85 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2016
    1. - and to developcritical literacy themselves as readers in a visual culture. The occasions forproducing visually rich documents have multiplied

      I think the visual communication concept presented on page two is important and has been present even in a historical context. Visual components such as photographs, illustrations, and charts have been used in media as a means of communication for quite a while. One example that comes to mind is any political cartoon. I am not sure how long they have been used, but here is an example of a socio-political cartoon from 1802, James Gillray's The cow-pock - or - the wonderful effects of the new inoculation: This cartoon was printed in Britain during the time that Edward Jenner was developing his variola (smallpox) vaccine from components of cowpox pustules as a means to prevent further smallpox infections in the population. The cartoon highlights the controversy that surrounded the vaccine at the time.

      I believe that visual components of communication are becoming more frequently used in today's society due to economical reasons: using visuals saves words and time. Today, a lot of people communicate via pictures. The pictures can convey emotions, satire (much like political cartoons), or ideas.

      The cow-pock - or - the wonderful effects of the new inoculation. Gillray, James. (1802, June 12). Retrieved November 13, 2016, from http://library.artstor.org.ezproxy.gsu.edu/library/iv2.html?parent=true

    2. Depending on your goals, context, and audience, you may want to break some rules to convey your message

      University discipline would also affect this. Rules depend on what discipline your in, like how we use different style manuals depending on what major coursework we are completing.

    3. make sure all information is accurate

      Not only should your information be accurate, it should be sourced and cited as needed.

    4. Tell the story of the project and provide a snapshot of its key points or features

      Typography is one of the important elements to consider when creating a poster. Another element to consider is alignment, because if you are presenting a research poster, you are more than likely to include a visual element and it is important to consider the best location to put the visual element. The key points or features included in the poster should be clear and concise. You should be economical in your word choice and use only words or phrases that will convey your point precisely as possible.

    5. the sharp differences in color,

      Another thing to consider with contrast and colors is accessibility. A percentage of men and women have red-green color blindness, which can make it difficult to discern colors within a document.

      To read more about color blindness and the specific percentage of individuals affected, please visit the National Eye Institute (NEI) website: https://nei.nih.gov/health/color_blindness/facts_about

    6. should be placed after they are first mentioned and as near as possible to thepoint of reference

      An important thing about introducing and explaining visuals: the text that introduces and explains the table should not be redundant. If a table includes data, your text should not merely repeat the data; the text should help the reader understand the tables' information or give value to the meaning of the data that is within the table. When I took chemistry at GSU, we had to create a lab report that included many data tables. For the textual component, we were encouraged to have a "discussion" of what the data meant, as in describe what the results meant in regard to the experiment, what the individual data points mean, what the differences between data points may mean, etc. Just summarizing data points for your reader doesn't really help them understand the purpose of the table. Like page 20 of this article says, the table (or any visual content) you use "should serve a specific purpose."

      Purdue Online Writing Lab. (2016). INDOT Document Design and Presentation.

    7. neuroscientists might develop a cognitive map

      Or a map that illustrates dermatomes, or a region of the body in which a specific spinal nerve senses pain, pressure, and other external sensations. These types of maps certainly challenge the general geographical ideas that we learn as K-12 students.

      An example is Physician and medical illustrator Frank H. Netter's dermatome map:

      Taken from http://www.backpain-guide.com/Chapter_Fig_folders/Ch06_Path_Folder/4Radiculopathy.html

    8. Diagrams are illustrations of something that consists of parts (

      Diagrams are important in textbooks, especially those of the art and science disciplines. Diagrams usually have labels that give the parts meaning or define them in someway.

    9. Remember that text and visuals work together to help readers understand complexinformation so they can make decisions.

      Are the words table and figure interchangeable? Is a figure different than a table?

      It is important to make sure that tables are easily understood. Although it may be ideal for tables to be understandable on their own, sentences that elaborate the data found in the table are helpful, and as technical writers we should make sure that tables correlate with the information/research points within the paper or presentation we are working on.

      Placement of tables is another thing to consider when creating a document. The table should probably be on the same page as the text that describes it. A lengthy table can be distracting and difficult for the reader to visualize as a whole. I think the table from the Dragga article we had to read was formatted poorly. It ran across multiple pages, and overlapped into text that wasn't explicitly talking about contents within the table; however, the table in question did not convey data, it illustrated the questions that survey respondents were given to complete.See figure 1 on pages 256-57 in Dragga's "Is This Ethical?" article.

      Sam Dragga (1996). “‘Is This Ethical?’ A Survey of Opinion on Principles and Practices of Document Design.” Technical Communication 43.3: pp. 255-65.

    10. Flowcharts

      As content creators, are we limited to using only these shapes to create a flowchart?

    11. Slices in any pie chart must add up to 100%

      The percentages adding up to 100% is probably the most important thing to consider when creating a pie chart. Another element to consider is the colors you use for the slices of the pie. Also, if there are too many percentages within the pie chart, it might be difficult for your reader to interpret and another visual element might be better to use.

    12. They shouldwork with the table of contents to help readers find information they need quicklyand easily. Therefore, the way headings look is important.

      Headings usually use a distinctive typeface that sets it apart from other parts of the document, which makes it easier to navigate, like page 7 says. It is a good idea to cross reference the table of contents with headings to make sure that everything in the document matches up correctly.

    13. What kind of information is communicated in a document like this?

      This looks like a lab report that someone in a science like physics or chemistry might turn in. I say this because there is space for a numerical equation. The structure looks pretty "tight" so I would say that the document delivers technical information or research data to the audience. The information would be delivered formally and probably use formal and technical language that is discipline specific.

    14. Production Learn design conventions in the particular discipline, as described in style guides,

      Page 4 utilizes typography elements within its descriptions. The font color is different shades, black and gray, and the most important elements are in bold typeface to catch the reader's attention the most and signal directives, like "click mouse to advance slide." To extrapolate this typography element idea, the act of highlighting passages and doing our annotation project can also be considered a typographical element, since the yellow highlight catches the reader's eye.

  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. “reader’s responsibility” to justify their ethical choices would be surprised to discover the rarity of this explanation on the survey and might thus be motivated to review or revise their principles and practices.

      As a technical communicator, I feel that the technical communicator is the entity that has more responsibility to communicate the point they are trying to argue. We should aim to communicate as clearly and ethically as we can. We should aim to avoid being deceptive in our work; however, we may be limited on what we can do by our employer(s).

    2. The high response rate to this survey

      I feel like this is a loose definition of "high response rate." The rate of response was 45.5%, which seems low to me.

    3. Ideally, this survey and its tentative findings will encourage more exploration of this important topic.

      I agree that ethics is an important topic to consider in any occupation, and I do believe that Dragga's hope for more exploration on ethics has occurred throughout the 2000s. Even within the last ten years, our society (as a whole) is becoming more open-minded or aware of ethical boundaries. The growing awareness of ethics is apparent in the university and college system, as many of these entities now offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in health policy ethics, business ethics, bioethics, medical ethics, environmental ethics, etc.

    4. Technical communicators thus seem to operate in isolation, without a guiding philosophy that genuinely guides

      It also seems that technical communicators operate individually but somehow develop similar ethical ideals, I wonder why this is. It also seems that the technical communicator(s) operate within the scope of their employer. Technical communicators are tasked with completing directives from their employer at their own discretion. Perhaps all ethical ideals are similar because the technical communicators and educators are remembering to keep their audience/readers first. After all, that is the most important role.

    5. clear majority consider inflating type and leading to fit less information on a page, choosing colors for persuasive purposes, and using spacing to direct or divert the reader’s attention to be ethical design practices.

      This makes sense from a professional standpoint. All of these changes would be related to the technical communicator's business practices (which I would argue is more relevant in this research since fewer technical educators responded). It makes sense that making typography changes can benefit the business; inflating type can make a work appear longer, while compressing type allows the creator to fit more on the page. I utilized different typographical aspects on my own resume, and feel that was completely ethical. I approach the color change decision with caution because certain colors have different meanings for different readers. A challenge to both typographical and color changes is usability, an example would be when the technical communicator's audience is made up of older individuals, a larger font size should be used. For color, a usability challenge to take into consideration is addressing a population of readers that may have red-green color blindness.

    6. “ People are responsible for reading warranties and taking care of themselves! ’Let the buyer beware’ is the credo of the business world.”

      I guess I was a little less lenient on the question about the warranty because I am looking at it from a consumer standpoint, and not from a business one. A question that I have from this explanation is: Does a common business practice define how ethical something is? Can common business practices be unethical? Also, it is hard to define "ethical" as the definition may change depending on your point of view. In this case, a technical communicator in a business setting sees this issue differently than I do as a consumer.

    7. locution as opposed to their illocution

      Reference the Speech Act Theory

    8. whereas the majority of professional communicators chose either “completely ethical” or “completely unethical” as their answers.

      I see this a lot in my current job position in the field of market research. It is my job to screen respondents over the phone with questions similar to the survey that is being used in Dragga's research. In my occupation, they are called algorithms and require the recruiter (me) to input the respondents' answers into an excel spreadsheet, which then outputs the percentage results of their answers. More often than not, the respondents I speak with also stick between "agree strongly" and "disagree strongly" with nothing in between. I have found that this is more likely to occur when there are fewer than seven questions to ask them.

    9. I would like you to answer the seven questions on this survey yourself
      1. (The resume) Completely ethical Reasoning: it is my own work. I can align elements and use typography to my benefit and to conform to what is needed.
      2. (The pie chart) Ethics uncertain Reasoning: I am uncertain because specific colors cause people to think of certain things and colors are associated with different ideas.
      3. (The photograph) Completely unethical Reasoning: The employees viewing the photographs may or may not know that the person is actually disabled or not; however, I would not condone this if I were a part of the group designing the materials/photographs. If there are no employees with disabilities, don't portray your company as having something it does not.
      4. (The evaluation) Mostly ethical Reasoning: I don't think bulleted lists and paragraphs are all that different when it comes to portraying information. It would be similar to a resume.
      5. (The proposal) Ethics uncertain Reasoning: this is similar to the resume question, I would just be cautious creating this because it doesn't only represent me as an individual, it also represents the company.
      6. (The line graph) Completely unethical Reasoning: this would be making the information appear to be the opposite of what it actually is.
      7. (The warranty) Mostly unethical Reasoning: I see this as a comparison to "the fine print," which is something that customers usually do not read.
    10. Your company has no disabled employees. You ask one of the employees to sit in a wheelchair for one of the photographs. Is this ethical

      I think this is a good question to ask. After reading it, I thought "this is completely unethical." However, it made me think of another question, is it ethical to have abled actors to play the roles of a person with a disability? This historically is what has been done in the movie industry. In today's industry, there appear to be more opportunities for actors with disabilities, but there is still a preference towards abled actors (even when the role character is disabled).

    11. Edward Tufte”

      Edward Tufte a highly regarded and well-known statistician.

      Here is a website that has more information about him,

  3. Oct 2016
    1. This work log will be the basis for your post-project reflection (and linked file in your reflection blog post).

      This will be important for us to maintain our our internal and external schedule goals for the entirety of the project.

  4. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. So if technical communicators author work that is contentbased, even if it is commercial (and subject to greater scrutiny), speech protectionscould follow.

      But what makes something content based? Isn't most of the content we create content based, as in it contains content?

    2. Copyright

      A summary:

      I started this article with three questions:

      1. Why do we copyright materials? We copyright materials to ensure intellectual property and creative innovation, protection for the author, and benefit for society and the author.
      2. When did we first begin to copyright materials? For the United States, essentially since the "Framers" or "Founding Fathers" created the Constitution.
      3. What materials need to be copyrighted? This was a complex thing to answer, the obvious answer is papers have that a specific author. The chart that I also linked in another annotation was also helpful in answering this question. Basically any material that is produced -- recorded sounds, music, architecture (blueprints?), books, poems, the list goes on. Even unpublished, unauthored works are copyrighted.

      I was able to find all of the answers within the article, after a finished reading.

      I did not realize that the legal aspects of copyright were so extensive. I found a website that has a descriptive timeline of courtcases, rulings, laws, and acts that have effected copyright in the United States since before 1787. Georgia State University is even included on the timeline--due to a fair use issue in 2014.

    3. That, coupledwith the constitutionalization of fair use leaves the public with free-speech supportfrom both sources, now both on the basis of constitutional empowerment, the mostpowerful source of law in the U.S. legal system.

      This is an encouragement to all types of writers -- not just technical communicators.

    4. depend on free speech to support authorship andinnovation that enable interaction in the democratic process.

      I do feel there is a correlation between freedom of speech and innovation -- which, like Herrington says, keeps the "Framer's" idea of advancing knowledge and democratic participation. Freedom to speak in agreement or disagreement of what our government does (or does not do) can lead to political action and change.

      Herrington, T. (2011). Copyright, free speech, and democracy: Eldred v. ashcroft and its implications for technical communicators.Technical Communication Quarterly, 20(1), 47-72

    5. The significance for technical communicators is the need to be aware that author-ship not only enables protection of original work but also may lead to FirstAmendment speech support

      However, it seems like it is difficult for technical communicators to claim sole authorship of the content they create.

    6. It is possiblethat their authorship of these materials may allow them to influence society and, bydoing so, further participate in the process of democratic interaction

      And hopefully influence society positively. To participate in democratic interaction, technical communicators must think critically and consider multiple points of view (and potential audiences/users) during their creation process.

    7. the actual author or authors who provided allintellectual input in developing the product are not treated as authors under thelaw.

      This relates to the complex definition of authorship mentioned in Reyman's "Rethinking Plaigarism for Technical Communication." I made an annotation that references authorship in the way we covered it in class during lecture.

    8. technical communicators may have littleautonomy or voice in deciding how to develop work they create

      This depends on the circumstance. Sometimes the company or client will ask the technical communicator to develop something that is completely new in the context of content or design. I agree with what Herrington continues to say in the following quotation, that the actions the technical communicator takes is more complex. Our service learning project in class is helping us experience this complex process (of developing content) that involves a lot of communication between us and the client, revising, collaborating, and even conforming to specific outlines like a style sheet or template.

    9. Instead, technical communication “represents a shaping forcein the unfolding story” (p. 11). And it is this shaping potential that may be most im-portant, post–Eldred v. Ashcroft.

      I like how this is phrased, it reminds me of Wickman's "Wicked Problems in Technical Communication." The technical communication profession is a necessary one. Technical communicators are versed in rhetoric, and finely tuned rhetorical techniques are essential to make social and political changes. As technical communicators, we deliver important information to our users in the most accessible way. Even though it may not be our intended goal, we can create changes through our work.

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

    10. time limit

      I originally thought the release of "The Happy Birthday Song" to public domain was a result of the time of ownership expiring, but when I looked for news articles, it turns out the song's release to public domain is a lot more complicated.

      I also was able to find a useful chart as I did further research about time limits. It breaks down copyright terms for many different types of works: unpublished written works, published written works, musical compositions, and architectural works to list a few. It also separates each category by publish date, and gives dates for when the copyright term moves into public domain!

    11. Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA)

      One can read the CTEA for free online with the following link: http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/s505.pdf

      An interesting section I saw (and have never though about before) is enclosed in section 505--4, starting on page 4. This section details the exceptions to copyright law extended to food service and drinking establishments (restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc.). Most restaurants and coffee shops (and even grocery stores) I have been to always have music playing in the background (an exception being the jukeboxes you kind sparsely find in Waffle Houses), but I have never questioned the copyright logistics of this -- or considered how the playing of the music relates back to the artist's ownership. After reading this act, I have an understanding of why these places can play music without charge (if it is not a live performance of the original artist).

    12. tisabout each individual’s ability to participate in theproduction and distribution of culture

      I have not thought about the purpose of freedom of speech in this way before. I've never considered individuals having the ability to "produce" and "distribute" culture. When I think of the term "culture," I think of a collective whole rather than an individual, but individuals do make up the whole. It makes sense -- if enough individuals say the same thing, it eventually adds up to make a difference, and that is what democracy is all about.

    13. technical communicators often play a unique part in creating work that affectsother people.

      This is dual-edged: as technical communicators, we create and consume materials that serve to further knowledge and learning (or impact business interests). This naturally leads us to be participants in social and political interactions, or rather democratic interactions, like Herrington mentions in this article. I feel that the need to create content or develop solutions (to problems) is often driven by economic, social, or political problems.

      Another point to be made here is that as technical communicators, our emphasis lies on creating content for our audience to use. We want our content to be for the users' benefit, the authors' benefit is of lesser importance.

    14. certiorari

      Certiorari. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/29997?redirectedFrom=certiorari#eid.

      A writ, issuing from a superior court, upon the complaint of a party that he has not received justice in an inferior court, or cannot have an impartial trial, by which the records of the cause are called up for trial in the superior court.

    1. it alsonecessarily relies on a complex understanding of author-ship, ownership, and textual production and use.

      Implied authorship is often times more important for technical writers. The "implied" author is typically the company for which they work for, or create content for. Ownership also usually falls under the company's property, unless otherwise specified. On the contrary, the technical writer that produces the content is the actual author and producer of the material. Even though the technical writer might not always be seen as the sole author or implied author of the content they create, they still hold an amount of representation for themselves and authorship for their portion of the content they create.


      A summary:

      This article was mainly about the distinctions to be made for plagiarism -- specifically drawing distinctions between academic and workplace settings. Plagiarism is a lot more complex outside of the academic scope of our lives. In an academic setting, students and instructors are taught to be vigilant and hyper-aware towards plagiarism. In an academic setting reusing materials is almost always to be avoided; however, in the workplace, reusing materials is more appropriate (especially for technical communicators and other content creators). In a work setting reusing materials and collaborating for creation of content is cost effective and time efficient. In an academic setting, reusing materials is likely to cause negative consequences.

      In this article, Reyman makes a point on the importance of authorship, and how authorship is also a complex term when it comes to a workplace setting. Like we have learned in class through lecture and text materials, there is often an intended author and an actual author. The intended author is usually the company that the technical communicator creates content for. This type of complex authorship relationship lends to reusing materials in the workplace an acceptable thing. Materials such as templates, style sheets, and logos are all things that the company has to reuse to maintain its appearance. It would not be beneficial for the company to constantly re-invent itself (though sometimes re-invention is necessary depending on special circumstances like appealing to a new user base for example).

    3. the affordances of copy-right law for some types of copying and re-use. While legalauthors are given some exclusive rights to their works, othersmay still make use of (that is, copy) these works for certaincircumstances under the fair use clause.

      This connects to Herrington's "Copyright, Free Speech, and Democracy: Eldred v Ashcroft and Its Implications for Technical Communicators." If the copying and re-use is appropriate (and proper ownership is attributed) then it is okay under copyright.

      Herrington, T. (2011). Copyright, free speech, and democracy: Eldred v. ashcroft and its implications for technical communicators.Technical Communication Quarterly, 20(1), 47-72

    4. that the use of Internettechnologies for writing leads to plagiarism.

      I slightly disagree with the correlation between Internet and plagiarism. I feel like students get in trouble with Internet sources because of improper citations/reference to ownership. To combat this, students should become more familiar on how to attribute ownership. To combat this, I agree with Reyman later in the paper under the Plagiarism and the Internet header later in this article. She mentions the need for the issue to be addressed in textbooks. More information should be available to students on how to combat plagiarism.

    5. prac-tices that rely on copying, reusing, and “remixing” texts(303)

      How we approach technical writing can also be applied to creative/fiction writing. Both reuse material and remix texts. Genres in both types of writing are constantly be reused, remixed, and reformatted to generate a stronger user/reader base.

    6. even more complex when considered across cul-tures.

      This is something I have never considered before. Do different cultures see ownership and plagiarism differently?

      Different disciplines, which could be extrapolated to be a culture (?), have different standards when it comes to showing ownership. that is why we have different style guides and manuals like MLA, APA. Chicago style, AP, etc.

    7. Rockley also argues that “technical communicatorsneed to understand how information can be used in mul-tiple ways

      I like how this article makes many contrasting points between the academic context of plagiarism and the technical communication context of plagiarism. This passage is another contrasting point.

      Information reused, or used in multiple ways would more often than not be a no-no in the academic context. One cannot even reuse their own work in a different way than originally intended (say, a student writes a paper in a class and wants to use the same paper in another class). Reusing one's own work is known as self-plagiarism, or double-dipping for slang terminology.

    8. honorary authorship

      Honorary authorship relates to what we are doing now in our service learning projects.

      Think about authorship as larger entity. Many technical communicators create content that represents the company, and presents the company as the author of the work. It is important for us to consider representing the company(or client) as the author versus presenting ourselves as the author; while still representing ourselves in our work.

    9. plagiarism

      Plagiarism. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/144939?redirectedFrom=plagiarism#eid

      "The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft"

      Plagiarism is something colleges and universities are increasingly vigilant about. Even Georgia State University (GSU) has a reference to their academic honor code included in every syllabus for every class that a student attends.

    10. Single sourcing

      The phrase "single sourcing" is also unfamiliar to me (from my disciplinary focus in school and work context so far), it looks like single sourcing is an important activity for technical writers and those that work in a corporate industry. I found a website that I think explains the concept well. It allows workers to reuse information and materials without plagiarism consequences, and it also allows companies to save some funds by being able to reuse materials.

    11. boilerplate

      I think this is an interesting term, I have never seen it used outside of a laboratory discipline; it seems to be a slang term for formulaic writing. After seeing the definition this context makes sense to me, it would be standardized sections, or as the bullet says, a template of sorts.

      Boilerplate. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/21014?redirectedFrom=boilerplate#eid17056945

      Stereotyped or formulaic writing

    12. Turnitin.com and other “pla-giarism detection technologies” has created a culture offear among student writers who understand that such tech-nologies may be used for policing their writing practices.

      I can see how sites like this can be beneficial; however, I think it is more beneficial for the student to have a basis of knowledge on how to properly give reference or citation to the work they incorporate into their academic papers (by using the appropriate style manual of their discipline). Human working knowledge is more malleable than Internet service knowledge; sites and information on the Internet can be misleading or misunderstood. I think sites like this should be used as a supplement, not as something students depend on to combat plagiarism.

    13. In the news they see theirpeers venture into the professional world and face publiccriticism and termination of contracts for acts of plagiarism.

      I haven't seen any of my peers face public criticism, but the most recent news coverage I have seen dealing with plagiarism was in regards to Melania Trump (during her speech back in July 2016) when news journalists compared her speech to first lady Michelle Obama's speech from 2008.

      Here is a Time article about the situation that occurred: http://time.com/4413098/melania-trump-speech/

      Another interesting point to consider with this plagiarism issue is the complex role of authorship. Melania did not write the speech (the speech writer did); however, Melania and Donald Trump are the ones who ended up looking bad as the situation unfolded. With that said, this situation illustrates the importance of revision and draft checks before delivering a product (in this case a speech) to a large user base. It is a situation that we as technical writers and students can learn from: we must check and re-check our drafts before we give our audience (specifically our service learning clients) final pieces for submission.

    14. Plagiarism policies on our campuses and practices inour classrooms often serve to identify copying and reusingof text a violation of academic code.

      Reference the plagiarism section in Georgia State University's policy on academic honesty: http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwfhb/sec409.html

      Section 409.02.A: "Plagiarism is presenting another person's work as one's own. Plagiarism includes any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student's work as one's own. Plagiarism frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text, notes, or footnotes the quotation of the paragraphs, sentences, or even a few phrases written or spoken by someone else. The submission of research or completed papers or projects by someone else is plagiarism, as is the unacknowledged use of research sources gathered by someone else when that use is specifically forbidden by the faculty member. Failure to indicate the extent and nature of one's reliance on other sources is also a form of plagiarism. Any work, in whole or in part, taken from the Internet or other computer-based resource without properly referencing the source (for example, the URL) is considered plagiarism. A complete reference is required in order that all parties may locate and view the original source. Finally, there may be forms of plagiarism that are unique to an individual discipline or course, examples of which should be provided in advance by the faculty member. The student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources, the appropriate ways of acknowledging academic, scholarly or creative indebtedness, and the consequences of violating this responsibility."

  5. Sep 2016
    1. Observation ranges from an informal method, where the researcher watches a user and takes notes, perhaps inter- rupting and asking questions, to a very formal method, where a video camera records and time stamps a user at work while a program records the keystrokes used

      Observation is effective because the researcher can observe the user directly. In market research, users are typically placed in a room with a two-sided mirror, a camera, and sound recorder; this allows the researchers to observe the users in a separate location -- allowing the users to feel more comfortable and less pressured as they complete the tasks at hand. Hopefully, if the users are more comfortable and in a relaxed setting, they will provide useful (and truthful) feedback.

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

      I think this is because the survey and interview questions might be too generalized, and doesn't allow for precise answers from the users. Also, users might fabricate their answers, or alter them in a way they think will please the surveyor/interviewer/tester.

    3. technical communicators have sophisticated methods for an- alyzing audiences and an empathy for users, giving them a unique contribution to the development of computer products

      Technical communicators process expert level information/knowledge into something that can be more easily accessed by a general audience. I like that Sullivan used the word "empathy" here. It suggests that technical communicators have a gift for connecting with users and understanding what they need.

    4. Usability can be a part of their research. When marketers are interested in usability, that in- terest is product specific and is customer satisfaction driven. They tend to run focus groups about current and potential products, analyze the customer response cards for a product, and conduct telephone surveys. A product that works well and is an innovation will not be seen as successful if the customers are dissatisfied

      Things to keep in mind about market research(from my work experience in market research): oftentimes, the product-specific interest is also customer specific. Examples of customer specificity include projects that target loyal-brand only customers, and projects that target unaware-only customers. Focus groups are coordinated through set parameters: customer preferences, demographics, personality, and purchase habits.

      This type of usability test certainly does apply to the process of technical communication, because one thing is key: the audience. For marketers, the audience is the specific customer base; for technical communicators, the audience is also who will use their product.

    5. One major filter for a study is the group that conducts it. Several overlapping groups study usability, approaching it with different questions in mind.

      This can be compared to what was read in Wickman's Wicked Problems article. He stated that the different groups from the class approached the Gulf oil spill in a different way. He had groups made up of different disciplines and groups made up of similar disciplines. Both types of groups approached the problem in a way that aligned with their strengths and personal interests. The same applies to usability studies in that there are multiple ways to approach the same topic.

      Wickman, C. (2014). Wicked Problems in Technical Communication. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 44(1), 23-42. doi:10.2190/tw.44.1.c

    6. With a group of target users 0 Using a product 0 In a setting 0 To perform a task 0 For a reason 0 With a result

      Both Sullivan and Wickman utilize steps (and plans of action) when approaching their research. Likewise, both authors utilize frameworks in their research.

      Part of becoming an effective technical communicator is to plan ahead. Time constraints are real, and it is important to give yourself enough time to write and re-write your works.

    7. . I think it makes sense for technical communicators to be involved in the larger quest for usability because we have a close connection to end users, because we have an audience theory, and be- cause we have a growing body of information about users in action

      As writers in technical communication, our work is audience centered. Therefore, it makes sense for technical communicators to be involved in expanded usability, because we focus on what is best for our audience. Expanded usability testing can ensure that we reach our primary and secondary audiences in a more exact way. It might also expand the accidental, or unintentional audiences too. However, it is always most important to target products at your primary and secondary audience members.

      In general, the need for usability testing is expanding. Our world is growing more diverse, and the types of audiences we have at our fingertips are expanding. Usability testing can greatly benefit users that are often times neglected; an example of this would be users with disabilities. An applicable example of this issue occurred today (09.06.16): Hulu has agreed to expand its closed captioning programs due to in-accessibility (and great upset) from deaf individuals and The National Association of the Deaf.

      NAD, A. (2016, September 06). The NAD and Hulu Reach Agreement. Retrieved September 06, 2016, from https://nad.org/news/2016/9/nad-and-hulu-reach-agreement

    8. It can even sound simple when we say that usability investigates whether users can successfully use com- puter products. But the study of users and their use of products is not straightforward.

      Because each individual user approaches the product in an individual way. Usability testing does not have one solution, and user accessibility cannot be understood after one test. The can be compared to Chad Wickman's Wicked Problems in Technical Communication. The problem of the Gulf oil spill did not have one solution to it -- it had many -- and of the many, the solutions still had to be revised over and over again.

      Wickman, C. (2014). Wicked Problems in Technical Communication. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 44(1), 23-42. doi:10.2190/tw.44.1.c

    9. These exploratory tests will serve as litmus paper for their ideas, and any of these changes to the concrete thoughts that writers have about users will change the ways in which they develop manuals

      Continuing to do usability testing is essential for technical communicators to continue to improve their relationship with their users.

    10. though work on feedback during product development is also needed, as are integrated studies of product, users, and milieu, and studies that develop methods. In short, almost everything needs to be done.

      There are endless variables to consider during usability testing, and that makes it difficult to make sure everything is done.

    11. 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.

      Each group is an individual variable. Different approaches are what makes testing usability so difficult.

  6. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. praxis

      Praxis. (n.d.) In Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.gsu.edu/view/Entry/149425?redirectedFrom=praxis#eid

      "Action or practice; spec. the practice or exercise of a technical subject or art, as distinct from the theory of it; (also) accepted or habitual practice or custom."

    2. 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."

    3. 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

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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."

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    11. 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.

      The emphasis on signs, things, actions, and thoughts can be correlated to different modes. Signs, things, and actions can correlate to gestural or visual modes. Thoughts can be translated into speech and therefore be a linguistic mode.

    12. 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

      Perhaps because the students brought biases from their disciplines and ideology into consideration?

    13. Yet it is alsopossible to view it as an opportunity to use diverse interests and expertise towork toward shared goals.

      Diverse interests bring in diverse points of view onto the table

    14. I wanted them to develop a socio-politicalconsciousness that they could use to direct their writing, and their rhetoricalknowledge, toward a wicked problem that they could legitimately address asstudents, citizens, and professionals

      As a rhetorician, it is important to have this type of consciousness in order to be more credible and connected to your audience.

    15. Every solution to a wickedproblem is a “one-shotoperation”; because thereis no opportunity to learnby trial-and-error, everyattempt countssignificantly

      This characterization is closely correlated to the one above it -- when trying to come up with a solution to a wicked problem, we just have to hope that it works. When it comes to scientific problems, scientists can perform experiments with many trials to test if the solution works or not. With "wicked problems," each solution is one trial, and if it turns out poorly (which is a possibility since testing the solution beforehand is not an easy task) it can result in further problems.

    16. There is no separating individual parts from the collective whole; there is onlyan ongoing effort to re-solve problems as they evolve over time and in light ofnew exigencies.

      This is what makes is so difficult to fix any "wicked problem." Especially socio-economic issues that have been problematic for decades. More people need to know that collaboration, particularly effective and willing collaboration, is necessary to continue to create solutions to these problems as they continue to persist.

    17. We can identify causes of the spill (e.g., the Obamaadministration’s policies, Halliburton’s failure toadequately cement the blow-out preventer) andenergy consumption habits in general. Addressingany one cause, however, leads us to different“solutions” or possible outcomes

      This idea illustrates why it is essential for interdisciplinary collaboration to take place as we try to develop solutions for "wicked problems." One individual or discipline may be biased and associate one isolated cause to the "wicked problem." Likewise, one individual or discipline may be biased in creating an isolated solution for the "wicked problem." Rhetorical inventions should be unbiased and consider all points of view.

    18. As Herndl, Fennell, and Miller suggestin “Understanding Failures in Organizational Discourse: The Accident at Three-Mile Island and the Shuttle Challenger Disaster,” such events involve “failuresof communication among ordinary professional people, mistakes committed inthe course of routine work on the job, small mishaps with grotesque conse-quences”

      The challenger explosion relates here because it is traced to a technological problem, and problems of rhetoric and technical communication; technological in origin due to the part of the shuttle that malfunctioned and rhetorical/technical communication error due to media and societal involvement. Another example of a "wicked problem" or catastrophe to the same effect of the Gulf oil spill and challenger explosion is the crash of ValuJet 592.

      Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion [Digital image]. (1986, January 28). Retrieved September 05, 2016, from http://library.artstor.org.ezproxy.gsu.edu/library/iv2.html?parent=true

  7. Aug 2016
    1. How we communicate on a daily basis is often through multimodal means? 5 modes covered by The New London Group:


      • writing
      • speech

      ex: sign language -- which can also be gestural and visual




      ex: architecture


      • speech/hearing
      • alarms
      • music
    1. Medical instructions help patients and care-providers manage a patient’s treatment, improving the health of the patient while reducing costs and risks associated with incorrect care.

      Technical communicators translate expert-level information and ideas into information that can be easily understood by a larger and more generalized audience.