      We can use existing records of genres as evidence to show how the mode has evolved over time; it can reflect changes in ideology, language, etc.

    12. Referring to p. 204 2nd paragraph; the professors don't seem to realize what their students have to go through on a daily basis regarding their schoolwork The professors were most likely trained well in English writing because of the many years of school they've had to perfect their skills.

    13. In the beginning of the article, where there is dialogue between Dr. L and the researcher and Dr. L is "appalled by the techniques students use in answering questions..."

      Dr. L doesn't seem to understand why students don't do well regarding their literacy skills and I think it has to do with the fact that students aren't as inclined to put a lot of effort into their writing because it's repetitive and they are busy with their many assignments.

    14. At the bottom of 226, "The person creating the record was not as important as the organizational existence of the record itself."

      Audience is the key factor in any rhetorical writing. Considering the audience is what sets technical communication apart from other forms of communication. The audience should dictate what and how and why you write, and the audience should be thought of in every decision you might make when producing something of any genre. That is how genres change and evolve...with their audiences.

    15. On page 208, the author mentions that Miller's definition of genre was contradictory and could not be resolved. There are many different definitions of genre mentioned in this article. Charles Bazerman defined genre as a "sociopsychological category which we use to recognize and construct typified actions within typified situations.

    16. I think one of the reasons that record keeping should be organized and that Dr. Weed had the right idea is because of audience. While many people would consider records as something on person sees, the secondary audience is technically every in the office that has access to it. If a person moved from Georgia to California and their medical records weren't accessible to their new doctor, then a slew of problems rise. It's important to think of not only the primary audience when creating anything but also the potential secondary audience.

    17. I like how the author (Miller) simplified the definition of genre by saying it is a "frequently traveled path or way of getting symbolic action done either by an individual social action or group of actors," whereas we defined it as a way of figuring out what will or will not work, in class.

      Schryer made the definition sound story-like instead of a basic description.

    18. In the middle of page 214, "Weed wanted to make medical records more readable more scientific--in effect, more open to monitoring, evaluation, and standardization than traditional records."

      Weed basically wanted to change the genre. By making it more accessible and organized, he proposed a change of the set rules of the genre by introducing a new technology. Oftentimes, a new technology can prompt a change in the way that we can and should do things.

    19. p. 206 first 2 paragraphs

      Dorthy Smith goes on to say that records "constitute organization, but are also constituted by them and function as mechanisms of control" and "systematically exclude women." It's interesting to mention this because the way certain words are organized or written can effect the way the reader views that person in the medical record. The judgement may impact the way the doctor or nurse treats the patient.

    20. Bottom of 208 into 209 is a perfect way to think about genre. It can be conventionalized, but the freedom of expression is also there. Genres can be ever changing and ever growing, just like technical writing as we saw in the Albers article.

    21. Many believe that clinical cases are too complex, too multi-factorial and that students are too prone to hasty diagnoses without a great deal of prior course work.

      I agree with this statement to some extent, but I still believe students should be allowed to have practice of real on hands work.

    22. On the top of 208, "if a genre is used to describe stable systems, then the concept is rhetorically unsound because a stable system cannot respond to changes in audience or circumstance."

      Genres CAN'T have a set of rules that shouldn't be broken because not all audiences are the same. A product might need to be on the internet, but it might be an audience of senior citizens who have poor eyesight. How can we combine those two needs if we have to stick in a bound box of rules?

    23. p. 205 2nd paragraph mentions Dorthy E. Smith who was a feminist and marxist who received the lifetime sociology award. Smith is a very credible person to mention in the paragraph relating to the judgement of the patient's records that medical practitioners will see.


    24. When I think of genre, I like to think of it in terms of music. There are many different genres of music, and we can categorize music into these genres based on characteristics of the song and what we hear. For instance, if a banjo is present in a song, people oftentimes will categorize it as "country". If there is a song that has no lyrics, people hastily call it "classical". But not every song with a banjo in it is a country song and not every classical piece is without lyrics.

      While genres can be very prescriptive in terms of the content and medium, it isn't always the case. Genres aren't formulas and they can be innovated and changed just like musical genres.

    25. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized at MICHIGAN STATE UNIV LIBRARIES on August 22, 2008 http://wcx.sagepub.comDo

      Like rhetoric, like technical writing, and much like everything we discussed in class, genres are a dynamic concept in a constantly evolving world. They aren't set to stay the same forever; they'll change to keep up with society's demands and the current ideological (cognitive) needs of the public.

    26. On page 204, we get the main argument to this text: whether or not record keeping is vital to some disciplines and also how genre can be used to explain the ideology behind it.

    27. The conversation at the beginning of the article really sets a question in the readers' mind: what matters more, the actual content that you write or how really you write it? If there are some disciplines that don't evaluate how well you write something because of the genre in which the disciplines exists, then why study writing and English?

      (Because people actually do care about how well you write.)

    28. Two types of triangulation were used in the study (between-method triangulation and within-method triangulation), in which included "interviews, observation, document collection," etc. This relates to what we discussed in class about the many genres that we defined as a loose set of rules to distinguish one thing from another thing. This could range from novels, websites, brochures, etc. So triangulation methods may include many different genres or ways to go about the study.

    29. .© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized at MICHIGAN STATE UNIV LIBRARIES on August 22, 2008 http://wcx.sagepub.comDownloade

      Genre both reflects and influences the communal discourse/communication of ideology. Being that it is a "recurrent, significant action," genres are a mode to reveal cognitive needs. Thus, the rhetoric used in the genre is very field specific in order to best cater to those cognitive needs.

    30. On page 6, I find it interesting that none of the staff at the school thought that record keeping, as a genre, could have an influence on student's performance and literacy.

    31. Late page 6/ beginning of page seven pertains to medical records. I find this interesting as medical records are slowly becoming more and more digital, perhaps due to the absurd handwriting of doctors.

    32. Schryer asks 3 questions to the veterinary college that are very important. The questions gather relevant background information before consulting the college. They were "radical and contextual" questions to avoid blaming the students automatically.

    33. When Schryer quotes Dr. L and says "...they are graded more for their observations than for their literacy skills," he believes the medical students should be concerned with their writing. I completely understand where Dr. L is coming from, but at the same time, it isn't required for medical students to take the top literacy and English courses so I don't see why that would be expected. However, there should definitely be some courses they should take in order for the medical students to be able to communicate with their clients and co-workers once they get into the field. A solution would be to incorporate courses that would be beneficial to their literacy skills.

    34. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use o

      Genre in the context of this article becomes the rhetorical frame that we used to view modes. They conceptualize the ideologies and thoughts of the technical field that they reference. Thus, the genre also reflects the verbal context of the community.

      Thus, we are privy as to how rhetoric shifts the cognition. In class, we discussed how minor differences in mode can affect audience interest; similarly, it can affect how the audience thinks about things. It reflects in how "her definition recognized that genres shaped reading and writing practices and were shaped by the texts in which they were embedded." In other words, the mode/genre was written to show the way people think about a concept, while influencing how people recognize it.

    35. Connecting back to the ideas of audience and genre, on page 212, Schryer, while referencing "Bakhtin's most important insight" says "The change in speaking subjects determines the boundaries of the genre."

      Here he is speaking about audiences and their direct connection to genre. I too find this an interesting point in that genre is created by humans and that the humans that a piece of writing is intended for can dictate "the boundaries" of that genre. The audience determines the writing. Democracy in action.

      This to me is the central issue of this study. One of the problems that this article is seeking to address is that the students of this college were not communicating their own records very well. Their notes and writing were written for an audience of one (themselves) with no real thought as to who may need to read this information in the future.

      Their records and research which when presented for multiple audiences could be a part of a larger discussion, much like this one, are instead left out. To me this is a great disservice to the researchers in any field.

    36. An interesting part of genre is brought up by Schryer when he quotes Bakhtin who on page 224 says, "Addressivity is a genre's quality of being directed at someone."

      Genre is a created not only by the writer but by the audience. The information that is being gathered is being gathered with an end user in mind. This ties in with the article, "Beyond a Narrow Conception of Usability Testing" by Patricia Sullivan. The usability of the information creates value. The genre of record keeping is being directed at multiple audiences who need to be able to process the data quickly and clearly.

      The veterinary student taking notes about a wounded horse knows that his information, as a part of this genre, must be written in a way that can be understood and usable by multiple audiences. So by sticking to the guidelines of the genre, the data will be presented in a way that others will be able to easily understand.

    37. An interesting aspect of record keeping is that by creating the record, it becomes real. Schryer quotes Catherine Pettinari on pg. 204-205 when she writes, "medical records, besides providing means of communication and planning, actually come to represent the patients themselves."

      I found this so interesting because in the medical field, the patient is the record and vice versa. By creating a record of not only a patient's visit, but their problems or symptoms, those problems become real as well. They are now a matter of record. They can be searched for and found.

      This also connected to a larger theme of the study which is that if the record represents the patient than the record must be thorough and written not only for the use of the medical professional who is creating the record, but everyone who may read it afterwards, including the patient themselves.

    38. All the way back on page 202, Schryer makes an interesting point about observational notes. She writes, "Observational notes contained detailed descriptions of what I observed and detailed reconstructions of conversations that used as much of the "original" language of participants as possible."

      While interviewing countless students and faculty she seems to take note of her own note taking. Many were observational while others more analytical. I think in regards to technical communication, observational notes can be extremely important as they can combine multiple modes of communication. Through observation one can note the sights, sounds and even feeling of an environment.

      In the field for example, she can record not only what she sees, but what she hears and can physically touch. These notes have the potential to be viewed by multiple audiences, just like these annotations. By recording her observations linguistically she is able to combine the visual, aural, spatial and gestural modes of communication to create a clear record for not only her use, but other audiences in the future.

      Through strong note taking that combines as many modes as possible, the author is then able to create a clear understanding of the problem and thus and strong diagnosis.

    39. A big question I have is how is Genre monitored? After reading, genre is created humans as a set of loose-ish standards. Is it up to the individual writer to choose a genre and define their own parameters within it? Does that really matter in the real world or is this an academic specific issue? What I got from the article is that genre creates a set of rules to operate within, but are purposefully left open ended as not to stifle creativity.

    40. At the bottom of page 201 and top of page 202, Schryer explains her methods of note taking during her study. Based on the lecture on Tuesday I found it interesting that the author references "triangulation" and using "a variety of methods" (interviews, observation, doc collection) combined with varied sources creates the best data just like the combination of modes can create the best written product. I find the aspect of triangulation interesting since she is using multiple methods that on their own are not as useful but when combined with her other research help paint a vivid picture of the study she was apart of. The clearer the picture the better the result. In this case this means a better diagnosis.

    41. "The addressee in the case of the exam, and I would argue in the case of medical records, is a reader who is prepared to "read" a great deal of tacit information into these accounts."

      Addressivity can define genre in that who the information is being prepared for will influence the style and delivery. As we discussed in class today (9/6/16), who the work is intended for will heavily influence not only genre but the style and language that are used as well. As technical writers, I believe there should always be an effort to communicate in as broad a manner as the subject matter will allow. The more audiences that can be reached the more impactful the writing or "deliverable".

    42. On page 202, Schryer writes that "Traditional ethnographic research often includes a map in order to help locate readers."

      I think this goes back to what we discussed in class about connecting different modes to bring about further understanding of the subject. Through visual and linguistic modes a map is able to convey more information that can then be comprehended faster. But for the sake of this article, Schryer is creating a metaphorical map linguistically to tie in all the disparate elements of the college together to create context for the study. After reading more about different modes in "Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal projects", the map itself intrigues me as it can orientate a reader almost instantly while also visually displaying pertinent information.

    43. After reading about the needs of a thorough system of record keeping, it's interesting to notice on page 215, that even though many within the college recognized that the Problem Oriented Veterinary Medical Record system was a better system for recording data, they were hesitant to switch from the System Oriented Record system.

      Dr. Lawrence Weed created the POVMR system to replace the SOR system because the SOR system was not focused enough on problem solving. Schryer writes on page 215, "Weed saw the possibility that records could be redesigned to imitate a specific medical problem solving process."

      In my opinion it seems that POVMR is a better record keeping system in the field while SOR is more accepted in academic settings. The POVMR mode of record keeping could also remove students from the staccato rehearsing of terms and definitions by immersing them in real world problem solving scenarios thus hopefully avoiding the symptoms of Green Grad Syndrome. In the end, the POVMR system creates more detailed records that are then easier to share as well as fulfilling the need for students to write with other audiences in mind. More data can only help in the mission of creating a better diagnosis. By using this system the data created by the students can be used as a part of a much larger data pool in which veterinarians from other parts of the world could search for and reference their findings for their own diagnosis. This gets back to the notion that genre is a set of loose guidelines that can help veterinarians and technical communicators figure out what works and doesn't work in regards to audience.

    44. A constant theme in this article is that record keeping and audience should go hand in hand. A prime example of this can be found on page 220. Schryer writes, "A discussion with the record technicians revealed that new veterinarians would sometimes attempt to use the term "a poor doer" to describe an animal that essentially was not thriving. Such records would be returned for clarification because, according to the technicians, the term was too vague."

      While Schryer admits that veterinarians should avoid using "vet speech" they should also avoid language that is too broad. Their records should be as clear as possible so that the next person who reads them will not need to second guess what they are reading but will be able to continue where the previous person left off. When creating these records, the audience must be a consideration since that audience itself could also be quite broad.

    45. On page 204, Dr. L., a professor at the college in question and Dr. Schryer disagree fundamentally on what constitutes literacy. Schryer writes, "Dr. L. viewed literacy in terms of writing exams but did not see that the keeping of medical records was also a form of literacy."

      Will this opinion be a common one as I search for career in technical communication? By reading the article, I believe that record keeping is indeed a genre as well as a form of literacy. Elements of style and structure are necessary to provide records for a wider audience.

      As the needs of technical communicators change with the technology (Pullman, Gu, Albers), I'm wondering if the definitions of what is considered literacy will change with it.

    46. On pg. 211, Schryer notes that Miller as well as Bakhtin "...saw genre as a fusion of content and style." This quote caught me since I myself am trying to decode the "fusion of content and style" that is technical writing. Having graduated as a history major I wrote in order to prove a larger point. In technical writing I'm doing something similar by not necessarily proving my finely worded argument, but still searching the most concise and clear way to frame information for others to digest.

      During my undergrad, my audience was my professor. Not a soul on any of the construction sites I worked on after college cared about why I believed the end of the Cold War was one of the major facilitators of political change in South Africa in the early 1990's. But I have always looked for ways of explaining complex historical events in ways that my peers would not only listen to, but be genuinely interested in. This is one aspect of technical writing that has drawn my own attention.

      To me, taking complex subjects/information and distilling them into something easy and understandable is like putting a puzzle together. So reading about how Miller, Bakhtin and Schryer look at content and style in regards to Genre and record keeping to me illustrates what it is technical writers are doing. While Pullman, Gu and Albers tell us we are transforming into content manager hybrids, the basic elements of content and style within the genre are still the building blocks on top of which we can add more elements such as new software.

      Genre like electricity, like water is always moving. It can inhabit many forms and shapes, but it never stops evolving. Genre is a building block of style and content providing a path, but the path is never walled in. There is still room to navigate ones own path within it without ever losing sight of the destination. In technical communication we have to be exposed to as many modes and genres to further our own cause of communicating information that not only explains something complex, but can create genuine interest in something that was previously deemed too difficult. To me, that's awesome.

    47. distribution.© 1993 SAGE Publications. All rights reserved. Not for commercial use or unauthorized at MICHIGAN STATE UNIV LIBRARIES on August 22, 2008 http://wcx.sagepub.comDow

      The latter half of the page, Smith observes how written language eventually becomes a subconscious presence in a field's ideology; records are remembered in the form that it was written in, so they gradually affect our thinking.

    48. The dialogue between the clinician and student on page 218 talks about what the symptoms the student is looking for when the golden retriever had gotten hit by a car. The symptoms that the student looks at are all visible signs. Both the clinician and student are using complex words or technical language to describe the golden retriever's pain. But, the data collectors did not understand some of the words, and so they had to ask more questions or rephrase them.

    49. "..., which encouraged students to memorize a vast number of facts without emphasizing the problem-solving skills essential for the practitioner."(Schryer 214). I think that this is still happening today. People don't look at the bigger picture of their problem. They need someone to help them to solve it, and then they just need to memorize the answer part of the problem and they think that this is okay when it really isn't. The people aren't going to get anything out of the problem, they will only remember the answer to it, and not think about how to solve it when the same problem hits them again.

    50. at MICHIGAN STATE UNIV LIBRARIES on August 22, 2008

      In an effort to keep my annotations more organized and removing the redundancy of writing a page note, I'll be using these footnotes at the bottom of the page for my annotations.

      The last full paragraph on this page identifies Schryer's primary focus. First, the record-keeping of certain fields affect the socialization (communication?) within communities. Second, genre identifies the "work and ideology of social and ideological action." I currently don't have any idea what that means, so I will come back to that.

  3. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. Another factor contributing to the difficulty of CMS implementation is thatmost content management systems take a systems-based approach toward manag-ing content/information/knowledge at the cost of considerations for content anduser needs. As Jefferey-Poulter points out, most CMSs do not allow for a widerange of exception and improvisation and may eventually demotivate users

      Further shows the difficult of implementing CMS and how its not that adaptable. I think the main problem with CMS is that its too long and since we live in the age of technology where everything happens in the "right now" it fails to take take into account want the audience wants.

    2. In addition, as far as we know, books on content manage-ment systems have almost exclusively approached the topic from the practical per-spective. In other words, they teach you how to design and/or use such systemswithout critical examinations of why such systems should be used in the first placeand why they succeed or fail. Nor do they consider what effect working in such en-vironments has on writing as a practice.

      This is important because it details the how and why, which most people within the field seem to neglect such common questions and research. With these questions at hand gives raise to improvements in technical communication. People will begin to further asses ideas and structures for learning and teaching for technical communication.

    3. The most important part ofthis whole puzzle—the end user, i.e., technical communicator—is often left out ofthe process. The very expressioncontent managementexcludes any idea of writingor communicating and focuses on information independently of the people whoproduce or consume it.

      The expert is the expert, however even he/she must look for answers and responses beyond themselves.The person who is reading the message is always most important, but most of the time left out on the idea. We are taught in class that audience is key and that it is not about you, but so much deeper and profound is where you have to dig.

    4. The purpose of CMS software is to cen-tralize all communications practices, to standardize layout and design, and to in-crease efficiency when it come to distributing information, ensuring that the com-pany stays on message and does not issue redundant or conflicting statements. Inorder to achieve this level of control, every piece of information an organization is-sues has to originate from within the CMS database, and thus everyone writing forthe organization has to get used to creating, storing, sharing, and publishing withinthe system, which means that nearly everyone has to change his or her writingpractices to fit inside the CMS’s framework. Changing the way people work is animmensely difficult task, especially if the changes most clearly benefit the organi-zation while doing nothing clearly beneficial for the individual users.

      The purpose of CMS is to turn something that is complex into something simple, without oversimplifying. To do this, you have to take into account the audience that your writing for and also the people who you are writing with. What I think is interesting about CMS is that you have different types of writing styles that can works with the framework. I think its a good way for companies to get dynamic writing styles and backgrounds

    5. The effect of writing in these electronic environments hasbeen profound for technical communicators. Rather than thinking of the end productof their work as tangible products or even documents, they are beginning to see theirefforts as part of an endless flow of information.

      This whole idea is key as the electronic world grows, our avenues in communication are endless as we find better ways of communication and expressing our ideas. Others get opportunities to add their own twists, or to even add comment, creating great debate and ongoing growth in technical communication awareness.

    6. A content management system, then, is any systematic method designed to organizeand distribute information, while content management system software automatesthe system, typically providing “a platform for managing the creation, review, filing,updating, distribution, and storage of structured and unstructured content”

      This is important because throughout readings we establish tools to help content management. A platform is always best, when analyzing the platform one must consider the best possible outputs, through application and practice, and as the New London Group brings up the "idea of re-practice", in "A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designing Social Futures".

    7. Wehope, with the assembly of this special issue, not so much to offer definitive an-swers on these issues as to open up discussions for a better understanding of thephenomenon and its implications for technical communication.

      This was a very good concluding sentence as it outlined the whole objective for the article, and the class. The topic of endless conversation, and open dialogue is key in technical communication. Although questions were answered , the article was a lead for discussion of problems that arise in technical communication world.

    8. We started our work on this special issuewith a rather ambitious mission—to bring together some diverse perspectives oncontent management and CMSs, to both theorize and operationalize the contentmanagement practice, and to rationalize our participation in the broad domain ofcontent management discourse. Grounded on the premise that technical communi-cation requires information and knowledge management, this special issue is oneof the first systematic and deliberate attempts to extend our perspectives, both the-oretical and practical, about technical communication from the relatively staticsphere of document design to the more dynamic horizon of content (informa-tion/knowledge) management.

      Here it is important to understand what the framework of this article is about. The authors are researching how to better understand content management and content management systems in technical communication. They are also attempting to extend the perspectives of content management and bring from a static hemisphere to something more dynamic

    9. Clark argues that, while the separation of form fromcontent is not a new concept, “no content is [truly] free of presentation” and that“[c]ontent and presentation are never separated.” Within the content managementcontext, therefore, Clark suggests understanding this separation in two ways: (a) ascontent being complete texts, and presentation being output structure, navigation,and visual style; and (b) as content being content modules, and presentation beingoutput structure, navigation, visual style, and genre definition. This separation,dictated by the nature of structured writing and single sourcing and by the techno-logical nature of content management systems, is perceived in different ways interms of its affordances by different participant groups involved in the contentmanagement process.

      It is important to understand that content and presentation cannot be completely polarized, because in many rhetorical situations the medium is also the message.

    10. For a content management system to be successful, Hall (2001) argues, two im-portant factors must be emphasized: end users (documentation specialists) anduser needs.

      To produce the most efficient system, these two components must be at the forefront of those creating it. To avoid information not needed and disturbing the text, user needs is important. And to avoid confusion with interface and such things, the end user has to be taken into account.

    11. as far as we know, books on content manage-ment systems have almost exclusively approached the topic from the practical per-spective. In other words, they teach you how to design and/or use such systemswithout critical examinations of why such systems should be used in the first placeand why they succeed or fail. Nor do they consider what effect working in such en-vironments has on writing as a practice

      It would not be enough to simply rationalize content management because it only answers the "how" from a practical perspective. A critical examination is also needed.

    12. “the process of coming to content management touches nearly everythingabout the culture of writing in an organization, beginning with how texts are under-stood and encompassing every step of the text generation life cycle up to and in-cluding the way a text should behave when a user interacts with it.” More impor-tantly, they argue, organizations should view content management “as a change inthe technological and social infrastructure that makes their organization work.”

      The piece discussed "Coming to Content Management" shows the benefits of content management in different environments. The only problem is getting everyone on the same so that this type of efficiency can actually be produced.

    13. A potential solution to this problem, proposes Whittemore, can be found inthe heart of technical communication theory—the rhetorical tradition—and, morespecifically, the rhetorical canon of memory. To Whittemore, the rhetorical canonof memory’s “concern for retrieving and adapting existing knowledge to the exi-gencies of shifting rhetorical situations” provides valuable insights into tacklingsome of the contemporary issues confronting content management: “contentcustomizability and granularity, information retrieval, and on-demand delivery.”

      Memory is always an important canon mentioned when discussing literacies. The art of remembering and applying are always intertwined concepts.

    14. The very expressioncontent managementexcludes any idea of writingor communicating and focuses on information independently of the people whoproduce or consume it.

      As noted earlier, the main focuses when dealing with content management is the end result and the end user. Because technical communicators are seen as the end users, but are not involved in the development process, and then furthermore, their skill of writing and communication is not even mentioned in the name and concept, the relationship between the two can become tricky.

    15. Content manage-ment, no doubt, is still a relatively new area within the academic circle, although itis by no means a new practice in the industry.

      Because it is a newer field of study, content management cannot completely be figured out in one article. But posing questions like these "why's" and "how's" mentioned are essential to progressing and fixing the quirks between technical communicators and these systems.

    16. Content management, broadly defined, refers to the “process of collecting, manag-ing, and publishing information to whatever medium you need” (Boiko, 2005, p. xv).A content management system, then, is any systematic method designed to organizeand distribute information, while content management system software automatesthe system, typically providing “a platform for managing the creation, review, filing,updating, distribution, and storage of structured and unstructured content”

      In order to understand Pullman and Gu's points on rationalizing and rhetoricizing content management, it must first be defined. Although the definitions were general, they were necessary. And the detail to make sure the reader understood the difference in simple content management versus its systems helps to better understand the overall article.

    17. o makeourselves a force to reckon with in the content management discourse, arguesAndersen, we need to raise the visibility and accessibility of our scholarship in thisarea,

      Although I am sure it already is, I believe that this subject should be its own area of study and classes on CMS should be offered to individuals hoping to obtain higher education degrees.

    18. The authors here in-vestigate not just thehowfor content management but thewhy, not just to rational-ize the content management practice and our participation in the practice but torhetoricize such practice, i.e., to construct and deconstruct the discourse surround-ing content management and to contextualize the design and implementation ofCMSs for the benefit of not only the end result—information design and dissemi-nation—but also the end users—technical communicators.

      It is important for Pullman and Gu to mention not only the constructing of the discourse involved in content management, but also destruct. To fully understand a concept and answer the "why" of content management, I think that both are required.

    19. “process of collecting, manag-ing, and publishing information to whatever medium you need

      This makes sense- "Content Management" is simply the process by which information is made available. I believe this is what we will be doing with our service learning projects. Medium can be a multitude of things, including brochures, the internets, visuals, etc.

    20. technical communi-cation requires information and knowledge management

      This introduction to this paper explains how content management play a bigger role than first assumed. Technical communication (what this course is about) requires multiple steps being taken before any progress can begin. This includes 'information and knowledge management" both characteristics found in CMSs/

    21. “a platform for managing the creation, review, filing,updating, distribution, and storage of structured and unstructured content”

      A perfect example of this is a website. Similar to what I am creating in my digital publishing class with Dr. Pullman.

    22. Content management has a direct bearing on our field because a central issue incontent management is the role (or a lack thereof) of technical communicators inthe process of CMS design and implementation

      This is ironic to me as it seem within the "job description" of technical communicators to design and implement the steps necessary to be taken with CMSs.

    23. Changing the way people work is animmensely difficult task, especially if the changes most clearly benefit the organi-zation while doing nothing clearly beneficial for the individual users.

      This is why it is so important that technical communicators take place in the CMS process. That way, the transition can be as painless as possible. It is obvious that the benefits outweigh the negatives in these scenarios.

    24. need for us to teach content management in our tech-nical communication courses, it is high time for our field not only to gain a betterunderstanding of CMSs but also to formulate a theoretically sound and pedagogi-cally viable approach to content management

      The most effective way to accomplish this task is to ask the individuals who will be using the CMSs what they most want to see when implementing the program.

    25. No longer can writers think in terms of texts or even publications. They haveto start thinking in terms of asset management:

      This requires the writers to take their time and examen every step critically before continuing their process. I believe that, by doing this, they are coming up with a more finished product.

    26. glaring lack of involvement in CMS design

      I honestly find this very surprising. It seems as if this job is what these technical communicators study for, as I cannot think of another profession better suited for this task. Technical communicators must be in high demand in the current job market.

    27. The very expressioncontent managementexcludes any idea of writingor communicating and focuses on information independently of the people whoproduce or consume it.

      This is silly. It makes so much sense to focus on the individuals making use of this information, rather than just the information itself. This way, you can fully satisfy whatever audience your'e trying to reach.

    28. In other words, they teach you how to design and/or use such systemswithout critical examinations of why such systems should be used in the first placeand why they succeed or fail

      This seems like a separate area of study all in its own. An individual hoping to be well versed in Content Management Systems needs to have all pieces to the puzzle: the technical aspect of it (the steps and processes) as well as the the real-world application of it. After all, at the end of the day we are still working with people, not solely computers.

    29. plementation in business settings, and sadly in university settings as well, involvesonly managers and IT personnel such as developers. The most important part ofthis whole puzzle—th

      This seems to be the major problem of trying to ratilionalize content management systems. If the end users are not involved in important like design and development, it will pose a major problem when they are expected to use these technologies.

    1. hatemployers expect—and what graduates need to be com-petitive in the job market—is an expanded set of skills tocomplement their writing ability, skills that depend onvarious aspects of technology. And that technology skill setis simply what's needed to get a first job; technical com-municators need to continue to learn new technologies andtools to remain competitive and employable

      When I am searching for potential internships and job openings, one of the first requirements is "must have effective writing skills." A lot of students who chose a technical career have a difficult time honing their writing skills because they were taught to memorize information and simply regurgitate it on an exam. I understand employers are looking for candidates with a variety of technical skill sets, but let's not underestimate the value of a great writer.

    2. ike programmerswho have been forced to work on teams, many writers stillwork alone or with only one or two other writers, and havethus been able to maintain the craftsman attitude. But thisattitude is, in the end, detrimental to their position within acompany and recognition by coworkers

      I can relate to this because everyone's writing styles are different and not everyone on your team has the same prose and you do. This is where the dialectic/dialogic process comes into play where you go back and forth with your teammates, listening to every angle, in order to generate a consensus. Using persuasion to figure out which of the potential "solutions" or "resolutions" are the best and why? This can be difficult when timing constraints and issues are taken into consideration. But the goal in the end is to reach multiple potential audiences without oversimplifying the information.

    3. What I fear is thattechnology will be dumped on us without our input and thatwe will shoulder the blame when that technology fails toperform as expected.

      I completely agree with Albers here. The future of technology is bright, but it also can be quite scary. Some fear that we are growing too dependent on technology. I would agree to an extent, I just don't like it when people (particularly elder generations) make technology out to be this villain. It has created jobs, brought people together in unimaginable ways, and made the world better. However, I fear relying too much on it will cripple us to where we cannot survive without it and the thought of that is really scary.

    4. "One of the most crucial tasks of the technical commu-nicator is to provide information that users need by carefullyselecting the right mix of content and then developing, ar-ranging, and presenting it effectively for the audience"

      Albers quotes Hayhoe here, and I think this is a very good point to put in his argument. This definitely will ties into our class when we address our clients and cater to their needs.

    5. Weiss (2002) argues that the "artistic impulse" of mostwriters can prove to be the "greatest barrier to productivityand may even compromise the quality of the communica-tion products" (p. 3). Too many writers seem eager to craft"perfect" prose with the writing aspects overriding thecommunication issues inherent in the specific audienceand task.

      I can relate this to the Schryer article "Records as Genre". Writing involves unique talent and creativity that does not always communicate information the most productive way possible. Writers can get caught up in crafting the perfect writing that they forget that it's meant to be utilitarian instead. This is a great example of genre's purpose in tech writing. By identifying what type of document it is (memo, essay, instructions manual, etc.), you are able to follow a set of appropriate guidelines and conventions. Following a set of guidelines or conventions when writing allows for your readers to easily identify what type of document it is and it's purpose is no longer hidden behind fancy prose.

    6. No technology is neutral. People handle technologyand address its problems and solutions with respect to theircurrent knowledge space.

      I agree with Albers's point here. Technology, now matter how beautiful, will always be biased.

    7. We need to define the rela-tionships between the technology, the social aspects, andthe business needs.

      As this article is eleven years old, I feel like in this age, we are defining the relationships between technology, social aspects, and business needs via social media. As companies and people are able to use it to tell their stories.

    8. Twenty years after the introduction of desktop pub-lishing, we are in the midst of a new shift—driven by Webwriting, content management and single sourcing—in howdocuments are perceived, viewed, and created. G

      Indeed we are, as the Internet is growing everyday, created greater and deeper access to new information, software, and tools to connect us with one another.

    9. One goal of this specialissue is to help with what Shirk called the "developingawareness of transition from old skills and concepts to newones" by considering both how the field will be affectedbased on the new roles, and which jobs and skill sets willexpand and which will shrink or be rendered obsolete. I

      Tech writing has evolved immensely from generic instruction manuals to now utilizing interdisciplinary skills. It's not just about knowing how to read and write sophisticatedly or eloquently, but you also have to tune and hone your CIS skills as well. Relating this to rhetoric, the key to success here is learning all the sides to tech writing and keeping up to date with all the latest tools in tech in order to be simply good at it.

    10. I am willing to claim that many of our current writingprocesses using new technologies are not unlike the earlyonline writing days when we clung to the book model andcreated pages that users needed to click through one at atime and that contained navigation cues such as "3 of 5."

      I think this relates back to what we discussed in class regarding how the old Nokia phones had user manuals that were as thick as phonebooks, and how no one would read these enormous works of boring text. Now, people look to the Internet to solve their problems, or even better, like to troubleshoot on the device they are attempting to get help for.

    11. As Pringle and Williams discuss, we need to think oftechnology as the medium for communicating information,not as a set of tools. The contextual issues surroundingaudience needs and effective communication must drivethe choice and use of technology.

      The medium is the avenue through which the modes flow through. I agree with this statement because we tend to look at technology for its face value but we never go deeper to learn about its components/tools. For example, we know how to use an iPhone but do we know much about iOS? Relating this to our discussion of rhetoric/dialetic process, it is important to know every component, tool, or side used to make up a technology in order to successfully use to its full potential.

    12. nfortunately, I believe thateven some teachers confuse tools with technology. Dream-Weaver is a tool, but all the various Web design tools andhow we use them to construct a Web site comprise atechnology. How to use styles in Word is tool use; under-standing why and how to use styles in a generic sense andrealizing that all major word processing and desktop publish-ing packages support them is understanding a technology

      I understand that technology is constantly developing and its difficult for teachers to keep up to date with the latest tools or softwares and become an enough of an expert themselves in order to accurately teach a class on it. But if jobs are demanding for college graduates to know how to use these tools in order to get the desired job position, than perhaps a class that particularly keeps up to date with tools and technology should be offered. The whole point of college and investing $1000's of dollars on education is to be well taught and prepared in the career that you have chosen.

    13. Rather than the more common articles focused on asingle technology, I wanted to feature articles with a moreintegrated view that would address the interconnectionsand skill sets in an explicit manner.

      I liked how Albers said that he wanted to find connections between points of communication and how the can be beneficial to one another. This is very important and I think Albers, quite suitably defines what technical communication is right here. It is about finding connections and patterns in writing.

    14. One issue that needs to be clarified is the differencebetween tools and technology.

      A way to see the difference between tools and technology is that tools such as website developing softwares (including Dreamweaver and Adobe Photoshop) are used to put together the technology a.k.a. the website.

    15. Too many writers seem eager to craft"perfect" prose with the writing aspects overriding thecommunication issues inherent in the specific audienceand task.

      I find this passage interesting since it seems to to imply that some writers put themselves ahead of their audience. I would think that technical writing is at it's best when it's useful to the end user, not the one who crafted it. This brings me back to a central theme in the article which is that the role of technical communicators is changing. Writers can no longer crank out a manual and call it a day. The work is a living breathing thing. This type of communication is designed for multiple audiences and with advances in technology, usability testing is now a crucial part of this as well. The work is never quite done. The user needs to always be front and center in the minds of the technical writer when working on any project.

    16. emem-ber, the user cares nothing about how the manual is automat-ically generated through nifty scripts that assemble XML frag-ments and create a FrameMaker file for final editing. The usercares only that the correct information is provided in thecorrect format at the point when it's needed.

      While explaining the effects of technology on the field of technical communication Albers details how the need to write for multiple audiences should not be lost as the field is attacked with more and more software.

      He is correct, the end user could care less how the information is made, all they want to do is be able to use it as efficiently as possible when it is done. So even though we are changing how we make certain deliverables, the audience is still just as important. The product is a failure if the audience it is intended for doesn't want to or can't use it. Like we discussed in class, the more audiences we can appeal to the more effective our writing will be.

    17. this expansion, the fundamental methods of deliveringinformation have changed, primarily though use of singlesourcing, XML, and multiple methods of delivery, all ofwhich have increased the need for both collaboration andproject management.

      Tech writing has converted into multimodal technical communication. Modes of writing include: linguistic, gestural, visual, spatial, and aural. Digital media is all of these things at once!

    18. A possible alternative, he says, is for techni-cal communicators to become the problem solvers anddesigners who will create the content management sys-tems and document databases

      This quote by Gregory Williams adds an interesting angle to how the roles are changing. One of the labels for technical writers that I've seen tossed around is that of Information Architect. Williams points out in the above quote that technical communicators need to transform into the problem solvers and designers that create the actual CMS's and databases that even Pullman and Gu discuss in "Rationalizing and Rhetoricizing Content Management". Even in "Records as Genre" by Catherine Schryer, the need for more effective problem solving skills in graduating students is behind the adoption of the POVMR system of record keeping. The ability to be apart of the problem solving process to me will ensure more active participation in future work. We as communicators are here to solve problems and the more ways we find to solve them, the better.

      Technical communicators need to have a hand in the creation of these systems or be relegated to lesser roles as Williams suggests. We as the writers have an opportunity to shape our own destinies if we choose to.

    19. However, inrecent years, technical communicators have beenwidening their scope and expanding into areassuch as interface and interaction design, information archi-tecture, information design, and usability.

      This sentence right here already tells me I'm in for something good, as the writer acknowledges the ever growing changes of technical communication merging with technology.

    20. lish-ing packages support them is understanding a technolog

      NOTE: Since I highlighted the sentence before it, I was not able to include it in the annotation. This annotation should start with the word How and end in Publishing.

      Albers established a very concrete difference between tools, styles, and the comprehension of technology itself.

    21. Simply attempt to integrate new technologies into ourcurrent practices. This period of integration is followedby a developing awareness of transition from old skillsand concepts to new ones and by an evolving redefini-tion of the roles of the technical communicator in rela-tion to technology. These events expand the field itself bycreating accepted new roles within it. (quoted in Carter2003, p. 371

      In this part, I believe that Shirk is discussing how technology has integrated into society, and how we as a whole change dramatically as a result of incorporating this into our world. I like how she also points out how it has created new opportunities. One of the many upsides to technology is that it has created millions of new jobs that were not even imaginable 20 years ago.

    22. Traditionally, the focus of technical communica-tors has been on writing documents. However, inrecent years, technical communicators have beenwidening their scope and expanding into areassuch as interface and interaction design, information archi-tecture, information design, and usability. I

      As we have discussed in class, tech writing has definitely developed over the past couple of decades and is no longer what it used to be. What once was a field limited to writing instructions and manuscripts has now gone digital and has converted into multimodal communication. Through this, information has been made more user-friendly and accessible to many audiences. Tech writing is certainly no longer limited to just writing itself.

    23. Without the ability to coherently participate in theconversation occurring around the cross-functional andinterdisciplinary team table, technical communicators riskeither being left off the team because they not assets orbeing relegated to the clerical position of taking notes andcleaning up the team's reports.

      I found this passage to be interesting because like much of the article, this passage illustrates how technical communicators need to be more than just writers. The need to learn and even understand the language of technology is more important than ever.

      This also hit home for me as I too am learning the language of technology. My wife will be the first tell you that I don't "do" computers very well. I'll admit during our lecture and lesson about basic html in regards to our Wordpress sites, I ran into a bit of a language barrier. So in reading this passage afterwards it all made total sense.

      As noted in “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies: Designed Social Futures” by the New London group, they go on to state that, “With new worklife comes a new language. A good deal of this change is the result of new technologies, such as the iconographic, text and screen based modes of interacting with automated machinery; “user-friendly” interfaces operate with more subtle levels of cultural embeddedness than interfaces based on abstract commands.”

      After re-reading this passage what Albers is stating above fits right in. We the communicators have to stay current with the language of technical communication which means that we must stay current with technology. If a technical communicator is unfamiliar with the technology used by the teams they work with, they will be left behind. A worse case scenario would be that a writer that does speak the language is hired to take their place.

      This brings up a question as well. How are the different modes of communication changing? Do they change? Like genre, do they evolve?

    24. he panelists at the conferenceagreed that that management and business knowledge are amajor missing piece in the typical technical communicator'stoolbox of soft skills.

      A word that pops up this article as well the article by Pullman and Gu, "Rationalizing and Rhetoricizing Content Management", is content manager. Technical writers are not just writing the content but in today's job market they are also managing the content which means a closer relationship with new and different technology. Once the content is on the web, it does not go away and must be monitored and maintained.

      The business side will always be looking a for new technology to find a way to streamline the business and make more money. This means that technical communicators will be apart of this process whether crafting communication for internal use or the users the technology may be intended to help.

    25. he vendors whoprovide tools sell them with a hype-filled message of howtheir products will revolutionize the business and thenprovide training on only the basic operation of the tool.Issues of how the technology applies to the business andhow a tool relates to the other tools and technologies in thecompany are neglected. Or, to parody a textbook, themethods of integration are left for the writer to solve.

      While most of this article is explaining how the roles of technical writers are changing, this passage explains how there will also be job security in the future. Like we discussed in class today, if our boss wants an app, we would be told to make the app happen. In this case, a business is buying software, but they are only concerning themselves with the surface level tech requirements. It falls upon the technical communicators to facilitate the integration of that software into the existing systems of that business, which includes integrating humans into the new system as well. After reading "Rationalizing and Rhetoricizing Content Management" by Pullman and Gu,sometimes these failures to foresee the integration doom the roll out of the new tech/software over all.

    26. . And more thanjust understanding the individual technologies, we need toconsider how they interact and influence each other. Notechnology exists alone, no matter how much we try toisolate it

      As Albers concludes the article he makes sure to add one more gem. Technology does not exist alone. Software is built on other software and even code is built on existing code. There is a source. None of these systems exist in a vacuum. While we may be expected to help with the roll out of a new software, we will also be on the front lines trying to figure out how the new software will integrate with the current software. Technology is influenced by other other technology. The more we familiarize our selves with technology the easier it will be for us to keep up.

    27. Writing is only one element of pro-viding that information; to ignore the other elements is toensure both our long-term obsolescence and lack of powerand respect within the project team and corporation.

      This quote explains why the title "technical writer" is morphing in to "content manager" and "information architect". Albers mentions that "writing is only one element of providing information". I think given our readings and discussion of mode this is true. Trying to convey complex ideas in just one mode is a recipe for failure. While we need to find ways of conveying information in as many modes as we can we also need to be aware of how new technologies can help us in this problem as well. While we can add different modes of communication, there could also be an app based software for example, that packages these modes in way that a 10 year old understands better than if we use a written manual.

    28. Unfortu-nately, although there are six excellent articles in this issue, itis lacking one aspect I had wanted to cover. As Hackos pointsout in her commentary, most of the articles examine the "whatis" of the present rather than "what might be" in the future.

      This passage for me, brings to light how the study of technical writing is lacking. While many in the academic world seem to focus on the state of technical writing right now, Albers wants to focus more on "what might be". I think by creating a discourse that is grounded in the future of technical communication we can all become more proactive as the industry continues to evolve.

      When speaking about technology, the idea of "what might be" is a powerful one. New technology is created to solve a problem. That means technology can be created to solve existing problems, but also to solve problems that may not exist yet. By at least following the trends of where the next major developments in technology will come from, technical communication will always have a place in the modern business world.

      The need to understand where the industry is going, not where it is currently is the most important aspect of this article.

    29. It's very tough to drain the swamp when you spend allyour time battling alligators. Individuals need to strive to bemore integral, organizations such as STC and ACM SIGDOCneed to provide support for and push an agenda at a higherlevel than individuals can operate, and academic programsalso need to reexamine the core goals that technical com-munication graduates should possess (see the article byRainey, Turner, and Dayton in this issue).

      This to me, is one of the central points of not only this article but "Rationalizing and Rhetoricizing Content Management" by Pullman and Gu. We as technical communicators have to take it upon ourselves to evolve with the industry. Nothing is lost through more education, except ignorance. Sitting and waiting for the someone to tell us what we need to know to stay relevant is not going to happen because someone else already knows and they just took your job. In the previous paragraph, my favorite part of the article is Alber's definition of post-mortem planning, "...wondering how the company could outsource documentation to an overseas company and lay off writers who had produced perfectly written, unread manuals". To me this so perfectly lays out what happens when communicators become reactionary in regard to technology and not proactive.

      Of course changing how technical communication is taught will be helpful as well. Instead of client facing projects that simulate problem solving in the real world, we could be learning how to write a Nokia cell phone manual like Dr. Wharton mentioned today in class...

    30. In the past, we have certainly seen a trend towardintegration of technologies into writing. For example,hefore desktop puhlishing, one would not have expectedwriters to know much about font or layout, as they werespecialists in text, grammar, style, rhetoric, information,or any one of a number of fundamental "on the page"skills. After widespread adoption of desktop publishing,which put the means of production into every writer'shands, writers' joh descriptions were likely to include arequirement that they know layout software, under-stand typefaces and white space, and participate in thephysical publication process in ways that were previ-ously unheard of. (Carter 2003, p- 31

      Here Albers is quoting L. Carter from "The Implications Single Sourcing for Writers and Writing", who is explaining how technology has been integrated into the writing process of technical communicators. This is interesting since as I read his quote, I was able to recall my first time using MS Word in 1995 on my mother's laptop. To see how much has been added to the software since then is to see what a writer is now expected to understand. We are expected to already understand layouts and fonts as we transform into "information architects". The new requirements for technical writers will not be a mastery of MS Word, but of FrameMaker and other similar software. The more software changes and evolves the more we are expected to already be proficient in said software. As Albers mentions earlier, if we don't keep up we will find ourselves relegated to the sidelines.

    31. Technologypermeates everything a practicing technical communicatordoes. How we react to changes in that technology on both theindividual and organizational level will have a dramatic im-pact on the development of the profession.

      Because we live in a technological age, the job descriptions and how technical communicators do their job HAS to grow with the advancing technology. It's possible that what we talk about in class this semester about what technical communication is won't be the same definition our kids will learn. The idea of technical communications relies heavily on what technology is available. As that grows, so will the job descriptions. The technical communicators of today are demanded to know so much more than those who preceded them. A job in technical communication interests me a lot and the idea of it always changing and growing makes me excited to hopefully pursue it.

    32. "One of the most crucial tasks of the technical commu-nicator is to provide information that users need by carefullyselecting the right mix of content and then developing, ar-ranging, and presenting it effectively for the audienc

      This is very much an simplified definition of technical communication. Collaborations, technologies, and all other variables take a deeper look in the "how" aspect of technical communication. But at the basis of it, this is technical communication and how it differs from all other forms of writing.

    33. Right now, as a field, our knowl-edge space is too small, and our academic knowledgespace (what we teach) is definitely too small and confining

      What about the field of technical writing is confining? Is it the fact that it expands much more slowly compared to other fields or is it that the technical communicators are lacking the knowledge to do so to help its expansion.

    1. Pedagogy is a teaching and learning relationship that creates the potential for building learning conditions leading to full and equitable social participation.

      This is an important key concept as it expresses a pedagogy as a learning mechanism. Technical communicators help the advancing of learning, and research for the new age. Through technical communicating as we are learning in our class individuals raise question, take note, and bring further comprehension, and collaboration with endless engagement, and constant adaptation of learning.

    2. As soon as our sights are set on the objective of creating the learning conditions for full social participation, the issue of differences becomes critically important. How do we ensure that differences of culture, language, and gender are not barriers to educational success? And what are the implications of these differences for literacy pedagogy?

      This is a great idea to raise as we learn in class and through engagement that the audience is key. Although as experts feel they have best answers they know that there are other answers that maybe even better, and they must advance avenues of communication to further reach different audiences. This is a common concern that is a leading and endless conversation for technical communicators, that we must too in class assess this problem.

    3. The changing technological and organizational shape of working life provides some with access to lifestyles of unprecedented affluence, while excluding others in ways that are increasingly related to the outcomes of education and training. It may well be that we have to rethink what we are teaching, and, in particular, what new learning needs literacy pedagogy might now address.

      Through certain advancements of technology some people are fortunate enough to learn and have accessibility, however for those who do not it creates a definite inequality. In the future technical communicators must ensure however that learning needs are met ultimately for the betterment of the whole. Relating this to a more utilitarian view, it would be best for the majority although it may be a sacrifice to another. Although, this inequality will always exist, through "interconnectedness" writers and researchers in the technical communication field will continue to tie up loose ends and address problems using their best skills, and seek solutions for equal access in learning.

    4. The article is a theoretical overview of the current social context of learning and the consequences of social changes for the content (the "what") and the form (the "how") of literacy pedagogy. We hope that this article might form the basis for open-ended dialogue with fellow educators around the world; that it might spark ideas for possible new research areas; and that it might help frame curriculum experimentation that attempts to come to grips with our changing educational environment.

      This is another idea Pullman and Gu, in "Guest Editors’ Introduction: Rationalizing and Rhetoricizing Content Management.” .They both raise note to the questioning process in literacy rhetoric . They asses what works, improvements needed, failures and why. This not only helps students but overall audience, including teachers, users of intended, developers, researchers and more.

    5. The first relates to the increasing multiplicity and integration of significant modes of meaning-making, where the textual is also related to the visual, the audio, the spatial, the behavioral, and so on.

      There are different modes of communication. Through advances we have learned to emerge modes of literacy. Some modes include Linguistic literacy :writing, speech; Gestural literacy: sign language, and behavior and Visual literacy: Video and virtual, and images.

    6. Second, we decided to use the term "multiliteracies" as a way to focus on the realities of increasing local diversity and global connectedness. Dealing with linguistic differences and cultural differences has now become central to the pragmatics of our working, civic, and private lives. Effective citizenship and productive work now require that we interact effectively using multiple languages, multiple Englishes, and communication patterns that more frequently cross cultural, community, and national boundaries.

      We use technical communication to speak to different audiences, and have effective cross cultural communication. The truth is that we do live in a very diverse society, and even though we are all different and from different places, we can still learn homogeneously through collaboration . As society is changing in social, business, and even family networks the practice of "multiliteracies" are improving and has purpose for global interconnections.

    7. The new fast capitalist literature stresses adaptation to constant change through thinking and speaking for oneself, critique and empowerment, innovation and creativity, technical and systems thinking, and learning how to learn. All of these ways of thinking and acting are carried by new and emerging discourses. These new workplace discourses can be taken in two very different ways - as opening new educational and social possibilities, or as new systems of mind control or exploitation.

      I really enjoy this piece, as it looks at literature in a political view. The new literature capitalist must be one for constant change, and continuing education. This attribute is necessary for corporate culture as mandates and communication are on a change constant and one must be knowledgeable.One must, learn to think and act not only in different ways or outlooks, but outside the box, inside the box, analyze, question, and becoming evolving engagers.

    8. To achieve this, we need to engage in a critical dialogue with the core concepts of fast capitalism, of emerging pluralistic forms of citizenship, and of different lifeworlds. This is the basis for a new social contract, a new commonwealth.

      Within the text they intend forms of technical communication should be a public use at schools to all kids of all "lifeworlds". Inequalities are something to be addressed with advancements in communication, and it is not fair nor ethical to leave others in lieu because of common differences. Resources should be equal to ensure childrens' educational competitiveness abilities and skill , and with technical communication there is a broader scope of togetherness that must be reached. However one might question whether there are some good in these inequalities as one persons strength is another needed improvements . In another sense, how can we merge these inequalities, and if not is there another solution.

    9. Let us tie the "what" and the "how" of literacy pedagogy back to the large agenda with which we began this article: focusing on Situated Practices in the learning process involves the recognition that differences are critical in workplaces, civic spaces, and multilayered lifeworlds. Classroom teaching and curriculum have to engage with students' own experiences and discourses, which are increasingly defined by cultural and subcultural diversity and the different language backgrounds and practices that come with this diversity. Overt Instruction is not intended to tell - to empower students in relation to the "grammar" of one proper, standard, or powerful language form. It is meant to help students develop a metalanguage that accounts for Design differences. Critical Framing involves linking these Design differences to different cultural purposes. Transformed Practice involves moving from one cultural context to another; for example, redesigning meaning strategies so they can be transferred from one cultural situation to another.

      Literacy has the ability to take on many different forms depending on where you are and what you are doing. So often times, it can't always be tied back to school learning, so that is why the idea and ability to shift from situated practice to transformed practice is helpful in understanding literacy in a broader sense.

    10. It is not enough to be able to articulate one's understanding of intra-systematic relations or to critique extra-systematic relations. We need always to return to where we began, to Situated Practice, but now a re-practice, where theory becomes reflective practice.

      This is really important to note using rhetoric, learning of Socrates and his students it was always best to analyze from the beginning, and begin assessing there. Not only is there practice but there is reflection on practice that is effective, and makes things more memorable. Memory has been a key objective and key tool in learning since the beginning of literary rhetoric.

    11. PostFordism replaces the old hierarchical command structures epitomized in Henry Ford's development of mass production techniques and represented in caricature by Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times - an image of mindless, repetitive unskilled work on the industrial production line. Instead, with the development of postFordism or fast capitalism, more and more workplaces are opting for a flattened hierarchy. Commitment, responsibility, and motivation are won by developing a workplace culture in which the members of an organization identify with its vision, mission, and corporate values. The old vertical chains of command are replaced by the horizontal relationships of teamwork. A division of labor into its minute, deskilled components is replaced by "multiskilled," well-rounded workers who are flexible enough to be able to do complex and integrated work (Cope & Kalantzis, 1995). Indeed, in the most advanced of postFordist, fast capitalist workplaces, traditional structures of command and control are being replaced by relationships of pedagogy: mentoring, training, and the learning organization

      This was a reply to demah007 as she said.... "The section of the article talks about the changing dynamics of the of the capitalistic world and how it is starting to incorporate more work input and values, and moving toward multiskilled workers. I believe this holds very true today because of how the corporate world is changing and how much more flexible workers have to be."

      My reply was..."I too agree with this as she suggests in todays society people are more prone to a division of labour, and employers are fitting people to their level of dexterity. The unskilled labor is old with advancements in technology, and multi skills and educational facts make a difference."

    12. McDonalds has hard seats - to keep you moving.

      Interesting example, I never thought about this.

    13. For instance, children who have acquired a first language through immersion in the practices of their communities do not thereby, in virtue of that fact, become good linguists.

      On the other side, good linguists do not always acquire another language.

    14. Design

      Why is the word "Design" capitalized?

    15. Through critical framing, learners can gain the necessary personal and theoretical distance from what they have learned, constructively critique it, account for its cultural location, creatively extend and apply it, and eventually innovate on their own, within old communities and in new ones.

      This sounds like what colleges try to do. You find out that a lot of the stuff you learned in high school was kind of an oversimplification or just scratching the surface of what was going on. I feel like this applies to pretty much every subject, from math to literature

    16. The word "community" is often used to describe the differences that are now so critical - the Italian-American community, the gay community, the business community, and so on - as if each of these communities had neat boundaries.

      I agree with this completely. I feel like most people belong to multiple types of "communities" and thinking they are all separate from each other is an untrue and arbitrary distinction.

    17. The decline of the old, monocultural, nationalistic sense of "civic" has a space vacated that must be filled again. We propose that this space be claimed by a civic pluralism. Instead of states that require one cultural and linguistic standard, we need states that arbitrate differences

      I like the idea of embracing the diversity of language but I just wonder if they are ignoring some benefits to having one standard type of dialect taught in school.Just one that I could think of is that more people could probably understand each other because everyone was raised learning that dialect. I feel like a country needs a standard language dialect in some ways. Not in oral language maybe, but definitely in written.

    1. In practice, most lab- oratory and field studies blend together direct questioning and observation methods into one study.

      It is interesting that they have chosen to phase out editorial and technical review. It seems they've declined to answer to expert's ethos, and instead rely statistics gathered by way of user testing and interview.

    2. In the final analysis, the tension between explo- ration and grading has encouraged the variety of approaches to the study of usability in technical communication. They hold equally compelling beliefs that the natural experience can be a test of usability and that grading the text would offer the best (most efficient) test of usability.

      Both exploration and grading seem important to the advancement of usability. Exploration is important for discovering new methods to present information that are more widely understood. Grading is important for grading these methods.

    3. Because no one group focuses on usability exclusively, devel- oping a comprehensive approach to studying it during prod- uct development, testing, and natural use, it certainly makes a difference to a particular study which group is conducting the study. If we were to ask each of these groups to study users learning to use a word processor, the resulting studies would differ in foci, methods, goals, findings, and philoso- phy.

      It doesn't seem like the study of usability has a systematic method of inquiry in the same way that other fields have the scientific method. It seems natural that different researchers would turn up vastly different results.

    4. He finds that reminding themselves of infor- mation is as important as pointers to finding information, and that workers view classification of information as their most difficult task.

      Little habits like this, though they may seem insignificant, demonstrates how people minds organize information, and what areas they need assistance. Taking things like this into account can really boost usability.

    5. Filter 3: Research Questions That Can Be Posed in Usability Research Research questions give us another filter on the studies, partic- ularly if we see these questions as means of assessing whether a study focuses on one type of question or cuts a broader swath. By grouping the typical research questions posed about usability into questions that focus on the product, questions that focus on the user, and questions that focus on the milieu, we can quickly see whether a study goes deeply into one type of research question.

      Not only can a research question be posed, but it is practically necessary. Usability is an incredibly broad term, that covers nearly every facet of nearly all publicly available content. If you are going to improve it, you will need specific goals to focus on. A research question clarifies those goals.

    6. Direct questioning -Surveys -Interviews - Comprehension tests

      I feel that direct questioning is definitely one of the more effective methods when handling methods of research. Different ways to go about surveying participants is by going to a populated area and asking randoms people to assist. Or mail them out as well.For interviews you can also go to a populated area to ask if they would like to participate in the study, also go by telephone but that really isn't a preferred method now a days. For comprehension tests, this is when they ask to answer questions, so send out flyers in the mail to help to assist with questioning or email them online to random participants again.

    7. A problem with classical fieldwork is that it is founded on interviews and notes taken by the researcher (after the obser- vation). It assumes that the people are competent in their grasp of their own culture, and that the researcher participates until shehe understands the culture enough to go back and tell us about it.

      I think this method is something that Sullivan steers away from because it doesn't leave much room for multi modality or the collaboration between multiple disciplines. It is more one sided in it's way of collecting and analyzing information and as the author states doesn't take into account the context of the person being observed and their cultural awareness.

    8. its strictest cognitive psychologists aim to build theories of users or of learning and its strictest engineers aim to build systems that solve problems they notice.

      I think the author is trying to show how people working in different disciplines can achieve a common goal and that technical writing and communication is evolving to be multimodal. Different skill sets are needed to create the different systems and products in technical communication and also to measure their usability and what is deemed a successful product or message.

    9. ssue 3: Can Usability Research Present Writing Theory With Compelling Arguments for Integrating Usability More Centrally Into the Writing Development Process?

      Through this part of the reading Sullivan goes into a discussion of whether or not usability research presents writing theory with compelling arguments for integrating usability more centrally into the writing development process. He states that this is a yes pointing out although usability may not help out the writers in a sense it will help to assist the viewers. Which this will give the writers a chance to learn about the views which he discussed earlier in the chapter.

      By learning about the viewers, writers are able to change the view point that they have on constructing manuals, because they now know the point of view of the users. These tests lead to endless possibilities for the writers to go off of to find out what the viewers want.


      I generally found this entire section wonderful and informative. Sullivan in this section discusses the issues at hand while broadening our view in usability while also informing us of the con's that come with it. He discusses three issues that touch base on product development, whether or not usability can be put in a natural context, and can usability be found in compelling arguments.My favorite issue that he discusses is the third one; I will go into more depth with my annotation there.

    11. Surveys, interviews, and comprehension tests are not particularly helpful in finding out what moves users make while they use a product.

      For this reason, I would think that observation is probably the most effective way of judging usability. Second hand accounts could never bee as helpful ass actually seeing how people interact with your content first hand.

    12. Sociology- Another group, though peripheral to the day-to- day study of usability, is made up of sociologists and an- thropologists. These researchers have contributed studies of people working with computers that point out dimensions of usability that are not seen in a laboratory study

      Sociology can be very helpful when trying to aid in the improvement of usability. The discipline includes the study of commonly accepted method of communication within a society, which is vital information when you are trying to modify specialized information for wider consumption.

    13. When we are working inside a discipline, everyone shares values and goals, a com- mon educational platform, and a common world view. We cannot assume that commonality in multidisciplinary work. Thus, the step of articulating the context of a study helps us to better understand why a study is as it is

      By explaining specialist subjects with a more broadly used vernacular, utilizing more universally understood modes, and sharing the context that certain information was researched, specialized information within a single discipline can be shared with a much larger audience. This is very important, as what might seem like an insignificant study could potentially have far reaching application if shared properly.

    14. Consider some of the decisions faced by a particular study- how to measure using, what to consider successful, or where in the development cycle to conduct the test.

      There are some methods you can use. The rate of returns for first time visitors and the number of complaints received are both excellent statistics that point to how user friendly your medium is, albeit indirectly.

    15. Ed- itorial experts can find style problems more efficiently, and more reliably, than users can. Technical experts can locate problems with the technical content of a manual more effi- ciently, and more reliably, than users can. Although traditional evaluation handles many problems well, it does not necessar- ily expose usability problems

      Editorial and and technical experts are likely to have encountered many examples of technical writing with varying levels of usability. When critiquing, they have plenty of examples compare to, and so I imagine they are the most prepared to offer criticism.

    16. If we take a broader view of usability, then we must deal with a flood of information, not all of which is ultimately relevant. Usability research, broadly construed, includes the work of people who design systems, test them, develop ed- ucational materials, and study users.

      It's interesting how Sullivan advocates a broader view of usability but also acknowledges some of the challenges it creates, in this case a flood of information. It also shows the theme of adaption that appears throughout the text, with the author referring to the new fields and positions that this broader view creates from people who research to those that design and test new systems.

    17. It makes clear what components of the study were (or should have been) focal to the effort. It also clarifies why particular groups were studied and why certain methods were selected

      Using the method of these place questions helps to keep organization as Sullivan says. But it also helps with the focal point of the research. These are extremely important as Sullivan goes on to mention about what groups are studied and why. This in turn will help others to figure out and apply these things to their own situations during research.

    18. In this article, I argue that we technical communicators need to interpret the charge of usability more broadly than a narrow interpretation of usability testing allows, turning to the whole range of usability research for a conception that takes advan- tage of the exciting investigations that are being carried out in various places. But there are consequences to broadening our view.

      Sullivan points out how important that usability is for technical writers and mentions that this is what his argument will be about for the article. It is very smart of him though to point out that their are some consequences when it comes to "broadening our view" of usability. There is always a consequence to everything that we do, and the fact that he argues both sides shows that he is doesn't just want to persuade us to follow the need of usability but for us to do so wisely while knowing the consequences. He definitely goes into this later on in the reading about the issues that can be at hand.

    19. Consider some of the decisions faced by a particular study- how to measure using, what to consider successful, or where in the development cycle to conduct the test.

      Again, the author is raising questions on how usability changes depending on the context and also how the successfulness of writing is reliant also on context and the development cycle. I think it's interesting to think about how adaption and context could also effect what is considered successful. It would definitely be important for a group of coworkers to be in consensus of what a successful outcome to a project would be over a negative one. Without it, their work would have no direction or purpose behind it and would likely go off in different directions.

    20. Two steps can be used to situate those studies vis-a-vis the landscape of usability research, an analysis of the context sur- rounding a particular study and an analysis of the structure of the study itself. The reason for dividing this “situating” into a two-step process arises out of the multidisciplinary na- ture of the usability research project. When we are working inside a discipline, everyone shares values and goals, a com- mon educational platform, and a common world view. We cannot assume that commonality in multidisciplinary work. Thus, the step of articulating the context of a study helps us to better understand why a study is as it is.

      This paragraph is noteworthy for two reasons:

      1. I agree with the author's suggestion that the context surrounding a particular study and the structure of the study need to be analyzed separately because the usability research does not fall under one discipline. For example, a study involving 100 female freshman CIS Majors at Georgia State University would produce very different results from a study of 100 random people off of the street. Because the produced data would clearly vary, a context analysis is necessary.
      2. This paragraph reminds me of a concept in sociological research: disaggregated versus aggregated data. Aggregated data is a collection of data that has been summarized and "watered down" or generalized, while disaggregated data has been broken apart into subgroups. It can help researchers fully understand trends and findings, while providing data that more accurately represents a population. If the context and structure were not analyzed seperately, results would likely resemble aggregated data that does not accurately represent the sample.
    21. A problem with classical fieldwork is that it is founded on interviews and notes taken by the researcher (after the obser- vation). It assumes that the people are competent in their grasp of their own culture, and that the researcher participates until shehe understands the culture enough to go back and tell us about it. This assumption has trouble when the study deals with the introduction of new elements into a culture. Then the “natives” are not expert informants. Further, the inter- actions with the machine and the documentation are so rapid and complex that it is difficult for the researcher to capture the problems in notes after the fact. Thus, classical methodology is in the process of being adapted to the needs of studying usability. Successful adaptation is needed if field studies are to make a robust contribution to usability

      I am assuming "classical fieldwork" refers to the somewhat standard method of surveying within sociology and anthropology. It is true that surveys/interpersonal interviews have been an effective method of data collection for both of the disciplines, in part, because of the nature of the data collected. In several of my sociology courses, I have conducted extensive research on social problems and patterns of behavior. Although i researched a variety of issues, they all had one thing in common- data was related to interpersonal interactions within social systems and institutions. However, usability research focuses on human-computer relations, rather than interpersonal ones. Although this method of data collection has worked in sociology, it would likely not work at all in this case. I agree that new methods should be utilized, but i am unsure of how to best represent usability data without unintentionally aggregating it.

    22. Users may work nat- urally, or they may be asked to talk aloud as they use the sys- tem (user protocol) or read the text (reader protocol). These methods of observation help answer questions related to what happens when a user tries to use a product. They can capture the time it takes, the actions taken, and the success the user had. If the user talks aloud, they can also tap the strategies and reasons for action. But they do not necessarily answer questions about the user’s response to the product.

      I understand that this formal method of observation may "catch" data that informal observation and note taking may miss, but i question the accuracy of the data found. For example, If i was instructed to use a new website while just being observed, I would face the challenge of navigating the website purely based on common sense. If i was told to read the text or talk aloud while navigating the website, I would feel somewhat "guided." It would also slow my pace, giving me more time to comprehend text and find pages within the site. Although i'd be able to better navigate the site, it would not accurately reflect the usability of the site in a real-world setting.

    23. Human-computer interaction, because it is interdisciplinary, does not project a single atti- tude

      I think the author is trying to get readers to see computers as a space where many different types of interactions can occur. A job for a technical writer using a computer is different than the task of a engineer or psychologist. The computer is a way for us to create and receive messages that are multimodal, so there are many different ways of thinking about and creating these messages, taking from different disciplines like sociology, psychology and writing. I think this is also why Sullivan stresses the adaption of research methods throughout the article because the computer has always been evolving to be more and more multimodal.

    24. The answer can be yes. This answer is tied, in part, to the effort to test products early in the cycle. Many researchers, in technical communication and elsewhere, are arguing for ear- lier and more exploratory testing. We know from published research that product research is developing methods rapidly. But so few of the product tests are published. Because so few are published, as a group we have fewer methods for en- hancing product development than we as individuals actually employ.

      I agree with the hypothesis that usability research can develop methods for enhancing product development. As i noted above, testing usability towards the beginning of the product development process would allow for the development of products to be increasingly based on the results of the usability testing, while testing after development likely leads to very minor improvements on products. Here, Sullivan noted that although research is developing quickly, only a handful of tests have been published. However, i see this as an advantage, rather than a burden, for usability testers. With few precedent findings, usability testers could employ experimental, rather than "tried and true," methods of testing. By thinking creatively and across disciplines, new methods of usability testing could be formed and more effective products could be created.

    25. 256 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION, VOL. 32, NO. 4, DECEMBER 1989 Beyond a Narrow Conception of Usability Testing


      In Patricia Sullivan’s article, “Beyond a Narrow Conception of Usability Testing,” she began by discussing the need for a broader interpretation of usability because of its complex nature. Next, she asks “what is it that we are doing in relation to others who study usability, and what might we need to be doing?” First, she notes that technical writers should contribute to research regarding the broader concept of usability. Because a broader interpretation of usability also means a larger body of information to tackle, studies should be situated within the umbrella of usability research, but both the context of a study and the study in and of itself should be analyzed as well. Analyzing the context of a study allows researchers to understand the choices made within the study, such as the chosen population. Analyzing the structure of the study allows researchers to understand factors such a study’s focus and constrains. However, depending on the identity of the group that conducts the study, such as sociologists or psychologists, different questions may be raised. For example, in the interdisciplinary group of human-computer interaction, all researchers are concerned with interface design, but may approach it differently by employing various methods and asking differing questions. Sociologists focus their studies on usability and how people interact with computers via observational techniques, while marketers focus their usability research on specific products and services. Technical communicators focus their research on the educational documents regarding a system and “how users employ those aids to help them learn a system.” The research of technical communicators is often interdisciplinary, so research methods are consulted as guides, rather than as set rules of practice. Researchers can then employ any combination of methods that they see fit in their research. Some research methods for usability studies include surveying, observation, keystroke records, and computer text analysis. The various methods can be organized into three models of research. First, the product development model pertains to the product development process of engineering, so it utilizes lab-based research methods. The cognitive model is based on the work of human-computer interaction psychologists, whose focus is on finished, developed products. The cultural model, often used by sociologists, utilizes field work in order to study “normal use” usability. Each model is also related to certain types of questions. For example, the cultural model is often connected to questions regarding the environment, or context, of a study. In closing, Sullivan addresses three questions pertaining to usability research. First, she argues that usability research can “develop methods for enhancing product development,” particularly if usability is tested earlier in the product development process. Second, she claims that she is unsure of whether or not usability research can be used as a “model” for studying “naturally occurring” usability until more field research is conducted on the subject. In closing, Sullivan enthusiastically argues that usability could become more “central” to the writing process in general due to advances in usability research. When technical communicators are aware of users and when usability research is implemented at the front-end of the writing cycle, technical communicators are able to produce significantly more effective and usable documents.

    26. As technical communicators, we are always going to be more interested in issues related to the development of usable ed- ucational materials and interfaces. The challenge for us is to figure out how to incorporate the growing knowledge of users into the development of manuals and interfaces.

      Earlier in my annotations, i mentioned the ways in which marketers understand audiences by constructing personas. The concept of personas is somewhat relative to this passage as well. However, the challenge of "incorporating the growing knowledge of users," seems far more complex than persona construction. Instead of having to create imaginary figures to make predictions about the traits of an audience, technical communicators must do almost the inverse and navigate and narrow down a wealth of information pertaining to users in order to determine what is applicable for developing a manual or interface. Here, the process of communicating with one another to decide on how findings connect to documents is similar to the rhetorical concept of dialectic, which i mentioned in greater detail in Wickman's "Wicked Problems in Technical Communication". Collaboration between technical communicators, like traditional dialectic, helps rhetors organize and process information in order to form effective arguments, or in this case, manuals and interfaces.

      Wickman, C. (2014). Wicked Problems in Technical Communication. Journal Of Technical Writing & Communication, 44(1), 23-42.

    27. a cumulative study that informs future writing, then every usability test can con- tribute to that writer’s knowledge of users. It becomes a way of building a concrete theory of audience. Such a concrete theory of audience can lead writers to change the ways in which they think about manuals in the early stages of writing. They may read more about user behavior before starting to work on a project to a new group of users. They may, for example, ask for more testing of competitors’ pack- ages before shaping their own documentation. They may run exploratory user tests on modules that take experimental ap- proaches, or on the basic language that is central to the book, or on the outline of the text

      Beginning on the last sentence of page 7, this closing addresses the importance for technical writers engaged in usability testing to learn about users.Although technical writing is often viewed as more expository than rhetorical,an excellent document regarding usability or usability testing effectively addresses the rhetorical situation, or the "set of circumstances in which an author creates a text," according to Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. An important factor within the rhetorical situation is the audience, or in this case, users. Technical writers must consider primary audiences, such as users reading a manual for a software or product, as well as secondary audiences, such as students studying technical writing who may come across the manual. Although consideration of audience is vital to reaching primary audiences, it can also produce more effective technical writers in the future by successfully addressing rhetorical situations.

      Arola, C. (2014). Analyzing Multimodal Projects. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects, 20-40.

    28. These methods are used alone or put in combination with others to study the question of interest. In practice, most lab- oratory and field studies blend together direct questioning and observation methods into one study.

      In Chad Wickman's article, "Wicked Problems in Technical Communication," he author noted that his students worked on tackling the "wicked problem" within groups, and that many of the groups contains students of varying disciplines. The interdisciplinary groups proved to be beneficial because each student had different experiences, areas of expertise, and proposed solutions for consequences of the oil spill, so they were able to effectively collaborate. Similarly, Sullivan notes here that multiple methods can be used in usability research. When individuals from varying backgrounds, such as cognitive psychologists and engineers, collaborate in usability research, they most likely have different ideas about which methods to use. Because of this, interdisciplinary groups of usability researchers are able to select the best combination of methods to reach the concerns of all of the researchers, which in turn, would improve usability overall.

      Wickman, C. (2014). Wicked Problems in Technical Communication. Journal Of Technical Writing & Communication, 44(1), 23-42.

    29. its strictest cognitive psychologists aim to build theories of users or of learning and its strictest engineers aim to build systems that solve problems they notice.

      This practice in human-computer interaction reminds me of a concept that is utilized in marketing known as "creating personas," which is further discussed in the link below. When marketers want to test whether a product or service reaches audiences, they create templates or "composite sketches," of imaginary individuals within the target audiences. Personas constructed by marketers include basic information such as age, gender, and marital status, as well as personal information such as their interests and hobbies. In terms of human-computer interaction, it sounds like cognitive psychologists also make personas or "theories of users," in order to increase usability. Although Sullivan noted that problems may arise due to the differing goals of cognitive psychologists and engineers, engineers could use information gathered from the psychologists' theories to create more effective solution-based systems.

      Lee, K. (2015). The Complete, Actionable Guide to Marketing Personas. Buffer Social. https://blog.bufferapp.com/marketing-personas-beginners-guide

    30. Successful adaptation is needed if field studies are to make a robust contribution to usability.

      I think this point is important to make because assuming your audience is versed in the rhetoric involving computers can have drastic effects on the outcome of the observations of the researcher. I believe that because technical writing is so multimodal, context and adaption are key because it uses new and quickly changing technologies. Sullivan believes that the discipline through which we view technical communication also determines it's context. I think this is where the adaption that the author is speaking about comes in, the way in which we study technical communication needs to change as fast as the issues and technologies surrounding it.

    31. callid for usability to follow the lead of engineering and insert usability into the product development cycle at an earlier phase.

      Including usability testing earlier in the product development cycle would position usability testing as a fundamental stage of product development, instead of as a "finalizing" step before a product is introduced into the market. Traditionally, the product development cycle of six chronological steps was as follows, according to James Duval of Business2Community.com:

      1. Idea Generation
      2. Research
      3. Product Development/Assembly
      4. Usability Testing
      5. Analysis of Findings
      6. Introduction into the marketplace

      Because usability testing occurs after the development of the product, it is clear that the testing would only motivate develops to make minimal changes to a product. Recently, many engineers have utilized a new product development cycle that tests the usability of the potential product before it is actually developed, according to ProductLifeCycleStages.com. After it is developed, the marketability of the product is also tested. When usability testing is at the forefront of product development, the user-centered approach maximizes the potential for growth and allows developers to more effectively plan for the implementation of a product.

      Duval, J. (2013). Eight Simple Steps for New Product Development. Business 2 Community. www.business2community.com/product-management/eight-simple-steps-for-new-product-development-0560298#fGOcuH6At5eDoUyc.97

      New Product Development.(2016). Product Life Cycle Stages. Living Better Media. http://productlifecyclestages.com/new-product-development-stages/

    32. Surveys, interviews, and comprehension tests are not particularly helpful in finding out what moves users make while they use a product.

      I agree with my classmates that this method could be too generalized and not user specific and seem to be less effective than a chosen focus group. I think its thought provoking how the author uses sociology to describe a more hands on approach when it comes to measuring usability with a product or technology. I can see the benefits of a more hands on approach and the use of sociology because it provides the researcher with a better opportunity to observe than in a survey type setting where the end user is more separated from the researcher. I think this is also why the sociologists way of thinking about technical communication is better suited for education and office settings where people are interacting with one another.

    33. The traditional evaluation methods involve a computer or an expert evaluating the product for how well it meets preset criteria.

      I think it's important to notice the distinction the author makes between technical review and work in the field, what the author prefers and how some views of usability study prefer laboratory work over field and some the opposite. For example, Sullivan states that a sociology perspective is better studied using field work as opposed to more controlled experiments in a laboratory. I think the traditional method of evaluation focuses more on the end product as opposed to using technical thinking early on during the prototype process. It also less on the analysis of the context in which the message is delivered. Because technical writing is now so multimodal, with people working within many disciplines at once, there are less commonalities among collaborators and more of a need for the analysis of context, Sullivan believes.