RSS

Author Archives: tracink

MEPP interactive booklet is available!

The new interactive online booklet for the Masters of Engineering in Professional Practice degree, offered by the U of Wisconsin-Madison, is now available. It came out beautifully!  http://

nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/uwm/mepp2012Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 10.13.29 AM

 

the manuscript is in!

My wonderful colleague, Christine Nicometo, and I have finished the manuscript for our book Slide Rules: Design, Build and Archive Presentations in the Engineering and Technical Fields.  Whew! Now, we wait for industry and academic reviews before going to press. But the major push is over!

bookSR

 

A working life divided is…divine

As of this fall, I have accepted a position at Cornell University in its Engineering Communications Program. We have made the move to Ithaca, and I am settling in quite well.  The teaching approach here is a great fit for me, as I have made moves in the recent years to teach engineering/technical writing using teams in the communication classroom.  At Cornell, this approach is par for the course, and so I feel a great deal of collegiality in this regard.

I also have the great fortune to stay on with the University of Wisconsin-Madison, too, in my capacity as faculty member teaching in the Masters of Engineering of Professional Practice and Masters of Engineering in Engine Systems programs. Both of these programs are online programs, and we meet once a summer F2F for residency. My director, Wayne Pferdehirt, has been incredibly supportive as I make this professional adjustment. As well, the unending support of my colleague Christine Nicometo has been the source of great inspiration during my transition.

And, if that’s not enough, Christine Nicometo and I continue our work with Iron Range Engineering, a new engineering degree currently going through its first ABET visit. We wish them the best of luck, but we know they won’t need it. The program is strong as is their documentation. Our job is to bring the elements of engineering communication to the program, and we do this with campus visits and distance teaching.

Well…that’s enough, isn’t it?

 

Cornell-bound!

It’s been an exciting few weeks. The short version is that I will be moving my word (mostly) to Cornell University, starting in Fall 2012.  Working in the College of Engineering, I will be housed in the Engineering Communication Program with Rick Evans (Director) and Sharon Ahlers (colleague extraordinaire).  Our whole family will be moving, and we are excited about being in the land of Gorges!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on July 5, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Theories of e-Learning

After joining the social networking service ResearchGate (like facebook for technical researchers), they are posting a “Theories of e-Learning” string. http://www.researchgate.net/topic/Theory_of_e-Learning/

As an instructor in the Masters of Engineering Professional Practice degree (online), when I read these kinds of strings, I know that I have been very fortunate to be thoroughly embedded inside such a great online degree program.  The biggest detracting element for any online program, I think, is getting instructors to create an engaging atmosphere.  It does take more than parking a video camera a the back of the room and capturing a lecture (which we rarely do).  Reconfiguring the learning for e-versions is a complete re-do, most often, and it requires constant upkeep.

I was also reminded in the last few days of an old experiment at the U of Wisconsin called “e-Teach.” A similar product is now being used by my hushand for streamingmedia.com–it’s called KnowledgeVision, and it shows much promise for some of the mose basic delivery needs. http://www.knowledgevision.com/

 

U of Wisconsin-Madison’s Online Masters of Engineering programs earn top ratings!

online engineering programs, graduate, engineering management, degree

The online graduate programs at the U of Wisconsin-Madison offer targeted, work-related, applicable learning for rising engineers, especially those going into engineering management.

Yesterday, US News and World Report released its rankings for the top online graduate engineering program. University of Wisconsin’s Online Masters of Engineering programs placed first in two categories and fifth in another!

In the Masters of Engineering of Professional Practice (which is often called an “engineering management” degree, I teach Communicating Technical Information with my colleague Christine Nicometo.  In the Masters of Engineering in Engine Systems, I alternate years teaching presentations skills within that degree with Nicometo.

Rankings:

#1: Student Engagement and Accreditation

#1: Student Services and Technology

#5: Faculty Credential and Training

 

The Art of Airline Safety Brochures

When I started teaching in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Technical Communication program, my then-Director, Gisela Kutzbach, gave me her stash of airline safety brochures. She passed them on to me when I began teaching the User Manuals class (which I *love* to teach!), and I have used them ever since as a way to start discussions about visual noise, instructions without words,  representations of people, and other issues. I think I have a fascination about this simply because my dear uncle passed away in an awful plane crash, and the brochures resonate with me in an odd way now.

Today, my colleague Christine Nicometo passed on a link to a story that takes on these issues, too. Recently published in the Paris Review, I read this article with rapt attention. The article is entitled “In the Unlikely Event” and is written by Avi Steinberg.

See what you think.

Image borrowed from article "In the Unlikely Event"

Link: http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2011/11/28/the-art-of-not-drowning/

 

Dance your science

Dance your PhD. An intriguing look at how complex information might be better visualized.

I am entranced today by the TEDx talk by John Bohannon, supported with dancers from the Black Label Movement. He argues rather well that science, technology, and almost any complex idea could be better visualized with dance rather than PowerPoint.  Watch this.  It’s worth your time.

http://youtu.be/UlDWRZ7IYqw

 

Technical Communication spotlight in Wisconsin Engineer Magazine

See more about the Technical Communication Certificate at http://tc.engr.wisc.edu

The Technical Communication Certificate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison was highlighted in this month’s Wisconsin Engineer Magazine, the oldest student engineering magazine in the nation. The article, written by Austin Kaiser, addresses the very real need that engineers have to be good communicators in their fields of work.

 

Tracking down a false stat

In many, many pieces that I read, I have seen a version of the “fact”  that “in a recent US federal survey, it was found that 83% of people are visual learners.”  Today, I needed to track down that stat in order to cite it. Turns out, as far as I can tell, the stat was never generated by any US govt agency.

The 83%.

In a study done by Fowler et al, this stat surfaces. But it wasn’t a US Fed government stat. It’s a decent study and deserves some attention, but that does not account for the  mythical status of the claim that 83% of students are visual learners. In theory, US OSHA office used it in a report, but the link is dead to that report at this time.

I really tire of sloppy research.  More on this as it develops….

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on November 21, 2011 in technical communication, Uncategorized