For students, classroom expectations and experiences are often limited to the scope of the material presented. In TC 371, “Publications Management,” the insights we gained through research, production, and project management led to a more open-ended and long-lasting foundation. By reading the words of my classmates and myself, I hope that you gain a sense of how invested in the process and field of journals we became. In the process of developing our journal’s new site and creating its pages, we became part of an organization and its mission; we became Xchanges staff. We also met a group of colleagues and developed an understanding of the issues facing our field, at least the field that we practiced in for the sixteen weeks of the semester. It becomes difficult to call this just an academic experience when we produced such independent and professionally driven solutions to the tasks we faced. We hope that our experience as producers of the journal’s new site and Issue 6.2 can reflect a solid base from which other journals like ours might grow, honoring their own missions, and how other student technical communicators might develop their own skills with similarly unique and “hands-on” client projects.
As Jacoby’s analyses and insights here have revealed, TC 371, “Publications Management,” had a variety of goals related to journal research, journal production, and the status of “client projects” within Technical Communication curricula. Jacoby’s own comments here, alongside the comments of his classmates that he has included, can help us to see how the production of a particular publication, comprised of many kinds of documents, can fit into and enhance a TC program’s goals and class offerings. On a larger level, these students felt deeply that the course achieved its desired audience—and profession—related outcomes, that it taught them to be independent problem-solvers of organizational, communication, and technology problems. It also allowed them to gain significant knowledge about digital publication. As the students’ groups cohered, and as they grew into a stronger organization as a class, they made incredibly valuable contributions to Xchanges during the sixteen weeks of the semester. These students saw an issue through to release and helped to strengthen the very foundation of Xchanges on which the journal can build in years to come.
Visit the Xchanges Journal
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Brammer, Charlotte, & Galloway, Ryan. (2007). IEEE transactions on professional communication looking to the past to discover the present. IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, 50(4), 275-279.
Coulter, Gerry. (2010). Launching (and sustaining) a scholarly journal on the Internet: The International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. The Journal of Electronic Publishing, 13(1), Winter 2010. Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://www.journalofelectronicpublishing.org
Ford, Julie D., Bracken, Jennifer.L., & Wilson, Gregory D. (2009). The two-semester thesis model: Emphasizing research in undergraduate technical communication curricula. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 39, 433-454.
Ford, Julie D., & Newmark, Julianne. (2011). Emphasizing research (further) in undergraduate technical communication curricula: Involving undergraduate students with an academic journal’s publication and management. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication. Forthcoming 2011.
Grice, Roger. (1997). Professional roles: Technical writer. In K. Staples & C. Ornatowski (Eds.), Foundations for teaching technical communication: Theory, practice, and program design (pp. 209-220). Greenwich, CT: Ablex Publishing Co.
Holley, Rose. (2010). Crowdsourcing: How and why should libraries do it? D-Lib: The Magazine of Digital Library Research, 16(3/4). Retrieved June 27, 2011, from http://dlib.org/dlib.html
Lynn, David H. (2009). Print vs. internet: An ongoing conversation. Kenyon Review, 31(4), 1-4.
Olds, Barbara M. (1987). Beyond the casebook: Teaching technical communication through “real life” projects. The Technical Writing Teacher, 14, 11-17.
Quinn, Brian. (2010). Reducing psychological resistance to digital repositories. Information Technology & Libraries, 29(2), 67-75.
Waters, Lindsay, & Argersinger, Jana L. (2009). Slow writing; or, getting off the book standard: What can journal editors do? Journal of Scholarly Publishing, 40(2), 129-143.
We’d like to acknowledge the support of Dr. Julie Ford and Dr. Clint Lanier of NMT’s Technical Communication program, Dr. Mary Dezember, the Chair of NMT’s CLASS Department, the students of the TC 371 class, and freeimages.co.uk for the circuit board image that forms the background of this site. All illustrations by Julianne Newmark.