Supporting Technical Professionals’ Metacognitive Development in Technical Communication through Contrasting Rhetorical Problem Solving

Co-authored with Suguru Ishizaki, Marsha Lovett, Stacie Rohrbach and Mollie Kaufer

Technical Communication Quarterly Volume 25, 2016 - Issue 4

“Supporting Technical Professionals’ Metacognitive Development in Technical Communication through Contrasting Rhetorical Problem Solving”
By Andreas Karatsolis, Suguru Ishizaki, Marsha Lovett, Stacie Rohrbach and Mollie Kaufer
Technical Communication Quarterly Volume 25, 2016 – Issue 4

Introduction: This article presents an experimental pedagogical framework that focuses on increasing the explicit “rhetorical consciousness” of professionals who are already immersed in multiple genres of workplace communication but are not confident in the effectiveness of their communication skills. Although a number of genre-based pedagogical approaches have been developed in the past, the majority of the research on genre-based communication pedagogy has focused primarily on classroom settings. Previous research is often concerned with supporting students’ improvement of their writing skills on their way to producing authentic workplace communication through practice and exposure to disciplinary communication practices. However, to our knowledge, the communication pedagogy for the needs of early- to midcareer professionals has not been fully explored.

In a classroom setting, in first-year and disciplinary courses, genres are assumed to be new and unfamiliar to students; hence they must be introduced. However, in a workplace setting, where professionals have already been exposed to the genres that exist in their work environment, an introduction to genres is not necessary. Although genres are most likely implicit in professionals’ minds, the context and the purpose of communication are familiar to professionals, and they are also likely to be able to distinguish between effective and ineffective communication. This, however, does not mean that they can all produce effective communication, nor can they articulate what works well and what it could have been. Therefore, the study we report in this article focuses on helping early- to midcareer professionals to increase their explicit rhetorical consciousness—or metacognitive skills—in technical communication.

Read the full article: “Supporting Technical Professionals’ Metacognitive Development in Technical Communication through Contrasting Rhetorical Problem Solving”

Andreas Karatsolis

About Andreas Karatsolis

Andreas Karatsolis joined MIT in the Fall of 2013 as the Associate Director of Writing, Rhetoric, and Professional Communication, after spending five years in Qatar with Carnegie Mellon University. His disciplinary training includes a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Communication with an emphasis on technical/professional communication in science-related fields, which is at the core of his teaching and research efforts. In his new role at MIT and as a member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Professional Communication Society, he is primarily interested in designing curricula and tools which can help engineers and scientists develop life-long competencies in communication. In the past seven years he has also been the Lead of co-Principal Investigator in projects related to the design, implementation and assessment of learning technologies, especially in the domains of language learning, health communication and public discourse. As a native of Greece (and a reader of Ancient Greek texts), he also enjoys conversations on Classical Rhetoric and its relationship to contemporary scientific communication.

 
 

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