From the category archives:

Business/Tech Writing

Teaching New Media Responsibly

by Dr Davis on April 12, 2014

Veltsos, Jennifer R. and Christophe Veltsos. “Teaching Responsibly with Technology-mediated Communication.” Business Communication Quarterly 73.4 (December 2010): 463-67.

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Privacy rules require that students not be forced to disclose certain personal information. Some students are at risk if they are required to create a website, or whatever, so be prepared to allow the creation of a sock puppet (464).

Remind students of the permanence of the internet. Tweets are now archived with the Library of Congress (465).

Discuss the usability of online sources and how it can constitute plagiarism (465). –Educational use only is allowed, but if we post these anywhere else, then we are infringing on someone else’s copyright. This is important to note if they are planning to post a video to YouTube. … Discuss how audio and visuals can be found that are creative commons and/or public domain.

Performance feedback must be kept private (466). So don’t comment on the video or the blog post if it is in the general internet –or even if it is behind a school wall. Others within the school can still see it.

These are good points to remember.


Seeing Rhetoric

by Dr Davis on April 11, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Allen, Nancy. “Seeing Rhetoric.” Writing the Visual: A Practical Guide for Teachers of Composition and Communication. Ed. Carol David and Anne R. Richards. West Lafayette, IN: Parlor Press, 2008. Print. 32-50.

“Visual rhetoric refers to the visual communication of features and the effects they have on readers/viewers” (Allen 33).

Allen uses specific examples to argue that visuals provide information, make rhetorical appeals, and add nuance.

“To use visual rhetoric effectively, then, we must be careful to consider each item’s appropriateness to our audiences and purpose” (Allen 38).

“A good source for finding examples of the appeal through ethos is personal websites” (Allen 39).

Quotes 2002 website credibility study from Stanford, saying 46% of participants rated credibility of a site based on visual aspects (Allen 39).

Allen suggests that students be required to design their own website, to practice developing ethos (39). She also says that visuals often present the emotional appeal. “[W]e are often swayed more by our passion or emotions (Corbett 34), and it is emotion that inspires us to take action (99)” (Allen 40).

Allen says that images are a good invention strategy. “When students in my classes are developing ideas, with the goal of preparing a recommendation report, I ask them to create visual representations of the problem as part of the development process” (41). She says she actually requires multiple visual representations, in order to facilitate movement beyond “linear matrices and flow charts to sketches and visuals based on freer types of associations” (41).

“[V]isuals translate relations over time into relations in space” which, she argues, helps them to be more easily understood (42). She notes that search engines have become forms of invention and that they have also become more visual.

She notes that “headings in the center are more important than those on the side, and items in a list are related” (44), which we know from stylistic guides but they are rhetorical strategies that can be used effectively. I think this is something that résumé conventions do not strictly follow (at least on center headings). It is, however, interesting to think about whether or not a name centered seems to have more importance than a name to the left side.

“When text becomes art” (46) I noted as a great tag line.

Is this a goal for digital presentations? Text becoming art?

She quotes Donald Norman’s discussion of usability design that visuals provide memory aids. This is the same thing that Jesse Schell argues in The Art of Game Design.

Visuals evoke curiosity. People want to know the story behind images that catch their attention (48).

“Visual thinking during our writing process expands our reservoir of ideas” (Allen 48), which is why the digital presentation should come during or within the writing process, according to a CCTE presentation I attended several years ago.

male studying computerThis is harder to do than I expected, as it seems like students are working on disparate projects. However, I know that doing the digital project does enhance the writing project. Should I revise the 112 schedule to reflect that? Or is having them do two kinds of composing at the same time asking/requiring the students to work with mental overload?



Students and Assessment

by Dr Davis on April 10, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Crews, Tena B. and Kelly Wilkinson. “Students’ Perceived Preference for Visual and Auditory Assessment with E-Handwritten Feedback.” Business Communication Quarterly 73.4 (December 2010): 399-412.

The literature review says that writing skills have decreased, that a single course cannot remediate student writing skills, and that business communication is another course to emphasize writing. It charges that as submission modes change, so, too, should modes of assessment. It presents four goals: “(a) learners are actively involved and receive feedback; (b) learners become increasingly sophisticated learners and knowers; (c) professors coach and facilitate, intertwining teaching and assessing; and (d) learning is interpersonal, and all learners—students and professors—are respected and valued (Huba & Freed, 2000)” (401). Comments on papers are often ineffective [so why do we write them?] (402). They used a web-based questionnaire with assessment examples to gather data. Most students were seniors, traditional ages; a little more than half were male (405). Handwritten were ranked as the least helpful. Audio and visual with e-writing were ranked as most helpful. The participants also ranked benefits for each assessment type and answered which types were used by other professors.

This is an interesting quantitative study. It appears to have been carried out well. I am unsure that students saying they found something helpful means it is helpful, but it will more likely be perceived as helpful by the students… which would lead to better evaluations for the teacher, assuming the feedback given was decent/good.

I have sometimes written entire letters for feedback. I have even recorded responses. These take much more time than handwritten. I would want to know that a) they were being listened to and b) being used.



Wikis and Document Design

by Dr Davis on April 8, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Clark, Thomas and Jeffrey Stewart. “Using Document Design to Create and Maintain Wikis.” Business Communication Quarterly 73 (2010): 453-56.

Despite the argument put forth by Carmon and Okoro, Clark and Stewart say that wikis are becoming a necessary part of business writing. Something companies (and teachers) find valuable is that information on editing is available and previous iterations are maintained (453). Then the article gives ideas for creating wikis, including using similar templates and encouraging precision in titles (454). The article also describes the responsibility of the Wiki managing editor (which is a position students could campaign for). Wikis help business manage knowledge more effectively and could help students learn the principles for designing and editing effective wikis (456).

The article’s ideas are good, but for someone who has no idea about Wikis, there is insufficient detail to really begin to use them in the classroom.

Perhaps I should reconsider the idea of the website/blog posts and learn Wikis and see if those would work for my freshman newbie information site.

RrNm Ann Bib


Business Comm and New Media

by Dr Davis on April 7, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Cardon, Peter W. and Ephraim Okoro. “A Measured Approach to Adopting New Media in the Business Communication Classroom.” Business Communication Quarterly 73.4 (December 2010): 435-38.

The article states that instructors rush technological change in the classroom and gives three questions to ask before adopting new tech. “Does our emphasis on various communication technologies in theclassroom mirror the use of these technologies in the workplace?” (Cardon and Okoro 435). The most common technology used in the workplace is email, with as much as 15 hours/week being spent (435), then simple phone calls; other technology is significantly less common (436). “Do the technologies we adopt in the classroom mirror those best classified as business communication and help the field retain a unique identity?” (436). While social media is used in business, it is primarily in marketing, and blogs are primarily concentrated in leadership education (437). “Does the use of technology in the classroom complement and encourage rich, face-to-face communication?” (437) Technology should not, the article argues, replace f2f communication.

The first and third questions are good ones and though the article may not give strong arguments for them, there are strong arguments. The second question, however, is not even addressed in terms of unique field identity. The article would have been stronger without the second question, which brings in tangential rather than germane arguments.

The high use of email is a good point and one I had not thought of. I do use email a lot in my B&P Writing class and most of my students email their homework. They also usually email questions (rather than texting).



Facebook in Bus Comm

by Dr Davis on April 3, 2014

steampunk_archive_icon_by_yereverluvinuncleber-d5jsav0Decarie, Christina. “Facebook: Challenges and Opportunities for Business Communication Students.” Business Communication Quarterly 73 (2010): 449-52. Web. 15 January 2014.

The article argues that the ability to use Facebook well and wisely is essential. It says that Facebook encourages strong writing, interpersonal communication skills, and Web 2.0 literacy. To show how Fb encourages strong writing, the author points out poorly written status updates and asks students what opinion they form about the writer. For interpersonal communication skills, she arrived at school one day and saw that a student who was not an FB friend had carried on a discussion with another over boring teachers and not going to class. She opened that in class and let the class comment on it. Showing that people who are friends of your friends can see your status is an important piece of information. Another student was given the opportunity to pitch a project to the university president. While preparing for his speech, he opened the FB page and saw that he was featured shirtless and drinking a beer hands-free. A friend snapped a picture of him in his professional attire and the student uploaded it immediately, before he went into the president’s office for the meeting. Finally the professor details her own experience meeting a writer online and pitching the idea of her publishing his blog entries as a chap book. Students read and commented on her pitch letter; they also asked for details about how the online meeting had happened, how the relationship was developed, and, finally, about the author’s answer. This allowed the students to see the use FB could be put to for both forming new networking relationships but also for developing business opportunities.

When I began reading I did not think this article would be very credible. However, the three very simple examples she gave, and her argument that FB promotes strong writing, were persuasive.

facebookI tell students not to post things they don’t want their future employers to see, but perhaps I should again have students google the other students and read through their FB posts for something that could be damaging to their futures. The stories in this article will be very useful for communication disasters to tell my students about.



Lead with the positive…

by Dr Davis on December 25, 2013

Twins were used in an interview test. They had twins come in and interview. The twin sets used the same words. They found that the twin that led with the positive elements was chosen about 80% of the time.

This was how would you describe yourself. Three positive and then three negative OR three negative and then three positive. Folks remember what you say first.


Communication Disaster, for Job Hunting

by Dr Davis on October 30, 2013

Cadbury gives a response to an unsuccessful job applicant.


For Business Writing

by Dr Davis on August 28, 2013

How to Produce Your Own Video Résumé


Business Writing: Résumé Options

by Dr Davis on November 15, 2012

Some really wild, mostly graphic designer, résumés.

I really need to make sure to use these in Business Writing.

I also need to create my own regular and enhanced resume before class starts in the spring.