RE: The Challenger and Tech Comm (was: The Columbia)

Subject: RE: The Challenger and Tech Comm (was: The Columbia)
From: "Kreth, Melinda L" <kreth1ml -at- cmich -dot- edu>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 4 Feb 2003 13:41:42 -0500

I spent Tuesday and Thursday of last week teaching the implications of the Challenger accident to my undergraduate on-campus technical communication students. I prepared the same lesson for my my adult-ed students who met on Friday night and Saturday (1/31 & 2/1) at our Grand Rapis MI campus.

In both classes, we watched the made-for-TV movie about Challenger, after which we discussed a variety of interpretations of how dysfunctional organizational culture and ineffective communication practices contributed to the accident. (The movie is not good overall--terrible in fact--but it does contain a very good dramatic recreation of the pre-launch teleconference, with Peter Boyle playing Roger Boisjoly.)

When the adult-ed students returned to class on Saturday morning (2/1), telling me that Columbia had burned up on re-entry, I thought they were playing a sick practical joke on me. I wish they had been. We spent most of the rest of the morning glued to MSNBC's live video stream. And as my students noted, it will be interesting to see in the months ahead whether or to what extent dysfunctional organizational culture and ineffective communication contributed to Columbia's demise.

For those who might not be familiar with this topic or who would simply like a refresher, please visit my Challenger bibliography at
(The "Scholarly Resources" link focuses on interpretations relevant to technical communicators.)

Melinda Kreth, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English
General Education Coordinator
Anspach 206
Central Michigan University
Mt. Pleasant MI 48859
kreth1ml -at- cmich -dot- edu


Buy or upgrade to RoboHelp X3 today and receive the WebHelp
Merge Module for FREE ($299 value). RoboHelp X3's all-new
features include conditional text, completely re-engineered
printed documentation output, Context-sensitive Help Toolkit,
single-source layouts, and more!
Order online today at

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: Try selling the sizzle of what you do.
Next by Author: Re: Calling All Cooks & Design Gurus
Previous by Thread: RE: Outlook for the future
Next by Thread: RE: The Challenger and Tech Comm (was: The Columbia)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads