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Professional Communication Conference, 2004. IPCC 2004. Proceedings. International

Date 29 Sept.-1 Oct. 2004

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 66
  • How to develop and manage a Web site on a shoestring budget

    Page(s): 97 - 100
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (582 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Working as a Web site consultant has given me the opportunity to work on projects of all budget sizes. While large-budget projects give us the ability to spend time developing and testing every aspect of the site, smaller budget projects do not provide that luxury. This work explores techniques and processes we have successfully used to create and manage usable, aesthetically pleasing, and accessible Web sites on a shoestring budget. View full abstract»

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  • How can we make user instructions motivational?

    Page(s): 101 - 108
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (740 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Good technical instructions are often viewed as 'cool, concise and professional', but there are good arguments to pay attention to their persuasive and motivational aspects as well. Until now, only analyses of existing instructions have been published, while guidelines for making instructions motivational are not yet studied carefully. We present four strategies that can be followed, and an experiment that was meant to test the effects. The results show that motivational elements do increase the user's appreciation of the instructions, but have no effect on performance, self efficacy, or appreciation of the product. However, there are indications that further research may show effects. View full abstract»

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  • User eye motion with a handheld personal digital assistant

    Page(s): 279 - 288
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (947 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The limits of personal digital assistants (PDAs) encourage information crowding and challenge users' searching skills. Findings are reported from a study of eye movement data from nine users tasked with searching for information on graphical user interface screens, Web pages, and similar screen images. Images varied in information density, color highlighting, and sequence of presentation. View full abstract»

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  • The rhetoric of the capstone project: working towards an explicit definition of the capstone project writing process

    Page(s): 89 - 96
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (733 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The capstone course in civil engineering is a particularly important and challenging course for seniors, especially with respect to their writing and oral presentation skills. Over the past three years, working at the interface of communication and engineering content in this course, we have iteratively shifted the role of the rhetoric consultant from giving only feedback to designing written assignment handouts that guide the students through the project development process and presentations. We describe the course, share some of the materials that we have developed, and discuss our successes and challenges as we work together helping students move to a clearer understanding of what is expected of them as practicing engineers. View full abstract»

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  • Text, tacit knowledge, and the tango

    Page(s): 289 - 290
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (451 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    As technical writers, we are typically quite comfortable with moving between tacit and explicit knowledge, having made careers out of first analyzing and then documenting that which has not been previously codified or captured in text. Yet not all types of knowledge are easy prey; indeed, I will argue that much of what we know defies the pen and taunts the page. The goal of this workshop is to explore one such type of elusive knowledge: that which pertains to our kinesthetic sense, the knowledge we have and rely upon daily about bodily position and movement. After this exploration, we will discuss the kinds of knowledge one must acquire to dance a tango and we will critique systems for recording dance movements in print. Finally, we 'II consider what we *ve learned about the tango and ballroom dance and consider its application to writing and reading. View full abstract»

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  • Universals and variables in cross-cultural communication

    Page(s): 36 - 41
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (700 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Misunderstandings, difficulties, and theoretical issues naturally emerge from Hofstede's parametric model of cultural variation, currently promoted as a tool to assess problems of intercultural communication. I compare his approach to the commonly-accepted model that linguists use to describe how human languages vary widely, and yet are all thought to be based on a common set of human-language universals, generally understood to have been fixed by human DNA, the cumulative programming of human evolution. Hofstede's fixed set of cultural parameters likewise imply a set of cultural universals. By analogy with the linguistic parameters it becomes apparent that beneath all the highly visible differences between cultures, there would likewise be a set of a cultural universals, likewise probably shaped by human evolution and programmed by our common genetic code. View full abstract»

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  • The triple constraint of the document: coordinating concepts in rhetoric and project management for engineering students

    Page(s): 83 - 88
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (743 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In the project management course at the University of Minnesota, Civil Engineering students are learning the vocabulary and concepts for managing projects, engineering economics and writing together. Often they have difficulty seeing the connections between the actions involved in managing projects and their writing assignments. We present our strategies for coordinating concepts and connecting writing assignments to action. We include examples of assignment guidelines that we have developed and refined over time, explicit links from the writing assignment to the project management process, and a discussion of our successes and challenges as we work across disciplines and try to present the information in an integrated manner. View full abstract»

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  • Writing readable consent forms: how useful is the advice given by IRBs?

    Page(s): 1 - 13
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1239 KB)  

    Institutional review boards (IRBs) often provide researchers with advice about how to write readable consent forms (CFs) for human subjects research. This work reports on the type, amount, and accuracy of advice given on 30 IRB Web sites. Our findings suggest that this advice, while well-intended, is often weak or uneven in one or more of these areas. This study provides insight into the assumptions that one type of bureaucratic body holds about how to construct readable prose and into how it communicates those assumptions to subject-matter experts. It also demonstrates one mechanism through which (sometimes faulty) assumptions about writing are perpetuated and legitimatized. View full abstract»

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  • Utilizing metadata as a knowledge communication tool

    Page(s): 55 - 60
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (754 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The modern enterprise environment is a collection of technical, functional, application, and data related assets loosely connected within a heterogeneous environment. Communicating the inventory, meaning, and eventual understanding of the knowledge held within the corporation can be a daunting task This work presents a detailed methodology and case study of building enterprise business intelligence from a multi-dimensional metadata framework. The framework includes structural, integration, and semantic metadata as well as the physical components required to deliver the functionality to the end user. The case study section will review a large telecommunications effort at communicating the knowledge of enterprise business intelligence. View full abstract»

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  • Sustaining technical communication programs: a conversation

    Page(s): 47 - 48
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (427 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Chairs and program directors from several institutions discuss the challenges, demands, and successes of directing degree programs in technical communication. Topics to be discussed include these: recruiting students (undergraduate and graduate), seeking funding for laboratories and research, providing career guidance for both students and faculty, developing marketing initiatives, attracting qualified faculty, and assessing program quality. View full abstract»

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  • Solving writing issues related to non-native writers of English

    Page(s): 42 - 46
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (641 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Non-native writers of English often have considerable difficulty in creating English language texts. This presents even more problems for scientists and engineers who prepare texts for other subject-area specialists. Typically, solutions to these problems have considered only the nuts-and-bolts approach of 'fixing " the grammar issues. However, the problems are certainly farther reaching in scope, especially for writers of scientific and technical texts. Such issues as tone, specialized terminology, paragraph logic, quantifiers and measurement systems, the writing process, and style and grammar all need to be considered. This work presents the results of several years research involving both academic and professional non-native writers; in doing so, we offer some useful suggestions to help this audience achieve better communication results. View full abstract»

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  • The rest of the iceberg: supporting an internal community of Web site content creators and reviewers

    Page(s): 235 - 242
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (884 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Many websites attempt to provide reliable (e.g. peer-reviewed) and timely information in difficult and dynamic content areas. In such cases, the visible public site is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In addition to the design and delivery of content on the public site, there needs to be a reliable and effective system (which may include other linked websites) by which content creators and reviewers work together in the development and review of site content. In addition, this system may have to provide an efficient method for approved content to be formatted appropriately and posted on the public site. There can be many challenges to establishing and maintaining such a system in support of an internal website community of content creators and review board members. These challenges can be caused or exacerbated by: geographical separation, multiple disciplinary perspectives, differing levels of technical expertise, and the need to coordinate across organizational boundaries. The website of the Multiple Sclerosis Centers of Excellence (MSCoE) is such a site, facing challenges like these in support of an internal community of website content creators and reviewers. This work describes the system we have implemented to address these challenges and support the work of this internal community, as well as to link the results of that work seamlessly to public website delivery. This system combines technical tools for managing and facilitating content and publication tasks with both informal and formal methods of interpersonal and team communication. The lessons learned in developing and supporting this internal operations community can be applied to other website projects with similar goals and issues. View full abstract»

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  • Usability study on the use of handheld devices to collect census data

    Page(s): 131 - 138
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (860 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Usability staff at the U.S. Census Bureau developed and ran two iterative usability sessions on the mobile computing device (MCD) being evaluated for possible use in collecting interview-administered short form data in the 2010 Census. Previously, the Census Bureau has used paper forms to collect this information. Our objectives were to assess several measures of performance and satisfaction (e.g., accuracy, efficiency, ease of use). We observed 14 test enumerators as they conducted four different interviews, two per session. Except for minimal training, enumerators were unfamiliar with MCDs and conducting interviews. Results indicate that although the site did meet some objectives (accuracy and satisfaction), the screen layout could be improved in several areas for a better overall user experience. In addition, efficiency did not meet performance objectives and needs improvement. The device holds promise for development and implementation in 2010. View full abstract»

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  • Language proficiency requirements of the international civil aviation organization

    Page(s): 266 - 270
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (650 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The ICAO language proficiency requirements adopted by the ICAO Council in March of 2003 directly address the first two of these language-in-aviation issues, and addresses indirectly the third issue, the use of two languages in a single operating environment. In brief the recently adopted ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements are found in Annex 1-Personnel Licensing; Annex 6-Operation of Aircraft; Annex 10- Aeronautical Telecommunications, Volume IICommunication Procedures including those with PANS status, and Annex 11-Air Traffic Services, and they accomplish the following: Strengthen the requirement that the English language be available to international flights; Establish clear minimum proficiency level requirements for flight crew members and air traffic controllers; Introduce an ICAO language proficiency rating scale applicable to native and non-native speakers; Clarify the requirement for the use of both plain language and ICAO phraseologies; Standardize on the use of ICAO phraseologies; Recommend a testing schedule to demonstrate language proficiency and; Provide for service provider and operator oversight of personnel compliance. This work outlines the new standards and discusses implications for training and assessment. Keywords: aviation communication, ICAO, English language proficiency. View full abstract»

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  • Health communications: diverse opportunities for technical communicators

    Page(s): 168 - 171
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (578 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We highlight a health communication research project, discuss a federal agency's health communication efforts, and illustrate health communications for consumers. Communicating health information to diverse audiences provides opportunities for technical communicators in a wide variety of settings. View full abstract»

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  • Communication of "risk" across community borders

    Page(s): 178 - 181
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (681 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Risk management depends on effective communication not only among societal domains such as authorities, experts, and the public, but also among members of any one domain. Using the example of flood management, this paper examines risk-related tasks of experts showing the collaborative nature of risk management. A review of risk communication considers modes for interaction, representation with respect to documentation, and suitable theoretical frames. Finally, results from ongoing research on the use of various genres of technical visuals by practitioners and academics are presented and discussed. View full abstract»

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  • Training implications of ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation): language proficiency requirements

    Page(s): 262 - 265
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (632 KB)  

    Recent amendments to ICAO annexes, following proposals made by the PRICE (Proficiency Requirements in Common English) Study Group, can be expected to have a profound impact on the conduct of language training within the aviation community. The principal phases of training to be examined separately Are (i) recruitment, (ii) ab initio training, and (Hi) maintenance (or recurrent) training. While the training policy for each phase will be governed by factors that relate to national, institutional or professional particularities, the new ICAO requirements will ensure that language training courses around the world will share common features. These training courses will need to be specified in terms of five principal features -objectives, syllabus, methodology, resources, and structure. This presentation will outline each of these features, and, in conclusion, will point to some of the possible spin-offs and challenges that are implied by these amendments. View full abstract»

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  • Certification recognition for technical communicators: it's time!

    Page(s): 70 - 76
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (781 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The difficult issues surrounding certification in technical communication is a communication frontier that major stakeholders in the field agree can no longer be ignored. If technical communication is a profession, it must have some mechanism for identifying and validating the work that its professionals do. This mechanism must provide a clear entry and exit from the profession and a clear career path for advancement. Everyone would benefit from an objective, fair, and meaningful system of certification. The author defines the terms that are going to be used. Then the author discusses five reasons that the proposition for certification is a valid one. Then he describes five current approaches to certification by different organizations. Finally, the author describes twelve issues that must be addressed and tasks that must be undertaken to move the profession towards meaningful certification. View full abstract»

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  • Technology for technology's sake: the proliferation of PowerPoint

    Page(s): 61 - 63
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (558 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Microsoft's PowerPoint program is the most commonly used presentation software. Despite PowerPoint's popularity, many dislike the tool, accusing it of obscuring data and boring audiences. The current backlash against PowerPoint stems largely from Edward Tufte's criticisms in "PowerPoint is Evil" and The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint. Tufte believes that PowerPoint is abused at conferences, in meetings, and in classrooms more that it is used e3ffectively. Because most audiences, including attendants of IPCC's annual conferences, have come to expect PowerPoint in most if not all conference presentations, professional and technical communicators need to assess their uses of PowerPoint and whether or not this slideware program is most appropriate for their target audience and for the type of information being presented. View full abstract»

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  • Improving Web site navigation: creating high-scent links

    Page(s): 275 - 278
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (597 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We introduce the concept of high-scent links, provide examples of low-scent and high-scent links. We suggest how technical communicators can apply the concept of high-scent links to develop a better understanding of users, select appropriate descriptive terminology for links, write better elaborations, and use iterative design and formative evaluation to enhance Web sites. View full abstract»

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  • How to make icons useful

    Page(s): 109 - 114
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (713 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Human use of images for purposes of communication is nothing new. Stone age artists were painting them on the walls of their caves as long as 20,000 years ago. Nor is the use of images as coding elements in formal orthographic systems anything new - that dates back at least 5,000 years. The push to "internationalize" communications media and the relatively recent development of graphic user interfaces, however, has spawned, it seems, a mad rush to abandon more highly evolved and sound-based orthographies in favor of image-based writing systems, or, in some instances, simply images. The article that follows examines the use of icons as visual labels, discusses their strengths and weaknesses, and suggest guidelines for their design and use. View full abstract»

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  • Aviation English: a review of the language of International Civil Aviation

    Page(s): 253 - 261
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (940 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    English has been chosen as the official language of flight in the United States and continues to be the recommended lingua franca for international use. In some cases, a lack of English proficiency in pilots or controllers has led to disastrous and even fatal catastrophes. While miscommunications between flight crews and air traffic control (A TC) personnel may have been only one aspect of these incidents and accidents, the lack of ability for all parties involved to understand crucial directions via a common English may have been the most important contributing factor leading to these tragedies. Without agreed upon standards for English proficiency and common phraseology, the aviation industry continues to be at risk for future language-related accidents. Air traffic communications often deviate from standard phraseology in emergency situations towards a more conversational style. English proficiency beyond the basic understanding of aviation phraseology may be necessary. In addition, a cultural awareness of the variety of English spoken in countries encountered during flight may help avoid misunderstandings and miscommunications. This work addresses the historical decisions about English language use, language related miscommunications, incidents, and accidents, and current International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) initiatives for revision of language policies. View full abstract»

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  • Developing writing assignments and feedback strategies for maximum effectiveness in large classroom environments

    Page(s): 77 - 82
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (735 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    How do you teach writing effectively when your classes have between 40-80 students? This work addresses the challenges of working in large classroom environments with engineering students in the CE 4101 and CE 4102 classes. We demonstrate WebCT peer review techniques, and feedback techniques for writing that we have been using in large classroom environments. We also discuss the successes and challenges that we have encountered as we try to engage students in active learning in large classroom environments. View full abstract»

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  • From chalkboard to PowerPoint to the Web: a continuum of technology

    Page(s): 217 - 222
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (753 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Historically, the chalkboard has been the medium of choice for delivery of classroom instruction. With the advent of the PC and audiovisual equipment, many teachers began using PowerPoint to deliver lectures. Now, however, technology-savvy students expect teachers to use the Web to deliver course materials and faculty are under increasing pressure from both students and administrators to Web-enable their courses. This work discusses how to help faculty become more proficient with media and technology in the classroom. In particular, we focus on our experiences with faculty in the School of Engineering at Mercer University. For the past three years, our faculty development center has been assisting faculty in learning how to use instructional technology. However, apart from the early adopters, faculty resistance was high due to lack of time, skill, motivation, or equipment. Recently, however, we have seen a dramatic increase in web-enabled courses and use of technology in the classroom. We discuss factors we think contributed to this increase, including the development of individual home page templates and training in a user-friendly Web editor, Macromedia Contribute. View full abstract»

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  • Capping off the undergraduate degree in technical communication-some options

    Page(s): 314 - 320
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (755 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Increasingly, undergraduate education programs are being charged with providing a "culminating experience" to all students in their programs as a condition of graduation. The culminating experience gives students an opportunity to synthesize material they may have learned in a range of courses and to apply what they have learned to a practical, "real world" problem. The opportunities available to students for this experience may vary widely from discipline to discipline, from school to school, and from one geographic area to another. View full abstract»

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