Date of Award

5-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

Professional Communication

Advisor

Holmevik, Jan R

Committee Member

Ding , Huiling

Committee Member

Katz , Steven B

Abstract

Communication scholars need to know more about how collaborative technology could change the workplace. Understanding the rhetorical situation of workplace communication helps explain the paradigm shift in the making between old technologies (e.g. Microsoft Office and PCs) and new technologies (e.g. Google docs and tablets). The study of two workplaces, Dr. Apparao Rao's physics lab at Clemson University and my freshman composition classroom, indicates that conventional forms of communication such as email, instant messaging, and voicemail may cause a gap workplace communication. Cloud-based solutions may fill that gap in communication as well as the gap between Carolyn Miller's dichotomy of academia and the workplace and 'praxis' versus 'techne.' With cloud computing, people can access applications and data anywhere in the world on demand. Traditionally, when individuals save content or run software on their hard drive, it is as if they can 'see' where they store files or run the application. On the other hand, the 'cloud' metaphorically describes what people cannot see while using the Internet. The Internet is illustrated in network diagrams as a cloud, and the cloud represents 'all that other stuff' or 'etc.' that keeps the network running. The cloud also represents a space that is another person's responsibility to maintain. Cloud computing may include various types of services which include Software as a Service (e.g. Google Docs), Platform as a Service (e.g. Google App Engine), Hardware as a Service (e.g. Amazon's S3), and Database as a Service (e.g. Apple's MobileMe and Microsoft's Live Mesh). Cloud technologies are far away from stabilizing in the workplace. Currently, Microsoft Office and email promote serial collaboration. Cloud-based technologies have several implications for teachers, students and researchers. Teachers could use cloud-based technologies to instruct writing as a process over time rather than writing in one sitting. In order for cloud computing to stabilize, a paradigm shift in workplace communication would have to take place.

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Communication Commons

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