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August 27, 2018

Technical Communication Day at the University of Twente in the Netherlands

Joyce Karreman

On the 4th of July, about 70 people came together at the University of Twente in the Netherlands to exchange knowledge about recent developments in practice and research in the area of Technical Communication and to learn about the final results of the TecCOMFrame project.

This was the last event organized to disseminate the results of the TecCOMFrame project that will end in September. The primary aim of this project was to build an academic competence framework that comprises all competencies a highly educated professional in the area of Technical Communication should possess. At the moment, the competencies and qualifications of these professionals are unclear. Because of this, the professional field is not well-defined and well-known. Just as the professional field, the academic field of Technical Communication has a low profile and the number of academic programmes is limited. At the same time technical communication is taking on increasing importance due to globalization, digitalization, fast-growing technology and legal or other requirements.

The situation in the Netherlands is comparable to other European countries: the number of academic programmes is limited. To our best knowledge, the University of Twente is the only university offering a programme in Technical Communication: a specialization track in Communication and Technology, as part of the master’s programme in Communication Studies. And even worse than in some other European countries, there is no formal community of professionals and researchers in Technical Communication in the Netherlands. Organizing this event at the University of Twente was a first step towards building such a community by exchanging knowledge on the newest development in the field.

The event was organized by Peter van Bart and Joyce Karreman. Peter van Bart is the owner of Eluxis, a company focusing on knowledge management and technical communication. Joyce Karreman is a teacher and researcher in Technical Communication at the University of Twente and a project partner of the TecCOMFrame project.

The organizers were delighted with the large number of people who came to the university to attend the Technical Communication Day. The day started with my presentation of the aims and results of the TecCOM project. Then, professionals in the field of Technical Communication presented the newest developments in their companies. Peter presented Eluxis’ latest projects. Matthijs Mensink and Debbie van Rijswijk (Nedap Livestock Management), Edward Faber and David Reid (Thales), and Jeroen Schiphorst (Recreate) gave interesting presentations about projects they are working on. Among many other things, we have learned about the possibilities of gamification and about using virtual and augmented reality in user support.

After the coffee break, three students in our Master’s programme in Communication and Technology presented their final research study. Jitske Botma explained what features of software programmes students do use and which they do not use. Evelien Boensma presented some preliminary results of her study about the effects of gamification and augmented reality when learning how to drive a car. Yumeng Yang showed us that using augmented reality is beneficial for executing assembly tasks.
The day ended with a presentation about the university’s new Designlab and a workshop about innovative design processes that are employed in this Designlab.

During lunch, that was served after the final workshop, a number of participants told Peter van Bart and me that they would be interested in a follow-up event and some of them have already offered to help us organizing another Technical Communication Day. So, thanks to the TecCOMFrame project, a first step is taken towards building a community of Technical Communicators in the Netherlands.

Almost all presentations of the day are available on the event’s webpage

 

The short video impression of the day is made by Jip Lukkien.