I did it. I finished my final paper for my second to last course in grad school. The class is Communication Strategies in Emerging Media. We had a choice of class objectives from which to choose. I chose the following from Dr Daisy Pignetti at UW Stout:

Analyze the ways emerging media and digital technologies are changing our workplaces, classrooms, and social lives with emphasis on the technical and professional communication workplace.

I work regularly with engineers in my professional life, and I’ve always found them and their workplace norms interesting. I started to dig into best practices when communicating with engineers – how and when they prefer to do so, etc. This is a big ask of a professional technical communicator in today’s workplace, especially when they’re striving to appeal to a broad audience via emerging media. I found quite a few trends in the resources I collected. With the help of Dr Pignetti’s feedback, I narrowed my paper’s focus to two main points. One, engineers, surprisingly, largely prefer to work directly with others to complete the task at hand. Two, proofreading isn’t as common as it should be, but lots of authors mention it’s importance. This is the introduction to my paper:

While content and products tailored to distinct audiences is an archetype for business, today’s technical communicators are increasingly expected to appeal to a wide range of consumers via various emerging media and technological channels on behalf of their company.  In order to collaborate with diverse teams to produce the needed content, technical communicators must adopt effective collaboration methods throughout the life of a project, including how to elicit needed information from engineers and ensure that final products are useful to broad audiences.  Bridging gaps between creators and consumers remains a central role for technical communicators in 2020.       

The most intriguing new discovery I made is how some authors are automating the identification of expert jargon in academic and professional writings (see Rakedzon, T., Segev, E., & Chapnik, N. (2017)). The potential for utilizing AI rather than developing focus groups is definitely a topic I’ll be keeping an eye on.

About Kim Smith mccroryk0613 Grad School: Technical and Professional Communications Madison, WI

Posted on December 9, 2020, in Teaching. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Bam! Nice work!

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