Technical Communication: The Problem of Water

Summer 2017
Fall 2017
Rebekah Greene
LMC 3403

Students will be learning about effectively engaging with information using strategies and practices that allow them to successfully communicate with a variety of stakeholders. Students will learn rhetorical strategies, develop competencies in analysis and citation, and engage in reflection. Students will also be extending problem-solving skills as they work on a range of assignments designed to help expose them to workplace genres. These genres enable students to think more about individual and collaborative strategies. Throughout the semester, students will develop a range of multimodal artifacts that highlight strategies using evidence and demonstrating an awareness of audience, argument, language, persuasion, and design. The Serve-Learn-Sustain initiative here at Georgia Tech encourages all of us to work together to create sustainable communities. The class this semester will be participating in this venture and is thus 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 has highlighted drought conditions, reduced water reservoirs, and contamination issues in major cities and in rural communities such as Flint, Providence, and Standing Rock. What may not have been apparent is 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. As individuals, students will be working on a variety of technical communications (including infographics and presentations) that will help them theorize ways the knowledge that they have gained through their majors and hobbies can aid this ongoing research effort. Throughout the semester, students will also be working with a small team of peers and a locally-based community partner organization interested in issues relating to water. The opportunity to work on these projects and to reflect on what they’ve learned along the way will aid students in considering both the ethical implications of technical communications themselves and the important social responsibilities that technical communicators must account for in their daily work. 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 semester’s experiences should transform students into effective communicators who are more aware of the ways that technical communication can be used in both the workplace and the community as a whole.

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