Epistemological Considerations in Technical Communication

I believe that by attempting to clarify or define our epistemology we could make strides towards a more satisfactory and possibly more universally acceptable definition of our field. For that to happen, all students and teachers of TC need to concern themselves deeply with how knowledge in our field is created and also with the ever evolving/changing epistemic processes that underlie knowledge accumulation/gathering/owning.

In my humble opinion, I see large potential for TC in the latter aspect, from two perspectives: 1. understanding our epistemology and the evolution of epistemic processes in phases of major transition in the way we communicate (and I believe we are in one now, as we were during, for example, the transition from primary to secondary orality), and 2. embracing TC’s role and genuine value to guide these transitions and to make them successful. Continue reading Epistemological Considerations in Technical Communication

Brave New World (6): Now What?

This review of the literature, while limited in scope, does point out the general need for continued review and revision of rhetorical concepts based on new constellations of communication afforded by interactive, participatory, customizable Web 2.0 technologies. Careful examination of the rhetorical situation for each emerging new online communication medium is needed to determine applicable rhetorical concepts. Students have to be prepared for operating in the new communication media with adequate pedagogical strategies. Continue reading Brave New World (6): Now What?

Brave New World (5): The Medium Matters

Throughout my review of the literature and my own daily experience, one theme has emerged as an umbrella over all the three aforementioned foci of research: the technology used to communicate plays a fundamental role when considering the rhetorical concept or theory to be applied.

Barbara Warnik (2005) calls for researchers in the field of new media rhetoric to propose new methods of study for the examination of electronic text rather than focus on methods that can be characterized as printcentric. Continue reading Brave New World (5): The Medium Matters

Brave New World (4): Pedagogical Considerations

The third concept I saw emerge in my review of the literature concerns the development and implementation of new or revised pedagogical considerations.

Stephanie Vie (2008) while not directly mentioning the rhetoric of social networking technologies, puts out a call to action with respect to changing how composition is taught in the classroom. The traditional approach using the academic essay as the central focus in the composition classroom, according to Vie, needs to be adapted to foster a technological literacy that is required to navigate and compose within and across the new Web 2.0 technologies. Shifts in the perception of authorship and audience and the extremely participatory nature of these technologies need to be addressed by instructors in order to remain relevant.

Continue reading Brave New World (4): Pedagogical Considerations

Brave New World (3): New Rhetorical Concepts

Throughout the history of rhetoric, traditional theories and concepts have been examined and reexamined many times to adapt to new communication media and technologies. With the strong emergence of Web 2.0 communication technologies and the immense popularity of social media the reexamination of traditional concepts naturally continues. This relatively small review of the literature strongly suggests the general agreement among theorists that traditional concepts have to be revisited, revised, and reconceptualized in light of the participatory Web 2.0 communication technologies and the associated rhetorical situations that make them sustainable.

Continue reading Brave New World (3): New Rhetorical Concepts

Konstanze Alex Brown