Please submit your Set of Instructions assignment to Canvas before 11:00 pm tonight.
Plan for Today
Here’s what we’re up to for today:
- Rhetoric of Technology asks us to look beyond the functional use of a tool. Return to May 25th’s page for more information.
- Résumés and cover letters: Here are some revision suggestions for you to consider
- Prose Revision Assignment Review is on Canvas.
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.
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. This repeats much of May 25th’s page, so it’s really a refresher for this class. However, if you haven’t read that page, you should. There will be questions on the Midterm Exam based on that material.
Homework and Future Work
We’ll continue our research discussion next week. 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, 6/10. If you’ve followed along with these daily activities and lessons, it will be easy. If you haven’t, 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