Different and the Same?
Measuring the hats of technical communicators in industry and academia

Like in most professional fields, technical communicators in industry and academia move at different speeds and work with seemingly disparate objectives. Stereotypes tend to paint academics focusing on the value of rhetoric, grammar, and traditional genres while industry professionals work with content management, Agile methodologies, and changing technologies and fast deadlines. We have been conducting a multi-stage, multi-year research project that challenges those stereotypes and highlights both similarities and undeniable differences between the academia and industry sides of the profession.

In this presentation, we will report preliminary findings of two workshops and more than 25 interviews that we have conducted with expert technical communicators from industry and academia. Attendees will have an opportunity to hear what leaders in the field have to say about where the field is going and what they think are the most appropriate ways for training or teaching technical communication to college students and new professionals.

Meet the Presenters

Carlos Evia is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at Virginia Tech. He teaches courses in professional communication and content management strategies. Carlos is also a voting member of the DITA technical committee and co-chair of the Lightweight DITA subcommittee at the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards. Carlos is the author of “Creating Intelligent Content with Lightweight DITA.”



Rebekka Andersen is an associate professor in the University Writing Program at the University of California, Davis, specializing in professional and technical communication. She serves on the CIDM Advisory Council, as an associate editor for IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and on the review board of several journals in the field. 

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