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Education and Training

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Graduate students in Clemson's Professional Communication program have the option of completing a faculty-supervised project with an industry client rather than writing a traditional thesis, and approximately half of our students pursue this option. Conducting usability testing, writing recommendation reports, and creating highlight videos allow Professional Communication graduate students to provide invaluable experience to industry. Through their association with the facility, clients learn user-centered design techniques and methods for making their products more competitive.

At the undergraduate level, most usability projects take place as service learning projects in Technical Writing. In several sections of Technical Writing, students are required to write instruction sets for real clients, and they begin the documentation process by conducting needs assessments and task analyses. After the documentation has been written, the students then conduct usability tests on the instructions other students have produced and, based on the data they collect in their observations, they write technical reports validating what worked well or recommending how the manuals need to be revised to meet the needs of their users.