Council for Programs in Technical and Scientific Communication

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Programmatic Perspectives publishes articles related to programmatic issues related to technical communication.


Volume 2 Issue 1 (March 2010)

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From the Editors

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Tracy Bridgeford, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Karla Saari Kitalong, Michigan Tech

Bill Williamson, Saginaw Valley State University

This issue preview welcomes the community to Programmatic Perspectives. The editors preview articles and invite the community to comment..



Including Technical Communication in General Education: The Proposal, Design, and Outcomes of a New Course

Lu Rehling, San Francisco State University
Neil Lindeman, San Francisco State University

Abstract. This article analyzes how and why technical communication programs can and should integrate courses within general education curricula, discussing relevant scholarship and our own case study. We address the rationale for positioning a course among traditional liberal arts offerings, the cultural challenges that pose obstacles to doing so, and the potential benefits. We also describe our process proposing a technical communication course for general education, the design of that course, lessons learned, the successful outcome, and the encouraging implications for other technical communication programs and for our field, especially at a time when undergraduate curriculum reform is prevalent.

Keywords. course design, curriculum innovation, general education, liberal arts, humanities, program development, status of technical communication, undergraduate studies


The Role of the Cognate Course in Graduate: Professional Communication Programs

David Christensen, Utah State University
Keith Gibson, Utah State University
Laura Vernon, Utah State University

Abstract. The last decade has seen a surge in the number of professional communication doctoral programs. This sudden growth has led to new program administrators around the country rethinking how best to approach graduate study in professional communication. One area is the status of courses taken outside the home department, also known as cognate courses. This article explores the rationale for the various approaches to the cognate course by PhD programs in technical and professional communication. We explain reasons for discouraging, allowing, or requiring the cognate course. And though there are good reasons for each stance, we conclude by arguing for an interdisciplinary approach to doctoral professional communication programs of study that requires cognate courses.

Keywords. cognate courses, collaboration, interdisciplinarity, program administration, PhD programs


Authentic Assessment in Technical Communication Classrooms and Programs: Proposal for an Integrated Framework

Han Yu, Kansas State University

Abstract. Given the disconnections between technical communication classroom assessment and professional workplace assessment, the author suggests that technical communication programs learn from workplaces’ best practices to develop authentic classroom assessment and better prepare students for workplace performance. Authentic classroom assessment also generates meaningful student learning evidence, which can be used in outcome-based program reviews for us to reach more comprehensive and accurate assessment of programs’ education success. The article details how this integrated, two-tier framework can be carried out at both the classroom and program levels and discusses its programmatic benefits.

Keywords. authentic learning environment, program review, technical communication, workplace practice, writing assessment


CPTSC Keynote 2009

Knowledge Communication: Formative Ideas and Research Impetus

Peter Kastberg, University of Aarhus, Denmark

Abstract. This keynote was presented at the 2009 annual meeting on August 20, 2009, at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. The meeting’s theme for that year was “The Language(s) of Technical and Scientific Communication: Global Perspectives and Local Practices.”


Program Showcase

Cedarville University, Technical and Professional Communication

Sandi Harner, Cedarville University

Abstract. This article describes the development and program history for the Technical and Professional Communication undergraduate major at Cedarville University. The article includes program distinctives, as well as profiles of students, graduates, faculty, and facilities.

Keywords. assessment, client-based projects, curriculum development, industry advisory board, rhetorical theory, technical communication, theory and practice



Balancing Acts: A Case for Confronting the Tyranny of STEM

Robert R. Johnson, Michigan Technological University

Book Reviews

Designing Globally Networked Learning Environments: Visionary Partnerships, Policies, and Pedagogies

Geoffrey Sauer, Iowa State University


Resources in Technical Communication: Outcomes and Approaches

Nancy W. Coppola, New Jersey Institute of Technology