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Month: January 2020

1st Draft Drilling DCA

Drilling Discourse Analysis 1st Draft 

(841 Word)

Author’s Note:

Below is an informal report using a memo format written for the Communications 202 course at Fleming College. We are analysing discourse communities that are related to our program of study. Analysis is done under the presumption that we are already active members of this discourse community and the community is assessed according to the requirements laid out by John Swales. As a 2nd semester student in the Resource Drilling Technician program, I’ve written about the drilling community at large.

To: Comm 202

From: D.A. Mills

Date: 22 Jan 20

Re: Discourse Community Analysis of Drillers


In 2019 I took the first tentative step to enter the drilling community by enrolling in the Resource Drilling Technician program at Fleming College. This report should serve to help newcomers to the drilling discourse community. Topics will include the community’s history, lexicon, methods of communication and more. Using John Swales’ Six Characteristics of Discourse (MacGillivray, 2020) to examine the community and research to provide examples of specific Drilling Discourse communities, newcomers will gain knowledge and insight about the community. I will conclude with several recommendations on how to join the drilling community. 


Because of drilling’s long history and application around the globe, over time drilling has developed several particular communities which may focus on individual aspects which allow the professionals to work, learn, and communicate.

The professionals working in the drilling community typically have duties involving one or more of the 4 main branches of drilling. These are Environmental Drilling, Geotechnical Drilling, Resource Drilling, and Water-well Drilling. Geotechnical Drilling: done before any construction occurs to obtain information about soil conditions and ensure the safety and stability of buildings and tunnels (Harvey, 2020). Environmental Drilling: Used both before and after there are any environmental concerns. This type of drilling is “performed when soil or groundwater samples are required in order to assess an area for contamination, or when groundwater monitoring wells or remediation wells are required for the treatment of groundwater” (Hinterland Drilling, 2020). Resource Drilling: Done to obtain any resources of economic value, such as metals or oil. Water-well Drilling: Used to gain access to groundwater sources anytime there is a need for potable water. A form of drilling known as Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) is also commonly used in resource drilling, geotechnical drilling and the installation of utilities. 

In the drilling community, experience and results trump any paper credentials. So while formal education is more of an asset rather than a requirement, it is certainly held in high regard. A great example of formal education would be Fleming College’s Resource Drilling Technician diploma program (Fleming College, 2020). They also detail several auxiliary courses seen as valuable within the drilling community. Those courses include Transportation of Dangerous Goods, First Aid, Working at Heights, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, H2S and a DZ License.

Research and Analysis 

Over time, drillers in all areas have gained a reputation for working in all manner of severe weather and unsafe conditions, working long hours and being copiously productive with their labour. A lesser known trait of high importance among drillers is the ability to communicate effectively. Safety being chief among a drillers concerns, the Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee (ADITC, 2015) specially emphasises drillers “must be able to communicate effectively with geologists, engineers, consultants, landholders, and all others involved in a drilling project, so that it can be completed in the most efficient and economical manner”. 

John Swales: Six Characteristics of Discourse Communities
Art by D.A. Mills
Art of John Swales: Six Characteristics of Discourse Communities: D.A. Mills

In John Swales: Six Characteristics of Discourse Communities (MacGillivray, 2020), John Swales lays out the required characteristics for a discourse community to proliferate and function. All 6 of these characteristics can be seen within the drilling community. There is a broadly agreed set of common public goals, mechanisms of intercommunication among their members, participatory mechanisms to provide information and acquired specific lexis.

All drillers share the common goal of providing efficient service while maintaining safety. We wear regulated Personal Protective Equipment. These include, CSA approved hard hats, safety glasses, boots and High Visibility clothing. 

In the drilling industry we have several mechanisms of intercommunication among ourselves. Some of these also provide ample opportunity to participate in the exchange of information and receive feedback. These include daily reports in the form of drill logs and hand signals when on the job site. Additionally due to the ever evolving industry around drilling, many drillers join groups on social media like the Geotechnical Environmental Drilling Group (2019). In these group drillers can troubleshoot problems with each other or just discuss our day to day operations. 

Drillers have a vast lexis which is used on a daily basis. This will include everything from specific geological vocabulary, abbreviations or tools and parts of drill rigs, and some rather colourful jargon to describe different aspects of the job. 

Conclusions and Recommendations

Drilling is a serious business and likewise the drilling discourse community can be very professional at times. Due to the rough nature of the work, the community can also be downright crass at times. Whether it’s professional side or the grittier side, newcomers can rest assured knowing that the drilling community is very welcoming and sharing. For those newcomers looking to get involved, I’ll offer a few great first steps. 

  • Apply! There are a lot of entry level positions open in the  drilling industry and getting involved with the work itself is a wonderful first step. 
  • Learn! For the more academic minded, enrolling in a course like Fleming College’s Resources Drilling Technician diploma not only opens a lot of doors but teaches a plethora of important knowledge.
  • Join and participate in a chat group like the Geotechnical Environmental Drilling Group on Facebook.


Australian Drilling Industry Training Committee. (2015). The Drilling Manual (Fifth 

Edition). Australia: CRC Press

Fleming College. (2020). Resources Drilling Technician (Optional Co-op). Retrieved 

from https://flemingcollege.ca/programs/resources-drilling-technician

Geotechnical Environmental Drilling Group [Facebook page]. (2019). Retrieved 

January 28, 2020, from 


Harvey, J. (2020). Resources Drilling & Blasting Week #1: Introduction to 

Geotechnical Drilling [PowerPoint presentation]. Retrieved from Fleming College myCampus Portal.

Hinterland Drilling. (2020). Environmental Drilling. Retrieved from 


Macgillivray, C. (2020). John Swales: Six Characteristics of Discourse Communities 

[Desire2Learn link]. Retrieved from Fleming College myCampus Portal.

World of Podcast: Leveling Up – Blog 2

Google Podcasts app screenshot: D.A. Mills

World of Podcast: Leveling Up – Blog 2

(651 Words)

In this installment, I want to relay some of the ways that podcasts can help you level up so to speak. Once again I want to express my continued amazement at how underappreciated and underused podcasts are. As a medium for relaying information and imparting knowledge they are truly impressive. There are an endless number of specific skills and knowledge you can learn just by listening to a podcast that teaches those things: however, we can also gain what might be called secondary skills in abundance as well.


There is such a large cornucopia of specific skills and knowledge that I will limit myself to some of the knowledge I have personally benefited from. In 2017 while applying for the position of Service Advisor at a car dealership, I realized my lack of experience could be a hindrance. Being the aficionado of podcasts that I am, I quickly found a series of job specific podcasts to immerse myself in. The best of which I found to be Service Drive Revolution with Chris Collins. His podcast “discusses little known service drive secret weapons to help pull your service department ahead of the pack” (Service Drive Revolution, 2020).

All of a sudden I had switched gears to spending any walking or downtime learning what I could about the Service Adviser position. My 35 minute walks to and from work each day, 30 minute lunch breaks, time shopping, doing chores etc were all spend listening and learning. Unfortunately, after making it to the top 2 picks after a selection of over 60 candidates, I didn’t quite make the cut. Thanks to the interviewing panel repeatedly expressing how impressed they were with my knowledge of the position, I knew my efforts hadn’t been in vain. 

I am currently undergoing a similar process of leaching knowledge and experience from Drilling related podcasts. Getting familiar with some industry concepts and lexis. Even hearing from industry professionals about what makes apply for drilling jobs different from other industries. I will withhold those particular gems though, no point making things too easy for my competition. 


Some of the more overlooked benefits to listening to podcasts regularly are the passive skills that we can develop. For instance I can attribute the following skills to my consumption of podcasts:

  • Active listening 
  • Increased focus
  • Multitasking
  • Critical thinking
  • Self motivated

Those without such a carnivorous appetite for podcasts might not see the correlation to these skills, so let me break a couple down.

Active listening: it is easy to listen absentmindedly to music when moving about, but to actively listen and learn to the podcast is in fact not something that came naturally, overtime I have continued to get better at not just ‘hearing’ but ‘actively listening’ to the podcast.

Increased focus: Along the saem lines of actively listening, I have found that over time I have gradually been able to expand the amount of time I can focus on a podcast before getting ‘cast fatigue’. This can vary based on topic, but I can now listen to hours of podcast without getting distracted. Case in point, the epicly long episodes on Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History where 4 hour long episodes are the norm. His podcasts are described as “Passionate without being aggressive, loud but smart, and the trademark fast, staccato vocal delivery that has been compared to William Shatner after too many espressos.” (Carlin, 2020).

Sure as rain, we can all benefit from improving or outright gaining these skills, and for the low-low cost of $0.00 no less. Whether working as a team or independently, anyone with well developed skills from this list will shine far above their colleagues and competitors. 

Especially in the drilling industry where safety is of the utmost importance, I am confident that strong listening skills and ability to focus can make people stand out among the herd.

And here’s my name to say so. 

D.A. Mills


Carlin, D. (2020). Dan Carlin. Retrieved from 

Service Drive Revolution. (2020). Service Drive Revolution with Chris Collins. Retrieved from


World of Podcast Blog 1

World of Podcast

Over the past decade I have become an increasingly more voracious consumer of so called ‘podcasts’, and long format audio shows. The ease of access to a true cornucopia of content is astounding to say the least. My particular favourites include topics ranging from health, fitness, science, history, and politics. 

A surprisingly small number of people listen to podcasts on a regular basis. Luckily I am able to be one of those people. I’ll routinely stock up on a few episodes before I leave the haven of wifi. It is possible to engage with many of these podcasts through their websites, Facebook pages or leaving reviews. I however have always been content with just a listening roll. 

Since I my primary mode of transportation is walking, I’ve found that it’s important to make up for all the lost time traveling. Anytime I leave the house I can throw my earbuds in and learn something interesting or entertaining. Aside from the educational component, podcasts sure do help pass the time and give me a sense of having accomplished something. 

While I am always willing to sample new podcasts, the mainstays over the last several years have been the following:

Hardcore History

Startalk Radio

Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates

Iron Radio

The Joe Rogan Experience

Monday Morning Podcast

Since I listen through the Google Podcast app, once I’ve subscribed I can subscribe to channels and download episodes to listen to. Downloads auto clear after 30 days which is pretty handy for storage reasons. 

Podcasts are free, portable, and do not require other participants to plan around. What’s more, as I’ve touched on, podcasts are perfect for multitasking. Any kind of ‘busy work’ pairs perfectly with the podcasts. Traveling, cleaning, cooking, waiting in long lines etc. Time well spent, and very relaxing. 

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