Subject: Re: WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST-TW Course
From: Kristen Beer <kris -dot- beer -at- ARKONA -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 09:56:09 -0700

Hi Nick,

A BIG undertaking if you're planning the course from scratch. You didn't mention the level of students you'll be teaching. Undergraduate or graduate level with what kind of background? Does your course have prereqs so you can build on prior knowledge?

As for all your ideas, my reply would be YES, if you can fit them in one semester, do. However, from my own teaching experience, you can never cover all you'd like to include. The most essential thing is to provide valuable hands-on experience with the entire document development process, allowing ample time for rewrites and peer evaluation. Building in time for discussion of tw issues, document management, rhetorical techniques, etc. is also valuable. Because my classes have been structured around time in the computer lab (4 hour night classes are nice for that), I've done some work with different software tools, but the focus shouldn't be on teaching students software--it can be terribly time-consuming. Usually my students have had adequate experience with word processing, graphics, and presentation packages to get by. Since it's been a few years, we didn't do anything Web-based except using e-mail to communicate. 

Find a good reference/handbook or textbook, if you prefer. I used the book only for a guide, not as a "bible" and also assigned journal articles to fill in gaps or explicate content. I've also successfully used the case study approach which is  effective in giving the students a "real" audience, purpose, context for writing. Another technique that has worked for my students is to operate for the entire semester as a team with a documentation project to manage and develop.

Whatever you decide, good luck.

--------------- "Enabling the Extended Enterprise" -------------
Kris Beer                                                Arkona
Manager Technical Communications   4505 Wasatch Blvd, Suite 340
Phone +1 801 424-0044 x30              Salt Lake City, UT 84124
kris -dot- beer -at- arkona -dot- com                   
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