August 11-13, 2017
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada


SIGDOC 2017 is offering two workshops the Friday before sessions begin and one workshop on Saturday, which will overlap with one afternoon session. The morning Friday workshop will overlap with the Research Network.

Social Media Data Mining for Communication Research

Presenter: Aaron Beveridge, University of Florida
Friday, August 11, 9:00-11:30 a.m.

Workshop Description

This training session will introduce the basics of social media data mining for communication research. In the first half of the training participants will work with pre-collected datasets from Twitter to learn (1) how to develop research questions, (2) how to prepare for long-term data collection projects, and (3) the ethical implications of social media research (surveillance and privacy rights). In the second half of the training participants will be introduced to the basics of text mining and data visualization. Time will be left at the end of brainstorming, collaboration, and for participants to develop plans for future research projects.  Participants will need a laptop with Microsoft Excel of Libre Office Calc installed. Participants can also work in teams and take part in the training collaboratively.

Content Auditing: How to Improve Your Organization’s Most Valuable Asset

Presenter: Guiseppe Getto, Eastern Carolina University & Suzan Flanagan, Eastern Carolina University
Friday, August 11, 9:00-11:30 a.m.

Workshop Description

Content is useful information people will see. It is the information that people will use to understand the aims, purposes, and affordances of an organization before deciding to engage further with that organization. This 2.5 hour workshop will introduce participants to the ins and outs of conducting an audit of all the useful information contained in your organization, be that a business, university, or non-profit.

Content auditing is an essential task if you want to develop, curate, and publish useful, usable, engaging content that is SEO-friendly and optimized for particular audiences. With digital ad spending set to overtake traditional ad spending in the next decade or so, the make or break for today’s organizations will be decided online. Learn how to develop a plan for taking regular inventory of what’s good, bad, and ugly about all your organization’s content.

Special emphasis will also be placed on developing research and service projects within universities that involve conducting content audits with internal and external stakeholders. An example teaching assignment will also be shared for discussion amongst those wishing to teach or train on the subject of content audits.

Academia/Industry Workshop: Preparing Students to be Leaders and Innovators in Technical Communication

Presenters: Carlos Evia, Virginia Tech & Rebekka Andersen, UC Davis
Friday, August 11, 12:00-3:00 p.m.

Industry professionals and educators are invited to join us for a structured, interactive discussion focused on what it means to be a technical communicator today and how best to prepare students to be leaders and innovators in the rapidly changing profession of technical communication (TC).

Tentative Schedule
12:00-12:45 Introductions, opening remarks, lunch (free)
12:45-1:30 Workshop: What it means to be a technical communicator today
1:30-1:45 Break
1:45-2:30 Workshop: Rethinking TC education
2:30-2:45 Closing remarks

Workshop Description

This workshop is one in a series being conducted as part of a multi-staged, multi-year project intended to gather data that will help the field of TC understand how best to prepare undergraduate students to practice and research at the what we call the “engineering level” of the profession. This level requires skills in abstraction, systems thinking, computational thinking, and business analysis in addition to more traditional humanities-based skills in rhetorical analysis, writing, and information design.

The project is guided by the following question:

What can industry leaders, university administrators, and faculty contribute to the development of curriculum that prepares students to be leaders and innovators in the rapidly changing profession of technical communication?

The first half of the workshop will focus discussion on what it means to be a technical communicator today, how roles and hiring needs are changing, and what strengths and deficiencies new college graduates are bringing to the profession. The second half of the workshop will focus discussion on implications of changing roles and hiring needs for TC education and what curriculum modifications are possible and warranted given diverse program constraints and goals.

We invite perspectives from the seasoned as well as entry-level communicators working in industry and from experienced faculty members witnessing change in curriculum and employment as well as graduate students adapting as they advance on their academic careers.

Participants will gain insight into how the profession of TC is changing, and they will have the opportunity to contribute ideas for how TC education might be re-envisioned so to better prepare students for entry-level TC jobs and future leadership roles. The workshop presenters will also share with participants all publications that result from this project.

Data Communication for Data Scientists and Designers

Presenters: Katherine Hepworth, University of Nevada-Reno, and Claire Lauer, Arizona State University
Saturday, August 12, 2:30-5:00 p.m.

Workshop Description

This 2.5-hour SIGDOC workshop will engage SIGDOC and SIGKDD participants in lively discussion and hands-on collaborative data communication activities. We will cover issues of human centered design and cross-disciplinary legibility as they specifically relate to data communication. Human centered design for data communication involves creating and optimizing visuals to accommodate the cognitive, physiological, and psychological capacities and limitations of viewers/users. Cross-disciplinary legibility in data communication involves considering the disciplinary-specific understandings of graphic elements and spatial knowledge construction that are taken for granted in respective fields, and may be inhibiting cross-disciplinary understanding of data and knowledge sharing.

Participants are welcome to bring visualization examples from current projects in electronic or printed form to use as the basis of discussion and learning. Examples will also be provided. Example best practices for data communication will be demonstrated using R. Participants can bring their own laptops and can download R ahead of the workshop time to follow along if they’d like, but neither are necessary to participate in the workshop. Instructions for downloading R are available here: