Designing globally, working locally: Using personas to develop online communication products for international users.

Guiseppe Getto and & Kirk St. Amant (2014). Designing globally, working locally: Using personas to develop online communication products for international users. Communication Design Quarterly, 3(1), 24-46.

Abstract: Extending digital products and services to global markets requires a communication design approach that considers the needs of international (e.g. non-U.S.) users. The challenge becomes developing an approach that works effectively. The concept of personas, as applied in user experience design (UX), can offer an effective solution to this situation. This article examines how this idea of personas can expand communication design practices to include users form other cultures.

Photo of professor Guiseppe Getto

Networked rhetoric: iFixit and social impact of knowledge work.

Guiseppe Getto, Franklin, N., and Ruszkiewicz, S. (2014). Networked rhetoric: iFixit and social impact of knowledge work. Technical Communication, 61, 185-201.


Purpose: Technical communication scholars have shifted to considering the role of communication specialists as knowledge workers within larger networks, such as work groups, organizations, and institutions. From our interest in this trend as well as our aims to bridge workplace and classroom contexts, we conducted a case study of the networked interactions of key actors involved in iFixit’s Technical Writing Project, as enacted in a technical writing classroom at a state university.

Method: From Latour’s definition of an actor as a component of a network capable of impacting other components, we conducted a qualitative case study examining the interactions of technical writers, technical writing students, technological devices, tools, and wiki technologies during students’ completion of the Technical Writing Project. In particular, we examined how these actors exerted rhetorical impacts on one other during students’ writing processes.

Results: The results of our study were that the Technical Writing Project asked students to assemble a complex rhetorical situation that involved technical knowledge-making as well as assembling both human and nonhuman actors to create high-quality documentation. Further, this documentation was created in a situation strongly influenced by both workplace realities and the interactions enabled by an open source wiki that allows for contributions by interested Internet users.

Conclusion: We believe our study on the reciprocal impacts of both human and nonhuman actors in the context of a learning project that spans workplace and classroom context calls for new models of rhetoric that better account for networked knowledge-making.

Profile Photo of Dr. Erin Frost

Apparent feminist pedagogies: Interrogating technical rhetorics at Illinois State University.

Erin A. Frost (2014). “Apparent feminist pedagogies: Interrogating technical rhetorics at Illinois State University.” Programmatic Perspectives, 6(1), 110-131.

Abstract: This curriculum showcase reports on the adaptation of apparent feminist pedagogies (which have been previously featured in a curriculum showcase) to a distance education course. I seek an answer to the question of how apparent feminist pedagogies work differently when the embodiedment of the instructor is not apparent by default. After drawing on cyberfeminist theories to adapt apparent feminist pedagogies to a digital learning environment, I describe and reflect on the work done by students in this course across several platforms, including a public website. This article can help readers to better understand the effects of the instructor’s embodied presence on students and the ways that those effects might change in and across educational contexts. It explains how apparent feminism works in digital contexts; how this pedagogical approach might look in an online graduate seminar; how it affected specific student learning in this specific case; and how these results differed from those I found in face-to-face contexts.

Transcultural risk communication on Dauphin Island: An analysis of ironically located responses to the Deepwater Horizon Disaster

Erin A. Frost (2013). “Transcultural risk communication on Dauphin Island: An analysis of ironically located responses to the Deepwater Horizon Disaster.” Technical Communication Quarterly, 22(1), 50-66.

Abstract: This article uses the ironic delivery sites of rhetorics surrounding the Deepwater Horizon disaster to foreground the importance of transcultural communication in constructing risk. Whereas hegemonic entities used community centers as spaces for dissemination, local actants took up digital media. With ecocritical and ecological-economic approaches, this article uses actor-network theory and the concept of digital guerrilla media to frame risk as being produced by complex transcultural networks that take into account the importance of location.

Profile Picture of Dr. Donna Kain

Visualizing Complexity and Uncertainty about Climate Change and Sea Level Rise.

Donna J. Kain and Michelle Covi. (2013). Visualizing Complexity and Uncertainty about Climate Change and Sea Level Rise. Communication Design Quarterly. 1.3: 46-35.

Abstract: In this paper, we discuss the use of visual representations to assist people in understanding complex information about sea level rise and climate change. We report on the results of a 2011 study in which we conducted plus-minus document usability evaluations of documents describing the mechanisms and consequences of sea-level rise in coastal areas. The protocol included 40 participant interviews and post interview quizzes. We tested with three documents, one that presented information for the U.S. southeastern coastal region and two that presented information “localized” for the two areas in which we conducted the research. Findings indicate that participants had difficulty with information presented in graphs and maps and that, while they indicated preferences for localized information, localized images did not improve understanding of complex information.

Profile Picture of Dr. Matthew Cox

Teaching with Technology: Remediating the Teaching Philosophy Statement.

Matthew B. Cox with Danielle N. DeVoss, Karissa Chabot-Purchase, Phill Alexander, Barb Gerber, Donnie Johnson Sackey, Staci Perryman-Clark, Julie Platt, and Mary Wendt. “Teaching with Technology: Remediating the Teaching Philosophy Statement.” Computers & Composition. Volume 29, Issue 1 (2012) 23-38.

Abstract: Teaching philosophy statements are ubiquitous at a particular moment in our intellectual and professional lives (i.e., the job search); we might, however, resituate them as living documents to multimediate, remediate, and use as a reflective space in our teaching careers. Although this particular genre is commonplace across disciplines in the Humanities, teaching philosophy statements are undertheorized, perhaps because they are typically situated in a particular moment. Because of the ubiquity of these documents, and also because of the lack of historicizing how they are prepared, how they are produced, and how they function—professionally and intellectually—in this manuscript we first provide a bit of background and context of teaching philosophy statements. We review the limited existing work on this important genre before we argue for why and how they might be attended to and rethought, especially in light of today’s digital tools and multimediated ways of representing our work—and especially in the context of larger discussions about media work and professionalization. In the second section of this manuscript, we present examples from and reflect on our processes of remediating a specific type of teaching philosophy statement; we created teaching with technology philosophy statements, then remixed and remediated these traditionally prepared statements into slideshow presentations, Web sites, digital–visual collages, and digital movies. We describe the reflective and transformative work that can occur through such an activity by addressing four “emergencies” that occurred as we engaged this work. We conclude with comments about both the value of remediation and about the future of teaching philosophy statements in a multimediated world.

Human-Information Interaction and Technical Communication: Concepts and Frameworks

Dr. Albers‘ book, Human-Information Interaction and Technical Communication: Concepts and Frameworks, was published by IGI Global in 2012. The book reveals how people must move from technology-centric views of information interaction to human-centric views. For more information about the book visit

Photo of Dr. Michael Albers

Design and Usability: Beginner Interactions with Complex Software.

Michael J. Albers. “Design and Usability: Beginner Interactions with Complex Software.” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. 41.3, (2011), 273–289.

Abstract: The software for a military command and control (C2) system presents an information space in which the C2 operator must manipulate a complex set of information in order to maintain the common tactical picture. A usability test of C2PC, a C2 system currently used by the U.S. Marine Corps, was performed with 13 Marines as participants. They were given problems designed to require actions similar to what they would encounter during real-world Combat Operations Center (COC) operation. The observations revealed an interesting disconnect between the underlying design assumptions and how beginner C2 operators interacted with the system. They were able to perform simple tasks, but could not combine those simple tasks into realistic tasks. These differences highlight the need for using complex scenarios when testing complex systems.

1 2 3 4