Informing Pedagogy (Chapters 9-11)

The final section explores digital technologies’ impact on pedagogy.

Laura McGrath’s chapter (Chapter 9) argues for an informed use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) and engages the discourse of digital literacy. She discusses four frames for helping students more literately and critically to engage with technology in their technical and professional communication careers. Although scholars before her have thought this through significantly (Cargile Cook, 2002; Selber, 2004), she builds off their work to establish a framework for assessing curricula, textbooks, and instructional spaces for how well they prepare students.

Rudy McDaniel and Sherry Steward carefully indict technical communication teachers (in Chapter 10) for not preparing students for "high-tech environments" (p. 195). Their article suggests a divergence between the academy and industry on the importance of technological literacy. To append this divide, they suggest a multimodal approach to teaching technical communication, one which balances the "discourse and design" of the academic paradigm and the "production and distribution" of the industry paradigm, accomplished through iterative processes in order to keep projects unified and connected. This approach is important for its conversation between industry and academia and the expedient and rhetorical nature of each paradigm respectively, a conversation scholars like Stuart Selber (1994) and R. Stanley Dicks (2011) have explored. McDaniel and Steward are helpful in that they suggest a model for training in the center between the paradigms of both stakeholders.

Aimee Kendall Roundtree finishes this section and this collection (in Chapter 11) by discussing the rhetorical nature of XML documentation. For readers without previous exposure to XML, this article is helpful because it serves as both a primer for the language as well as a tenable discussion for ways technical communicators, trained in rhetoric, can enhance this documentation form to its most effective and user-centered extent.

View an XML example of this chapter. For another primer, consider this really good introduction to XML.

Implicitly, this article also argues for a "rhetoric of tagging" for those interested in tagging and folksonomy.

Lamberti and Richards have posed important questions about digital divide, access, complexity, and agency. All of the questions are explored in some way, and no exploration leaves the reader without reflection and thought. These editors are careful to realize that, despite the patterns of division and binaries that exist, the world is much more complex than the phrase "digital divide" suggests, and each article enhances this thesis.