Dr. Rich Rice Delivered a Lecture on Teaching Writing and Technical Communication Through Photo Essays

Invited by the School of Foreign Languages, Dr. Rich Rice from Texas Tech University gave a lecture on the topic “Teaching Writing and Technical Communication Through Photo Essays” on May 10, 2017. Dean Chen Meihua, Deputy Dean Ma Dongmei and Deputy Dean Zhu Shanhua attended the lecture together with teachers and students from the School of Foreign Languages.

Dr. Rich Rice works as an Associate Professor of English at Texas Tech University (TTU). He focuses on technical communication and rhetoric. His talk defined technical communication as workplace document and process composing, and he relayed the importance of visual rhetoric in technical communication, especially in cross-cultural contexts. According to Dr. Rice, photo essay is an essay in 10 pictures with a beginning, middle, and end. It's a tool useful to slow students down with their writing processes, giving them more opportunities to practice seeing what they don't typically see in their own writing. Specifically, through peer and teacher response to photo essay composing, Dr. Rice works to teach students the value of organization, cohesion, transitions between paragraphs, single ideas within paragraphs, argumentation, foreshadowing, and attention to detail in writing all through studying the rhetoric of images in a photo essay. He showed some photo essays from different cultures, highlighting ways in which students use text and audio to relay the context surrounding the presentation of images, deepening their understanding of writing as they do so.

Dr. Rice concluded his talk by reasoning that photos do not replace text in language instruction; they help slow students down, enabling them to think more carefully about text. Photo essays provide students opportunities to consider audience and perspective, help students develop and practice a facility with communication tools, enable students to begin to see how technical communication surrounds everything they do, and teaches students strategies for composing effective technical communication with the tools we have ready access to.

(Reported by Zhang Yu / Reviewed by Dr. Rice / Photographed by Gao Jian)