Usability of Meal Service Program Documents for Newly-Diagnosed Type Two Diabetics

  1. Introduction: What are precedents for your research? How did you come up with the idea for this study? What new knowledge might findings from this study contribute to fellow researchers and to research participants?

In 2012, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Along with my genetics, my lifestyle was not healthy. I was gaining weight and getting sicker by the day. According to the American Diabetes Association,, “In 2015, 30.3 million Americans, or 9.4% of the population, had diabetes. Of the 30.3 million adults with diabetes, 23.1 million were diagnosed, and 7.2 million were undiagnosed. 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.” These numbers are staggering for the nation as a whole but in minority communities, diabetes hits hard. Minority children in single parent households are often subject to survival snacking, eating whatever is available while the parent puts in long hours at work, away from home and away from the kitchen cooking healthy meals. I would like to research  the usability of meal service program materials via Hello Fresh or Blue Apron, on newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients in minority, single parent household. I would like to see if the documents are easy to understand and follow.

  1. Research questions/problem statement: What are your main 1-3 questions you are trying to answer through your study? Why are these questions important to answer, given the overall problem you are investigating in your study?

The main question is will a nutritious meal service program help newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients in minority, single parent household lower sugar levels and reduce reliance on medication?

  1. Theory/Methodology: What is the overall conceptual framework of your intended study (i.e., educational achievement of first-generation college students, the usability of a particular type of resource, disability and technical documentation, etc.).

The conceptual framework of the study will be to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle change as the main compoenetn to treating type 2 diabetes.

  1. Methods: What specific methods will you employ and how will you employ them? How will these methods help you answer your research questions?

Methods will include observation over a three month period with the meal service program for three times a day. The main concern is what happens after the study is done?

  1. Benefits: What are the potential benefits of your study, both to individual participants and to fellow researchers? What might your participants learn about themselves or a particular process or topic, and what might other researchers learn from your study?

The potential benefits are great. Not only will the participants have lower sugar levels but the lifestyle change will be lasting and able to continue on after the study is done.

  1. Methods of Avoiding or Reducing Risk to Participants: Risks to participants in research range from risks to their privacy being violated all the way up to serious health effects in the case of the medical research. What are the primary risks your participants will face?

The primary risk could be confidentiality especially when using video to gather data. To mitigate those risks, the best bet would be to ensure “your data collection and storage methods use the best practice recommendations for your field” I would ensure that I’m not collecting more identifying information than is necessary.

  1. Methods of Managing Data: How will you collect your data? Do you need any devices (e.g. cameras, audio recorders, laptops, overhead displays), and if so: where will you obtain them? What about supplies (e.g. paper, pens, booklets, etc.)? How will you capture your data?

I will be using cameras to record video and it will all be kept private and encrypted on an external hardrive.

  1. Informed Consent: What information do you need to give participants so that they understand what exactly you’re asking them to do for your study?

I would give my participants information about the meal service program, the positive effects of a lifestyle change on type 2 diabetes.

Research Proposal for the Examination of Youth Volunteers’ Use of Technical Communication to Expand Civic Engagement


“We are defined by the stories we live and the stories we tell,” said Father Canady during Holy Week to illustrate that the good around us needs to be shared. To answer the adolescent yearning to make a difference in their community (and the greater world society), how can youth volunteers be relevant in professional communication to expand their reach of influence? Increasing communication skills among youth will allow civic awareness of their efforts by sharing of their stories. This will double their actions by the influence they have over others as well as their personal gains in their actions. The goal of this research is to: establish recommendations for youth communications, assist in a critical reflection of their efforts and reciprocal benefits to them and their community, and assessment of outcomes.

Many examples of volunteer action and adult communication and interactions exist among the scouting communities. During 2005, Boy Scouts of America recorded more than 280 million hours of service to their communities as reported in their annual report. How many additional hours of Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, faith communities and other volunteer hours by youth are uncalculated?  A 2007 study by the Corporation for National and Community Services states that research “indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social benefits” in addition to positive feelings by the volunteer,  increased trust in others, and increased social and political participation.

This research proposal seeks to focus on youth volunteering efforts and how they tell their personal stories. Adolescents, even more than adults, are motivated by the subjective value of peer opinion and act on immediately available rewards (Albert Chein & Steinberg, 2013). Therefore if youth communicate their positive experiences while volunteering this will increase the probability of other youth engaging in volunteering.


Literature Review

In 2005, 67.9 percent of U.S. teenagers volunteered for short-duration projects. (Grimm Spring & Dietz 2006). These youth are more likely to vote and are part of a “historic level of community engagement.” But more involvement could be gained if there was more of an effort to quantify and tell the story of the volunteer, thereby influencing peers to volunteer. Even involuntary volunteering by youth has a positive outcome.  The positive personal outcomes of greater educational achievement, civic engagement and greater earnings in young adulthood have been documented by Kim and Morgul (2017).

There is a deep gap between the knowledge and skills that most teens have learned in school and the communication skills needed to tell their individual volunteer story. Technical communication knowledge is one component where students can evaluate their current efforts and significantly increase their effectiveness and retain these important skills for their lifetime (Aita, K et al.2015).

Obradovi and Masten (2007) observed the development of civic engagement in adolescence assisted in continued growth in adulthood. They examined involvement in extracurricular activities and the growth in solidarity, tolerance, and intergroup understanding. Examining technical communication efforts by engaged youth in community volunteering will provide the youth with tools for engaged citizenship. Professional communication skills are vital to empower the youth and to engage the community as to their efforts.

Research Goal

But at the same time that communities engage youth, they are not published in newspapers or seen as reliable storytellers. This document seeks to determine how students, themselves, evaluate their knowledge, skills, and values, appropriate for their future as communicators and there perceived importance in their future careers and adult life. This research proposal would include community awareness, communication skills, and civic engagement. The research knowledge gained would be relevant to the study subjects (youth volunteers) and those who benefit from their efforts. This research would provide data on strategies for youth to communicate their journey and efforts which will encourage and inspire others.

Research Questions

Youth volunteers need an understanding of their value and the importance of the components of their efforts and abilities donated to help others. Therefore I propose the following questions:

1). How does technical communication assist in communicating among youth volunteers?

2). How should communication skills and knowledge be developed further compared to their current situation?

This warrants study as it assists in facilitating community involvement of others and leads to the personal development of the youth, creating a more engaged citizen.


The relationship between volunteering reporting and public perception of youth involvement defines the relationship of the volunteer to their community and the community’s attitude toward their efforts. Review of volunteer efforts is often described by adults only. This results in a lack of reporting on youth volunteer activities and thereby their stories are not told as first-person experiences. If these stories were communicated in effective professional communication by the youth volunteer other youth may be encouraged by their stories. Much existing literature focuses on adults and their interaction with youth volunteers, but not by the youth themselves.

The academic fields of sociology, philosophy, and psychology have examined best practices for adult communication practice as a knowledge base for storytelling for the youth volunteer. While these provide examples of the adult volunteer leader to youth, there is a lack of strategy for the youth to communicate their journey and this undermines their efforts to encourage and inspire others. These youth need best practices for communication, time management, expectations, and the importance of respecting diversity within their own communication realm.

This proposal focuses on the volunteer interaction with the greater community and the effect on community and peers. The gap in the literature that this proposed research to addresses is the lack of training of youth volunteers to tell their stories with an effective communication strategy.  With this data collection of a limited defined youth population, I hope to shed a bit of light within a broad experience of youth volunteers.

Study Rationale

The purpose of this research study is to examine the relationship of youth volunteer experience to instruct best practices for story-telling. This communication analysis of youth volunteers will consist of gathered data from an interview with a survey of youth volunteers.

The volunteer must have participated in at least 8 hours of work. The response to the following interview survey is to be analyzed to find the central points of interaction and to answer:

Objective 1) what platforms of communication to the volunteers find useful?

Objective 2) does the volunteer appreciate the motivational interaction with others in their communication?

Objective 3) What vehicles of technical communication assist communication among youth volunteers?

Objective 4) How should communication skills and knowledge be developed further compared to their current situation?

This study attempts to define issues within the online environment. The primary objective is to determine key elements that online learners have experienced within negative comments and lead them to positive outcomes. These findings, associations, and recommendations for teaching practices and future research will be examined in a later research paper.

Methods of Survey

Ethnographic Data:

In order to conduct research on this topic, this study will be conducted by an interview survey of youth volunteers from Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts.
The study population includes:
Youth that has volunteered a minimum of 8 hours
Age: 12-19
Survey in the southeastern region
Physical location: Greenville, N.C.

In this study, the issues pertaining to national origin, race, citizenship status, and religion were not considered due to the limitations of the analysis. Other geographic limitations excluded international (outside the US) and intentional socioeconomic diversity.

The methodology will be by an interview using the survey below. Information will be gathered on a stratified group of youth volunteer participants. The survey instrument will consist of 10 items and will assess the communication preferences and perceptions of students with a 9-point Likert scale, binary qualifiers, and fill in the blank. Details of if personal stories, preferences, and perceptions will be collected from the representative group in their submissions of self-reported data without any identifying data.

Survey instrument

These elements will be included in the interview survey of youth volunteers:

Are you currently / or have you volunteered for more than 8 hours?    _  Yes  _  No

Do you post about your experience on social media?   _  Yes  _  No

If yes, which social media platforms?    _ Instagram  _  Facebook  _ Twitter  _Snap Chat

Did you post a photo?   _  Yes  _  No

Did you write about your experience in a public forum?

__ newsletter   __ newspaper   __ group email   __ other publication

Did you write about your experience in a private forum?

__ email   __ text  __ other correspondence

Approximately how long was your comment

__ less than 3 words  __ less than 10 words  __ 2 sentences or less   __ more than 3 sentences

Rate how you feel the recipients reacted to your writing and/or photo?

Positive             indifferent                negative

1      2       3      4      5      6      7      8      9

Do you think you have motivated others to volunteer?


How would you have changed your writing to motivate others to volunteer?


Other info: ___________________________________________________

The responses for the questions on volunteer interaction will be gathered and input into a spreadsheet. This data and correlation to the topical questions will be graphically represented. This graphic display will be the product of a statistical analysis of the student responses.

Methods of Avoiding or Reducing Participant Risk

Participation in the interview survey will be voluntary and no identifying information will be collected other than age. If identifying information revealed it will be kept confidential. Another adult will be present, and a parent must give verbal consent. All participants will be made aware of the need for privacy of personally identifiable information.

Methods of Managing Data

The responses for the questions will be gathered on a computer tablet and input into a spreadsheet. Qualitative and quantitative data will be collected in the spreadsheet. This data and correlation to the topical questions will be graphically represented. This graphic display will be the product of a statistical analysis of the responses.


Youth interaction is meaningful to understanding their role in their communities and their relevance in the world. Different institutions have diverse goals as varied as the youth seeking to make a difference in their community. Professional communication can expand their reach of influence and communities will gain an awareness of civic youth efforts by sharing their stories. They will affect others as well as expand their personal gains in their actions.

Youth can be encouraged to give tell respectful and meaningful stories that further the cause of the agency that they are volunteering with. This proposed research will lead to new strategies and help evaluate existing communication avenues to encourage meaningful engaging interaction.

The importance of sharing youth volunteering by story-telling and the public perception of their efforts will promote volunteerism and motivate others to become involved in their communities. It is my hope that with this information, an important catalyst would be demonstrated to encourage an increase in technical communication among youth volunteers. I would offer that the impact would be not only to the volunteers and participants but also facilitate actual change in volunteer’s behavior and communication. By modeling their interaction with the world others will join and build a better world.

Works Cited

Boy Scouts of America, (2016). Annual Report, A look at 2016 and the strides we took in shaping the lives of America’s youth.

Grimm, R. Spring, K. & Dietz, N. (2007). The Health Benefit of Volunteering.

Canady, P. (2019). Easter Sermon. April 21, in New Bern, North Carolina.

Aita, K.  Rannikmäe, M. Soobard, R. Reiskab, P. Holbrook, J. (2015). Students’ Self-Efficacy and Values Based on A 21st Century Vision of Scientific Literacy – A Pilot Study. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences. 177, 491 – 495.

Albert D., Chein J., Steinberg L. (2013). Peer Influences on adolescent decision making. Current Directions in Psychological Science. 22, 114–120.

Obradovi, J. & Masten A. (2007). Developmental Antecedents of Young Adult Civic Engagement. Applied Developmental Science, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2–19.

Kim, J. & Morgul, K. (2017). Long-Term Consequences of Youth Volunteering: Voluntary Versus Involuntary Service. Social Science Research. 67, 160–175.

Draft Research Proposal


While most researchers agree there is a need to make technical documents such as contracts, medical and legal forms easier for the average reader to understand, there is much debate in the technical communication community about the best methods for increasing reader comprehension. Many previous studies have focused on improving language mainly through wording and syntax, but newer research shows that merely simplifying the language and sentence structure, and lowering the reading level, may not be enough to ensure total comprehension (Masson 1994; Hochhauser 2008). For this reason, I propose a research study that examines the effect of combining simplified language and syntax with other methods for increasing reader understanding. Such methods include document design, such as the use of bulleted lists and white space (Adendorff 2011), pictures, (Doack 2006) and in-person interactions with subject-matter experts (Flory and Emanuel 2009), as ways to improve readability.

Research Question

This study focuses on finding the most effective way to increase user understanding of complicated technical documents. Previous research suggests that simplifying language and syntax alone may not be enough to cause total comprehension. However, what happens when multiple methods are combined? Perhaps there is no one “best method” to improving comprehension and a multi-pronged approach is needed to ensure the most people possible understand difficult technical documents. Simplified wording is a common recommendation from researchers, but more positive effects could be seen with the addition of visual elements, design and supplemental explanations from subject-matter experts.  

  1. Is reader comprehension improved with simplified language and design?
  2. Is reader comprehension improved with simplified language and visuals?
  3. Is reader comprehension improved with simplified language and additional explanation by a subject matter expert?


The overall conceptual framework of this study is user comprehension of patient consent forms in the medical setting.

Research methods

The participants will be patients at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, North Carolina. A total of 40 incoming patients will be divided into four groups of 10.

The control group will receive a standard consent form written in regular medical jargon. The second group will get a consent form with simplified language written according to plain English guidelines with enhanced design, including increased whitespace and bulleted lists where appropriate. The third group will receive an enhanced visual form including photos and graphics where appropriate as well as simplified language. The fourth group will have a simplified consent form explained in detail by a doctor (subject matter expert).

Members of each group will then be given a survey to fill out that asks questions about the consent form and their understanding of its content.

The survey will be a scaled response survey. The respondents will be given a series of closed questions and asked to select a number between 1 and 10 that most accurately represents their response. There will also be one open-ended question at the end.

Scales do offer the potential for response bias, but I believe its general ease will save time for respondents and analysis. The exception is the one open question, which will elicit an unstructured response that could be potentially more illuminating than a closed question.

The survey questions will be the same for each group except for one question* regarding the factor differentiating each group (design, photos, doctor discussion).

Example survey questions listed below:

On a scale of 1 to 10, what is your first reaction to the consent form?

Very negative   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   very positive

On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you understand the content of the consent form?

hardly understand   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   completely understand

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much does the language help your understanding of the consent form?

hardly helps   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   greatly helps

*On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do photos/design/talk with doctor help your understanding of the consent form?

hardly helps   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   greatly helps

On a scale of 1 to 10, how confident are you in signing this consent form after reading it?

not confident  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10  very confident

What would help you understand this consent form better?


Many groups, and medical patients in particular, can benefit from clearer technical documentation. To give informed consent, patients need to fully understand the process and potential risks of medical procedures. If they do not, their health could suffer. Finding better methods to communicate this information can lead to improved participant comprehension and satisfaction with the informed-consent process.

Methods of Managing Data:

Data will be collected through surveys. The surveys will be printed and given to patients staying at Vidant Medical Center, so paper, pens and clipboards will be needed. The survey will be administered after a patient goes through the intake process but before any procedures are conducted. Data will be stored in a locked facility only accessible by researchers.

Informed consent:

Participants will be told the survey is six questions and will take 5-15 minutes to complete. We will explain that this study is being conducted in efforts to find better ways to communicate confusing or complicated medical information to patients. While they may not personally benefit from completing the survey, they may provide data that could help patients in the future. All paper data will be kept in a locked filing cabinet. Patients names will never be used publicly, and will not appear in any future publications or presentations of research.


Adendorff, R.D., Siebörger, I. (2011). Can contracts be both plain and precise? Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 29(4), 483-504.

Doak, C. & Doak, L. & Houts, P. & Loscalzoc, M. (2006). The role of pictures in improving health communication: A review of research on attention, comprehension, recall, and adherence. Patient Education and Counseling, 61(2), 173-190.

Flory J. & Emanuel E. (2004). Interventions to Improve Research Participants’ Understanding in Informed Consent for Research: A Systematic Review. JAMA. 292(13), 1593–1601.

Hochhauser, M. (2008). Consent Comprehension in the 21st Century: What is Missing? Drug Information Journal, 42(4), 375–384.


Draft Research Proposal


Earlier examples of the research were described in the qualitative and quantitative research paper. One of the concepts focus on internet technologies and technical communication (TC). Traditional TC originally took place mostly in companies, businesses and government organizations and most of the delivery systems used were manual using no technology as we know it today. Now, with the internet being a main contributor, TC is done on many different levels involving many different scenarios. It isn’t just the corporate world that uses TC in its current state. There are many TC processes and procedures being done across the internet using many different technologies and being conducted through the general population and reaching many more people in a very short amount of time. As technology continues to advance, it leaves a path open for anyone that would like to participate in a TC process or procedure using the internet. Facilitating the accomplishment of individual goals ranging from bare necessities to advanced personal aspirations, new technologies are frequently instrumental in performing or facilitating daily activities and can thereby help individuals to improve their functioning, social participation and quality of life (Kampfen, 2018). Many articles and journals were reviewed on the subject of technical communication (TC) and effective and successful knowledge transfers of TC using technology. The technology field is my current field of study and is very interesting to think about the connections between technology and TC. New knowledge that could result from the findings from this study could validate the ways that successful TC is currently occurring using technology.  Age factors could also be validated and results would show insight into ages and successfulness of knowledge using TC via technology and the knowledge transfers that occur. This research would help to understand more details of TC and how the different learning groups compose, process and determine final technical communications.

Research Questions  

There are several central questions that need to be answered in order to have valid and stable research. One question would be learning how the general population, not just businesses, transfer TC knowledge.  Another question would be what is needed for transitions to current technology in order for TC to be successful. The last question would be see how, if at all, the age of the user has on TC being communicated successfully using technology. Some researchers have indicated that older adults are becoming increasingly familiar with technology (Matabi, 2012). This information would be very helpful to other researchers to help determine the academic needs for future research to study and evaluate all the different concepts and perceptions of the finalized study.


The overall concept of my study would be to gain educational knowledge to determine successful TC and successful processes using technology to better understand the current users. The concept would also be to determine if the age of the user has any impact on the successfulness of transferring TC knowledge via technology.


What processes, procedures or systems would I employ to validate my research? A survey would need to implemented. The best way to reach the current general population would be to send emails or texts. I would have confirmation of receipt using these programs and also confirmation would be obtained to use their information in my research study. Once the surveys were received, they would be compiled in an excel spreadsheet with different headings. The headings would include user name, age, summary of TC performed, how was the information transferred to another user (what technology was used) and a column marked as transfer of knowledge being successful or a failed attempt. This successfulness would be validated and measured by the receiving user’s validation/confirmation- of the information received and the ability to interpret the information received correctly. Gathering and interpreting this data would be excellent research to validate the conclusions of my research questions therefore allowing the research to become validated and useful. 


The benefits of the study would be useful to other researchers as they hopefully gain additional insight of how TC is successfully communicated informally through the current general population as TC is investigated.  This study would also be beneficial to the participants of the study as they can explore more about their learning styles and how well they communicate information. 

Methods of Avoiding or Reducing Risk to Participants 

The risks to participants would be their privacy. Names are not important to this research study but the names will still be recorded to validate that these participants do exist and information is not fabricated. The data will be held under lock of researcher and assistant.  The information can be shared for validity reasons but will understand that names are held in confidence and are not shared. The potential benefits far outweigh the potential risks.  The research itself will encourage gained knowledge and encourage ongoing research into the TC topics.

Methods of Managing Data

I will collect my data using email or texts.   I will use the excel software to record all data and a PC or laptop and possibly paper and pencil to complete this part of the research. I currently have these materials so no materials will have to be purchased. The data will be captured using a survey completed by bother users, the user sending the TC information and the user receiving the TC information. The data will be stored in a locked cabinet of the researcher and names will not be shared unless it is to validate the research.

Informed Consent

I would give participants an informed consent so that they understand what exactly the survey is for and what I am asking them to do for your study. Some of the main questions I would answer for participants would be:

  • Why the research is being done
  • Why they were selected for the survey
  • What exactly the participant will be asked to do
  • Are there any risks or benefits associated with the survey?
  • Volunteer basis and no pay will be given

For this particular survey, the risks are very low and the benefits could help the participant to gain additional knowledge about their learning styles, abilities etc.

Draft Research Proposal

Katelyn Osborne

ENG 6702

Module 5- Draft Research Proposal


This research proposal will focus on the training for online internship courses taught by technical and professional communication (TPC) educators. Having TPC students take an internship gives them the opportunity to participate in experiential learning. For forty years, researches have been studying to explore difficulties, advantages, and disadvantages to teaching the course as it requires educators to “immerse themselves in experiential learning situations, leveraging innovative uses of contemporary technologies for communication, and reflecting on online teaching processes” (Bay, 2017, p. 329).

From this study, we can find out students’ reasoning for selecting an online internship, a regular internship, or studying abroad. Research can gain insight into what all is necessary for more student to enroll in online internship courses. Research can help explain the different ways educators can promote the online internships being offered at universities.

This research will answer questions regarding pedagogical approaches to internship courses in the field of technical and professional communication. It will also look at sustaining internship mentor relationships and curricula. It has become a rarity to see a TPC undergraduate in his or her senior year who has not already completed at least one or more internships.

Research questions/problem statement

How can educators enhance the focus on writing and communication in workplace contexts for students in the field of technical and professional communication through online internship courses? – The audience needs to understand this because while there is research on TPC internships, there is no data in regard to how the student internships are taught and supervised in university settings.

Can TPC educators coaching interns on how to navigate internships, problem solve, and reflect on their learning in a virtual environment proceed without further training?

Will future shifts in universities with changes in online curricula or even new online learning environments such as microinternships allow for better mentoring?

Theory/Methodology: What is the overall conceptual framework of your intended study (i.e., educational achievement of first-generation college students, the usability of a particular type of resource, disability and technical documentation, etc.).

We are looking at training for educators so that they are best equipped and suited to teach on “varied models of experiential learning that allow students to apply theories to practical problems, including service-learning projects in TPC service courses” (Bay, 2017, p. 330).


I will use mixed methods which incorporates qualitative and quantitative research. I want to conduct targeted interviews via email and over the phone and survey participants from five different universities in the United States. This will strengthen the study with in-depth stories of enjoyable moments as well as difficulties teaching and undertaking online internship courses. St. Amant (2017) referred to the challenging aspects as friction points, which include problems in infrastructure for students taking courses online.  The friction points that instructors must understand and address to offer effective online educational experiences to globally distributed students include “factors affecting the flow of information across the surface of the flat Earth” (p. 225). When instructors determine the friction points, they can devise strategies to insure the effective, predictable delivery of online education to students in other nations” (St. Amant, 2017, p. 225). Participants are asked about these in the interviews and surveys. From these university settings, I want to survey a minimum of five professors and twenty students participating in virtual internships this semester from each university. We will collect the data from the interviews and surveys to explain how virtual internships necessitate virtual classes or interactions between educator and the student. Each participant will give insight as to what their communication preferences and perceptions are. For this study, the interviews will include rigorously structured questions as well as open-ended questions.

Sample questions


How many internships have you completed?

1           2         3        more than 4

How helpful are internships for students?

Not helpful at all          Fairly helpful           Very helpful

Are online internship courses better suited for specific majors?


There were challenges with the virtual internships relating to time management and supervisor accessibility.



Why would a student choose an online internship instead of a traditional one?

What types of issues emerged in your online internship course?

How were issues solved?

Tell us about challenges of virtual internships relating to time management and supervisor accessibility.

How can educators enhance the focus on writing and communication in workplace contexts for students in the field of technical and professional communication through online internship courses?

Can TPC educators coaching interns on how to navigate internships, problem solve, and reflect on their learning in a virtual environment proceed without further training?

Will future shifts in universities with changes in online curricula or even new online learning environments such as microinternships allow for better mentoring?

What do you think will better prepare educators to teach experiential learning in online settings?

Educators, is your modeling experience with trainers enough immersion into the environment of online education for you to have confidence in teaching the online internship courses?

Educators, explain how teaching an online course requires a different teaching skill set and ability to communicate core material to students than a traditional course.

Educators, how has reflection helped you  to gain deeper understanding of organizational socialization?

How do educators identify certain friction points in order to engage in more focused research on specific national or cultural factors.


According to Bay (2017), “As TPC continues to move toward more hybrid, fully online, and “flipped” classrooms, TPC program administrators (PAs) also need to better mentor educators in adapting to future change.” This shows that future shifts in universities with changes in online curricula will allow for better mentoring environments and more cohesive experiential learning for students.

From this study’s findings, we may learn more about the usefulness of online internships for students in the field of TPC and in other majors as well. We may also learn innovative new ways educators can incorporate experiential learning into their courses. The findings from educators answering about their training to teach online internship courses will determine if continued education and certifications are necessary for educators semester over semester.

Trainers teach educators about experiential learning through doing, whether it be a community engagement project, study abroad experience, work setting experience, service-learning project, or something else. “Teaching an internship course requires TPC educators to understand what it means to learn in an organizational context, so they can help guide students to critically reflect on their experiences, problem solve, and interact effectively with other constituents” (Bay, 2017, p. 335).

This study is beneficial as more and more technical and professional communication educators will be developing classes for students located in nations across the globe.

Methods of Avoiding or Reducing Risk to Participants

There are minimal risks to participants of this study. To avoid and reduce risks, information obtained will be kept confidential and protected. The information will be secured with access allowed only to researchers conducting the study who have the passcode or key to information.

Methods of Managing Data

First, researchers will examine studies on the topic and analyze data. Collecting data for this  study will be done with interviews and surveys. Interviews will take place in a private room setting designated for this study for participants looking to answer the questions in person.  Devices needed to conduct the interviews for people that do not wish to provide answers face-to-face with the traveling researcher can conveniently give answers by having a session through Skype or over the phone and be recorded with a Sony ICD-ux560. From reviews online, I read that it is lightweight, low profile, and powers up instantly. Surveys will be given in person and via email using SurveyMonkey. Participants may choose between the two. To keep data private and confidential, I will store the printed-out results in a locked filing cabinet. Emailed survey results and typed notes will be put in a desktop folder that requires a password to open. Only researchers working on this study will have access to this data.

Informed Consent

Participants need to know that this research is being conducted at five different universities in order to better understand students’ reasoning for selecting an online internship, a regular internship, or studying abroad. With this research, we strive to gain insight into what is necessary for more student to enroll in online internship courses. We want to examine the different ways educators can promote the online internships being offered at universities. Each of the participants will need to dedicate 20 minutes for the interview and 10-20 minutes for the survey. They will be told that the interviews will include rigorously structured questions as well as open-ended questions and the surveys will asked Likert type questions and true/ false statements to gauge likeness. Participants will not be compensated for their time participating in this study. The researcher will inform participants that their information will be used solely in this study and stored for two years.


The primary audience for this module is Dr. Getto. He is an experienced researcher that can assess the validity of this research instrument. In addition to Dr. Getto, the audience will also include students of the Technical and Professional Communication course at East Carolina University.


Bay, J. (2017). Training Technical and Professional Communication Educators for Online Internship Courses. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26:3, 329-343. DOI: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1339526.

St. Amant, K. (2017). Of Friction Points and Infrastructures: Rethinking the Dynamics of Offering Online Education in Technical Communication in Global Contexts. Technical Communication Quarterly, 26(3), 223-241. DOI: 10.1080/10572252.2017.1339522.


This Is Teaching


If you did, please please evaluate me.

ECU has a strict policy that our evaluations don’t count in our favor unless we get a 60% response rate. If you enjoyed this class and want to reward teachers like me, the best thing you can do is evaluate us.

If you didn’t enjoy this class, you should also evaluate me so I know why :).

FYI, I can also see my response rate, so I’ll keep reminding you until I get to 60% :).

Where to Find the Evaluations

You should’ve received an email for all of your classes, reminding you to evaluate your instructors.

You can also log-in to PiratePort and search for “Survey.”

Rearward innovation

I also found this week’s reading on innovation interesting and timely.  An article on the topic from the New York Times caught my eye in that it offers a check against innovation for innovation’s sake, and describes how sometimes being too eager to adopt new strategies can backfire.

“True innovation isn’t just some magic carnival of invention, like a Steve Jobs keynote with a pretty toy at the end. It is a continuing process of gradual improvement and assessment that every institution and business experiences in some way.”

It also mentions the term “rearward innovation” or looking forward by turning back. I won’t give the article away but I was definitely nodding along while reading!

Heres the link:


Adoption of Innovation

This week’s readings on innovation were really interesting for me. Working in the digital marketing world, it is important for me to fully understand the roles of adopters of innovations and how the design team should cater to each of the customer segments. I have to make sure not to overestimate the market size and I must work strategically to get disruptive ideas into the mainstream. Creating new business models can be very exciting.

Below: You will see a breakdown of the different customer segments and find a graph of consumer adoption and market saturation. Also, I have provided a nice read that speaks about marketing to mainstream customers.

The 5 Customer Segments of Technology Adoption