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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Frances J. Ranney


Since Miller first wrote that article many arguments have arisen about what technical communication is, what it involves, and how best to teach it so that what students learn in the classroom will be transferable to their future careers. This transferability of learning is especially complicated in the 21st century as workplaces change: companies convert from one set of employees that people deal with on a daily basis who sit in the same physical office to one where coworkers are physically distant, come from a multiplicity of cultures, work for a variety of reasons, and many times must create documents and communications together over a variety of electronic media without ever being in the same location. It can be difficult to mirror this working environment in the classroom where students sit in the same room with their teacher in the front, a circumstance which some scholars have begun to focus on and question in their research.

One way I think this modern workplace can be emulated is in the world of online gaming. Online gaming provides a setting of consequence similar to that in which technical communicators function as they work. This dissertation will consider the rhetorical moves characteristic of the gaming environment and the implications of its findings for the teaching and practice of technical communication. To do so, I will look at how gamers, like technical communicators, perform rhetorically in online environments that can only be carried out as a humanistic enterprise requiring a commitment to identity and a rhetorical agility that we see both in gaming and in today’s workplace.

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