Missouri State service-learning graduate students used their knowledge of technical writing to aid long-term tornado recovery efforts in Joplin this past spring. Dr. Lyn Gattis, Assistant Professor in the English Department, lead the students in her graduate professional writing course in a service-learning project to create documentation to help the Joplin Area Long-Term Recovery Committee (LTRC) and Rebuild Joplin organizations use Mindjet Connect Action, an online, open-source project management program.
After learning how to use the software, these Professional Writing students were able to use their skills to create understandable, comprehensive materials to help organizations use the product. This documentation will be instrumental in helping to organize groups and to coordinate tasks in Joplin tornado recovery. Efficient communication is key in coordinating such a large relief effort, and this new software will help greatly.
Many University faculty and staff members also contributed to this project. Kristi Oetting from Computer Services trained the students in using Camtasia and Bruce Richards and Jo Mattson from the Faculty Center for Teaching and Support coordinated and produced the video tutorial. Additionally, Katherine Nordyke, Shellie Jones and Donna Hanley, from the office of Citizenship and Service Learning, volunteered for usability testing of the documentation.
This is a fantastic example of how service-learning students at Missouri State have been engaged in the surrounding communities to engage in community-based, problem-solving. These professional writers were able to transfer their knowledge from the classroom to a real-world situation. This project means a lot to the students who devoted their time to it, Missouri State University, and the Joplin community.
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