From: Nick Marino <Rhetonic -at- GTE -dot- NET>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 02:22:18 -0600

Dear TECHWR-L gang:

I'll be teaching a technical writing course next semester and I would
appreciate your thoughts on what the ideal tech writing course should

I've taught tech writing before and I have taken a number of tech
writing courses as part of my own academic training. I also have a
10-year+ practical background in technical writing.

My feeling is that most tech writing courses fail to teach meaningful,
practical technical writing, tech writing that "you" can use, and they
also fail to teach what it means to be a tech writer. So, I am
absolutely determined to teach a tech writing course that "you" can use!

I'm looking for inputs from professionals in the field on what should be
taught in a tech writing course. For instance, what is the most
practical forms of tech writing to be emphasized? analytical reports?
proposals? processes? procedures? correspondence? specifications? plans?
manuals? guides? work instructions?

What about ISO 9000 documentation theory?

Should oral presentations be addressed in a tech "writing" course?

Should there be instruction on writing for the WWW? or online help
files? or web page creation?

Do tech writers conduct meaningful research? or do they simply revise,
edit, rewrite, shape, mold, adapt, interpret, and design already
engineered/researched information into readable, audience-adapted,
usable, practical prose?

To what extent should graphics, design, and layout be emphasized, if at
all emphasize?

Do ad copy, re'sume's, marketing documentation, journalistic prose,
company newsletters, or educational writing qualify as tech writing?

In answering, consider such things as degree of applicability,
relevance, practicality, and scope.

Thanks in advance for your responses.
Nick Marino

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