RESEARCH IN TECHNICAL WRITING, DESIGN
AND
TASK-BASED LANGUAGE TEACHING 

CURRENT RESEARCH FOCUS:

My current research projects are focused on designing task-based language learning (TBLL) tools for technical writing in educational settings, especially in an EFL context. These projects emphasize on the design of assessment tools for computer science majors in technical and business writing courses. Besides, I am also focusing on the use of graphic organizers for comprehending complex procedural text in computer science context. My research focuses on understanding procedural information design and technical writing genres in the context of usability testing methods. 



















Current Kakenhi Research: 

This 3D Printing and Digital Storytelling (DST) research is a 3-year project on designing undergraduate and graduate courses during which students will design and 3D print tiny amulets (omamuri) and mascots (yurakyura) for key chains, bags, shoes, mobile phones, car and sport accessories etc; and script, video-record and deliver persuasive English sales presentations about their 3D printed products for web-based archiving, sales and distribution. We will use 3D printing of amulets and DST to connect students to the new wave of open-source and "do-it-yourself" product design, creation and presentation. 3D printing represents the 3rd industrial revolution in manufacturing while DST is widely used for university-based technology courses. These additive manufacturing based projects will promote enterpreneurship, active task-based language learning, develop project management skills and English technical writing and information design expertise. These projects will promote active language learning situations to meet the educational needs of computer science students as follows:
establishment of a collaborative 3D printing and DST English context in a micro-factory scenario,
promotion of technical writing and oral presentation skills in English to develop international skills,
group workflow activities for integrating writing, critical thinking and active learning (Bean, 2011),
developing a production workflow for 3D printing (Horvath, 2014) and DST requirements,
incremental sequencing of tasks and/or skills (instructional and document design), and
fostering student individual and group responsibility in their learning.
encouraging project management skills with hands-on in-class additive manufacturing
Our previous research has laid the groundwork for developing this unique design for language education. 
 


Details of Research: 

My current research will see work on digital humanities as an interdisciplinary field of research that helps us better understand, explore and use technologies with an aim to shed new light on humanities research.

My work in task-based language teaching (TBLT) and technical communication for physical procedures support the teaching and research at the intersection of the disciplines in computing and humanities. My research in technical communication and design bring a different perspective to my teaching of writing in collaborative learning environments. The state-of-the art research environment at the Univ. of Aizu makes it possible for me to teach in a technical environment and combine the social aspects of technology in a multi-disciplinary context. In line with my Kakenhi research grant, my current research will see the use of technologies such as CAD Design, 3D printing and 3D scanning to make students participate in in-class collaborative additive manufacturing processes for English learning in a flipped classroom model.

My experiments involve student groups for online collaboration leading to the development of concept maps, prototyping and design of daily-life objects, structural, functional and usability analysis, and communicate about the research through different qualitative and quantitative instruments and technical presentations.

My research on TBLT will help me develop writing courses on topics of information design, LEGO prototyping, and design for the World Wide Web and eLearning. The future plan on the innovative 3D printing course is expected to implement a workflow of team-oriented in-class production of tiny amulets and mascots for computer science students. In an English language classroom, this will result in narrative digital storytelling (DST) documentaries of 3D-designed and printed products. Currently, a 3D printing-design laboratory is being set up and design procedures studied. Next, students will develop product design using CAD software, write about it extensively and 3D scan/print tiny amulets. Finally, DST will be implemented in elective courses.

My research on rhetoric of digital procedural design will focus on the mechanism how humans interact with different artifacts and how such interaction shapes and modifies both digital and human identity.

CUBE 3D Printer

Cube 3D Printer

3D Scanning with iSense Scanner in my Technical Communication Lab

LEGO Prototyping with Tinkercad in preparation for 3D Printing

Prototyping with Autodesk 123D Design CAD software in preparation for 3D Printing


GENERAL RESEARCH FOCUS:
My research projects are focused on designing tools for technical writing in educational settings, especially in an EFL context. My current projects are focused on designing assessment tools for computer science majors in technical and business writing courses. Further, I am also focusing on the use of graphic organizers for comprehending complex procedural text in computer science context. 

My research projects are focused on designing tools for technical writing in educational settings, especially in an EFL context. These projects emphasize on the design of assessment tools for computer science majors in technical and business writing courses. Besides, I am also focusing on the use of graphic organizers for comprehending complex procedural text in computer science context.


IMPORTANT PROJECTS:
Experience Design and User Engagement – 2012-2013
Design Pedagogy for Language Learning: An Innovative Application – 2012-2013
Language Acquisition with Concept Maps as an Affordance: Text Processing with Visual Imagery – 2011-2012
Designing Cross-Cultural Procedural Information for Japanese Markets – 2009-10
Readers’ Ability to Coordinate Text and Graphics in Varying Proportions – 2009-10
Use of Specialized Concept Maps for Information Conceptualization -2009-10
Use of Collaborative Technologies in Technical Communication classes -2009
Developing online instructions for surgical simulators and patient education modules – 2005-200
What Americans think about off-shoring Technical Design Projects to India (completed in 2009)
Visualizing and Verbalizing a Mechanical Process: Gap in Usability Methods (completed in 2008)
Developing print and online instructions for physical tasks (completed in 2008)
Design and development of online materials for corporate training projects (completed in 2007)
Designing multimedia, modality, and congruity principles for online patient education modules (completed in 2006)
Application of intelligent graphics for complex online illustrations for flight manuals (completed in 2006)
Developing instructions for online manuals demonstrating complex machines (completed in 2007)
Developing heuristic evaluation techniques for documentation (completed in 2005)
Computer mediated communication for academic and corporate virtual teams (completed in 2004)


Project (2012-2013): Experience Design and User Engagement
Abstract: Our understanding of technical communication has changed, and it is no more about the specific heuristics in design analysis, but what makes for good experience.  Good experience demands a widening scope for user engagement. Experience design could be better explained by asking questions like “Has the traditional role of the user and designer changed or merged to a large extent?”; “Is design an experience or an outcome?”; “Is design for task completion or for engagement?” Design in this era is more about creating a community, relation, feelings, friendship and collegiality that promotes and maintains a sustained user interaction with the interface. Users will be hooked on to the interface not only because it looks good, but because it keeps the user engaged in continuous exploration, newer applications, a deeper level of personal satisfaction, and a sustained dialogue between users of the system. Thus, there are interfaces designed to create a sensory impression (visual, auditory etc) and in the process, communicates a strong persuasive and rhetorical message. Contrarily, there are interfaces ignoring the instant impression part of the design, focusing more on experienced-based impression, and creates enough affordance to keep up user interaction and engagement.



Project (2012-2013): Design Pedagogy for Language Learning: An Innovative Context
Abstract: Research has emphasized the importance of promoting higher order thinking skills in ESL and EFL classrooms and empirical evidence supports the effectiveness of teaching skills like analysis, evaluation and creation towards developing non-native speakers’ ability to produce original text. A possible way to promote higher order thinking in EFL context is to engage readers in advanced website evaluation exercises. The design pedagogy forces readers to think through each design decision, understand the intricacies of the interface (e-learning or otherwise) they use, and these guided and heuristic evaluation-based usability testing, incorporated as part of class exercises, might be a great way to promote original thinking, besides original and logical text production in the target language. The study develops on the founding principles of Bloom’s digital and revised taxonomy that focuses on higher order thinking skills.



Project (2010-2012): Representing Procedural Visuals in Concept Maps with Minimal Text: An Innovative Approach towards Information Processing in EFL Context
Abstract: The proposed project will identify that in EFL context, ability for complex information processing with text is of paramount importance but it becomes difficult with low-moderate level English language skills. Students in such context find it difficult to produce more text without using aids such as electronic dictionaries, translation software etc, besides difficulty processing information in their native language. In such cases, processing of visuals efficiently and representing it with moderate text in a concept map might be more reasonable and an efficient way to get started with text processing. This approach helps in generating text by situating a visual imagery in mind. The presentation will discuss three different ways (with progressive levels of difficulty) demonstrating how concept maps could be used for explaining simple procedural visuals showing limited tasks. The purpose for such an approach is to assess students’ ability to process relatively simple and varied visual concepts internally and represent it visually with limited text in a concept map. The project explains how such assignments might be developed into a full-fledged experimental design on text analysis for EFL situations. This project is unique in explaining different ways declarative, structural, functional, logical, relational and conditional text could be analyzed and dissected in a procedural context. This unique perspective contributes heavily to the existing body of literature on language acquisition, because it suggests a unique pedagogical approach whereby different procedural visuals could be explained using another visual medium called concept maps. This is pedagogically innovative because this approach promotes and supports ability for visual argumentation and schematisation, bypassing direct textual representation. Once minimal text-based visual representation in concept maps are chalked out, it provides an affordance for text-based explanation.