2008 Teaching and Learning Symposium

2:30-4:30 p.m., May 6, 2008
HUB Ballroom

Session Description



A Case of Culturability: Designing a Workshop for Chinese Software Engineers

Kathleen Gygi, Technical Communication

The poster will describe research associated with a cross-cultural communication design project: the development and delivery of a workshop on effective engineering communication for software engineers in China employed by a US corporation. This project provides the opportunity to surface issues related to the professional practice of engineers working in distributed, cross-cultural contexts and how to localize training in such contexts. By April only the conceptual phase of the project will be completed, so this poster will focus on the underlying conceptual framework and research approach. Culturability refers to the incorporation of cultural dimensions and preferences into a design or usability testing process. This project draws on Geert Hofstedeís cultural dimensions, Edward Hallís notions of contexting, and a modified version of Robert Kaplanís contrastive rhetoric, as well as field reports from instructors who have recently taught in China, in understanding important differences between Chinese and U.S. technical communication. For example, the workshop acknowledges the preferences for inductive over deductive arrangement of ideas and the characteristics of situational (synthetic) versus categorical (Cartesian) means of communicating that are thought to characterize the writing of engineers educated in China. The workshop will be field tested in China during summer 2008.



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