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A Pedagogical Model for Realigning the Priorities in Technical Communication Between Industry and Academia
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Although there have been many attempts to mediate the longstanding gap between technical communication academics and practitioners, the field has yet to become a unified community. This study tracks the history of the field to identify the causes of the breach. The goal of this thesis is to assess technical communication's current industry and academic environment based on data collected from interviewing selected academics and practitioners. For my research, I compared my interview findings to the information from my bibliographical research in order to contribute to creating a healthy research-to-practice loop by producing a course syllabus for a senior seminar for the Professional Writing option within Virginia Tech's department of English. This syllabus contains readings, assignments, projects, and industry tests that are meant to help students contribute to bridging the gap between academia and industry by combining the important components from both sides of technical communication. Research indicates that important professional skills for the workplace include knowing how to transform writing into products through topic-based writing, structured authoring, and information typing. Examples of other important professional technical communication skills include search engine optimization and content repurposing. Advanced technical communication-related jobs in industry include content strategist and information architect. Methods of diminishing the gap between academics and practitioners and providing an environment that is conducive to collaborative research include generating awareness among technical communicators about what the other group does, changing the paradigm for research and faculty requirements for technical communication academics, and the two groups collaborating to develop more technical communication-related internships for students.
- Masters Theses