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.
  • S. H. Stephens. (2018 online) “A narrative approach to interactive information visualization in the digital humanities classroom.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education. DOI: 10.1177/1474022218759632
  • D. E. DeLorme, S. H. Stephens and S. C. Hagen. (2018) “Transdisciplinary sea level rise risk communication and outreach strategies from stakeholder focus groups.” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. 8:13–21. DOI: 10.1007/s13412-017-0443-8
  • 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.
  • 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

  • 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

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
19279 ENC6261 Tech Writing Theory & Practice Web - Unavailable

This course focuses on major issues and trends in technical communication theory and the relevance of current theory to practitioners. You will read and discuss essays by leading technical communication theorists on the history of the discipline, rhetorical perspectives, philosophies and theories, and the impacts of digital tools and technologies. You will also conduct research in the literature and develop an annotated bibliography and a literature review.

19075 ENG6808 Narrative Info Visualization Face2Face Th 6:00PM - 8:50PM Unavailable
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
80449 ENC3241H Honors Wr for Technical Prof Face2Face M,W 3:00PM - 4:15PM Unavailable

   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. Your task as a writer is to articulate, explain, and interpret information. Throughout your career, you will need to understand the social context of your writing and its audiences, and you will need to master the techniques of crafting your writing to suit your purposes and the interests of your audience.

   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 with 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. The ability to manage collaborative writing projects in the workplace is a useful professional skill, and this course therefore incorporates a team writing project.

80608 ENC4218 Visual in Tech Documentation Web - Unavailable

   This course focuses on visual technical communication in the form of charts, tables, and diagrams, as well as full-page informational graphics that blend text and visuals to tell data-based stories. We will focus on visual design principles and practice using tools to produce graphics. We will begin with an introduction to graphic design and practice producing effective graphics that complement the text elements of documents. We will then study persuasive aspects of visual design and learn to develop information graphics that inform or persuade audiences about technical or scientific topics. 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.

81542 ENG6812 Res Methods for Texts and Tech Face2Face W 6:00PM - 8:50PM Unavailable

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.

No courses found for Summer 2018.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11090 ENC3241 Writing for Technical Prof Web - Unavailable
No Description Available
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.

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.

Updated: Mar 21, 2018