This dissertation investigates how students create multimodal solutions to address complex problems via technology-enhanced maker practices informed by design thinking. It contributes to the ongoing scholarly conversations around multimodality and multimodal composition by understanding the new material affordances of rapid prototyping technology and dedicated spaces for collaborative invention, fondly known as makerspaces. By investigating how students compose and create multimodal artifacts through making and design thinking, this project identifies useful pedagogical intersections between the Maker Movement proper and technical and professional communication (TPC). To do so, I studied the use and operation of three academic makerspaces in the U.S. at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Case Western Reserve University, and the University of Minnesota. I then conducted a case study of a maker framework based on the findings from the makerspace ethnography. The deployment of the framework––tentatively known as maker pedagogy––occurred in a TPC course. Combining the results from my makerspace ethnography and the pedagogical case study, I discuss the implications of a maker pedagogy for TPC, including the cultivation of a maker mindset, disruption to conventional ideologies, and an exploration of the material dimension of writing. I also discuss ways in which making and design thinking can be assessed in the context of TPC pedagogy.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2019. Major: Rhetoric and Scientific and Technical Communication. Advisor: Ann Duin. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 233 pages.
Multimodality, Makerspaces, and the Making of a Maker Pedagogy for Technical Communication and Rhetoric.
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