Sonia H. Stephens

Sonia H. Stephens, Ph.D.

Education

  • Ph.D. in Texts and Technology from University of Central Florida (2012)
  • M.S. in Botany and Ecology, Evolution, and Conservation Biology from University of Hawaii at Manoa (2003)

Research Interests

Scientific and Technical Communication in Digital and visual Media; Narrative Information Visualization; Visual Risk Communication; Visual Metaphor; User Evaluation of Interactive Tools; Digital Humanities

Selected Publications

Articles/Essays

  • Forthcoming S. H. Stephens. (accepted 2017) “Using interface rhetoric to understand audience agency in natural history apps.” Technical Communication.
  • J. D. Applen and S. H. Stephens. (2017) “Digital humanities, middleware, and user experience design for public health applications.” Communication Design Quarterly. 5(3): 24-34.
  • Forthcoming D. E. DeLorme, S. H. Stephens and S. C. Hagen. (2017 online) “Transdisciplinary sea level rise risk communication and outreach strategies from stakeholder focus groups.” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s13412-017-0443-8
  • S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. (2017) "Evaluation of the design features of interactive sea-level rise viewers for risk communication." Environmental Communication. 11(2):248-262. DOI:10.1080/17524032.2016.1167758
  • D. E. DeLorme, D. Kidwell, S. C. Hagen, and S. H. Stephens. (2016) “Developing and managing transdisciplinary and transformative research on the coastal dynamics of sea level rise: Experiences and lessons learned.” Earth’s Future.
    4(5): 194–209. DOI: 10.1002/2015EF000346.

  • S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. (2015) “Evaluating the utility and communicative effectiveness of an interactive sea level rise viewer through stakeholder engagement.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication. 29(3): 314-343. DOI: 10.1177/1050651915573963

  • S. H. Stephens, D. E. DeLorme and S. C. Hagen. (2014) “An analysis of the narrative-building features of interactive sea level rise viewers.” Science Communication. 36(6): 675-705. DOI: 10.1177/1075547014550371

  • S. H. Stephens. (2014) “Communicating evolution with a Dynamic Evolutionary Map.” Journal of Science Communication. 13(1): A04.

  • S. Stephens. (2012) “From tree to map: Using cognitive learning theory to suggest alternative ways to visualize macroevolution.” Evolution: Education and Outreach. 5(4): 603-618.

Conference Papers/Presentations

  • Forthcoming S. H. Stephens and D. E. DeLorme, December 2017. “Benefits, challenges, and best practices for involving audiences in the development of interactive coastal risk communication tools: Professional communicators’ experiences.” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting 2017, New Orleans, LA.
  • S. H. Stephens. November 2017. "Rhetoric, agency, and risk visualization for diverse audiences." HASTAC 2017, Orlando, FL.
  • S. H. Stephens, August 2017. "Designer perceptions of user agency during the development of environmental risk visualization tools." SIGDOC 2017, Halifax, Canada.
  • S. Stephens and J. D. Applen, October 2016. “Rhetorical dimensions of social network analysis visualization for public health.” ProComm 2016, Austin TX.
  • S. H. Stephens and D. E. DeLorme, June 2016. “Making sea level rise risk research responsive to community needs.” Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Washington, DC.
  • S. H. Stephens, May 2016. “Bird identification guides as interface: Transformation and continuity.” Rhetoric Society of America, Atlanta, GA.

  • M. Shelton and S. Stephens, February 2016. “Connecting scientists to citizens regarding sea level rise.” Social Coast Forum, Charleston, SC.

Courses

No courses found for Summer 2016.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
80490 ENC3241H Honors Wr for Technical Prof Face2Face M,W 1:30PM - 2:45PM Available
ENC3241.0201: Honors Writing for Technical Professionals
(Stephens)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 1102H or equivalent credit and consent of Honors

This course helps prepare you, a student in a technical profession or professional field, for the types of research, writing, and information presentation that you will be doing in your career after graduation. In this Honors course, we will focus on learning about the types of research, writing, and information presentation that professionals need to master when dealing with "wicked" problems. A wicked problem is an issue that has both scientific and social aspects, that can be defined in different ways by different interest groups, and that may be urgent or unprecedented for a community to deal with. Many of society's developing social and scientific issues have wicked elements that present specific challenges for technical writing. This course will help you learn how to navigate communicating about wicked issues by defining problems in a deliberative way, developing expertise in professional writing formats, and making sensitive and sensible judgments about how best to achieve your communication goals.
81978 ENC4293 Doc & Collaborative Process Web - Unavailable
ENC4293.0W61: Documentation and the Collaborative Process
(Stephens)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 3211 and ENC 3241

This course focuses on development of a book-length project from idea to final published product. For our semester-long project, we will produce a style manual for the needs of UCF student/staff/professional technical communicators. There will be one manual of 175-200 pages produced by the class, including front matter, back matter, bibliography, and table of contents. This is a complex undertaking, but we will divide the work up into sections so each of us has a manageable task. As a group, you will be functioning as both writers and editors.
81569 HUM3830 Intro to Digital Humanities Rdce Time M,W 11:30AM - 12:20PM Available
This course provides an introduction to the application of digital tools to humanities questions. In this course, you will learn how to ask humanities questions in the context of the cultural changes that pervasive digital technologies have brought about, and you will learn principles and techniques for applying digital tools to answer humanities questions. You will become familiar with the ways in which digital technology has both transformed humanities research and enabled humanities scholars to maintain the essence of their work in a new age. Finally, you will learn how digital humanities projects are planned, put together, evaluated, and maintained over time. This is a core course in the Digital Humanities minor. This is a mixed-mode class with reduced face-to-face time and weekly online activities.
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11389 ENC4293 Doc & Collaborative Process Web - Unavailable
ENC4293.0W61: Documentation and the Collaborative Process
(Stephens)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC 3211 or ENC 3241

This course focuses on development of a book-length project from idea to final published product. For our semester-long project, we will produce a style manual for the needs of UCF student/staff/professional technical communicators. There will be one manual of 175-200 pages produced by the class, including front matter, back matter, bibliography, and table of contents. This is a complex undertaking, but we will divide the work up into sections so each of us has a manageable task. As a group, you will be functioning as both writers and editors.
19463 ENG6808 Narrative Info Visualization Face2Face Tu 6:00PM - 8:50PM Unavailable
In this course, we will explore narrative information visualization, or how to tell visual stories about data. Narrative visualizations engage audiences and tell a story using features like interactive maps, infographics, and timelines. Visualization designers make choices about selecting and representing data, developing a narrative, and shaping their audiences’ interpretation of the underlying information. This course is recommended for students who want to learn skills that can be applied to digital humanities, visual communication, science communication, and/or digital history projects. Examples could include mapping Orlando civil rights history, telling a story about trends in social media content, or visualizing the links between different fandoms.

This course has theoretical and hands-on components. You will first explore information visualization from an interdisciplinary perspective, learning how to understand and critique visualizations using rhetoric, critical theory, graphic design, and cognitive science concepts. You will then create a hands-on interactive visualization project using data of your choice. Projects may involve working with text, visuals, numerical data, or map-based data. No coding experience is necessary, as several “off-the shelf” tools are available to help build these projects.

No courses found for Summer 2017.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
81875 ENC4293 Doc & Collaborative Process Web - Unavailable
ENC4293.0W60 Documentation and the Collaborative Process
(Stephens)

PR: Grade of C (2.0) or better required in ENC3211 or ENC3241

This course is about learning strategies for collaborative writing work, and putting those strategies into practice. As a class, you will develop a book-length project from idea to final published product. In this semester-long project, you will produce a style guide for the needs of UCF student, staff, and professional technical communicators. A style guide (also called a style manual) is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents. It gives examples of best practices and ensures consistency across all of the documents that an organization produces.
Our class will collectively produce a single style guide of 125-135 pages, including front and back covers, front matter, back matter, bibliography, and a table of contents. This is a complex undertaking, but we will divide the work up into sections so each of us has a manageable task. As a group, you will be functioning as both writers and editors, with some people performing both tasks.
91274 ENC6257 Visual Tech Comm Web - Unavailable
In this course, we will learn about visual technical communication. Visual technical information is communicated in charts, maps, tables, and diagrams, as well as in full-page informational graphics that seamlessly blend text and visuals to tell complex data-based stories. This course will cover contemporary scholarship on visual technical communication and teach you to use digital tools to produce graphics. We will begin with a broad introduction to the principles of graphic design and practice producing effective graphics that complement the text elements of documents. We will then study the rhetorical dimensions of visual design and learn to develop information graphics that inform or persuade audiences about complex technical or scientific topics. Throughout the course, we will consider the ethical responsibilities of visual technical communicators, and focus on developing visuals that help audiences find the information that they need for decision-making and deep individual exploration. The course concludes with a project in which you will plan, research, and create a full-page informational graphic on a technical or scientific topic of your choice.
81802 ENG6812 Res Methods for Texts and Tech Face2Face Th 6:00PM - 8:50PM Available
This course will prepare you to design, conduct, and critique interdisciplinary humanities research that focuses on textual technologies. We will study a range of issues related to theory, method, and evidence as they relate to project- or problem-based research. As we position ourselves as scholars of specific textual or technological artifacts, we will look at examples of research that focus on three different stages in the project lifecycle: project development as research, the analysis of existing artifacts, and understanding how audiences receive and use texts and technologies. Our focus will be on empirical research, and we will look at examples of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods approaches. Specific topics will include:
• Identifying compelling research questions in an interdisciplinary field.
• Linking questions to relevant theories and methods.
• Understanding validity in different disciplinary contexts.
• Articulating a research design and conducting research.
• Analyzing and interpreting data.
• Positioning results for publication to appropriate audiences and communities.
• Considering ethical implications at each stage of the research process.
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11312 ENC4293 Doc & Collaborative Process Web - Unavailable

ENC 4293.0W61: Documentation and the Collaborative Process (Stephens)

Spring 2018

This course is about learning strategies for collaborative writing work, and putting those strategies into practice. As a class, you will develop a book-length project from idea to final published product. In this semester-long project, you will produce a style guide for the needs of UCF student, staff, and professional technical communicators. A style guide (also called a style manual) is a set of standards for the writing and design of documents. It gives examples of best practices and ensures consistency across all of the documents that an organization produces.

Our class will collectively produce a single style guide of 125-135 pages, including front and back covers, front matter, back matter, bibliography, and a table of contents. This is a complex undertaking, but we will divide the work up into sections so each of us has a manageable task. As a group, you will be functioning as both writers and editors, with some people performing both tasks.

18826 ENC6426 Visual Texts and Technology Face2Face Th 6:00PM - 8:50PM Unavailable

This course focuses on the visual communication of climate change, one of the most complex and wide-reaching socio-technological challenges that we have created and now face as a society. While some groups seek to address and proactively respond to climate change, others seek to maintain existing power structures and economic systems and protect the status quo, and thus deny climate change’s existence or human causes. This course will give us tools with which to approach, analyze, and respond to the seemingly intractable problem of climate change through an interdisciplinary perspective. It will center on the visual discourse surrounding climate change, focusing on how visuals about climate change science are produced and circulate in service of both scientific understanding and denialist ideology. 

This course has theoretical and hands-on components, including learning about visual design, critical visual theory, and the discourse of climate change denial; and applying theory to practical situations and examples. You will explore visual climate change communication from an interdisciplinary perspective, learning how to understand and critique visualizations using rhetoric, critical theory, and graphic design. You will also learn about the social science that underpins our understanding of denial as an ideology, though our focus will be on understanding scientific insights rather than doing social science research ourselves. The course will culminate in the development of small-group digital projects that explore and respond to the discourse of climate change denial. No specific experience with digital tools is necessary.

Updated: Nov 9, 2017