Location

PARB 128

Type of Presentation

Individual paper/presentation (20 minute presentation)

Target Audience

Higher Education

Abstract

By drawing on the early findings of an IRB-approved study, this presentation will discuss some challenges involved in teaching structured authoring, defined here as topic based authoring combined with an XML or XML-like structure. Since the late 1980s, Robert E. Horn and others referred to structured authoring/writing as a new paradigm that transforms the ways writers think about information usage, presentation, and structuring. Charlotte Robidoux (2007) and Sally Henschel (2010, 2014), among others, have explored how curriculums that taught structured authoring might help students begin to understand how the approach changes writing. However, as Joy Robinson et al (2019) demonstrated, support for learning the technologies involved (like MadCap Flare or Adobe Framemaker) is often minimal, usually only what instructors can teach themselves, leading to comparatively low adoption of structured authoring even in technical writing courses, especially at non-R1 institutions and teaching-focused institutions.

As a result, some structured authoring developers, specifically MadCap and their Scholar Program, have begun providing their software for free to institutions to use, though training is still mostly self-directed. This presentation will discuss a study on the first attempt to pilot training in both the technology and the information paradigm needed to use structured authoring, highlighting successful elements as well as difficulties. It will conclude will suggesting possible remedies and ways to incorporate the approach in different styles of writing classes.

Presentation Description

By drawing on the early findings of an IRB-approved study, this presentation will discuss some challenges involved in teaching structured authoring, defined here as topic based authoring combined with an XML or XML-like structure. This presentation will discuss a study on the first attempt to pilot training in both the technology and the information paradigm needed to use structured authoring, highlighting successful elements as well as difficulties. It will conclude will suggesting possible remedies and ways to incorporate the approach in different styles of writing classes.

Keywords

Structured authoring, structured writing, technical writing, professional writing, XML, DITA, knowledge transfer

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Feb 22nd, 10:15 AM Feb 22nd, 11:30 AM

Information Literacy as Structured Authoring

PARB 128

By drawing on the early findings of an IRB-approved study, this presentation will discuss some challenges involved in teaching structured authoring, defined here as topic based authoring combined with an XML or XML-like structure. Since the late 1980s, Robert E. Horn and others referred to structured authoring/writing as a new paradigm that transforms the ways writers think about information usage, presentation, and structuring. Charlotte Robidoux (2007) and Sally Henschel (2010, 2014), among others, have explored how curriculums that taught structured authoring might help students begin to understand how the approach changes writing. However, as Joy Robinson et al (2019) demonstrated, support for learning the technologies involved (like MadCap Flare or Adobe Framemaker) is often minimal, usually only what instructors can teach themselves, leading to comparatively low adoption of structured authoring even in technical writing courses, especially at non-R1 institutions and teaching-focused institutions.

As a result, some structured authoring developers, specifically MadCap and their Scholar Program, have begun providing their software for free to institutions to use, though training is still mostly self-directed. This presentation will discuss a study on the first attempt to pilot training in both the technology and the information paradigm needed to use structured authoring, highlighting successful elements as well as difficulties. It will conclude will suggesting possible remedies and ways to incorporate the approach in different styles of writing classes.