Technical Communication: The Problem of Water
The technical communication classroom is not just a laboratory space for professional training; it is also a laboratory space for developing the necessary skills to become a responsible citizen (Blake Scott 294). This summer’s experiences should transform you into a more effective communicator who is more aware of the ways that technical communication can be used in both the workplace and the community as a whole. Technical Communication involves working with a variety of stakeholders to utilize and relay information in multiple forms. Within this class you will learn rhetorical and genre strategies, as well as develop competencies in design, reflection, analysis, and citation. You will extend problem-solving skills by working on a range of assignments designed to expose you to standard workplace genres. You will create multimodal artifacts that use evidence and demonstrate an awareness of audience, argument, language, persuasion, and design principles. These artifacts build on the Writing and Communication Program’s WOVEN principles of communication. (WOVEN stands for written, oral, visual, electronic, and non-verbal communication; you are expected to develop and strengthen your competencies in these communication modes during this class.) More specifically, this particular Technical Communication course is organized around the theme of water systems. As researchers at the US Geological Survey note, water is “important and basic to life.” Recent news coverage you may be aware of has focused on drought conditions, reduced water reservoirs, and contamination issues in major cities and in rural communities. This course is looking to not only raise awareness among students to the fact that many scientists, researchers, engineers, educators, and community members (including right here at Georgia Tech as part of the Serve-Learn-Sustain initiative and in the greater Atlanta metropole) are working to develop ways to grapple with a potential shortage of clean drinking water, but is also designed to get you actively engaged in this research yourself.
During this class, you will be creating a variety of technical communications (including but not limited to visual designs, memos, case studies, and presentations) that will help you think more about the ways that the knowledge that you have already gained through your majors, hobbies, or other experiences may aid in this ongoing collaborative research effort. The opportunity to work on these projects and to reflect on what you have learned along the way will aid you in considering both the ethical implications of technical communications and the important social responsibilities that technical communicators must account for in their daily work.