The European Academic Colloquium is an annual event that focuses on scientific contents with respect to technical communication. It is targeted at members of the European scientific community who are teaching and doing research in the area of technical communication or related fields, such as translation, multilingual communication, localization, terminology, information management. A rather small, but focused audience of participants from different European countries allows for a lively and diverse discussion and knowledge exchange.

The Colloquium and TecCOMFrame
For the first time in 2016, the Colloquium was integrated into the Erasmus+ project TecCOMFrame. The project team would like to reach out to many more stakeholders who would be interested to get involved. That is why the European Academic Colloquium shall serve as a multiplier event, gathering opinions and experiences from academics throughout Europe.

What is the purpose?
tekom Europe aims at connecting European scholars in Technical Communication studies and related fields. As a professional association for Technical Communication we strongly emphasize education and training as an important area of activity. Therefore the project TecCOMFrame has been initiated. The Colloquium serves two major purposes:

  • Supporting Scientific Research: The European Academic Colloquium focuses on the scientific contents with respect to technical communication and related fields. Researchers and teachers are invited to share their scientific knowledge and research (outcomes) with each other.
  • Enabling Knowledge Exchange: The European Academic Colloquium serves as a platform for scholars to discuss about curricula, study programs, mobility of scholars, students exchange, co-operation within universities, and so on.

Why participate?
The European Academic Colloquium focuses on the scientific contents with respect to technical communication and related fields. Researchers and teachers are invited to share their scientific knowledge and research (outcomes) with each other. Thus, the Colloquium not only offers a chance to gain new insights into this exciting interdisciplinary research field, but also provides the opportunity to build and strengthen the relationship between scholars across Europe. The format of the event enables the participants to exchange knowledge, share opinions and contribute. Ideally, they will be taking home fresh ideas for further research or international project cooperations.

Participants who submit a paper and are accepted will find their article published in the European scientific journal "Proceedings of the European Colloquium on Technical Communication".

Who are the organizers?

The colloquium is organized by tekom Europe, Europe's largest professional association for technical communication. We have established a review board that is responsible for setting the theme of each colloquium and for selecting and reviewing the presentations and papers. If you are interested to participate in the review board, please send an email to Birgitta Meex, head of the review board.

Agenda for the European Academic Colloquium on TC Studies 2018

The topic of this year's EAC 2018 was 21st Century Skills for Technical Writers.
April 26-27, 2018, Limerick (Ireland)


Title and speaker


Registration / Welcome Coffee


Official Welcome
Prof. Sissi Closs, University of Applied Science Karlsruhe (Germany)
Dr. Birgitta Meex, KU Leuven (Belgium)
Dr. Máiréad Moriarty, University of Limerick (Ireland)


Key Note Speech: Adapting to the Future of Technical Communication
Rachael Hewetson, SAP (Ireland)


Cognitive Design Skills: Creating Materials to Meet the Needs of 21st Century Audiences
Dr. Kirk St.Amant, Louisiana Tech University and University of Limerick (USA & Ireland)


Coffee Break


Flexible Information Models Based on Knowledge Frames and Topic-Based Structuring
Prof. Sissi Closs, University of Applied Science Karlsruhe (Germany)
Dr. Jan Engberg, University of Aarhus (Denmark)


Acquiring Knowledge from Subject Matter Experts:
The Project Compass Method

Dr. Christiane Zehrer, IT Project Manager, Berlin (Germany)


Mediating Between Cultures in Multisemiotic Persuasive Texts:
Key Competences for Website Localizers

Dr. Parthena Charalampidou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece)


Wrap-up of the Morning Session




TecCOMFrame – Technical Communication Competence Framework
Members of the Project Consortium TecCOMFrame


Discussion and Feedback (Plenum)


Current Practices in Web API Documentation
Gianni Angelini, Master Student, University of Limerick (Ireland)


Measuring the Effectiveness of Using Plain English in Health Communication
Margaret Grene, PhD Student, University of Limerick (Ireland)


Coffee Break


Identifying Communication Breakdowns in E-Government User Interfaces – the Importance of a Blended Approach to the Evaluation Process
Pam Wall, PhD Student, University of Limerick (Ireland)


How the Skills of the 21st Century Technical Communicator are Valuable when Designing Assessment Documentation in Higher Education
Elaine Walsh, PhD Student, University of Limerick (Ireland)


Wrap-up and Conclusions


End of the Event

21st Century Skills for Technical Communication

The sixth European Academic Colloquium (EAC) took place on April 26-27 at the University of Limerick in Ireland. For the third time, the Colloquium was integrated into the Erasmus+ project TecCOMFrame.

On the first day of the event, about 50 scholars and practitioners came together to discuss this year's topic, 21st century skills for technical communication. During several presentation slots, professionals from the industry and academia presented their research projects.

The morning session started with an interesting keynote on "Adapting to the Future of Technical Communication" by Rachael Hewetson (SAP, Ireland). This was a good starting point for the day as she showed the industry's perspective on what skills technical writers need in the 21st century. The keynote was followed by a presentation by Dr. Kirk St. Amant (Louisiana Tech University, USA) about cognitive design skills and how to create materials to meet the needs of the 21st century. Afterwards, Professor Sissi Closs (University of Applied Sciences Karlsruhe, Germany) and Dr. Jan Engberg (University of Aarhus, Denmark), who are both part of the TecCOMFrame project consortium, gave a presentation on "Flexible Information Models Based on Knowledge Frames and Topic-Based Structuring". Another speaker in the morning session was Christiane Zehrer from Germany, who reported on how to acquire knowledge from subject matter experts with the project compass method. In the last presentation for the morning session, Parthena Charalampidou from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece) talked about key competences for website localizers.

After a lunch break, the TecCOMFrame project group presented its project outcomes. Starting with the aims of the project and an overview of the Academic Competence Framework, the methodology of the group and some examples of the prototype curricula they have developed during the last year were presented. The audience showed a lot of interest in the project as the presentation was followed by a good discussion and valuable feedback. Afterwards, four PhD students from the University of Limerick reported on the current status of their PhD projects. Following all presentations, there was time for questions and answers, and it was nice to see that the audience asked a lot of questions after each presentation and that some good discussions were going on.

On the second day of the event, the International HEI Teacher Meeting took place. It was organized as an open space where all participants could bring in their own topics and discuss best practices, the potential for joint projects, and future collaborations between their institutions. First, the whole group brainstormed to come up with topics they wanted to discuss. Afterwards, people were split into three different groups and had about an hour to discuss their topics and present the results to the audience. The first group worked on the problem that many higher education institutions in Europe don't find enough students for their program. Therefore, they discussed the question "How do people learn about TC?" Different channels for how young people inform themselves were discussed, as well as possible keywords they might be searching under. The idea they came up with was to develop a survey to find out how different target groups, such as pupils or students, learn about TC. A survey by tekom coming soon will implement this idea. The survey can function as a basis for improving marketing for the profession to attract more students.

The second group talked about research networks and internationalization. A good idea that came up in this group work was to establish a network on the TecCOMFrame website where teachers can connect and exchange with others. This could be some kind of database where teachers and researchers can register and look for people with the same interests.

The third group talked about possibilities for collaborations between universities. Two HEI teachers who have already established a collaboration via Erasmus+ to exchange with students explained how they did it and what others should consider if they want to do the same. In this context, the possibility of an extended master or a double degree between two different institutions was discussed as well.

After the successful group work and discussions in the morning session, a bus was waiting for the group to take them to the Cliffs of Moher. The weather was beautiful, so the group had time to further exchange and deepen the discussions from the morning session while walking along the Cliffs of Moher and enjoying a stunning view from the cliffs.

Proceedings of the European Colloquium on Technical Communication
The "Proceedings of the European Academic Colloquium on Technical Communication” are a European scientific journal for technical communication. They are released annually and are published on the internet and as print on demand. They are comprised of project reports, educational articles, empirical results of research, and scientific discussions on all the topics related to technical communication.

More information

Volume 6, Issue 2018
ISSN 2196-6206
ISBN 978-3-944449-93-7 (softcover)
ISBN 978-3-944449-94-4 (ebook PDF)
118 pages

Download a free version here.

Volume 5, Issue 2017
ISSN 2196-6206
ISBN 978-3-944449-58-6 (softcover)
ISBN 978-3-944449-72-2 (ebook PDF)
93 pages

Download a free version here.

Volume 4, Issue 2016
ISSN 2196-6206
ISBN 978-3-944449-78-4 (softcover)
ISBN 978-3-944449-46-3 (ebook PDF)
137 pages

Download a free version here.

Volume 3, Issue 2015
ISSN 2196-6206
ISBN 978-3-944449-44-9 (softcover & ebook PDF)
96 pages

Volume 2, Issue 2014
ISSN 2196-6206
ISBN 978-3-944449-43-2 (softcover & ebook PDF)
84 pages

Volume 1, Issue 2013
ISSN 2196-6206
ISBN 978-3-944449-42-5 (softcover & ebook PDF)
88 pages

The review board is responsible for setting the theme of the colloquium and for reviewing and selecting the presentations and papers. We have established an anonymous review process. The members of the review board are introduced here.

Dr. Yvonne Cleary

Prof. Sissi Closs

Prof. Dr. Birgitta Meex

Prof. Dr. Michael Meng

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dirk Schmitz

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