Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Meredith Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Marc Santos, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Nathan Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Julie Staggers, Ph.D.


Pedagogy, Engagement, Japan, Higher Education, Taxonomy


Preparing students of technical communication in the twenty-first century means training them to rhetorically utilize a wide variety of online tools. Technical communicators are now required to employ social media applications on a daily basis to communicate with clients, consumers, colleagues, and other organizations. These online modes have also opened the door to global communication wider and continue to present opportunities and challenges to technical communicators worldwide. Using Japan as a model, this dissertation sought to demonstrate a rhetorical exigency for teaching intercultural social media communication strategies to future technical communicators in the United States. The goal of this dissertation was to ultimately answer the research question: How can American technical communication programs prepare students to act as social media experts in Japanese contexts?

To do this, I first conducted a thematic analysis of American technical communication syllabi and found that few engage intercultural social media in a meaningful way in the classroom. This was followed by a content analysis of the online social media presence of Japanese businesses, which demonstrated that evidence exists for the rhetorical exigency of intercultural social media communication in Japan. Calling on these analyses, this dissertation contributes a blended online service-learning curriculum for teaching intercultural social media in the technical communication classroom. The program described in this project can provide students with the opportunity to interact with Japanese professionals by building a social media presence for a foreign organization, receiving professional feedback on their performance, and adapting their skills as technical communicators for intercultural situations.