Research

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Areas of Focus

I am dedicated to discovering and developing knowledge in the following domains:

  • Design thinking approaches
  • UX design, usability studies
  • Multimodality
  • Collaboration and emergent learning

Ongoing Projects

  • Open-access collection: Keywords in Design Thinking
  • Co-authored books: Collaborative writing (guides for students, instructors, and workplace teams)
  • Monograph: Design thinking in technical communication (see description below)
  • Journal articles: Radical collaboration in graduate research education; design thinking in writing social change; multimodal advocacy design; creating usable end-user licensing agreements via participatory design thinking

Monograph Description

Design Thinking in Technical Communication: Solving Problems through Making and Collaboration (Contracted with Routledge)

This book modernizes technical communication pedagogy and practice by highlighting the connections and overlaps between design thinking, making, and technical communication. It takes advantage of the recently popularized technology-powered DIY culture called “the Maker Movement” to forward the argument that novice invention can facilitate cutting-edge innovation through user-centered design and collaboration. This book examines the underlying design thinking principles in maker culture that enable social innovation while offering opportunities to cultivate empathy and creative confidence in technical communication students and practitioners. The author draws from expert interviews and three case studies of makerspace development, pedagogical deployment of design thinking, and collaboration in technical communication. These investigations reveal the values of design thinking methodologies for teaching and practicing user-centered design. The author argues for a future of technical communication that sees its constituents as leaders in radical innovation to solve complex problems. This book provides pedagogical as well as practical frameworks to achieving this goal.

Recent Publications

Theses & Dissertation

Tham, J. (2019). Multimodality, makerspaces, and the making of a maker pedagogy (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. PDF available upon request.  

Tham, J. (2014). Power and the platform: A phenomenological approach to understanding rhetoric and politics in composition massive open online courses (Master’s thesis). Culminating Projects in English, #47. Retrieved from http://repository.stcloudstate.edu/engl_etds/47/ 

Tham, J. (2014). Personality and advertising appeals: A new look on the utility of need for cognition (Master’s thesis). Culminating Projects in English, #48. Retrieved from http://repository.stcloudstate.edu/engl_etds/48/