Posts Tagged ‘technical writing’

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Ten Ethical Scenarios for Professional Writing

posted: 6.23.15 by Traci Gardner

Last week, I proposed a compass-based activity for Discussing Ethics Scenarios in Professional Writing classes. This week I’m sharing ten scenarios to use with last week’s ethical compass. Most of the scenarios have alternative solutions or choices that you can discuss beyond the simple choice of where the situation falls on the ethical compass. [read more]

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Categories: Business Writing, Traci Gardner
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Discussing Ethics Scenarios in Professional Writing

posted: 6.16.15 by Traci Gardner

Last week, I posted an activity where students compared codes of ethics from different disciplines. Today, I’m sharing an activity that asks students to apply those codes to some simple scenarios. It’s a bridge activity between examining the codes and discussing more detailed and complex case studies. Like last week’s post, this activity grew out of the Pathways Summer Institute, sponsored by the Virginia Tech Office of General Education. [read more]

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Professional Writing and Codes of Ethics

posted: 6.9.15 by Traci Gardner

This week, I want to talk about an activity for a professional writing course that explores the ethical principles that apply to professional writers. Students will return to these principles throughout the term. This idea grew from work I did last week at the Pathways Summer Institute, sponsored by the Virginia Tech Office of General Education. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Business Writing, Traci Gardner, WAC/WID
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Talking about Audience and Social Media

posted: 5.19.15 by Traci Gardner

While the students I teach are typically adept at personal uses of social media, they often need to learn how to use digital tools for professional purposes as they prepare for their future careers.

This week, I had a personal experience that will make a great discussion starter to talk with students about audience and social media. It all started with my decision to replace my three-year-old phone while keeping my unlimited data plan. I went into the Verizon store and said I needed two things: I wanted to buy a new phone at full price, and I did not want to change my contract in anyway. [read more]

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Categories: Digital Writing, Traci Gardner
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Self-Assessment as Final Exam

posted: 4.28.15 by Traci Gardner

This line graph from a student’s final exam shows the progression of forum posts that the student submitted during the term. His goal was to demonstrate his steady progress toward the required number of posts through the entire course.

Just a glance at the graph tells me that the student fulfilled that part of the participation assignment for the course. Naturally, I still spot check the forums, and I keep an eye on students’ forum posts during the term. I ask students, however, to do the work of examining their forum participation and assessing how well they have done by writing a completion report for their final exam. [read more]

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Categories: Assessment, Assignment Idea, Business Writing, Portfolios, Traci Gardner
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Teaching Email Courtesies

posted: 3.31.15 by Traci Gardner

I receive a lot of email from students. Sometimes it’s messages that I have requested, like links to their work. Other times, students are asking questions about assignments or telling me why they will miss class.

More often than not, these messages are not students’ best writing. I don’t care that the messages are informal. That’s fine with me. At times, however, they wander into telling me far more than I need or want to know. Worse yet, the messages can leave out the crucial details or attachments that would have made the message successful. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Audience, Classroom Challenges and Solutions, Purpose, Teaching with Technology, Traci Gardner
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Photography and Technical Writing

posted: 12.16.14 by Traci Gardner

Earlier this month, Edutopia’s post on Literacy Through Photography for English-Language Learners explored photographs’ potential for analysis, reflection, and organization. The article was focused on younger, English language learners, but the ideas made me think about possibilities for my technical writing students. [read more]

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Categories: Activity Idea, Traci Gardner, Visual Rhetoric
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Quizzes in a Writing Class

posted: 12.2.14 by Traci Gardner

One of my college professors started our last day on A Farewell to Arms with a one-question quiz: “What is the last word of the novel?” I had finished the novel a week in advance, but did I remember that the last word of the novel was “rain”? Of course not.

I’m still angry about that failed quiz decades later; so when the idea of reading quizzes comes up, I remember the “rain” and vow to never, ever impose such nonsense on students. Nevertheless, the issue is bothering me again: Should I give reading quizzes? [read more]

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Categories: Teaching Advice, Traci Gardner
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A Surprise from Google Drive

posted: 11.25.14 by Traci Gardner

Maybe it’s just me, but I suspect that every teacher wonders if students will build on what they learn in a class or even use the information in the future. Now thanks to Google Drive I have irrefutable evidence that they do.

First, let me provide some background. I have been trying to make the assignments in my Technical Writing classes relate closely to tasks students need to do anyway, either as interns, in their classes, or as they prepare to enter the work force. I talk explicitly about how the tasks relate to the workplace writing they are doing or will do. [read more]

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Categories: Business Writing, Teaching with Technology, Traci Gardner
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Technical Definitions and Instructions

posted: 11.18.14 by Traci Gardner

I have been working to make the assignments in my technical writing class tie more closely to tasks students will do in the field. Their range of experiences complicates my goal however. Some have extensive experience, having worked in summer jobs and internships, while others know only their field from the classroom.

Two of the assignments I added this summer have seemed successful regardless of the experience students have. The professional biography assignment and the classification and analysis project allowed them to talk about their field and their experiences in positive ways, but had room for them to research aspects they were unsure of. I wanted to rethink the assignments I was using for definition, description, and instructions to work in the same way. [read more]

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