Latest XChanges E-Journal Features Undergrad Research

SOCORRO, N.M. March 22, 2011 – Dr. Julianne Newmark and her publishing team have released the latest version of Xchanges, an interdisciplinary online journal highlighting the best student-written articles in technical communication, writing/rhetoric, and writing-across-curriculum.

The four articles featured in issue 7.1 of the Xchanges online Journal

  • Joseph Friedman of New Mexico Tech wrote “Common Elements of Effective Screencasts.” Friedman assesses various screencasting tactics in the interest of devising an instructive scheme for effective design. As screencasting is becoming increasingly common, Friedman distills the “common elements” that emerge in effective screencasts. Friedman went to high school in Los Lunas and graduated from New Mexico Tech in 2010. He now works doing freelance marketing for Albuquerque rock bands.
  • Taylor Quimby, of Keene State College in New Hampshire, takes as his research catalyst the elemental question of “how we read comic books” for his article titled “Comic Books: An Evolving Multimodal Literacy Page.” He investigates readers’ relationships to comic form and content, especially in light of comics’ long-standing reputation, among critics, as a “sub-literate medium.” 
  • Kelly Shackelford, of Cedarville University in Ohio,  wrote “The Relationship between Editors and Authors: A Lit Review.” She examines the relationship between authors and editors. She offers insight into the stereotype of the “antagonistic” relationship between these two parties and she examines the multiple communication challenges. Shackelford synthesizes common sources of conflict between authors and editors and offers guidelines  authors and editors can employ to improve relations.
  • Jennifer Stone, of University of Wisconsin, Madison, wrote “Health Information Accessibility and Availability and Its Impact on the Health Literacy of Hispanics.” She carefully presents a research study of health-information materials available to Spanish-speakers in pharmacies, drug stores, and health centers in a Midwestern city.

Newmark and students from the Technical Communication program publish two issues each year. The fall issue highlights graduate level research. The spring issue features theses and research projects of upper-level undergraduate students.

Newmark said she received 12 research projects and senior theses from students from a wide array of institutions across the country. The faculty review board, comprised of professors from across the United States, reviews these submissions on a blind basis.

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These four scholarly projects cover a range of subjects but together speak to the overriding theme of how “users” receive information today. The papers touch on modes that include screencasts, native-language documents or websites, directives from an editor, and the image-and-text fusion of a comic book.

The latest edition features undergraduate scholars from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cedarville University in Ohio, Keene State College in New Hampshire and New Mexico Tech. These texts reveal an array of research strategies and presentation approaches. For presentation in a digital context, authors were able to offer significant visual data (images, tables and screenshots) to support their analyses of their primary research material.

Newmark said she is especially proud of this issue because the articles represent varied disciplines within the field of technical communications. She said Xchanges is becoming recognized by communications professors across the country.

“Our project and our mission are becoming better known within the discipline,” she said. “Julie Ford and I have worked hard to spread the word to our colleagues.”

During the fall 2010 semester, students in the TC 371 class had one large project – redesign the website and publish the November 2010 issue of the journal. This semester, student Jacoby Boles served as Newmark’s editorial assistant, publishing the current issue online. Newmark said Boles’ efforts kept the journal on schedule.

“The students last semester streamlined the production process and wrote manuals,” Newmark said. “Jacoby was able to swiftly import all the articles and get it up within three weeks. We think we have a process that will allow us to better honor our release dates.”

She has already received submissions for the next two issues, which are scheduled for publication in November 2011 and March 2012.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech