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From: karis william <karis -at- CRAFT -dot- CAMP -dot- CLARKSON -dot- EDU>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 1994 15:48:05 -0500

My colleague, Steve Doheny-Farina, asked me to post the following message
to this list.

Bill Karis
Dept. of Technical Communications
Clarkson University
Potsdam, NY 13699-5760
karis -at- craft -dot- camp -dot- clarkson -dot- edu


Below you will find a press release produced by Clarkson University that
may be of interest to members of this list:

Three universities are using the Internet to connect three technical
writing classes in a simulation project. The students are enacting a
simulation that electronically brings together representatives from
three different divisions of a fictitious software development
company to collaborate. The outcome is a document that describes the
design of a new software product.

Students at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., represent the
Production Division of "Softec," while students at Eastern Michigan
University represent the Marketing Division, and students at the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte represent the Finance

At each school the tech writing class is made up of seven different
groups of representatives each of whom have to collaborate with their
counterparts at the other two schools. That is, at Clarkson there are
seven different groups of productions reps, at Eastern Michigan
University there are seven different marketing reps, and at University
of North Carolina at Charlotte there are seven different finance reps.
Each team comprises one production, marketing and finance group from
each school.

Each divisional group receives a case booklet that describes the task
(the design of a new software product for the insurance industry), key
data/information needed to complete the task, and the "political"
forces that bind each division (i.e. production wants to be sure that
the product is designed in-house, while finance wants to consider
hiring a vendor from outside the company to develop the product).

Each divisional group must report in the end to their own superiors to
explain not only the new product, but also how well each set of reps
represented their division's interests. There are several levels of
barriers that must be overcome to collaborate effectively:
institutional barriers, task-specific barriers, and location barriers
-- all of which are common in large corporations operating in global

The case was published in the book "Rhetoric, Innovation, Technology:
Case Studies of Technical Communication in Technology Transfers" (MIT
Press, 1992), written by Stephen Doheny-Farina, the teacher of the
Clarkson University class. The other two faculty who arranged this
project are Nancy Allen, Eastern Michigan University and Gregory
Wickliff, University of North Carolina Charlotte. The project will be
complete by the end of February.

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