For this assignment, you will write a report reflecting on the iFixit project and what you learned. You will want to pay close attention to the instructions. So you may want to download a copy.
As part of your introduction to Technical Communication, you completed a service-learning project involving iFixit.com. Service learning is generally defined as a form of experiential education in which you, the student, engage in activities that both address a community need and enhance your learning and development in terms of the course learning objectives and the skills you will need for future success. In addition, service learning should help to foster civic engagement (individual and collective actions designed to identify and address issues of public concern) and provide opportunities for you, as a student, to reflect on how the service experience links into class objectives and on why it is important. Service learning is founded on the belief that “the interaction of knowledge and skills with experience is key to learning” and that “learning starts with a problem and continues with the application of increasingly complex ideas and increasingly sophisticated skills.” (Thomas Ehrlich, 1996)
For this course, the project was intended to engage you in activities that would enable you to learn and develop skills in the following:
- communicate effectively in a professional context using standard genres such as letters, memos, emails, reports, and instructions
- define and analyze audiences and organizational communication needs and problems
- demonstrate an understanding of the complexity and rhetorical nature of designing and communicating technical information (including instructions)
- present effective, informative, and professional oral presentations
- collaborate with others to manage, complete, and deliver a technical communication project
For this project, you will write an individual report that discusses and examines the project in terms of what you did or did not learn and the experience you did or did not gain. As part of this report, you can make recommendations regarding the project and its future implementation.
The report will be in memo format and 2 to 3 pages in length. It will use headings to help guide the reader and to separate sections. It will be single-spaced with a double-space between paragraphs (with no indentation at the start of paragraphs). It will use 11pt or 12pt serif font for the body text and a san serif 12pt font in bold for the headings.
- Start the report with standard introduction (set the context or remind the reader why you are writing the report, provide a very brief outline of the content of the report, and state the main purpose or outcome of the report).
- After the introduction describe the background for the project as you understood it. Here are some questions to think about as you generate content: What was the community need being addressed? Is the need important? Why has iFixit partnered with Universities? How do students, instructors, and iFixit benefit from the project? What are the costs to students, instructors, and iFixit of participation in the project? Did the project effectively address the community need? Why or why not? Was the project suitable for an introductory technical communication course? Why or why not?
- In the third main section of the report, you will expand on how the project did or did not enhance your learning of each of the objectives listed above. Start the section with an overview of what will be discussed and the main idea of this section.
- Defining organizational communication need—What organization was served by this project? Who were the stakeholders affected by the project and its outcomes? What would you define as the organizational communication need? Was the need adequately addressed? Why or why not. Was the community partner (or client) responsive? Was the feedback they offered useful? How did you benefit from working with them? How did they benefit from working with your team?
- Analyzing Audience—Who was the primary audience for the project? Describe this audience and explain how the defining characteristics of the audience affected the implementation of the project and its outcomes. Who were your secondary audiences for the project? How did they affect your communication choices for the project?
- Designing and communicating technical information—what did you learn about designing and writing professional correspondence, reports, and instructions? What were some of the challenges you faced? How would you use what you learned for future activities such as those in courses or for employment?
- Testing information—What did you learn about the usability of information? Summarize the results of your usability tests. How did your participant evaluate the instructions? What changes did you need to make to the instructions? If you could do the project over again, what would you do differently?
- Collaborating with others—When creating the plan for the project, how well did you predict the tasks that needed to be completed, the timeline, workload distribution, and the final outcome? Did the project plan help keep team members on task? Describe your contributions to the project. What were some of the challenges you encountered working in a team? What did you learn about team work? If you could advise other students about how to work effectively in a team, what would you tell them?
- In the final section of the report, describe the strengths and weaknesses of the project in terms of service learning and in terms of the objectives discussed above. Make recommendations for the future implementation of the project, being sure to offer reasons for the recommendations that link back into your previous discussion.
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