Dr. Michelle Eble Edits Collection

Dr. Michelle F. Eble’s collection Key Theoretical Frameworks: Teaching Technical Communication for the 21st Century, (co-edited by Angela Haas) was published by Utah State University Press.

The work is “links the theoretical with the pedagogical in order to articulate, use, and assess social justice frameworks for designing and teaching courses in technical communication.”

Dr. Erin A. Frost contributed the chapter “Apparent Feminism and Risk Communication: Hazard, Outrage, Environment, and Embodiment,” and Matthew B. Cox added, “Shifting Grounds as the New Status Quo: Examining Queer Theoretical Approaches to Diversity and Taxonomy in the Technical Communication Classroom.”

Go English!

From left to right: Tracy Morse, Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Michelle Eble

Congratulations to Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse, Michelle Eble, William Banks!


Reclaiming Accountability Book Cover

Congratulations to Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse, Michelle Eble, and Will Banks, whose edited collection Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments (Utah State UP, 2016) has been selected as the winner of the 2018 Council of Writing Program Administrators Best Book Award.

Reclaiming Accountability brings together a series of critical case studies of writing programs that have planned, implemented, and/or assessed the impact of large-scale accreditation-supported initiatives. The book reimagines accreditation as a way to leverage institutional or programmatic change. The award will be presented at CWPA’s conference this summer in Sacramento. Go English!

Photo of Erin Frost

Erin Frost Gives Keynote at the 2017 Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop

Dr. Erin A. Frost was a Keynote Speaker at the 2017 Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop last week. Her workshop, “Feminist Credibility: Negotiating Subjectivity in Public Spaces,” examined the ways women’s experiences are often treated as less credible than other perspectives in supposedly “objective” and “neutral” spaces, from research to politics. Dr. Frost also created a website that contains a variety of resources on feminist credibility, along with a collaborative Google doc that participants were asked to contribute to.

Photo of Erin Frost

Dr. Erin Frost giving keynote workshop.


A link to this website resource can be found here: http://feministcredibility.weebly.com

A link to a recorded version of FSDW’s keynote workshop with Dr. Erin Frost can be found here:



FSDW Logo 2017


The Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop (FSDW) is a biennial, online, interdisciplinary workshop for individuals working on feminist-oriented research projects. The workshop is sponsored by HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory) and James Madison University’s School of Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication.

Photo of Dr. Michael Albers

Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences.

Michael J. AlbersIntroduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences. New York: Wiley. 2017.

Alber’s book guides readers through the quantitative data analysis process including contextualizing data within a research situation, connecting data to the appropriate statistical tests, and drawing valid conclusions


Photo of professor Guiseppe Getto

Toward a model of UX education: Training UX designers within the academy.

Guiseppe Getto & Beecher, F. (2016). Toward a model of UX education: Training UX designers within the academy. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 59(2), 153-164.


Abstract: Problem: Increased demand for user experience (UX) designers requires new approaches to teaching and training the next generation of these professionals. We present a model for building educational programs within academia that train job-ready designers. Key concepts: To be successful, this model necessitates a working knowledge of the UX process, the systematic use of sound principles during the design of digital products and services. The model also requires a pedagogical approach that puts learners in a position to solve real problems and that treats them as apprentices on their way to competency. Key lessons: Academic institutions clearly have parts to play in producing job-ready UX designers, but barriers exist to doing so, including access to adequate training in UX best practices. To overcome these barriers, we provide tips for understanding core UX competencies, developing partnerships with UX practitioners, and deploying UX education courses and programs. Implications: Though the barriers to producing sufficient numbers of well-trained UX designers are significant, the combined ingenuity of devoted professionals in both academia and industry can be leveraged to create sound educational opportunities for UX learners from all walks of life.

From left to right: Tracy Morse, Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Michelle Eble

ECU faculty publish book after finding success in improving writing program

Pictured from left to right: Tracy Morse, Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Michelle Eble

Re-posted from http://blog.ecu.edu/sites/ecunow/blog/2016/05/10/ecu-faculty-publish-book-after-finding-success-in-improving-writing-program/


Members of East Carolina University’s English Department collaborated to publish a book they hope will help other higher education institutions harness the full potential of their writing programs.

After successfully utilizing the reaccreditation process to improve ECU’s writing program, faculty members Will Banks, Wendy Sharer, Tracy Morse and Michelle Eble co-edited, “Reclaiming Accountability: Improving Writing Programs through Accreditation and Large-Scale Assessments.” The book provides examples of how departments and writing programs have used accreditation to gain the kinds of benefits seen at ECU through similar initiatives around the country.

As part of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), required for accreditation, the authors focused their efforts on specific initiatives that would help broaden the reach of ECU’s writing program. “We saw reaccreditation as an opportunity to rethink our first-year writing program and our writing-intensive program so they worked together more effectively at helping students move from beginning college-level writing and thinking across their years at ECU,” said Banks, associate professor.

According to Sharer, director of the QEP, some of the changes seen in the program at ECU include:

  • Additional peer consultants to work with students and faculty in all disciplines in a larger, welcoming University Writing Center.
  • A revised Writing Foundations curriculum that includes a new, sophomore-level composition course designed to help students transition into writing in their major areas.
  • Writing mentors embedded in writing-intensive courses across the curriculum.
  • A website that brings together writing-related resources.

Additionally, the university provided resources to help faculty learn new information about writing and how to teach it in major courses.

As part of the updated curriculum, the class “Writing About the Disciplines” was added for second-year students to make it easier to transfer their skills to writing for their disciplines. “We are making the writing that students are doing explicitly relevant to the writing they will do in their majors or even careers,” said Eble, associate professor.

Their book brings together a series of critical cases that show how accreditation has been used in similar ways at other institutions to effect change on campus and across various academic programs. It illustrates how faculty can use accreditation to cultivate campus-wide discussions of writing to better meet local student learning needs.

–Jamie Smith

Photo of professor Guiseppe Getto

iFixit myself: User-generated content strategy in “the free repair guide for everything.

Guiseppe Getto & Labriola, J. (2016). iFixit myself: User-generated content strategy in “the free repair guide for everything.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 59(1), 37-55.


Abstract: Research problem: This study investigates the phenomenon of user-generated content strategy in an open-source, wiki-based content-management system (CMS) for the repair of technological devices (http://ifixit.com). By “user-generated content strategy,” we mean processes for developing systems for producing, moderating, and encouraging user-generated content. Research questions: (1) What strategies, or holistic means of organizing content, are used to manage repair manual content via an open-source, wiki-based content-management system that relies on content generated by a wide variety of users? (2) What content rules, or logical premises for how and where content is developed, emerge from a qualitative case study of such a CMS? Literature review: Though a wealth of empirical research has been conducted into user-generated content, few studies have focused on the explicit strategies employed by organizations to develop and encourage such content. At the same time, several recent calls by researchers in both academia and industry have indicated a need for such content models. Some of the challenges these thinkers have noted with creating user-generated content strategies include the difficulty of maintaining a consistent strategy across content generated by users who don’t necessarily understand what strategies are in place, as well as maintaining a modicum of quality assurance without squelching user participation. Methodology: We conducted a content audit of iFixit’s main educational initiative, the Technical Writing Project (http://edu.ifixit.com) to identify strategies iFixit uses to organize content in this initiative. iFixit is an open-source wiki to help users repair their own devices. We supplemented the audit with interviews with student participants in the project and iFixit technical writing staff to find out what technologies and other affordances affected users of the iFixit Technical Writing Project. Results and conclusions: The main user-generated content strategies used by iFixit include allowing users a wide range of means to participate (such as posting comments or developing their own repair guides), using a content moderation queue (or simple interface for seeing all updates to the wiki), ensuring quality assurance of all repair guide content through redundancy (such as making sure experienced users vetted every published guide), and staging (or arranging information in a linear sequence) information in a multimodal fashion (using multiple modes of communication to reinforce the same information). Such strategies represent a commitment by iFixit to opening up practices that are central to creating content, such as repair documentation, to any interested internet user. Lessons for organizations who wish to encourage user-generated content include developing strategies that protect users from the worst consequences of their actions, that encourage participation, and that allow for experienced users to vet new content.

St. Amant’s collection wins Award of Excellence

Dr. Kirk St.Amant, professor in the Department of English and the International Studies Program, co-edited with Martine Courant Rife, of Lansing Community College, the collection “Legal Issues in Global Contexts: Perspectives on Technical Communication in the International Age,” which recently received an Award of Excellence in the 2015-2016 Summit Competition of the Society for Technical Communication’s Washington, DC- Baltimore Chapter.

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