From: Barbara Karst-Sabin <barbara -at- QUOTE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 09:54:40 -0800

When I was getting my MA in Tech Writing, the first course I took was
called "Science Writing." It was by far the best course of it's type
I've ever taken. It formed my own ideas about what tech writing means.

It was very simple. We wrote, mostly in-class exercises, papers proving
a scientific principle, describing an item of our choice to someone
who'd never seen it or anything like it (one guy did the fork and it was
not only well done but hilarious), describing a step by step process and
so on. In other words, it focused on learning how to write _all_ of the
various kinds of writing a tech writer might come across.

Employers focus on things like writing user documentation, or writing an
install manual, or a programmer's manual, or online help. These are
products. If you can write the whole gamut of "science" or technical
writing -- explaining, describing, instructing -- then you can do any of
those. It's like the application knowledge vs. writing ability
argument. But if it's a basic, get-'em-off-to-a-good-start class, teach
them the basics of writing as applied to technical subjects.



Nick Marino wrote:

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

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