Associate Professor

Photo of Brad Mehlenbacher.PhD, Carnegie Mellon University
MA, University of Waterloo
BA, University of Waterloo

Extension: 30287
Office: HH 242


Some 30 years ago, I completed my MA in English at Waterloo and set off to the United States for my doctoral studies. Four years passed and I found myself wrapping up my doctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, and heading for a faculty position at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Arriving into a thriving high-tech hub, called the Research Triangle Park, much of my early research in NC State’s English department focused on issues in human-computer interaction and human factors. My first co-authored book, Online help: Design and evaluation, stemmed from this research trajectory. A decade into my research, I moved to the College of Education, still at NC State, and began a research program investigating education and technology. My 2010 MIT Press book, Instruction and technology: Designs for everyday learning, resulted from this work. But my disciplinary home called, and as luck would have it, my geographical home called too. In 2018, I joined UW English as a faculty member, specializing in rhetoric and communication.

Selected Publications


Mehlenbacher, B. (2010). Instruction and technology: Designs for everyday learning. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.

Duffy, T. M., Palmer, J. E., & Mehlenbacher, B. (1993). Online help: Design and evaluation. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group.

Articles & Chapters

Mehlenbacher, B., & Kampe, C. (2017). Expansive genres of play: Getting serious about game genres for the design of future learning environments. In C. R. Miller & A. R. Kelly (Eds.), Emerging Genres in New Media Environments (pp. 117-133). London, England: Palgrave Macmillan.

Mehlenbacher, B., Kelly, A. R., Kampe, C., & Kittle Autry, M. (2016). Instructional design for online learning environments and the problem of collaboration in the cloud. Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, 0 (0), 1-23.

Kelly, A. R., Kittle Autry, M., & Mehlenbacher, B. (2014). Considering Chronos and Kairos in digital media rhetorics. In G. Verhulsdonck & M. Limbu (Eds.), Digital Rhetoric and Global Literacies: Communication Modes and Digital Practices in the Networked World (pp. 227-247). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Mehlenbacher, B. (2013). What is the future of technical communication? In J. Johnson-Eilola & S. A. Selber (Eds.), Solving Problems in Technical Communication (pp. 187-208). Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P.

Mehlenbacher, B. (2012). Everyday learning: Instruction and technology designs. In N. M. Seel (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning (pp. 1181-1185). NY, NY: Springer.

Zaharias, P., & Mehlenbacher, B. (Eds.). (2012). Introduction to Special Issue on Usability Design for Learning and Education in Virtual Worlds. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 70 (7), 475-476.

Selected Fellowships & Awards

  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Award for Best Book in Technical and Scientific Communication for Instruction and Technology: Designs for Everyday Learning (MIT Press), 2012.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation, Transforming Undergraduate Education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (TUES): Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Grant, $199,998, 2013-2015.
  • Co-Principal Investigator, National Science Foundation, Innovations in Engineering Education, Curriculum, and Infrastructure (IEECI), $173,592, 2009-2014.

Current Research

My major project right now is a book-length manuscript, entitled “Learner,” an exploration of the rhetoricity of learning across the life span.

Areas of Graduate Supervision

  • Rhetoric
  • Cognition and learning theory
  • Instructional technology and communication design
  • Technical, engineering, and science communication
  • User experience, human-computer interaction, usability
  • Game studies and learning design
University of Waterloo

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