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An Academic Ejournal As Technical Communication Client Project: Enculturation, Production, and Assessment

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Purpose: This article focuses on the integration of a specific client project, the production of an issue of an established ejournal, into the Technical Communication major at New Mexico Tech. Students experienced a “workplace context” within their university classroom (replete with timeline challenges, requisite managerial decisions, and assignment delegation).

Methods: Students' performance on required course documentation and ability to satisfactorily complete course goals were examined, and exit interviews were conducted and analyzed through the lens of theoretical frameworks offered by Cook (2002) and Blakeslee (2001) and correlated to previous research.

Results: Students in the course described developed new literacies (per Cook) and participated in a process of gradual exposure, experiencing “exposure, authenticity, transition, and response” as Blakeslee (2001) stresses, to professional, workplace communication genres.

Conclusions: This client project can serve as one model for the kind of bridge for which Blakeslee et al. have called. A critical part of any bridge is its two “destinations,” so our study points to both footings of such a structure—academic learning modules and workplace practices—both of which must be further explored by technical communication faculty and the technical communication professionals with whom they collaborate and with whom they confer about university program efficacy.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • Technical Communication, the Society's journal, publishes articles about the practical application of technical communication theory and serves as a common arena for discussion by practitioners. Technical Communication includes both quantitative and qualitative research while showcasing the work of some of the field's most noteworthy writers. Among its most popular features are the helpful book reviews. Technical Communication is published quarterly and is free with membership.
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