Letter from the Project Manager
Welcome to Open Technical Communication! We're so happy that you—whether you're a student or an instructor—have decided to use our textbook.
Open TC is a freely accessible online textbook for technical communication, technical writing, workplace writing, and other related courses. Currently in its third rendition, it's had an interesting history. In 2015, Dr. Tamara Powell at Kennesaw State University gathered us, a team of like-minded colleagues, to develop an Open Educational Resource that would allow us to move away from a well-respected but very expensive textbook and towards something equally as valuable but more affordable for students. Our team applied for and received an Affordable Learning Georgia grant to fund the project, and in July 2016, we published Sexy Technical Communication online with a CC-BY attribution license.
What's with the title, you ask? One day, deep in the development process, our team shared a plate of dry-fried eggplant at Tasty China in Marietta, GA, and contemplated what to call the as-yet untitled project. We didn't land on a title worth keeping, but we decided to use Sexy Technical Communication as an in-joke working title until we thought of something better. Then, as we worked through the project, one team member (Dr. Cassie Race) wrote a fun introduction that worked well with the Sexy TC title, so we decided to keep it for the moment. That moment lasted four years.
The textbook's original design was as idiosyncratic as its title. Our team had a student assistant who had experience creating computer-based background art, so we handed the design reins over and asked James Monroe to design the background art for the first rendition of Sexy TC. The fun design worked well with the fun title.
Figure 1: Sexy Technical Communication, V1
As the years passed by, however, we ultimately decided to move in a more professional direction. Two of the original team members (Dr. Tamara Powell and I, Tiffani Reardon) applied for a smaller Affordable Learning Georgia grant to help fund a design overhaul and content edit. This second rendition of Sexy TC had more neutral colors as well as a consistent logo and design. We also worked hard to ensure that all chapters had consistent objectives, good accessibility and document design, and Google Analytics embedded into the back end, among other improvements. We kept the Sexy TC title for the time being again.
As Summer 2019 rolled in, another team member (Dr. Jonathan Arnett) pointed out that the new, professional design was great, but it doesn't mean as much without a professional title. It was only then that the team got serious about finding a more permanent title for the textbook. We considered several ideas, but we wanted something that was clear on the purpose of the textbook but also embodied the whole point of the project: affordability. Thus, Open Technical Communication was born, along with some new interactive activities and a few new chapters.
In early 2020, I (our project manager) left KSU to manage the grant program that originally funded this textbook. In my new role at Affordable Learning Georgia, I've had the opportunity to move Open Technical Communication, as well as many other texts, to this new platform you are seeing now: Manifold. In ALG's instance, called OpenALG, Open TC has evolved into an even more interactive textbook. As we role out this fourth rendition of the textbook, we hope you will enjoy the new accessibility, annotation features, and user-friendly interface.
Please feel free to reach out to me, the project manager for Open TC, if you ever have questions or suggestions for improvement. Whether you're an instructor designing your course around this textbook, a student using this textbook for a class, or someone who just stumbled upon our textbook by chance, the Open Technical Communication team hopes you find it valuable.
Our amazing textbook team is made up of five instructors of technical communication.
Ms. Tiffani Reardon
Program Manager for Affordable Learning Georgia at the University System of Georgia
Part-Time Instructor of Technical Communication at Kennesaw State University
PhD Student in Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech Universitytiffani.firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com
Dr. Tammy Powell
Director of the CHSS Office of Digital Education at Kennesaw State University
Professor of English at Kennesaw State Universitytpowel25@kennesaw.edu
Dr. Jonathan Arnett
Program Coordinator of Technical Communication at Kennesaw State University
Assistant Professor of Technical Communication at Kennesaw State Universityjarnet11@kennesaw.edu
Ms. Monique Logan
Lecturer of Technical Communication at Kennesaw State Universitymlogan15@kennesaw.edu
Dr. Cassie Race
Part-Time Assistant Professor of Technical Communication at Kennesaw State Universitycrace@kennesaw.edu
Special thanks to the following contributors:
- Mr. David McMurrey, Author of Online Technical Writing
- Mr. Steve Miller, Author of Why Brilliant People Believe Nonsense
- Mrs. Cherie Miller, Author of Why Brilliant People Believe Nonsense
- Ms. Megan Gibbs, Former Instructional Designer at KSU
- Ms. Jennifer Nguyen, Former Student Assistant at KSU
- Mx. James Monroe, Former Student Assistant at KSU
- Mr. Lance Linimon, Closed Captioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction to Technical Communication
Chapter 2: Applications of Technical Writing
Chapter 3: Ethics
Chapter 4: Document Design
Chapter 5: Processes and Guidelines in Technical Writing
Chapter 6: Usability Testing
Chapter 7: Collaborative Writing
Chapter 8: Technical Editing
Chapter 9: Introduction to HTML
Chapter 10: Examples, Cases, and Models Index