• Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq

Decolonial Methods in TPC: FULL Undergrad Course

Updated: Aug 4

I am deeply committed to contributing towards equity, anti-racism, and social justice in academic practice, teaching, and research. Therefore, I am sharing a FULL course design, including course descriptions, learning outcomes, theoretical rationale, assignments, readings, and schedule. I present this as a gift to you all.


While this course design could inform a (imo bomb) publication, such means of production tend to involve a paywall. If you use this course design, in whole or in part, please honor the gift by citing me.


Ahem: Itchuaqiyaq, C. U. (2020). Decolonial Methods in TPC: FULL Undergrad Course. Cana Uluak Itchuaqiyaq. https://www.itchuaqiyaq.com/post/decolonial-methods-in-tpc-full-undergrad-course


Please note that this is the (as of today) third version of this course design, though it is yet to be taught by me (or any of you!). The first draft was written for a graduate seminar on teaching TPC taught by Dr. Avery Edenfield at Utah State University. The second draft was an expanded version used in my comprehensive examination as part of my PhD requirements. As such, you will notice sections of rationale (with lots of citations) justifying my choices in my course design. (Thanks to Drs. Rebecca Walton [my chair], Guadalupe Marquez-Velarde [co-chair], Keith Grant-Davie, John McLaughlin, and John Gamber for your insights and suggestions.) This third version is a fine-tuning of the course as informed by the decolonial research and evaluative heuristic developed with my writing partner, Dr. Breeanne Matheson (Boof <3 <3) of Utah Valley University.


Enjoy.


DECOLONIAL METHODS IN TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION

(upper-level course, 3 classes/week, ~50 minutes each class)


Course Description

In this course, you will learn about the value and reality of decolonial work in technical and professional communication (TPC). Because decolonial work centers on relationships, you will work as a coalition to create documents that are useful for Indigenous tribes in the US for their rematriation efforts. Throughout this course, we will practice decolonial methods for TPC through studying existing documents regarding the rematriation of Indigenous artifacts and remains.


We will apply that knowledge and create original technical communication documents that will assist tribes in their efforts towards rematriation.

In this course, you will learn about decoloniality, ethics, audience, research, and technical communication design and techniques, among other things. While this course will center on TPC related to issues facing Indigenous peoples, you will gain a clear understanding of technical communication as a profession and practice in general. Like many "mainstream" TPC courses, you will learn to design and create professional products (policy writing, ethics statements, multimodal information, proposals, and manuals) that are multimodal, accessible, and appropriate for specific and general audiences, but will develop those products considering how issues like oppressive cultural paradigms and colonialism might contribute to design if left unchallenged. Furthermore, this course will provide a great foundation for working with marginalized populations in a respectful and collaborative manner.

Course Description Rationale

While scholars have advocated for graduate-level decolonial methods courses in TPC and related fields (Haas, 2012; Riley Mukavetz, 2018), this course was created for undergraduates. This course is designed to challenge the neutrality of TPC curriculum (Shelton, 2019), by explicitly centralizing marginalized experiences (Álvarez, Hayes, & Cooley, S., 2017; Marinara, Alexander, Banks, & Blackmon, 2009) in its approach and, importantly, in its course readings (Cox & Faris, 2015). Because it is important to learn from multiply marginalized and underrepresented (MMU) scholars, our “Elders” who have pushed past boundaries to make academia more inclusive (Blackmon, Kirklighter, & Parks, 2011), every reading in this course was authored by an MMU scholar. Further, because of its focus on decolonial methods, an act of separatism that places Indigenous traditions at the center instead of the margins (Womack, 1999), the course works to de-center the western, colonial, corporate focus that pervades in many TPC courses. Instead, this course focuses on TPC’s relationship with communities (Scott & Longo, 2006), so that our students can become “virtuous citizens who ask critical questions” (Scott, Longo, & Wills, 2007, p. 1). Further, the use of a service-learning approach, if done carefully, can support decolonial approaches, since both are relational and reflexive (Scott, 2004; Smith, 2013; Wilson, 2008).

Student Learning Outcomes

This class will teach you to consider technical communication in a way that challenges the dominant western lens. You will consider the needs of Indigenous stakeholders and audiences, and consider how your own personal paradigm affects your work as a technical communicator. You will learn how to practice Indigenist rhetorical strategies effectively in your communication, and by the end of this class, you will have made meaningful growth towards these learning outcomes:

  • I am familiar with decolonial methodology and can recognize the methods that support decoloniality;

  • I can recognize colonial structures in technical communication and evaluate its a/effects and consider meaningful alternatives;

  • I can analyze the rhetorical situation related to the creation of technical communication documents, and describe the implications (cultural, societal, and ethical) of the resulting technical communication;

  • I can create a variety of technical communication products through a collaborative process of researching, designing, composing, testing, and revising;

  • I can create technical communication products for diverse audiences.

Student Learning Outcomes Rationale

The learning outcomes for this course were inspired by critical race theory and designed to reveal how “traditional” academic methods are often steeped in white supremacy (Zuberi & Bonilla-Silva, 2008). Further, the learning outcomes are centered around gaining an understanding of decolonial methodology and teaching students how to spot colonial structures. Unfortunately, these learning objectives are not typical in TPC courses, even though technical communications complicity in creating and upholding oppression and colonialism is well documented (Walton, Moore, & Jones, 2019). In this course, I aim to keep that complicity at the forefront instead of sweeping it under the rug. For example, the multimodal project asks groups to research and present about topics like white saviorhood and the harms of colonialism—framing them as legitimate academic issues—even if they raise feelings of discomfort. It is through recognizing and revealing these complaints as ongoing and persistent—the jeremiads of many MMU communities (Banks, 2006)—that change towards socially just technical communication, through the active rejecting and replacing of oppressive structures (Walton et al., 2019), can take place.


Coalitional Work

Decolonial methodologies are relationally based. Further, technical communicators are often called to act as mediators of communication between industry/organizations/government/etc. and their audiences. Technical communicators must be able to work with various stakeholders in order to do their job effectively. Therefore, the majority of the work for this class will be done in teams, or coalitions.

Individual and Group Conferences (Coalitional Debriefing)

I will meet with each of you individually at least two times during the semester to get to know you as an individual better, assess your growth in this class, and to address specific needs. I will also meet with each coalition four times (at least once during each project) to contribute, assess cohesion, and to address any needs.

  • The two individual conferences will occur during Week 3 and Week 10 and will be scheduled via an online poll. Because these meetings require labor from you (and myself) outside of class, these meetings can take place either online (Skype or Google Hangouts) or in-person (my office). Please indicate your preference when you sign up for your meeting time. All evening appointments (after 5pm) will take place online.

  • Coalitional debriefs will occur during each group assignment and will take place during class time, unless scheduling conflicts in the group require alternate times.

  • These conferences are a crucial component of your assessment. If you do not attend all of your required assessments (2 individual, 4 coalitional debriefs), it will affect your ability to pass this class. Please let me know ASAP if you expect any scheduling conflicts so we can make alternative arrangements.


ASSIGNMENT DESCRIPTIONS

Assignment Description Rationale

The assignments in this course are designed to allow for critical reflection and reflexive assessment that takes into account the process of learning collaboratively over time. Student coalitions work together on multiple projects throughout the semester creating multimodal, collaboratively produced texts (Kennedy, 2016). Students participate in a form of community-based assessment (Hendrickson & García de Müeller, 2016) that gives them an understanding of “academic discourse as evolving, malleable, and questionable” (p. 82), and incorporates feminist surveillance, via coalitional debriefs, as an ethic of care in our course (Hutchinson & Novotny, 2018).

Each assignment is designed to centralize access in multimodal ways (Hitt, 2012), working towards normalizing designing for access, inclusion, and usefulness as central components in “good” design. By focusing the students’ efforts on uncovering avenues for, and barriers to, access, rather than grammatical or genre prescriptions for technical communication, this course highlights the evolving disciplinary values of our field (Poblete, 2014) that are geared towards incorporating social justice and inclusion into all facets of our pedagogical practice (Agboka & Matveeva, 2018; Haas & Eble, 2018; Jones, Savage, & Yu, 2014). Further, this course follows a “design-feedback-design-feedback” model (Zhou, 2014, p. 27) that normalizes iterative design practice in technical communication.

This course also values student voice and gives them opportunities, via their online digital journal, to experience their own learning process with freedom of expression (Shelton & Howson, 2014) in their reflections about what they’ve learned and how it affects them as a person (Villanueva & Moeggenberg, 2018). In this space, the students can question and make claims about the course in messy ways, allowing for hedging language (Omizo & Hart-Davidson, 2016) and even expletives as a form of legitimate expression (Canagarajah, 2013) as they grapple with difficult concepts.

This course incorporates the use of digital technology in every assignment, creating a learning environment that fosters STEM education in TPC (Chesley et al., 2018; Cooke, 2016; Drazan, Cooke, & Eglash, 2016). Though this course does not provide instruction designing online interfaces (e.g., Knight, Rife, Alexander, Loncharich, & DeVoss, 2009), I have incorporated opportunities for students to create and maintain documents through rhetorical work (Sackey & Hart-Davidson, 2016) that challenges colonial and patriarchal notions of technology through feminist collaboration (Shivers-McNair, Gonzales, & Zhyvotovska, 2019).


A Note on Assessment

This is a pass/fail course. The irony of doing decolonial work within the confines of academe is not lost on me. However, the university requires that I grade your efforts, and this is the best grading option available. I want to state that if this course were graded using the typical A - F model, no one—including myself—would be able to receive an A. Decoloniality is a practice not a prescription. Decolonial methods require a change in perspective that is incredibly hard to do, something hardly achievable in one semester. Instead, I call upon you all to work together to give our best effort at practicing decolonial methods in the short period of time we have together.



Ongoing Assignment: Coalition Charter/Ethics Statement

DESCRIPTION

Coalition Assignment: Decolonial work is relational, therefore you will create and work together as coalitions. In this assignment, coalitions will investigate and negotiate how to work best together throughout the semester. Coalitions will create goals, discuss individual strengths and schedules, and detail communication strategies, conflict resolution, among other needs. Furthermore, coalitions will create an ethical statement that describes how they will consider and mediate the ethical impacts of their work upon one another, their peers, and their audience.

This coalitional charter/ethics statement is an iterative document and will be revised at least three times over the entirety of the semester. How can you know how to best resolve conflict if you have yet to face it? As your work together progresses, make sure to update your document (create different versions so I can witness your growth!) to reflect your new understanding.


CONTENT

Your coalition charter/ethics statement should address the following requirements:

  1. Coalition name and goal: Describe your name choice and your common goal.

  2. Ethics statement: Describe how ethics will inform your work as a coalition and as technical communicators. Make sure to discuss accessible formatting and good document design.

  3. Coalition profile: Provide names and contact information of each member. Include a schedule of availability for each team member. What specific skills does each member bring? What limitations do members have? How can your coalition work most effectively together? Include a list of responsibilities/tasks for each member. Do not forget to include your instructor as part of your coalition profile.

  4. Coalition policies: How will your coalition manage conflict? How and when will you consult your instructor with concerns? How will the coalition practice specific, knowledgeable, and kind communication about one another’s work?

  5. Work expectations: What counts as labor in your coalition? How will your coalition divvy up the required labor fairly? Make sure to refer to your coalitional profile and make realistic expectations.

  6. Deadlines: There will be a lot of moving parts in this course. Create a reflexive schedule of deadlines and goals using project management technologies of your choice. Be sure to include individual and coalitional debrief conference dates. Consider mini-deadlines in order to check-in with one another (and your instructor) and reduce stress.

SKILLS

Students will develop the following transferable skills though this assignment:

  • Coalition strategy: Recognition of relative positionality

  • Teamwork: Negotiation and communication

  • Team building: Conflict resolution

  • Policy writing: Coalition charter and ethical statement

  • Revaluation and revision: Iterative design


Ongoing Assignment: Thick Description Reading and Research Journal

DESCRIPTION

Individual Assignment: Throughout the semester you will keep an accessible online digital journal (i.e., a public or private blog on a free platform such as Blogger or WordPress) about your experience in this class. You are welcome to post using an alias and/or set your blog to “private.” You will engage with all course readings in this journal as well as class discussions in a manner that is meaningful to you. In other words, your writing does not necessarily need to follow a particular “academic” form: feel free to create digital art, recount a relevant story, rant. The only caveats are that your journal must consider that your audience (me, your instructor) will also need to make sense of your expression and recognize growing insights and that all materials are accessible (e.g., alt-text for images, etc.). This journal is meant to help you make connections throughout the semester that will aid you in your work.

This journal is an iterative practice. In other words, you will actively return to your previous entries and reconsider them in light of new understandings and experiences you have in this course. In your digital journal, you may use the “comments” feature, post an update, or use different color text to help distinguish the original entries from the reflections. Please create this blog during the first week of class and give me a link so I can review your journal throughout the semester.

CONTENT Your journal should include the following:

  1. Rich description of how each reading in the course implicitly or explicitly engages with the concept of decoloniality. Here are some sample questions to consider:

  2. Does the author’s use of “decolonial” actively work towards respecting and reclaiming Indigenous sovereignty, lands, and knowledges? In what ways?

  3. How does the author’s understanding of “decolonial” fit with others’ understanding?

  4. How might the author’s work be used to dismantle colonial structures in TPC?

  5. Rich description of your experiences in the class (e.g., class discussions, individual projects, coalitional work). What realizations or connections are you making? What are you struggling with?

  6. Reflection on previous entries. How has your learning evolved throughout this semester? How has time (and experience) changed your first impressions?

  7. If you include audio, video, or images, you will need to make these components accessible.

SKILLS

Students will develop the following transferable skills though this assignment:

  • Critical engagement and evaluation of academic texts

  • Synthesis of multiple perspectives

  • Iterative design

  • Accessible design

  • Blogging/website maintenance


Project 1: Accessible Information About Cross-Cultural Research in TPC

DESCRIPTION

Coalition & Individual Assignment:

  • Part 1: Paper (individual)

  • Part 2: Multimodal project and presentation (coalition)

  • Coalitional debrief

In this assignment, individuals and coalitions will investigate and report on issues related to decoloniality in technical communication. Individuals will write a paper that discusses cross-cultural research and how technical communication can contribute meaningfully to decolonial efforts.


Coalitions will each be assigned one of the following topics for their multimodal project:

  • What is sovereignty?

  • What is “white saviorhood”?

  • What is an Indigenist paradigm?

  • What are positionality, privilege, and power?

  • What are the harms of colonialism?

Coalitions will create and test accessible multimodal information about various aspects of cross-cultural research and decoloniality in TPC and will present their work to the class for discussion.

CONTENT

Part 1: (Individual) Your paper should address the following requirements:

  1. 6-8 double-spaced pages (1,500-2,000 words).

  2. You may use any writing style you would like (e.g., narrative, storytelling, formal essay, etc.) as long as it conveys the required information in a effective manner.

  3. Provide a detailed definition of “decolonial” that is synthesized from the course readings and other sources. (Remember: you are welcome to challenge how scholars apply “decolonial” in their work.)

  4. Provide a detailed discussion of how technical communication can meaningfully contribute to decolonial efforts. (Remember: consider from which paradigm your concept of “meaningful” and “contribute” might come from.)

  5. Provide a detailed discussion of potential snares that technical communicators must be aware of while engaging with cross-cultural research and decolonial efforts. (Hint: look at the coalitional project topics for a good starting point.)

  6. Accessible formatting and document design.

Part 2: (Coalition) Your multimodal project and presentation should address the following requirements:

  1. Provide detailed information about your group’s topic, including relevant definitions.

  2. Incorporate multiple ways of accessing information (e.g., video with sound and captions, infographic that can be read by a screenreader, slide presentation with narration, etc.).

  3. Provide resources (from outside of course readings) for learning more information about the topic.

  4. 15-minute presentation of your multimodal project to class with a 5-minute discussion:

  5. Present multimodal project (~5 minutes).

  6. Provide a set a memorable tips related to your topic that will help the class as they work on the final project.

  7. Every member should contribute to the presentation.

  8. Make sure to discuss how your coalition researched and chose which information to include in your multimodal project.

SKILLS

Students will develop the following transferable skills though this project:

  • Research

  • Synthesis

  • Multimodal information production

  • Usability testing (Useful design)

  • Inclusive design

  • Accessible design

  • Presentation preparation

  • Extemporaneous speaking skills


Project 2: Rematriation Manuals

DESCRIPTION

Coalition Assignment:

  • Part 1: User profile and rhetorical situation/context analysis (individual)

  • Part 2: Meet with tribe’s technical communicator (coalition)

  • Part 3: Proposal (coalition)

  • Part 4: Manuals (coalition)

  • Coalitional debrief

In this assignment, coalitions will collaborate with a technical communicator from assigned tribal organizations to create manuals that present needed information and instruction for rematriation work. First, students will research US tribal rematriation efforts (using AAIA’s repatriation guide and other resources for guidance) and their assigned tribal organization/community, and then will identify the audience(s) and rhetorical situation/context associated with technical communication products about rematriation. Second, coalitions (including the instructor) will meet with each tribe’s technical communicator to better understand the tribe’s specific needs and resources related to their rematriation efforts. Third, coalitions will write a formal proposal addressed to their assigned tribal organization describing the proposed rematriation guides. Finally, coalitions will construct two cohesive manuals (including QuickStart guides) written for two different users (i.e., a manual for a tribal government receiving artifacts and a manual for individuals returning artifacts).


A Note on the Use of Rematriation:

You will notice that I use the term rematriation versus repatriation in this assignment and in this course. I use this term purposefully in solidarity to the call by Indigenous scholars to acknowledge the hegemonic forces embedded in terms like repatriation. If a specific source uses the term repatriation, I kept the term intact. (Refer to Eve Tuck's 2011 reading in Week 9 for more on rematriation.)

CONTENT

Part 1: (Individual) Your two user profiles and rhetorical situation/context analysis should address the following requirements:

  • ~3-5 pages, double-spaced.

  • One page each describing your users and their needs. Give relevant details about the motivation and constraints of each user to do rematriation work. Be mindful to avoid stereotypes.

  • One page describing the relevant context of the manuals and how your coalition distilled information down to the most relevant information and actions for each user.

  • Accessible formatting: headers, use of bullets, and good document design.

Part 2: (Coalition) You will meet with a representative from the tribal organization (along with your instructor) via video chat. In order to prepare for your meeting:

  • Create a list of specific questions for the tribe’s technical communicator regarding the tribe’s needs and resources related to their rematriation efforts.

  • You will meet with your instructor (in class) to further prepare.

Part 3: (Coalition) Your proposal should address the following requirements in this order:

  1. ~5-7 pages, single-spaced.

  2. Contain a cover page.

  3. Contain a Letter of Intent (LOI) addressed to your assigned tribal organization.

  4. Contain a formatted Table of Contents (TOC):

  5. The TOC will include all level (1-3) headings using auto format (not manually created) so that clickable links to each section are created.

  6. Your TOC should be “page 1” of your document, though you will have a cover page and LOI.

  7. Contain an Executive Summary.

  8. Contain a (synthesized from Part 1) User Analysis for each user:

  9. These should be distilled down into a memo format.

  10. Remember at least one of your audiences is likely very familiar with Indigenous people; focus your analysis on user needs.

  11. Contain a description of each product (manual) you will create and its purpose.

  12. Contain a listing of relevant resources/academic references you will use to help create your manual and assure its quality.

  13. Accessible formatting: headers, use of bullets, and good document design.

Part 4: (Coalition) Once your manual proposal is approved by the tribe, you will create your manual incorporating all the feedback you received (from tribe and instructor). Your two manuals should address the following requirements:

  • ~15-20 pages each.

  • Each manual is directed towards two related users regarding the same aspect of rematriation.

  • Each manual will include a professional title page that includes the tribe’s logo, names of tribal officials, and contributing authors. Include a brief description of what the manual is meant to accomplish and for whom.

  • Contain a formatted TOC.

  • Each manual will include a 1-page introduction that describes the purpose of the guide (hint: rematriation) and a brief description of what to expect in the manual.

  • Each manual will include a 1-2 page maximum Quickstart Guide (i.e., infographic) that incorporates visual elements and text for the main stages.

  • Each manual will include relevant graphics that use appropriate titling and description (e.g., Figure 1: Image of ivory figurine).

  • Each manual will include a reference section and “Useful Resources” section. The Useful Resources section will describe each resource (1-2 sentences) and provide live links (if online).

  • Professional and visually appealing while remaining accessible.

  • Accessible formatting: Use of headings and bullets effectively, good document design. These documents should be easily scannable and have a lot of whitespace.

SKILLS

Students will develop the following transferable skills from this project:

  • Teamwork

  • Collaboration

  • Research

  • Problem solving

  • Audience analysis

  • Needs analysis

  • Manual creation: Digital manuals and online tutorial

  • Infographic creation

  • Visual rhetoric

  • Accessible design

  • Inclusive design

  • Rhetorical analysis

  • Proposal writing

  • Usability testing (Useful design)


COURSE SYLLABUS AND READING LIST


Course Syllabus and Reading List Rationale

In this class, I centralize the voices of MMU scholars in order to teach a upper-division TPC course. I chose only journal articles that were available online via the library in order to keep the class cost to a minimum. Most weeks have two journal article readings, a hearty, but acceptable, load for an upper-level course, especially considering I scheduled time for discussion each week to concretely tie the readings to the issue at hand: decolonial methods.


The chosen course topics center on TPC issues that are related to decolonial efforts. But, admittedly, it isn’t always a perfect fit; for example, I have not schedule any focused discussion on Indigenous sovereignty related to land—a central point of decolonial efforts and teaching that is often hard to accomplish in humanities classes (King, Gubele, & Anderson, 2015). However, the rematriation work I include is deeply related to Indigenous sovereignty and opens space to discuss the rematriation of Indigenous land. Further, the readings I assign discuss land to a degree, but there is always room for expansion of this important topic in future iterations.


While not every article assigned discusses decoloniality explicitly, I tried to pair a “decolonial” article with a complementary article that extends the possibilities expressed in the “decolonial” piece. For example, in Week 9: Paradigm Considerations, the readings are Tuck, "Rematriating Curriculum Studies" and Jones, Moore, & Walton (2016), “Disrupting the Past to Disrupt the Future: An Antenarrative of Technical Communication.” While one reading (Tuck) discusses issues related to decoloniality (specifically paradigms associated with gender and Indigenous identity), the other complements that reading because it calls upon technical communicators to challenge dominant paradigms in TPC in general. Some weeks, such as Week 10: “Good” Design: Accessible Design, do not have an article that discusses decoloniality explicitly, but the subject matter is important to cover, especially in a class that digresses from the mainstream cannon with the goal of developing a mindset appropriate for decoloniality.


Besides centralizing MMU scholarship, it was pivotal to build in multiple debriefing sessions with students in order to assess their growth in the class. In this pass/fail course, I meet one-on-one with individual students at least twice, and conduct coalitional debriefs at least four times in order to assess student progress in an equitable fashion. These meetings allow me to observe students and their relationship to the work over time, a form of feminist surveillance (Hutchinson & Novotny, 2018) that requires a lot of professional emotional labor (Sano-Franchini, 2016). This type of interaction is essential to this particular collaborative learning model, since decolonial methods are inherently relational in nature (Itchuaqiyaq, in press; Smith, 2013; Wilson, 2008). In fact, this form of assessment is probably one of the sneakier “blending-carrots-into-the-spaghetti-sauce” moments: it seems easier to the students (Wow! No grades!), but it requires a huge time and emotional commitment from the instructor, because my role (collaborator/instructor) must include aspects of control (assessment, facilitation), creation (motivation, feedback), as well as empathy (Robinson, 2016). This slowing down and checking-in with one another regularly echoes hooks’s (1994) description of what students might want to make “happen” in their classes—a hashing out of experiences—“so we are just there, collectively grasping, feeling the limitations of knowledge, longing together, yearning for a way to reach that highest point” (p. 92). The main reason to meet with students regularly is to underscore the coalitional aspect of the course; if I am part of their coalition, I must contribute and work together with my fellow coalition members towards the goal of reaching that highest point.


WEEK 1: Introduction to Course, What is Decolonization?

Readings:

» Repatriation guide (very lightly skim to familiarize)

» Appleton, N. S. (2019) Do not ‘decolonize’…

» Tuck, E., & Yang, W. (2012) Decolonization is not a metaphor

Goals:

» Discuss syllabus, assignments, and expectations of course

» Complete coalition-placement survey

» Discuss AAIA’s repatriation guide and what makes it TC

» Discuss digital journal, create blog, give instructor link

» Review accessibility in TPC: headers, alt-text, captions


WEEK 2: Social Justice and Decoloniality

Readings:

» Agboka, G. Y. (2013) Thinking about social justice…

» Walton, R., & Jones, N. N. (2013) Navigating increasingly cross-cultural … to support social justice

Goals:

» Discuss the role of social justice in technical communication

» Discuss how cross-cultural research will inform this course

» Discuss decolonization, first impressions

» Create 5 semester-long coalitions (~4 persons each)

» Coalition building exercises

» Discuss coalition charter/ethics statement


WEEK 3: Intercultural Research and Decoloniality

Readings:

» Agboka, G. Y. (2014) Decolonial methodologies: Social justice perspectives

» Agboka, G. Y. (2012) Liberating intercultural technical communication

Goals:

» Individual conferences this week

» Discuss intercultural research in light of decoloniality

» First iteration, COALITION CHARTER/ETHICS STATEMENT, due


WEEK 4: Cultural Rhetorics and Decoloniality

Readings:

» Riley Mukavetz, A. M. (2018) Decolonial theory and methodology

» Riley Mukavetz, A. M. (2014) Towards a cultural rhetorics methodology…

Goals:

» Discuss how cultural rhetorics in light of decoloniality

» Individual essay (Part 1), PROJECT 1: ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION ABOUT CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH, due

» First draft of coalitional (Part 2), PROJECT 1: ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION ABOUT CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH, due


WEEK 5: “Good” Design: Useful Design

Readings:

» Arola, K. (2011) Listening to see: A feminist approach to design literacy

» Acharya, K. R. (2018) Usability for user empowerment: Promoting social justice

Goals:

» Discuss usability testing in light of decoloniality

» Present multimedia project in small group exchanges

» Coalitional debrief & project feedback (in class)

» Synthesize class & instructor feedback, revise project


WEEK 6: Technology, Service Learning, and Decoloniality

Readings:

» Haas, A. M. (2012) Race, rhetoric, and technology…

» Hidalgo, A., & Leon, K. (2012) Rhetoric, multimedia technology, and the service-learning classroom

Goals:

» Discuss service learning in light of decoloniality

» Presentations (Part 3), PROJECT 1: ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION ABOUT CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH

» Final draft of coalitional (Part 2), PROJECT 1: ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION ABOUT CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH, due


WEEK 7: Collaboration With Communities

Readings:

» Dutta, U., & Das, S. (2016) The digital design at the margins: Co-designing information

» Read AAIA’s Repatriation Guide closely

» Read tribal website (assigned)

Goals:

» Discuss collaboration with communities in light of decoloniality

» Revise coalition charter/ethics statement

» Assign tribal organization to coalitions

» Research rematriation

» Second iteration, COALITION CHARTER/ETHICS STATEMENT, due


WEEK 8: Technology and Hegemony

Readings:

» Haas, A. M. (2007) Wampum as hypertext…

» Frost, E. A., & Haas, A. M. (2017) Seeing and knowing the womb: A technofeminist…

Goals:

» Discuss technology and hegemony in light of decoloniality

» Research tribe and community

» Coalitional debrief (in class): create initial plan for meeting with tribe’s technical communicator

» Individual user profile (Part 1), REMATRIATION MANUALS, due


WEEK 9: Paradigm Considerations

Readings:

» Tuck, E. (2011). Rematriating curriculum studies

» Jones, N. N., Moore, K. R., & Walton, R. (2016). Disrupting the past to disrupt the future: An antenarrative of technical communication

Goals:

» Meet with tribe’s technical communicator (Part 2), REMATRIATION MANUALS

» Discuss cultural influences and paradigms in light of decoloniality

» Discuss components of a rematriation manual

» Synthesize user profiles and meeting notes for proposal


WEEK 10: “Good” Design: Accessible Design

Readings:

» Oswal, S. K., & Melonçon, L. (2014) Paying attention to accessibility when designing…

» Palmeri, J. (2006) Disability studies, cultural analysis, and the critical practice…

Goals:

» Individual conferences this week

» Discuss design and access in light of decoloniality


WEEK 11: Respectful, Ethical Research and Learning

Readings:

» Scott, J. B. (2004) Rearticulating civic engagement through cultural studies and service-learning

» Cobos, C., Raquel Ríos, G., Johnson Sackey, D., Sano-Franchini, J., & Haas, A. M. (2018) Interfacing Cultural Rhetorics: A History and a Call

Goals:

» Discuss the ethics of collaborating (service-learning) in light of decoloniality

» Discuss meaningfully incorporating local perspectives/needs

» Coalitional debrief (in class): final proposal concerns

» Proposal (Part 3) REMATRIATION MANUALS, due


WEEK 12: Advocacy and Allyship

Readings:

» Jones, N. N. (2016b) The technical communicator as advocate…

» Del Hierro, V., Levy, D., & Price, M. (2016) We are here : Negotiating difference and alliance in spaces of cultural rhetorics

Goals:

» Discuss advocacy and allyship in light of decoloniality

» Assign components of manuals to coalition members

» Incorporate proposal feedback into manual and tutorial planning

» Third iteration, COALITION CHARTER/ETHICS STATEMENT, due


WEEK 13: Culturally Appropriate Writing

Readings:

» Powell, M. (2002) Rhetorics of survivance: How American Indians use writing

» Walwema, J. (2018) Transliteracies in intercultural professional communication

Goals:

» Discuss final weeks of course and upcoming tasks/needs

» Discuss culturally-appropriate writing in light of decoloniality

» Create first drafts of manuals


WEEK 14: “Good” Design: Inclusive Design

Readings:

» Jones, N. N. (2016a) Narrative inquiry in human-centered design: Examining silence and voice to promote social justice in design scenarios

» McDaniel, R., & Kuang, L. (2016) Cross-cultural cinematic communication: Learning from information design…

Goals:

» Discuss design considerations in light of decoloniality

» Coalitional debrief (in class): manual draft discussion


WEEK 15: Moving Forward

Readings:

» Shelton, C. (2019) Shifting out of neutral: Centering difference, bias, and social justice in a business writing course

Goals:

» Discuss decolonial methods in technical communication, a revisit

» Final draft, REMATRIATION MANUALS, due

» THICK DESCRIPTION READING AND RESEARCH JOURNAL due


References


Decolonial Methods Course Refs
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