TWC5/421: Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus, Spring 2010

Writing, communication, and multimedia technologies are evolving—in creative, community, academic and professional contexts—often more quickly than allows for assessment and reflection on their use and their social, economic. and cultural impacts. This course is designed to explore and analyze those contexts and their implications for professional Technical Communication and for multimedia production.

The course is rhetorically based so that you can determine how to write snd design in any situation by analyzing the purpose, audience, and context; rhetorical aims will shape document preparation and design.

At the end of the course, you will know:

  • How the histories and social impacts of writing, publishing, and multimedia technologies inform our contemporary understanding and use of those technologies, including copyright law and your fair-use privileges
  • How to decide which technological interfaces or media are appropriate for your audience, purpose, and rhetorical situation
  • How to assess claims about a communication or multimedia technology’s “interface,” “interactivity” and “usability”
  • How to write, design, and promote respect and understanding for your audiences in computer-mediated and multimedia communications
  • How communication and multimedia technologies are affecting and changing popular notions of collaboration
  • When (and why) to advocate, promote, argue, and engage an audience of professionals on appropriate and ethical uses of communication and multimedia technologies

For the Spring 2010 section of the course, you have three options from which to choose, based on your academic and professional interests and needs. See Projects & Grading and our course Blackboard forum for more information.

A note to graduate students

Graduate students enrolled in the course will be responsible for researching and writing an additional Background Report (or “White Paper”) on a Technical Communication topic that you are interested in, and which is negotiated with me. You are welcome to propose a topic and scope. Some timely examples:

  • Web 2.0: what is the role — or what should be the role — of the technical, professional communicator in a database-driven, social-media world?
  • Intellectual Property: Digital Copyright & Fair Use: what rights, responsibilities, and current conversations should technical and professional communicators be aware of?
  • Empathic Design: what can technical and professional communicators and designers learn from the newly emerging field of Empathic Design (and vice versa)?
  • Gender & Technology: do men and women read differently? Do they interact with media differently? Do they have different assumptions (or experiences) with technical and professional communication?