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July 17, 2006

Nothing

Well, the last two weeks have been uneventful. The 4th of July week was uneventful in the progress of the project, since most of the key players were off for the entire week. This past week I was off on Monday and Tuesday, and then my supervisor for the project was out with a sick child on Wednesday and Thursday. This Saturday I will be going to the office and working about 8 hours on the project. We are still in the mapping stages of how and what will be included in the solution finder. I will be using Visio to map out the solutions. I will meet with my supervisor on Monday to go over the work that I did.

I am very frustrated with the progress of the project. The people in charge want it done, but have not set aside time for the project. I am getting more work for other short term projects. I have been editing letter template produced by my immediate supervisor, so time spent working on the internship project has been minimal. I hope that everyone else is progressing better on their internship.

March 1, 2006

Face-to-face meeting in Rochester

Rhet 4196 Students from Rochester:

Mary Wrobel and I will be coming to Rochester on Tuesday, March 7th. We are looking forward to meeting with you from 4:00-5:00. I will let you know the room as soon as one is assigned. While I am meeting with the internship students, Mary will be able to meet with other Rochester students who have questions about courses, advising, etc. I will bring with me some information to share with you which may be of interest. I look forward to seeing you all.

Victoria Mikelonis

February 1, 2006

Welcome to the Internship course in Rhetoric!

To: Spring 2006 Undergrad Rhet Internship Students

From: Victoria M. Mikelonis, Ph.D., Internship Course Instructor

Date: February 1, 2006

Subject: Important Information for Successfully Completing Rhet 4196

Welcome to the Internship course in Rhetoric! The purpose of this email is to inform you of how the class will be conducted, what is expected of you and how you can be successful while learning a lot in the process! I am including a quote about the need for technical communicators that I think you will find both heartening and upbeat:

Technical communicators must be able to work with highly complex material and in an environment where most information is digitized, produced using complex information management software, regulated by the FDA and other legal and policy guidelines, and produced by a team that spans the globe. No longer a job for the generalist who likes to write, technical communication is a profession where organizations require a specific type and level of training and expertise, both with technical content and with technical tools. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, while employment of writers and editors generally is predicted to rise in line with the overall national employment average,

[o]pportunities should be best for technical writers and those with training in a specialized field. Demand for technical writers and writers with expertise in areas such as law, medicine, or economics is expected to increase because of the continuing expansion of scientific and technical information and the need to communicate it to others. Legal, scientific, and technological developments and discoveries generate demand for people to interpret technical information for a more general audience. Rapid growth and change in the high-technology and electronics industries result in a greater need for people to write users’ guides, instruction manuals, and training materials. This work requires people who not only are technically skilled as writers, but also are familiar with the subject area.
U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-2007 edition.
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos089.htm#outlook

New Requirements for Internships
Now down to the business of the course. As many of you know I was gone on medical leave for the last year, but Mary Lay Shuster did a great job not just of holding down the fort but of moving us forward and strengthening the program in many ways. One of the items that she tackled was building academic rigor into the internship program at the request of Barb Horvath and Mary Wrobel. Now that I am again in charge of internships, I plan to incorporate many of the suggestions she came up with. I would like to share these with you now.

1. Three face-to-face meetings: We will be meeting as a group at the end of February, the end of March, and the end of April. These meetings will be open discussions of what you are doing, how it is going, any problems you are having, where we can help, successes you have had, etc. The first one will be a kick-off; the second will most likely surface strategies, successes, problems, needs, etc. that we can help each other deal with; the third one will continue the discussion from the second meeting, debrief on your experience, and give you last minute instructions for getting your internship reports and evaluations from work supervisors in on time.

2. Prerequisites: The prerequisites for taking internship will be Rhet 1001, 1101 and 3562. Some students try to take internship before they have these basic courses, and they simply are not ready for an internship. I would also be great if you had some of the genre courses like proposal writing and science writing before you attempt an internship, some work on designing web pages, and, of course, the writing and editing course. All of these will better prepare you for a good internship experience.


3. Internship Blog: In addition to keeping a weekly internship log (about 1-1.5 pp./week minimum), we are instituting an internship blog this semester. You will all be expected to post a blog entry each Friday beginning with Friday, February 3rd. You will also be expected to read blog entries and respond to some of them—especially if you are running into similar situations and have suggestions for your fellow students. This will be a way for us all to keep in touch throughout the semester and give you all more of a sense of cohesion. In the past most of this information was shared only with the instructor, so the instructor learned a lot throughout the term, but it would be helpful for you all to be aware of your peers’ internship experiences so we ALL can learn a lot. If you prefer, you can post some of the information that you will be entering in your internship log or you can post totally different ideas and topics. What I don’t want to see is this blog degenerating into a gripe session or a flaming session, but be assured that legitimate concerns and suggestions for improvements are always welcome. Let’s see how the blog evolves. I will read it and also post items of interest, announcements, and responses to your concerns and successes, too.

To access the blog:
1. Log on to http://blog.lib.umn.edu
You will now be in U Think.
2. Click on Rhetoric Undergraduate Internships.
If you are currently enrolled in Rhet 4196 Internship for Undergraduate Students, you will be allowed access to the blog. The screens will lead you through the process of getting on and posting. Students who have incompletes in the class will also be participating in blog discussions. Since they have already gone through the experience, they should have useful insights to share with us all, but they will not be required to do regular Friday postings. However, they will be required to respond to the blogs you post and talk about what they learned or found interesting in their internships.
3. The information on the screens will lead you through the process of posting your Friday blogs and responding to others. We will try to arrange them in categories so that you can respond under those categories to keep the blog organized. Feel free to suggest additional categories. This is your discussion.

4. Submissions required by the end of the term:

• Internship log with weekly entries
• Paper on the internship (10-12 pp. minimum) with samples of your work.
• Letter of evaluation from your work supervisor. We have forms for these letters.

Your blog entries will already be online, so you won’t really have to turn them in.

Note that keeping up with your internship logs and the blog will provide you with the pre-writing necessary to do a good internship report, so these are tools to give you a head start on the internship report and make it easier to write.

Barb Horvath has prepared a checksheet/outline of the format and what to include in the final paper. This will be posted on our website and also on the blog, so you will know exactly what to include in your report and how it should be formatted. The value of these checksheets (also called “rubrics?) is that they let you know what the instructor is looking for and, as you complete the specified sections, you know when you are done!

Office Hours: I will be in my office (74 COB) Mondays from 10-2. Since I am only here 50% time this spring and will be in sporadically, the best way to reach me is via email. If that time is inconvenient for you, please email me and we can find a time that works for us both. My email address is mikel001@umn.edu. (Note that the address begins with the first 5 letters of my last name [MIKEL] followed by 001 [one]. The small “l? and “1? look so similar that people often mix them up!)

I look forward to working with you all over the course of the semester. Let’s make Rhet 4196 an interesting, worthwhile, and productive experience!

Victoria M. Mikelonis, Ph.D.
Director of Undergraduate
Scientific and Technical Communication Programs

Download a pdf of this letter

Download S&TC Major Internship Grading Requirements