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Tech Spotlight – Dr. Stewart Whittemore

Dr. Stewart Whittemore

Dr. Stewart Whittemore

What I like best is that you can teach students to convey
a meaning through a variety of images.

Refreshing it is when something new can be created from something old. A new perspective, idea or concept has the power to bring new life to the mundane and lifeless. This is the angle that Professor Whittemore is taking with his Document Design course. By starting out with something traditional and foundational, Professor Whittemore is challenging his students to take documents design to a higher level.

In his Document Design courses, Professor Whittemore encourages his students to upgrade traditional modes of technical writing into more innovative interfaces. For instance, he suggests that his students take an ordinary document such as a set of directions that have been typed up, and to add audio or video components using software such as iMovie and the Adobe Creative Suite so that the directions may be more accessible and easy to understand. A video component to a set of instructions would provide more clarity for the process being described since the instructional video would visually walk users through each step. The students’ finished products are then ready to be posted on YouTube or Blackboard.

Professor Whittemore also has students to design websites, and while admitting that the students are initially rather uncomfortable with the web design programs such as Dreamweaver and iMovie, it creates for an interactive and energetic learning environment that keeps him on his feet to assist students with their individual assignments. Projecting towards the future, Professor Whittemore sees multimedia becoming much more prevalent in education and gearing more towards user assistance software and material.

Dr. Stewart Whittemore is a Professor of Professional and Technical Communication in the English Department here at Auburn University. His research interests include studying how people communicate in the workplace using Wikis and Blogs for daily communication.

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