I research and teach digital and technical communication at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT...not ITT) in Chicago, IL, where I’m an associate professor of digital writing & rhetoric. I also run both a physical lab, known as the Digital Communication Research and Instruction Lab, and complementary virtual lab, known as Gewgaws Lab, that design and investigate open source technologies in communication. In December 2010, I received the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching from IIT’s College of Science and letters.
I’ve published articles on topics ranging from social media to the Semantic Web. My article “Integrating Social Media Into Existing Work Environments” was the most-downloaded article from the Journal of Business and Technical Communication in 2010; for that, SAGE/JBTC have released the article as open-access in perpetuity. I have also published a book on standards-based web design with Greenwood Press. I’m currently working on a series of articles and the early stages of a book project on open source writing and revision/version control. More about me...
Greenwood Press has released in March 2011 my first book, How to Design and Write Web Pages Today, one of the inaugural titles in their Writing Today series. It is the first book-length treatment of source-level, standards-based Web design written for writers by someone from a rhetoric and writing background.
The book is available from Amazon.com and other places that sell books, and is supplemented by a companion website that I created and will continue to maintain in order to extend the value and accuracy of the contents of the book.
Researching & Making
My research into open formats, open standards, and open source has taken me into topic areas such as social media, microformats, and the semantic web. That work has tried to make the case for writers learning to write with open standards and formats.
That work also lead me to propose a new computer lab for my research and teaching, the Digital Communication Research and Instruction Lab. Proposed in concert with another faculty colleague and a graduate student at IIT and funded by the dean of the College of Science and Letters, the lab features 19 dual-monitor workstations running the Ubuntu Linux operating system. (I spent spring of 2010 pricing out equipment, and late summer into fall of 2010 installing it.)
In part from teaching and working in the lab, I’ve more recently come to think that the problems confronting writers aren’t obvious when creating digital things (e.g., using a WYSIWYG versus writing a Web page by hand) so much as when revising and maintaining digital things—which is why my current research is focused on revision, collaboration, and open-source systems for version control, Git in particular.
Publishing & Presenting
I recently published a book on standards-based web design from Greenwood Press that is part of their new Writing Today series.My articles have appeared in journals such as IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, the Journal of Business and Technical Communication, and Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy.
I’ve presented talks on revision, Git and version control as an invited speaker at Virginia Tech and as a ‘Deliverator’ speaker at the 2010 Computers & Writing Conference. I also presented a workshop on Git at THATCamp Chicago in November. In July of 2011, I will be giving a day-long workshop on Web accessibility and universal design at the Northern Illinois University/Society for Technical Communication Institute for Professional Development.
Teaching & Learning
I teach a wide range of graduate courses at IIT, from Web design to knowledge management. I maintain a list of my courses, including links to individual course websites/wikis, at http://courses.karlstolley.com/.
Since fall of 2010, I have been holding classes in the Digital Communication Research and Teaching Lab (also known as Gewgaws Lab) —which means that I am teaching all of my production-oriented classes using Ubuntu Linux. This has made for a much more consistent emphasis on free and open source software, and given students the opportunity to learn to use an operating system geared for production, rather than consumption.
I’ve recently taught a new course on web application development, which focuses on HTML5, advanced DOM scripting and manipulation, CSS3, and the Ruby on Rails web application framework. The course is partially a response to students’ requests for a follow-up to my course on standards-based web design.
Credentialing & Recording
It’s all in my curriculum vitae.