Preparing technical communication students to function as user advocates in a self-service society

Cleary, Y. and Flammia, M. (2012) Preparing technical communication students to function as user advocates in a self-service society. pp. 305-322. ISSN 00472816 (ISSN)

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The self-service nature of today's society means that technical communicators are needed more than ever before since users may find themselves struggling to make sense of online documentation with minimal support from the institutions that provide it. Certain demographics within the user population (older adults, disabled persons, non-native speakers) may face serious challenges when trying to use self-service documentation. Technical communication educators should prepare students to function as user advocates for members of these groups. Technical communication students need a thorough understanding of the challenges that may interfere with an audience's ability to use websites and other online documentation. This article suggests ways to help students gain this understanding through course content and by structuring service-learning and virtual team projects in which students can put their newly-developed understanding into practice. © 2012, Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.

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