41 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2016
    1. s lit-tle as we know about technical communication in other countries, it isstartling how little research has been done on subcultures

      I think it is interesting that little research has been done into the subcultures of the United States and technical communication. We have such a varying population made up of all ethnicities all working, in many instances, in the same workplace. I think this speaks volumes about how the author believes we don't like to talk about race in this country because it creates problems. However, not talking about this issue and not conducting research perpetuates existing racial issues and creates new ones.

    2. Since then, we have seen an encouraging number ofacademic articles that discuss gender and international technical communi-cation; still, few discuss technical communication as it relates to race andethnicity within the United States.

      As more people become aware of the inequalities in the work field, in technical writing and beyond, more articles are being published on the subject. I think this is beneficial because it creates a dialogue about race again and also educates those in the majority about problems we may not think about or experience on a day to day basis. It is these people who have power to make changes as well as the minorities who are marginalized.

    3. For example, in some technical communica-tion classes, as in most classes, instructors adopt a color-blind perspective,reiterating the sentiment that race has no place in the classroom (Hairston,1992).

      I think that by enacted this color blind theory in the classroom, technical writers are doing a disservice to their students. Many think race is a non issue in this field but discrepancies still exist in the workplace and I believe that students should be aware of this so they can know what obstacles they are facing. This can also help those of us who don't belong to a minority bridge the gap between us.

    4. EditorialIntroduction:Race, Ethnicity,and TechnicalCommunication

      Race and ethnicity is the discussion in the opening of this article. The comparisons of income, health, education between marginalized groups and their white counterparts is a strong and convincing argument. The article speaks about a few technical writing pieces on the topic of racism and it comes to no surprise that the topic of racism itself is small within this field. Many believe simply by talking about race, they are creating a race problem.

    5. , a group whose civil rights movement hasserved as a model for historically marginalized people around the world

      I agree with the author's viewpoint that the election of President Obama serves as a good example of what one can accomplish in this country but does not solve the problem of racism. I believe that when Obama was elected too much emphasis was placed on how his race showed others there were "no excuses" when it comes to race holding people back. Instead, the problem of racism needs to be targeted in the systems it affects and occurs within like the workplace.

    6. EditorialIntroduction:Race, Ethnicity,and TechnicalCommunicationMiriam F. Williams1and Octavio Pimentel1According to the 2010 U.S. census, the Hispanic population has reached50.5 million people, making Hispanics the largest minority group in theUnited States

      The Hispanic population is the largest minority group, increasing 43% in ten years. There still exists inequalities in employment, income and health because of race. Despite having an example of a member of a marginalized group running our country, these issues still exist.

    7. While theseissues often are overlooked, go unnoticed, or are silenced, the articlesincluded in this special issue ofJBTCdemonstrate the prominence, andmuch-needed analysis, of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in technicalcommunication.

      After events like the Civil Rights movement racism became a topic of less concern and wasn't discussed as in depth as it once was. With racism still a factor in America, the communication of the subject of racism is not one that is talked about as much as other problems and less is written accurately on the subject. Some believe that race is not relevant and that acknowledging color only adds to racial problems.

    8. Unfortunately, there was still little research in this area

      The election of President Obama and the Civil Rights movement were both high profile events that gave many the world view that racism wasn't a prominent issue in the United States. This article talks about the few technical communications on race and ethnicity in the United States. It is not surprising to find just small amounts of writing on the subject because a large number of people do not want to discuss race.

    9. While scholars from various disciplines study the effectsof major demographic and social changes in the United States, they alsoacknowledge that these changes have not alleviated obvious, and sometimesgrowing, inequities in health, wealth, and education

      Many social changes in our country, like the election of President Obama and the Civil Rights movement give people the perception that many of our obvious race discrepancies have been solved but nationally this is not the case. These inequalities still exist and the amount of minorities in our country is growing.

    10. the United States is not a postracial society.Unfortunately, we still live in a society that produces racial constructs andwhere people live out racialized lives as part of their everyday experiences

      This article begins with issues of inequalities between white Americans and minority races. The evidence is shown when looking at education levels, income and health issues. Some believe we live in a postracial society and that speaking of race only perpetuates problems. This color blind outlook is based on a merit system of rewards and penalties which rarely benefits people of color. The U.S is not a postracial society even after the election of a black president and a growing minority population.

  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. include

      The challenge of our thinking of women and the workplace is one of basic production and not one of technology. The concept of masculine and feminine labor are not the same. Historical writing of technological subjects are mostly of male figures and others with very few women. The biggest obstacle for women to overcome is this definition that has been placed on their work and workplace.

    2. If we are to include the accomplishments of women in the history of techni­cal communication, I believe we must challenge the dualisitic thinking that severs public and private, household and industry, and masculine and feminine labor

      This article is explaining how gender and technology and technical communication is one sided with a preference to males. The values we place on women that are less technical and more production work oriented. Their traditional workplace is not one that is considered scientific. Women have been seen as child bearers historically. Our views of technology is more aligned with a man's world. Because of this women have a difficult time being recognized in the realm of science for their achievements.

    3. Feminist critics of technology contend that women are excluded from that which we consider technological by definition: As Stanley puts it, technology is "what men do" rather than "what people do" ("Women" 5). The basis of this assertion lies in cultural views that:

      Our cultural views of technology and women exclude them from being part of the story of technology. These views do not identify women as inventors or designers. It also understates women's skills in all different fields of technology. Traditional women's work is defined as "not technological". Women who have excelled in a traditional workplace have difficulty being recognized for their work in relation to technology. Cook book authors being an example of this.

    4. Judy Wajcman, like Stanley, observes that "we tend to think about tech­nology in terms of industrial machinery and cars .. . ignoring other technolo­gies that affect most aspects of everyday life"

      Gender and technological competence has always been seen as a masculine trait when defining the two genders. This gender division has placed women in a non technical role. They are seen as users of machines but not as innovators, the sewing machine being an example of this. Men are more defined as makers, repairers and designers. This puts women in an inferior role in the workplace because of the non technical activities of the work at hand.

    5. As Joan Wallach Scott (Gender) and Autumn Stanley (Mothers and "Women") each point out, history in general, and the history of technology in particular have tended to omit the activities of women in part by locating significance primarily in public and political activities and innovations, the very "realm[s] of social, political, and economic interaction"

      The history of women and technical communications is a difficult one because of the lack of contributions to the field and also because men have excluded or downplayed women's role in technology. Women, like men, have always tried to improve their work processes but we as a society have historically not viewed women as technical innovators.

    6. Most histories, including the history of techni­cal communication thus far, focus primarily on the works of great men —Aristotle, Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Albert Einstein—and the great works of men —space travel, nuclear power, medical miracles, and the computer rev­olution.

      The history of technical writing has been mostly about great men like Einstein, Galileo, Aristotle, etc. The work of women in history has mostly gone unnoticed by historians. The significance of technical writing falls within two spheres, the public (allocated to men) and the private (allocated to women). Technical writings are more aligned with the public sphere as opposed to the private.

    7. definition, by function, tells us what is and what is not techni­cal writing

      The definition of modern technical writings must first be defined and what constitutes these writings. There are no guidelines for these writings but it is understood that there are two important key points to this definition. 1) A subject matter or function about technology. 2) Technical writing is associated with the work and workplace. These terms about technology, work and workplace are gender neutral terms. Articles from the past that address technical writing and women are very scarce.

    8. One possibility is that women have con­tributed only very rarely to technical and scientific work (and, consequently, to technical and scientific communication). Indeed, Elizabeth Wayland Barber suggests that women's contributions to technological innovation have been hampered by their own productive (and reproductive) responsibilities:

      This article raises the point that most of the history on technology is written by men. The practice of writing is considered to be for men because of the predetermined definition of women's role with technology. There are not many female historians so this has led to "one sided" or male dominated points of view.

    9. "cultural blinders

      These "cultural blinders" have made it harder for women to be seen as a prominent force in the area of technology as opposed to their male counterparts. Women have an attached defenition to their controbution in regards to production of technology. The author offers a definition of this gender difference that can hopefully be used for the future. She also investigates problems within this definition of gender and technology in the workplace.

    10. m e n are largely absent from our recorded disciplinary past, whether as technical writers, as scientists, or as inventors or users of technol­ogy.

      Our recorded history is more focused on men when it comes to fields of science, technical writing and users and inventors of technology. History tells us that these fields are predominately male centered and the role of women is more restricted to the home and being mothers and bearing children. In almost no culture are these roles seen as male centered with the male responsible for child care. This creates a "locking in" effect that impacts women and their role in society. Because of these roles there has been less opportunities for to experiment with new ideas and tools.

  3. Sep 2016
  4. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. The spill warranted these varied approaches: itwas not a problem that could be fixed, let alone solved, in any simple sense of theterm.

      This also reflects how Wickman sees technical communication as an area in which people with different skill sets work with one another with a common goal in mind, in this example cleaning up the coastal oil spill. Wickman also describes how the context of the problem was a complex one that didn't have one simple and concrete solution but different disciplines working together. This also reflects how the author sees problem solving in general with some problems having solutions and some being more difficult to resolve resulting in contrasting people working on the same project.

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

      This is definitely true in the context of the oil spill. If the spill wasn't stopped as soon as possible the situation would get worse. By stressing the importance of each action I think the author is also emphasizing how important the thinking before an action takes place is. I think it's interesting how Wickman sees solutions and critical thinking as both important measures to take before action but also promoting action itself, like in the socially active example Wickman gives.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. influence requires some path to action. Results of the research have enteredour classrooms and have influenced the identity of the field, but researchersand teachers do not have the direct pipeline to practice that we have asacademics preparing students for work as practitioners in corporate settings.We must seek additional ways to make a difference

      I found this point thought provoking because the path to action that the speaker is referring to is often overlooked. To be influential, the speaker's audience must be given the disposition to make a change. The end goal of the audience is engagement as well as them taking some kind of action as well.

    8. 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.

      I think the differentiation between "wicked problems" and other catastrophes is an important one to make because the situation changes rhetorically based on which one you are addressing. Wicked problems are issues that don't seem to have a linear path to an answer or a simple resolution. For example, the author states that something like an end to poverty would be a wicked problem as opposed to a "tame" one.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. 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.

    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. This paper explores ways that technical communication can take a broader view of usability and then situate new approaches and studies.

      I think this touches on the goals we have created for technical writing in this class, emphasizing that the usability of the piece differs depending on the client it's created for. Sullivan uses this goal for the article as a pillar to discuss different ways in which we study usability and the effect that a multitude of different disciplines, like psychology and sociology, can have on the study of usability and technical communication. I think this message is relevant today because of the multimodal forms of communication present in todays world and how new mediums are emerging alongside new technologies.

    10. The Cultural Model With an Example From Describing Social Use- The cultural model takes a sociological approach to the task of studying usability, and its methods aim to study usability in the context of normal use.

      I believe that seeing technical writing through a sociologist's viewpoint is important because of what the author calls "the context of normal use". Although in the reading and in the other articles it's expressed that making your message too simple or dumbed down is also ineffective, it's important for your message to be user friendly and direct also. I think the most effective way to make your message user friendly would be field studies as opposed to laboratory studies even though this is a relatively new approach to technical writing.

    11. What users are the results put to?

      I found this table to be helpful in conceptualizing what needs to be done for a technical writing assignment. Everything is clear and concise, including the projects goals and constraints.