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Latest Xchanges E-Journal Features Undergrad Research

SOCORRO, N.M. May 7, 2012 – New Mexico Tech students steal the show in the latest edition of Xchanges. Three of the four articles in the technical communications online journal are authored by Tech undergraduates.

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Dr. Julianne Newmark and her undergraduate technical editor, Jacoby Boles,  recently unveiled the latest version of Xchanges, an interdisciplinary online journal highlighting the best new research in technical communication (TC), writing/rhetoric, and writing across curriculum from students across the nation.

Click here to visit the journal's website.

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

The latest edition features articles by Techies Penny Bencomo, Rebecca Birch and Danielle Rose. Kim Darnell, a student at the University of Nevada-Reno, also was selected for publication.

Newmark said Xchanges is becoming recognized by TC, Writing, and Rhetoric professors across the country.

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

Newmark conducts an initial review on all submissions.  Then the bona fide research projects are sent to the review board, which includes 20 professors across the nation. The blind review process returned three Tech projects among the top four.

“That tells us that Tech students are doing quality research,” Newmark said. “Under the guidance of Dr. Ford, they have a lot of vetting of their projects before they’re sent to journals. Among those who completed their theses last year, all were sent to journals in the technical communication field. That represents the high quality of projects across the board.”

Newmark credited undergraduate technical editor Jacoby Boles for his work on content management for the online journal.

Xchanges wouldn’t emerge in its digital for if it weren’t for Jacoby’s work,” Newmark said. “He’s done it for three semesters, so other undergrads will fill his role in the future.”

The next issue, scheduled for fall 2012, will feature research projects submitted by graduate students nationwide.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech

 

Penny Bencomo of New Mexico Tech wrote "Strengthening Technical Communication with Educational Theory," She argues that technical communicators would benefit from a familiarity with “activity theory,” an approach that has emerged in the field of education.  As she writes, "Together, activity theory and technical communication create a powerful combination that gives technical communicators a strong reference point for creating educational materials."  Active learning can improve among students and technical communication practitioners if activity theory, and computer-mediated communication pedagogies, are incorporated into technical communication curricula and workplace practices.

Kim Darnell of the University of Nevada-Reno probes the relationship of a writer's personality and his or her genre of choice. In her essay, "Professional Writers, Personality Types, and Genre Choice," Darnell examines different personality-assessment models, correlating writers' chosen genres with specific personality markers.  Studies such as Darnell's, she writes, "could lay the foundation for vocational counseling to aspiring writers trying to find their professional genre of choice" and might also inform practices in writing classrooms, wherein students interact with and write in various genres.

Rebecca Birch of New Mexico Tech examines the usability of handheld, touchscreen devices and how their usability – or lack thereof – affects communication. In her essay, "Mobile, Handheld Devices with Touchscreens: How Perceived Usability Affects Communication," studied literature on the usability and history of iPads and smartphones and conducted a primary research survey of users' experiences. Birch concludes that technical communicators should consider such findings because "if a communication feature on a handheld mobile device with a touch interface is deemed unnecessary, frustrating, or useless [to users], that feature will be used less or unused entirely, thus inhibiting communication that would otherwise be possible."

Danielle Rose of New Mexico Tech argues that technical communicators must become more conversant with video social media forms, such YouTube and Vimeo. Her essay "Video Social Media: A Reference for Integrating and Applying Video Social Media as a Technical Communicator" contends that "technical communicators . . . [must] stay on top of developing technologies and the roles they may play in communication in the future.” Rose writes that video social media allows technical communicators to harness visuals that enhance communication and audience understanding. Video is a rich resource for technical communicators, because of its global nature and because VSM also values simple, concise, and clear conveyance of information.

 

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech

 

Penny Bencomo of New Mexico Tech wrote "Strengthening Technical Communication with Educational Theory," She argues that technical communicators would benefit from a familiarity with “activity theory,” an approach that has emerged in the field of education.  As she writes, "Together, activity theory and technical communication create a powerful combination that gives technical communicators a strong reference point for creating educational materials."  Active learning can improve among students and technical communication practitioners if activity theory, and computer-mediated communication pedagogies, are incorporated into technical communication curricula and workplace practices.

Kim Darnell of the University of Nevada-Reno probes the relationship of a writer's personality and his or her genre of choice. In her essay, "Professional Writers, Personality Types, and Genre Choice," Darnell examines different personality-assessment models, correlating writers' chosen genres with specific personality markers.  Studies such as Darnell's, she writes, "could lay the foundation for vocational counseling to aspiring writers trying to find their professional genre of choice" and might also inform practices in writing classrooms, wherein students interact with and write in various genres.

Rebecca Birch of New Mexico Tech examines the usability of handheld, touchscreen devices and how their usability – or lack thereof – affects communication. In her essay, "Mobile, Handheld Devices with Touchscreens: How Perceived Usability Affects Communication," studied literature on the usability and history of iPads and smartphones and conducted a primary research survey of users' experiences. Birch concludes that technical communicators should consider such findings because "if a communication feature on a handheld mobile device with a touch interface is deemed unnecessary, frustrating, or useless [to users], that feature will be used less or unused entirely, thus inhibiting communication that would otherwise be possible."

Danielle Rose of New Mexico Tech argues that technical communicators must become more conversant with video social media forms, such YouTube and Vimeo. Her essay "Video Social Media: A Reference for Integrating and Applying Video Social Media as a Technical Communicator" contends that "technical communicators . . . [must] stay on top of developing technologies and the roles they may play in communication in the future.” Rose writes that video social media allows technical communicators to harness visuals that enhance communication and audience understanding. Video is a rich resource for technical communicators, because of its global nature and the foundational principal that simple, concise, and clear conveyance of information.