Digital Literacy for Technical Communication

The description of how technology changed jobs and job titles of technical communicators made my heart to leap a bit before I finished the chapter. I had already been having a feeling my professional interests are taken away. After reading thoroughly I understood the shakeup technical communicators went through in the early seventies. This week’s essay made me fully understand why McKenzie described technological advances as a ‘revolution’ she furthermore believes that change requires fine balance (McLunann,25). The style and methods used in Spilka’s essay all the transitions made by professional communicators as Spilka well lay them out the timeline played a vital role.

Timeline 1970s to-date summarizes the occurrences especially the responsibilities of technical communicators. Upon reading the week’s reading it dawned to me that technical communicators played a very important role. The primary job for technical communicators was to document the functions and features of the systems in order to accomplish a true reflection of their role in the production of technical content. When reading I confirmed the following to be primary task for a technical writer:

  • On-the-job mentoring
  • Training
  • Editing product specifications
  • Technical writers had earlier had assistance from typing pool.

1980’s Change was inevitable: Customers increased and this changed the nature of technical communication.

It is amazing to learn that the contributing factor that the work of a technical communicator was affected by the change in markets for computers and the rise of word processing and desktop publishing.

Shifting of technical communicator’s responsibilities with new job title as information developer who also tried to influence the design of the systems to  minimize barriers. I just thought this was a nice move  and I appreciate that the product and technical expertise continued to be highly valued.

What I learned:

  • I learned that the work of information developers was affected by the rise of word processing and automated publishing affected the way information developers prepared content.
  • Late 1990’s shifting from mainframe computers to PCs was complete. Merging of the internet as primary means of communicating online
  • Change of the job of the technical communicator as they worked at client sites to document installations and customized applications.
  • Two categories of assignments were designers of  screens, prompts, and forms with  which users interacted in the application software.

The significant shift in printing came with a significant change in typing which I appreciate the idea of reduction of number of errors that comes with spell check this is the reason I believe the spell check feature was the best discovery in the writing realms.

I also discovered that more information this week  about the desktop revolution that it brought ease of computer literacy. One of the remarkable part of this revolution was the word processing applications that handled the entry revision, simple formatting, and printing of documents. Technical communicators benefited from grade-level checkers.

As other standards emerged for user interfaces was an advantage because users could transfer some skills from a familiar application to a new one.

As the revolution proceeded the third phase in the development of technology for technical communication  the was move to Graphical User Interfaces. Graphical interface offered advantages:

  • Frame maker became the dominant desktop publishing product in the field of technical communication
  • Desktop publishing programs produced plates this reduced printing costs.Check this out

The year 2000

Email became one of the primary means of interpersonal communication and a lot more like exchanging files through email made easy-to-use file transfer mechanisms.

Considering the central role played by technology in technical communication it is undisputed that technology has been also a tool that facilitated the work in a life of a technical communicator. It gives pride to technical communicators to know that they have been their own designers, illustrator, and production assistants and their own editors. Multitasking has played a role in technical communication. Overall the word revolution is the best description.



About mainjenis

I am a grandma and feel excited about it !

Posted on October 2, 2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great summary of the chapter! Can you explain what you mean by, “I had already been having a feeling my professional interests are taken away”? I think you’re referring to needing to learn more technology to keep up, because you’ve mentioned that before, but then your post doesn’t come back to this idea and what your plans are to stay afloat in the tech comm industry. Your literacy narrative may do this, but I’ve not finished grading those yet. Either way, I’m glad your blogging is moving you in the web 2.0 direction!

  2. Dr. Pignetti,

    You are right, if you may recall my computer literacy has been a big challenge in my previous classes. I could not be able to write good and presentable contributions to the discussion board and this made me to feel like being left out as no one ever had any interest in my post because of being roughly arranged (D2L) challenge and a lot more to do with my computer skills. At one point you actually walked me through to get to know how to post in a professional way into the discussion board.However, its been a good experience to learn the hard way because I am now able to do a lot in the digital world.

    It is when I felt that my professional interests were taken away but as I read the chapter relating about digital literacy and professional communicator’s roles I settled and just regained confidence. The whole process of how technology changed jobs and job titles of technical communicators is a consolation. I will eventually get to a point of my aha moment in my life and write a book about digital literacy in my life’s journey. I was supposed to incorporate this when concluding my initial blog it would have been perfect.

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