Re: Developing a technical writing class

Subject: Re: Developing a technical writing class
From: Kirstin Mercer <kirstin -at- INTERCON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 19 Jul 1995 09:20:15 -0500

> Considering your daily experiences as technical writers, what do you
> think students need to learn in an entry level class?

As a fairly recent graduate (May 1993), I can say that the best =
possible experience I got out of my Introduction to Technical Writing =
class was the "final project." We were told on the first day of class =
that we'd have to go out in a few weeks and find a "client" and do =
some sort of a job for them (a brochure, a catalog, a small manual, =
etc.) As the semester went on, we were responsible for turning in =
various pieces of what would eventually be the entire =
project (corresponding, of course, to when we were learning about =
those things in class). First we had to write a formal proposal to give =
to the client (and the instructor). Once the proposal was accepted, we =
met with the client to discuss what the job would include. We worked on =
the project and provided one or two formal progress reports to the =
client (and the instructor) during the course of the semester. At the =
end of the semester, we were responsible for turning the completed =
project over to the client (with a formal cover letter) -- and giving =
a copy to the instructor. The last two weeks of class were spent giving =
and watching formal presentations about the project you had done. We =
were to talk about the project, about the client/writer relationship, =
and about the things that went well and the snags we ran into. We also =
had to show the project. Most people outlined what they were talking =
about on overheads and used an overhead projector to display them to =
the rest of the class.

We did the same sort of project for our Advanced Technical Writing =
class, though the project was supposed to be on a more difficult level.

We actually had a text book for our Intro class, and I still use it as =
a source of reference. It's Houp and Pearsall's _Reporting =
Technical Information_.

Good luck!

Kirstin Mercer (BGSU '93)
Technical Editor
InterCon Systems Corporation

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