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Appendix C: Annotated Bibliography

Overview: Because the topics of design thinking and making are relatively fresh to technical communication, I include here annotated summaries of 15 scholarly publications mentioned in the book. I consider these selected publications essential for understanding the theory and practice of design thinking and making. May these be useful for instructors who are (re) designing their courses, researchers who are seeking peer-reviewed sources to support their studies, and graduate students who are putting together their exams or dissertation reading lists.

Bay, J., Johnson-Sheehan, R., & Cook, D. (2018). Design thinking via experiential learning: Thinking like an entrepreneur in technical communication courses. Programmatic Perspectives, /0(1), 172-200. Retrieved from https://cptsc.Org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/voll0.l.pdf

Using the technical communication service course as a backdrop, Bay, Johnson-Sheehan, and Cook explored an “entrepreneurship pedagogy” through the lens of design thinking. The article includes an expanded description for each phase of design thinking—empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing. Bay et al. connected design thinking with experiential learning. Combined with entrepreneurial thinking, this pedagogical approach can invigorate technical communication programs by creating (and sustaining) working relationships with industry. Bay et al. provided some examples of such collaboration between the Purdue program and entrepreneurship hubs in the city of Lafayette.

Breaux, С. (2017). Why making? Computers and Composition, 44, 27-35.

Breaux synthesized key historic movements and influences that help establish the lineage of maker culture as we know it today. Through assemblage/ remediation, craft, and hacking theories, Breaux enacted a strong intersection between making and a subfield of writing studies—computers and writing. Breaux then drew three major implications of making for writing: 1) making expands the constructions of literacy, 2) making shines a spotlight on underrepresented groups in technology studies, and 3) making supports democratization of technology (production and consumption). For these reasons, Breaux argued that computers and writing teacher- scholars should consider themselves as makers and justify the importance of making.

Brown, J., & Rivers, N. (2013). Composing the carpenter’s workshop. О-Zone: A Journal of Object-Oriented Studies, 1(1), 27-36.

Given the field’s focus on rhetorical ecology, objects, and agency, Brown and Rivers contended that rhetoric and composition can be hospitable to projects concerning object-oriented production. By the way of Ian Bogost’s “philosophical carpentry,” Brown and Rivers enacted rhetorical carpentry as an attunement to multimodal composition and object-oriented rhetoric. This ecological and ontological approach to writing instruction can introduce students “to a multiplicity of composing skills” by rendering experiences of both humans and nonhumans, moving beyond just the traditionally human-centered rhetorical situation.

Carter, J. L. (2016). Making, disrupting, innovating. College Composition and Communication, 68(2), 378-408. Retrieved from https://secure. CCC0682Address.pdf

This print article was the fifth iteration of the Chair’s Address given by Carter, 2016 CCCC Chair, at the national convention in Houston. Carter urged writing scholars and instructors to consider themselves as makers and innovators who have always-already disrupted so-called norms. Carter provided examples of in-house innovations—those produced by “writing” scholars and have made a difference in teaching and learning, publishing, and even manufacturing. Carter equated writing to coding by demonstrating the similarities between argumentation schematics, linguistic diagramming, poetry, and algorithm programming. Carter argued that making, disrupting, and innovating should not be seen as anomalies in writing studies.

Hailey, D., Cox, M., & Loader, E. (2010). Relationship between innovation and professional communication in the “creative” economy. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 40(2), 125-141.

To examine the impact of creativity on professional communication careers, Hailey, Cox, and Loader, together with a group of students, used a variation of the Delphi method to evaluate 45 selected job titles, assigning them into “more” or “less” creative categories. The study highlighted the otfshoring (outsourcing) phenomenon in a “creative” economy. Results showed that creativity does not equate innovation, and that individuals who can demonstrate knowledge of innovation processes are more valued by industry than those who were mere creative. The authors suggested that technical communicators who can consistently identify and solve corporate problems will be more valuable. To this end, the authors provided an 8-step “innovation process for writers” that focuses on problem definition, developing solutions, and communicating them to stakeholders.

Johnson-Eilola, J., & Selber, S. (2013). Solving problems in technical communication. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

This edited collection consists of 19 chapters, organized into a four-phase adaptive heuristic that spans from broad to specific technical communication contexts and applications. Johnson-Eilola and Selber’s introduction to this collection characterizes technical communication as a problem-solving activity, and states that students and professionals should be equipped to approach ill-structured problems. Each chapter provides a rationale and context for the chapter subject matter, a literature review to situate the subject within existing discussions, a research-based heuristic that serves as a framework for practice, an extended example to provide an illustration of the framework at work, and a conclusion with discussion questions. Essential chapters include Bill Hart- Davidson on work patterns of technical communication, Jason S warts on technical communication work tools, and Rebecca Burnett et al. on collaboration.

Jones, N. N., Moore, K. R., & Walton, R. (2016). Disrupting the past to disrupt the future: An antenarrative of technical communication. Technical Communication Quarterly, 25(4), 211-229.

Recognizing that the field of technical communication has mostly focused о “objective, apolitical, acultural practices, theories, and pedagogies,’’Jones, Moore, and Walton were motivated to present an “antenarrative” for the field that embraces social justice and inclusivity as a core tenet of technical communication. Jones et al. examined the dominant narrative in the field’s published literature and then presented a collection of nondominant threads that “unravel” the dominant narratives. These threads come from feminism and gender studies, race and ethnicity, international/intercultural professional communication, community and public engagement, user advocacy, and disability and accessibility. The antenarrative threads invite reinterpretation of the past and open room for a more inclusive future. The authors offered a heuristic approach—3P: positionality, privilege, and power—to inform inclusive technical communication practice and scholarship.

Knievel, M. (2006). Technology artifacts, instrumentalism, and the Humanist Manifestos: Toward an integrated humanistic profile for technical communication. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, 20(1), 65-86.

Knievel interrogated the humanistic tradition and debates in technical communication to identify their implications for the role of technology in the field’s discourse. Knievel noted that traditional treatment of technolog)' as instrumental, not rhetorical, within the field’s humanistic profile raises questions about the legitimacy of the field’s humanistic status. Through the Humanist Manifestos, Knievel encouraged scholars to reconceptualize the relationship between technolog)' and humanity by acknowledging the “full range of technolog)'—instrumental, rhetorical, systemic, or substantive.” Knievel offered three possible ways to spread the notion of humanistic technology: 1) publish in English studies and humanistic journals, 2) collaborate with business and industry, and 3) bring technology courses into English departments.

Kostelnick, C. (1989). Process paradigm in design and composition: Affinities and directions. College Composition and Communication, 40(3), 267-281.

Kostelnick recognized some overlaps between traditional composition and the design process, and was set out to examine the affinities between the two movements. The common tenets shared by these movements include writing and designing as acts of discovery, writing and designing as recursive invention, the consciousness of experienced writers and designers of their own processes, and the role of audience analysis in defining writing and design problems. Kostelnick argued that composition scholars can learn from the methods crisis in design, and adopt a pluralistic approach to process pedagogy. Kostelnick urged composition studies to develop processes similar to design pedagogies and theories that “reconcile the writing process paradigm with real world text production.”

Leverenz, C. (2014). Design thinking and the wicked problem of teaching writing. Computers and Composition, 33, 1-12.

Concerned with the increasing demand of multimodal composing in the classroom and workplace, Leverenz considered how writing courses can be reimagined as opportunities for design thinking. By tracing the argument for design thinking in composition studies to Richard Buchanan (1992) and Richard Marback (2009), Leverenz argued that a human-centered approach to designing innovative solutions in response to wicked problems can better students for their future of writing. Leverenz suggested that writing assignments can be made like design briefs to represent real design problems. To simulate workplace practice, Leverenz also recommended team-based writing and letting students experiment with new ways of thinking through prototyping. Leverenz offered a sample assignment sequence she used in junior-level class to show how the elements of design thinking could be applied to writing.

Marback, R. (2009). Embracing wicked problems: The turn to design in composition studies. College Composition and Communication, 61, 397-419.

Marback agreed that the concept of design appeals to composition studies but it has yet to be developed enough to benefit composition pedagogy. Like Charles Kostelnick (1989), Marback believed that composition studies can benefit from a flexible design paradigm, with focus on the idea of design tasks as wicked problems. By attending to wicked problems as technical as well as rhetorical, Marback sought to “return” design to composition studies. Marback critiqued the efforts by the New London Group (1996), Diana George (2002), and Mary E. Hocks (2003), arguing that design thinking is not about the extension of print media to other meaning-making platforms, but rather embracing the wickedness of design problems. Marback presented a sample assignment to demonstrate this level of engagement in a composition classroom.

Purdy, J. (2014). What can design thinking offer writing studies? College Composition and Communication, 65(4), 612—641.

Purdy followed Richard Marback’s (2009) call to turn to design in composition studies and explored why design is invoked in five writing studies and computers and composition journals (from their inception to 2011). Purdy’s study yielded five categories of design use: 1) design as a synonym for plan/structure, 2) design as a conceptualization of multimodal composing, 3) design as a recognition of digital/multimedia compositions, 4) design as attending the material conditions of composing, and 5) design as a discussion of the discipline of design studies. Purdy then synthesized the ways design is approached in writing studies pedagogy, and attempted to align the prevalent steps of design thinking with the writing process. To demonstrate the application of design thinking in writing studies, Purdy shared an example from the Colorado State University Writing Project, highlighting the key phases of design thinking in executing the multimodal project. Purdy contended that design thinking can cast focus beyond print composition, help form collaborative partnerships, and (re)orient writing as productive work in the world.

Sheridan, D. (2010). Fabricating consent: Three-dimensional objects as rhetorical compositions. Computers and Composition, 27(4), 249-265.

Through the lens of material rhetoric, Sheridan explored the implications of three-dimensional fabrication of products for composition and rhetoric. Drawing from early discussions of visual and multimodal rhetoric, Sheridan submitted four reasons for integrating 3D rhetoric into writing pedagogy—it’s possible (access to technologies of production), it’s powerful (more effective communication), it’s valued (deemed important across personal, professional, and public spheres), and it’s ours (it resides in the domain of rhetoric). Sheridan compiled literature that supported these reasonings and presented three brief cases of citizen fabrication that explored arguments from the perspectives of infrastructural accessibility, rhetorical effectiveness, cultural status, and (de)specialization in 3D rhetoric. Sheridan posited 3D fabrication as transformative to cultures and politics, and can help composition and rhetoric achieve the goals of equality and social justice.

Shipka, J. (2005). A multimodal task-based framework for composing. College Composition and Communication, 57(2), 277-306.

In this study, Shipka followed two students in their multimodal composing journey to reconceptualize production, delivery, and reception in the composition classroom. Through theories of goal-oriented activity, Shipka examined how the students worked to negotiate the complex communicative tasks they undertook in a class. Shipka reported that these students, when called upon to set their own goals and strategies to accomplish those goals, they can 1) demonstrate awareness of media affordances; 2) successfully produce, represent, distribute, and deliver their work; and 3) become better equipped to negotiate the range of communicative contexts they found themselves in. Based on these accounts, Shipka argued for a multimodal, task-based framework for composing that asks students to attend to: a) the product(s) they will formulate in response to a given task; b) the operations, processes, or methodologies that will (or could) be employed in generating that product; c) the resources, materials, and technologies that will (or could) be employed in generating that product; and d) the specific conditions in, under, or with which the final product will be experienced.

Wible, S. (2020). Using design thinking to teach creative problem solving in writing courses. College Composition and Communication, 7/(3), 399-425.

Motivated by the increased interest in helping students foster creativity through writing courses, Wible integrated design thinking methods as a creative problem-solving process. Through genre theory, Wible examined what specific genres were written and discussed by students in their design thinking-oriented writing course. In this article, Wible focused on the problem definition, invention, and prototyping phases in the design thinking process. Wible noted that students used design thinking genres such as user empathy maps and point-of-view statements to formulate problem definitions. Students collaboratively brainstormed solutions using how-might-we questions, selected creative ideas through voting, composed multimodal prototypes using storyboards, and tested them with actual users. Finally, students gave an oral presentation via either of two narratives—an innovation story or a learning story. Wible concluded that design thinking can help students develop creativity and problem-solving skills through audience and purpose-focused genres that are different from typical patterns of inquiry and argumentation in traditional writing courses.


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