Open source communities in technical writing: Local exigence, global extensibility.

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By offering open-source software (OSS)-based networks as an affordable technology alternative, we partnered with a nonprofit community organization. In this article, we narrate the client-based experiences of this partnership, highlighting the ways in which OSS and open-source culture (OSC) transformed our students’ and our own expectations of traditional hierarchies in technical writing classes and work. The integration of OSS into technical communication classes shifted our work toward distributed symbolic-analytic issues and practices. Specifically, our engagements with OSS/OSC increased student awareness of the political and cultural significance of OSS and proprietary technology systems, and flattened traditional educational and client-student hierarchies. In this way, OSS/OSC offers ways to attune local pedagogy and practice to global developments in technical writing, and provide today’s technical communication students with the experiences needed to succeed in the workplace of tomorrow.


Citation only. Full-text article is available through licensed access provided by the publisher. Published in Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 41, 403-421. doi: 10.2190/TW.41.4.e. Members of the USF System may access the full-text of the article through the authenticated link provided.


Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.