53 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2016
  2. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. As a technical communication teacher, therefore, I considered it especially important that my national survey investigate possible differences of opinion dividing educators and practicing writers and editors.

      I assume that educators would have less ethical issues, compared to someone actually working in the industry. Being a professor at a university provides access and permissions to use someone else's works for educational exercises, even if that includes slight alterations or even just making up random figures and charts displaying data. This is the opposite from someone actually working in the field as a technical communicator, who could easily lose their job for doing something like that.

    2. Without this principle of “considered practice” to guide their decisions regarding document design, technical communicators have the virtually impossible job of continuously adapting their individual ethical practices to the rapid advances of computerized technology and the new rhetorical powers that such advances never cease to offer

      It makes the job of technical communicator tougher when there is no clear line drawn in regards to ethics in design. However, I think a good idea would be consider how they would display the information if it was only in text. Would you be okay with altering percentages in a corporate memo or newsletter? Probably not. Therefore, technical communicators should stick with their current practices and apply that to the new medium because the only thing that is changing is the method of delivery.

    3. Is a philosophy that emphasizes consequences a sufficient or satisfactory basis of ethical decisions?

      I believe that this could be a good and bad thing. It's good because it will hopefully prevent people from making bad ethical decisions. It could also be perceived as a bad tactic if we think about the previous unit, as far as fair use. An example we discussed would be academia and plagiarism. Plagiarism is always used as a tool of threatening students to make ethical decisions, but fair use is never talked about thoroughly. If we are going to emphasize consequences, we have to pay equal attention to teaching communicators how to do things the proper way.

    4. The greater the likelihood of deception and the greater the injury to the reader as a consequence of that deception, the more unethical

      I completely agree. As a journalism major, we are told that everything we do is for the audience's benefit. This is similar to philosophy to what is taught in technical communication. The audience is always the first priority.

    5. Using typography to decrease readability

      Using typography to decrease readability serves no purpose to anyone. In technical communication, the point of your job is to share information with the audience. Purposely counteracting with that is unethical and irresponsible as a content creator. Why create something no one will be able to interpret?

    6. Are clear professional guidelines or a substantial body of research necessary to guide the ethical exercise of this new rhetorical power?

      I don't believe that more information is necessary to manage this new rhetorical power. This is all about judgement. Technical communicators, or anyone in any profession, should have good enough judgement to determine if they're designing documents responsibly, displaying truthful and accurate data and information.

    7. While studies of technical communication ethics typically omit the subject of document design, research focusing on document design usually offers little discussion of ethical issues or implications

      As a technical communicator, you should take the lessons you've learned about ethics in your field and carry that into the area of document design. Because there is not a lot of information concerning this topic, it's the creators job to create content responsibly. If they are unsure if something they've created is ethical, they should ask.

    8. He declares that airbrushing photographs to “highlight essentials” is ethical, but deleting “unsightly or unsafe items” is unethical.

      Airbrushing photographs has been a huge issue in journalism over the past ten years. Recent feminist movements are against it because it indirectly body shames the person whose picture is altered. This is an unethical act because you are misrepresenting that person to the public.

    9. “Truthfulness requires that although we condense technical data, we should not misrepresent them to our audience (we can suppress the data points, e.g., but the curve should still have the same shape as before)” (

      This is an important issue to bring up. Correctly displaying data is an ethical issue because you would never want your audience to be intentionally mislead, especially when displaying controversial information such as voter turnout and community crime reports.

    10. Today, more and more often, the technical writer is a technical communicator, choosing the typography and graphics as well as the words, designing the pages as well as checking the spelling.

      I like to credit this crossover and the consolidation of multiple duties to the technical revolution. Because of the current ease of accessing the necessary tools and programs, it's easier for technical communicators to create all of their own visual content rathe than outsourcing.

    1. The visual content you present in a document and the way you present it matter.

      This is so important because it's important to remember that your audience is composed of lots of different people who all might interpret information different ways. One person might interpret information better through reading, while another interprets it best through the use of graphics.

    2. The emergence of new software and hardware technologieshas enabled writers - not just graphic designers and programmers - to incorporatevisual content into their work to help them achieve these important rhetoricalgoals.

      Some examples of software that have helped improve visual communication in technical communication include InDesign, Photoshop, Paint and PiktoChart.

    3. To practice designing and composing a poster display board, try completing amockup

      Mockups are extremely helpful when creating designs because they give you a general idea as to what the end product will look like. Of course, changes are expected, but mockups are a good starting point for anyone looking to create a large design.

    4. Poster Tips

      Posters are tricky design wise because it can be easy to play it safe and stick everything in the middle. This creates a weak design. When creating a poster, it's important to consider the four power points and the rule of thirds. Strong designs place content on one of the points or one of the lines. Weak designs place things dead center, along the sides, or in the corners.

    5. Typography refers to the overall balance and interplay of the letters on the page orscreen.

      It's extremely important to consider typography in technical communication and design to ensure maximum readability. In graphic design, one of the 13 deadly sins is using "tacky type." This includes, but is not limited to, reversing, stroking, using all caps, and underlining. These are all signs of inexperience. It's important to remember that readability is key!

    6. Proofread

      The importance of proofreading is only second to copyright and permission information. Always consider the audience and your reputation as a designer, technical communicator, etc. when releasing work into the public. Proofreading ensures complete clarity as to what you are trying to communicate because your work will be free of grammatical and spelling errors. Also, always ask a fresh pair of eyes to look over your work for you before releasing it.

    7. Copyright and Permission inform

      Copyright and permission information is the most important thing to remember when creating a visual. It is not okay to take credit for someone else's work, even if that was not your intention. Cite! Cite! Cite!

    8. Using Visuals, Tips

      I think another big tip as far as using visuals is to ensure they aren't visually boring, and creators create a strong design. Additional things to consider include balance, symmetry, and visual mass.

    9. Note the different types of visuals you can use in today's multimedia environment.

      As a journalism major, I must consider visual content in every news piece I write. Whether it be an on-camera interview or document layout on InDesign, it's always important to present content in a way that the text and visuals co-exist seamlessly.

    10. Headings should reflect the importance of the information contained within thesection. For example, an A-level heading, the heading for a major section, might beall capped, LIKE THIS. The B-level heading, the heading for a sub-section within themajor section, might only have the first letter of each word capitalized, Like This.

      Organizing headings helps readers recognize transitions from one subject to the next, importance of content, and helps readers find specified information they are searching for.

      Organized headings has become the norm in information presentation, whether in books, websites, presentations, etc. As a technical writer, it's important to acknowledge style guides when determining how to place headings.

    11. In anacademic or professional context, verbal and visual information work together toconvey data

      In turn, the combination of visual and verbal information reiterates the point communicators are making. For example, the presence of line graphs showing the ups and downs of the stock market support the verbal and numerical data given each day at the closing of the market.

  3. Oct 2016
  4. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. I would argue that technical communicators participate in shaping society anytime they offer original viewpoints, methods, technologies, or materials that affectthe way we work.

      Technical communicators shape society through their field by shaping the way information is interpreted by society. I support this opinion because they provide points of view in their work that others might not have thought of and help jumpstart the intellectual process or problem-solving process for those who use their work.

      An example of this would be someone using a help-guide for a computer they bought. They don't know how to solve the issue themselves, they read the guide, they process that information and they apply it to their problem.

    2. Technical communicators who engage in corporate authorship and who createworks for hire develop commodities of trade. Because copyright law provides thelegal fiction of corporate authorship, the actual author or authors who provided allintellectual input in developing the product are not treated as authors under thelaw. As such, under work-for-hire, not only do authors not retain rights of controlover their intellectual products, significantly, works for hire do not represent themas individuals. Therefore, these products are treated as commodities rather than asspeech for purposes of their creators’ First Amendment protection, and as theEldred v. AshcroftCourt made clear, the First Amendment does not automaticallyprotect neutral speech in copyright law.

      I spoke about this in an earlier annotation.


      Works created within the scope of employment or works-for-hire are not protected under copyright law for the author, but rather for who it was created for.

    3. For instance, technical communicators who areresponsible for creating instructions for government tax forms affect almost all cit-izens at least once a year during tax filing time.

      I find this interesting because it seems that their job as technical communicators, working for the government, can ultimately affect the way people feel about the government.

      For example, automated phone answering systems for government entities ask questions to help direct phone traffic to the appropriate department. I assume that technical communicators help to determine the questions ask, how they should be worded and what information should be requested before being dispatched to wherever the callers end up going.

    4. Authorship can allow technical communicators toparticipate in producing speech that leads to democratic interaction supportingself-actualization.

      Technical communicators author works that are used by the masses because they are effective at explaining and delivering information in a way that most people will understand. Having an avenue to share their opinions (democratic interaction) on how to solve issues, supports the talent they developed to effectively communicate (self-actualization).

    5. But supporting speech in copyright is problematic when copyrighted works arecorporate commodities rather than representations of individual authors.

      I also think its important to consider if work created within someone's scope of employment, rather than for individual creative purposes, could even be seen as copyrightable. The text refers to it, rather, as a "corporate commodity."

    6. but a standard set of instruc-tions might also involve a mere repetition of what has been previously written.

      In the Unit 1 readings, we attacked usability and suggested creating one standard set of instructions to measure it. This conflicts with this reading which suggests using one set of standard instructions across the field of technical communication could be considered a copyright issue.

    7. The Court stated that “by establishing a marketableright to the use of one’s expression, copyright supplies the economic incentive tocreate and disseminate ideas” (Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises, 1985, p. 25)

      Nation Enterprises' use of the of the 400 words was not fair use because of the effect it could have potentially had on the free market.

      If this book would have become a NYT best seller, they would have ultimately been stealing money from a potential project of the original creator, because although they hadn't thought to use the original work in that medium, how do you know that they never would have? It infringed on Harper's right to potentially create a derivative work.

    8. And technical communicators, as well as other creative product devel-opers, may extend their means of interacting in a democratic society to workplacevenues.

      The field of technical communication replicates that of a democracy because the most effective technical communication initiatives are done attacked as a team. Each communicator within the team uses their voice to offer suggestions and opinions, which is similar to how a democracy is run.

    9. the intellectual property provision has a dra-matic impact on the work that technical communicators undertake, both as partici-pants in organizations that further business interests and as individuals who partic-ipate in democratic interaction

      The most evident way that the intellectual property clause could impact technical communicators would probably be the impact it would have on interdisciplinary collaborations. Technical communicators have the privilege of being in a field that embraces the use of others ideas, solutions, deliveries, etc. because multiple scenarios could warrant similar, if not the same, resolution.

    10. By developing the intellectual property clause in this manner, the Framers ofthe Constitution acknowledged the more abstract nature of creative thought andensured that abstract intellectual efforts are not treated as property that can bestrictly controlled or owned by one to the detriment of another.

      The intellectual property clause prohibits intellectual property from being treated as physical property that can be "controlled or owned by one to the detriment of another."

      This is interesting to me because this is how patents are controlled. Patents can be held for 20 years and are controlled by the owner during that time, granting the freedom to do whatever they like at that time. A good example of this would be the pharmaceutical industry. Companies who create pharmaceuticals can hold patents for specific types of drugs allowing them to be the sole producer and seller of that drug. As a result, the company can sell the drug at whatever price they would like because they know consumers will have to buy it from them.

    11. The time limit and lim-ited monopoly create a public domain of information, and, as a result, a basis ofknowledge that is accessible to all citizens and enables democratic dialogue andexchange of ideas.

      Most copyrighted material, unless under special circumstance, is protected for the time span of the author's life plus 70 years. After this, the material can be used by anyone.

      I think it's beneficial to society to have a time limit on copyrighted materials because it provides the opportunity for the work to be improved or a derivative work to be produced.

  5. Sep 2016
  6. techwritingf16.robinwharton.net techwritingf16.robinwharton.net
    1. 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]

      Finding resolutions to problems such as these are not easy. As stated, governmental planning plays a big factor. It's the government's job to solve problems quickly, which often leads to the lack of finding a solution that also has quality. This reiterates the emphasis placed on finding resolutions, rather than solutions.

    2. Instructors of technical communication are uniquely positioned to engagestudents with concrete problems in local workplaces and community settings.The benefits of this pedagogy are well documented [3-8]. Problem-definition,however, can be a complicated rhetorical and methodological undertaking inits own right. 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 section of text interesting because modern curriculum in classrooms is extremely concrete and fact based. As a result, more complex problem solving skills are lacking. Creating solutions to problems that aren't "linear" is nearly impossible for someone who has never had to do it before.

    3. “wicked problem” as a wayto characterize social policy issues that cannot be addressed through techno-scientific rationality alone.

      The purpose can be defined with this text

    4. Identifying the Gulf spill as a wicked problem encouraged students to learnabout systemic issues that demand attention in themselves but that also connect toother concrete problems that can be addressed through more local engagements.

      I could also assume that because the "wicked problem" was so close to home, and had an emotional, physical, and economic effect on the students, they were more engaged and willing to find solutions to the issue. An example of this would be Hurricane Katrina. The hurricane was one of the largest, if not the largest, natural disasters in US history. Coastal and Southern states felt the effect of the hurricane through avenues such as mass migration into bordering states.But it was more than likely less prevalent in Midwestern states.

    5. Table 2. Assignments, Objectives, and Outcomes Rela

      This chart will be a helpful reference when attacking our client-service projects at the end of the semester. This will be a great reference.

    6. 1. the design of symbolic and visual communications;2. the design of material objects;3. the design of activities and organized services; and4. the design of complex systems or environments for living, working, playing,and learning.

      "Wicked problems" are never truly solved. All solutions are temporary. My only question is whose job is it to manage those "solutions" post national emergency? What happens when the novelty wears off? For example, attending college in the city means being confronted with homelessness everyday. It's natural for a person to become conditioned to their surroundings. How can we ever find solutions to things that we're emotionally disconnected from?

    7. 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

      Another value of "wicked problems" is the advantage of using a collective of different people with different opinions and contributions. This creates more than one viable option to solve one fluid issue.

    8. I believe that these types of incidentsoffer a powerful basis for teaching students how to address problems on a localscale—through their research, writing, and emerging professional expertise—andfor addressing the array of global entanglements that continue to arise well afterthe semester has come to an end

      Real-life application provides students with experience and further develops the skills they've learned in the rhetoric class. Students will never retain skills and information if they never put it to practice.

    9. Those involved in the response and clean-up effortshave an ethical responsibility to consider the out-comes of their actions (e.g., applying dispersantsand not knowing their long-term effects).

      I understand the ethical obligation to predict outcomes, but it is nearly impossible to guess every single one, especially with a problem that will seemingly never end.

    10. Placements have boundaries to shape and constrain meaning, but are notrigidly fixed and determinate. The boundary of a placement gives a contextor orientation to thinking, but the application to a specific situation cangenerate a new perception of that situation and, hence, a new possibility tobe tested. Therefore, placements are sources of new ideas and possibilitieswhen applied to problems in concrete circumstances [18, p. 13].

      Placements are not concrete but provide great plans of attack in situations that require immediate response.

    11. causal network

      Can I get an example of a causal network?

    1. 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.

      Factors such as these would make it to difficult to analyze each manipulated factor is a matter of personal opinion.

    2. The broad view of usability includes so much work that we need to build a framework for the studies. Thus, I argue that we handle the problems by situating a particular investigation in light of its research group, its research ques- tions, its methods, the issues it settles or raises, and its major constraints. The situating will help us fashion a coherent land- scape of usability, a landscape that will help us to assess more cannily what we know about usability and what we need to know.

      This coincides well with the statement I previously made about the difficulties of measuring and analyzing usability with infinite manipulations used throughout technical communication.

      By enacting one specific framework to be used by all technical communicators, it makes it easier to determine usability across the field.

    3. Direct questioning -Surveys -Interviews - Comprehension tests 0 Observation -Informal observation -Laboratory observation -User protocols -Reading protocols -Keystroke records -Computer text analysis -Editorial review -Technical review

      Of the three methods, I would assume that direct questioning and observation would be the most effective. Direct contact with users and instant access to data would make determining usability easier.

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

      According to the text, traditional evaluation methods produce real-time results, in regards to readability and efficiency. They don't, however, answer questions of usability.

    5. Product Development Model With an Example From Test- ing of Documentation- The product development model ad- heres to a pragmatic, engineering model. It focuses on deliv- ering usability information important to the various stages of product development in a timely manner. Because of the time constraints, it normally employs laboratory rather than field studies. Thus, it selects research methods on the basis of how well they deliver the necessary information. Dieli [18] and Lasselle [19] have identified a number of products thkt could be tested at each point in the development cycle- from others’ products and prototypes in the design phase, to storyboards, to documentation modules, and to full product tests. These lists suggest a range of places to test that are new to usability testers who focus on testing completed, or near-completed, products

      The product development model measures usability, paying special attention to each stage of development, maintaining realistic expectations during each stage, and continuously determining the practicality of the product from stage to stage.

    6. The milieu of the cognitive work is the laboratory. Though surveys and interviews may be part of the work, classical experiments or protocols are the mainstays of the research. Informal observation, editorial review, technical review, and field studies are not often employed.

      The cognitive model requires an experiment. Test subjects must use the "product" with researchers watching, who then determine usability through user action.

      My only concern with this method is pre-screening for participants. The provided example involves word processor software. A factor that could impact data would be computer literacy or basic familiarization. Although its a new program being tested, anyone who has previously used a word processor would be more successful at navigating the tested program than someone with no previous experience.

    7. In the field, researchers can learn about the social complexities of use and gain strategies for (1) improving com- munication with users and (2) designing systems that support the natural means of social feedback and interaction.

      The Cultural Model uses user interaction to determine usability. This model seems the most reliable when trying to determine the usability of a program because it connects researchers with the audience. It's easy to assume that the larger an audience a program or website has, the simpler usability has to be.

    8. Product methods are usually linked to product ques- tions, cognitive model methods to user questions, and cultural model methods to milieu questions.

      It's important to recognize the connections between the methods and questions: information processing and questions formed during application or testing, and a person's beliefs connected to how/where they were born or raised

    9. A second means for enhancing product development can come from applying the results of validation research.

      Connecting data and research across technical communicators, in regards to one product, can improve usability. A collective effort among many in the field provides many "solutions" or "resolutions", as we learned in #wickman concerning wicked problems.

    10. More and more people believe that we need to know about “natural use” to know about “usability” and to build more usable systems

      "Natural use's goal is to minimize interference to results and data as close to reality as possible."


      This can be done through observation, and can be extremely helpful when determining usability. Going with the provided example, if users were testing a new word processor, some questions that could be answered include: How easy is the program to navigate? Are the tools and symbols universally recognizable?