The Future of TC: Next steps in digital transformation
About 100 international conference attendees visited the European Academic Colloquium (EAC) in Karlsruhe to discuss and learn about current challenges in technical writing. The main topic this year was “Next steps in digital transformation”.
All topics that showed how digitalization affects the field of technical communication took priority. As appropriate for this main topic, the opening speech was created by ChatGPT – an idea suggested by the members of the International Network of Universities in Technical Communication (IUNTC) and the leader, Prof. Sissi Gloss, who met each other the day before – a perfect beginning for the conference, as everyone was quite impressed with the result.
The first speaker was Justyna Dłóciok. In her presentation, she shed light on how the changing roles of writer and reader cause methodological issues for researchers. In this context, she presented topic-based writing, ready for reuse, designed for a broad audience, and an efficient method to support quick information consumption.
Another exciting current topic is the user-friendliness of documents, video, chatbot or augmented reality applications. For this purpose, Evelyn Heller and Janina Berger presented their 6-level model in a step-by-step and practical manner. The level model focused particularly on the influence a company and its culture have on the choice of media and formats.
In addition to the focus topic:
- Gaspard Bébié-Valérian presented a very well-received speech on “Docs as playground”. Using good examples of art, he demonstrated to what extent creative practices could emphasize and enrich the informational objects produced by tech writers.
- Martin Ley dealt with the topic of how to provide a solid basis for intelligent information delivery.
- Julian Höllig presented a new Deep Learning Module with the goals of lowering the barrier to entry for data preparation projects and improving the accuracy of predictions.
New ongoing Projects and Courses of Study
The presentation of new ongoing projects and interesting courses of study was also particularly exciting.
- Dr. Elizabeth Jumwa Munyaya & Yakobo Mutiti from the Pwani University in Kenya reported on the outstanding academic collaboration between the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences in Germany (HKA) and the University of Limerick in Ireland (UL). The project aims to establish a fully-fledged and CUE-accredited graduate program in Communication and Media: it is expected to run on its own with local personnel (both technical and academic staff) and resources by the year 2025, when the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) support matures.
- Michael Meng reported on how research is integrated in the technical communication curriculum at Merseburg University of Applied Sciences. He talked about the content, structure, assignments and deliverables of the course “Forschungskolloquium (Research methods)”, which is taught in the 3rd term of the master’s program “Information Design and Media Management”.
- Federica Vezzani Di Nunzio and Tiziana Sicilia, chairperson of tekom Europe, gave insights into their new software T4TEC (“Terminology for Technical Efficient Communication”), recently designed in collaboration between the University of Padua and the Italian Association for Technical Communication COM&TEC. The software is able to integrate a multilingual terminology management system in order to support technical writing and specialized translation processes.
In addition to the exciting presentations, there were several coffee breaks and a lunch break with a tasty buffet, where the attendees took the opportunity to exchange ideas and meet new people.