Make sure you turn in your Set of Instructions before you leave class…
Plan for Today
Of course, we always stick to what we’re doing, so here’s a roadmap:
- Research Discussion (yesterday, 7/18)
- Rhetoric of Technology—to look beyond the functional use of a tool
- Résumés and cover letters: Here are some revision suggestions for you to consider
- Prose Revision Assignment Review
Ubiquity of Rhetoric
You’d think that with such a rich history, rhetoric would be introduced to students long before college. Well, it is, but not necessarily as a pillar of Western Civilization. The term comes up when politicians or their critics denounce an opponent’s speech as empty; therefore, “rhetoric” is often associated popularly with “empty speech,” non-contributing verbiage, or fluff.
But the study of rhetoric is much more complicated. Just as each discipline has its own epistemology–the study of knowledge, its foundations and validity– each discipline’s communication has a rhetoric. And rhetoric isn’t limited simply to disciplines: Movements, Social Norms, Technology, Science, Religion, etc. have a rhetoric. I often define such analyses into “rhetorics of…” as common factors surrounding the power or belief in a particular area. In other words, beliefs, attitudes, values, and practices are rhetorics of prevailing social ideology: One’s acceptance of cultural “truth” is based largely on one’s immersion into the culture’s myths and beliefs. Therefore, this definition of rhetoric requires us to recognize the relationship among sender-receiver-mediator. Of course, for our discussion, the “mediator” is culture. There is no concrete, definitive transmission of rhetorically pure communication. Sender and receiver filter the message(s) based on their experiences. Lucky for us, we can locate prevailing patterns in messages because culture mediates them. When doing a rhetorical analysis, you have to ask what are common ways particular ideas are conveyed in a culture.
A brief Introduction of Rhetoric–From another class Web site.
Reading for Today
Today’s reading discusses connections between technology and society by showing how technologies say much about the culture(s) from which they come.
I have a rhetoric of technology page for us to review. Additionally, I’d like to have topics for your midterm from you related to technology in a social context, so pay attention.
Homework and Future Work
We’ll continue our research discussion next week if we aren’t far enough along. I wanted to introduce this early in order to give you time to think about a topic. In the past, I’ve had the research discussion closer to the end of the term, but that doesn’t give you a lot of time to, well, research, so I’d like us to start earlier. Also, we’re going to discuss I, Robot next week, so make sure you’ve read it. I know many of you have already started reading I, Robot, so that’s good.
Your Midterm Exam will be on Tomorrow, 7/20. If you’ve read and paid attention in class, it will be easy. If you haven’t read, spaced out, texted, and didn’t laugh at my jokes, this might be difficult. Below are some areas the midterm will cover:
- Using verbs for résumé duties
- Revising for passive voice, parallelism, overusing prepositions, and other wordiness
- Using jargon, limiting doublespeak, reducing excess verbiage
- Revising to have inclusive language
- Using good instruction language and technique for users
- Important elements of technical reports
- Understanding the goals of technical communicators and technical communication in general
- Understanding technology from a social perspective
- Good research techniques