This week we received our teams for the Virtual Collaboration assignment. We join students from the University of Orlando,Florida and Université Paris Diderot, Paris (sadly not in person and not funded by the university!) in creating an instructional document. The document should be intended for use by a non technical audience and should help them perform a simple task using technology. The assignment presents logistical challenges in that our team is separated by continents, time zones, language and culture. I am nervous about the assignment but also looking forward to working with fellow students and the global aspect to the work gives it an exotic flavour.
We don’t have a lot of time to nail down the finer details of our proposed document. The deadline for the first draft is the 22nd February. Once the American and Irish students have submitted the draft, the French students will work on the translation of it. Two versions in French and English will then be submitted and it is this work that we will be graded on. We have spent much of this week exchanging emails, trying to agree on what the subject of the document. This is a challenging phase but one that will go some way to preparing us for what a technical communication job in the real world will be like. There it will not be unheard of to be in contact with people in various different jurisdictions from all corners of the globe, all working together on the same project.
It makes me think about technology advancing globalisation and what that means for the world of Technical Communication. It is most certainly a field which has benefitted from the world becoming a smaller place. Now engineers, software developers, translators and writers from around the global can communicate freely and efficiently through the internet. It makes me wonder what the field was like back in the later half of the twentieth century, before the advent of the world wide web as we know it.