Tech Comm Seminar 11/05: Digital Literacy and Social Media

Jason W. Ellis and Olga Menagarishvili will lead a discussion on digital literacy and social media issues for technical communicators in this week’s seminar.

How does digital literacy in general and social media more specifically figure into the Technical Communication classroom? Should we challenge our Technical Communication students to be more mindful of the use of online technologies considering the erosion of private/workplace boundaries? How might we approach, teach, and assess student use of social media as a technical communicator? We aim to address these questions and other questions that you might have in this week’s Technical Communication seminar. Through discussion and interactive exercises, we hope to form new approaches to address issues of digital literacy and social media use in the Technical Communication course.

Before arriving to our seminar, please upload one technology-literacy related assignment that you have used or plan to use this semester to T-Square > Brittain Fellows > Resources > TechComm Digital Literacy Assignments.

In addition to preparing for the seminar by completing the readings listed below, we ask that all members bring a laptop to our meeting for the interactive exercises.

Required readings:

Kastman Breuch, Lee-Ann. “Thinking Critically about Technological Literacy: Developing a Framework to Guide Computer Pedagogy in Technical Communication.” Teaching Technical Communication: Critical Issues for the Classroom. Ed. James M. Dubinsky. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004. 481-499. Print.

Lanier, Clinton R. “Analysis of the Skills Called for by Technical Communication Employers in Recruitment Postings.” Technical Communication 56.1 (February 2009): 51-61. IngentaConnect. Web. 31 August 2012.

Rife, Martine Courant. “Technical Communicators and Digital Writing Risk Assessment.” Technical Communication 54.2 (May 2007): 157-170. IngentaConnect. Web. 31 August 2012.

Swarts, Jason. “Technological Literacy as Network Building.” Technical Communication Quarterly 20.3 (2011): 274-302. Taylor & Francis Online. Web. 30 August 2012. (Please skim and focus on the result tables and conclusion–we can let this essay inform our general discussion on technological literacies.)

Online resources for student exercises:

Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics (for Facebook)


The Open University Privacy Game

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Jason W. Ellis

About Jason W. Ellis

As an undergraduate at Georgia Tech, Jason W. Ellis realized that he was better at writing about science than doing science. This led to his research focus on science fiction and the intersection of science, technology, and culture. After earning an M.A. in Science Fiction Studies at the University of Liverpool and a Ph.D. in English at Kent State University, Jason returned to Tech where he now teaches ENGL1101 with the theme, "Writing the Brain: Composition and Neuroscience." He emphasizes interdisciplinarity and collaborative projects in his classes, and his pedagogical interests include digital literacy, multimodal communication, and portfolio-focused student work. His research interests include 20th-century American literature, science fiction, the neuronovel, neuroscientific topics, the digital archive, video games, and eBooks. His current project investigates the gap between the Internet's "long memory" and digital ephemerality through William Gibson's cyberpunk fiction and experimental eBook projects in the 1990s.
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