Re: New Hires

Subject: Re: New Hires
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <susan-gallagher -at- vertel -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 07 Jan 2000 12:24:44 -0800

At 11:13 AM 1/5/00 +0000, Susan Loudermilk wrote:
>We are looking at making some changes to the tech writing degree here...
>What types of
>classes/activities/skills/portfolio work do you look for in an
>undergraduate experience?

I've been watching this thread with interest; now it's time for
me to chime in.

I think that good writing skills are essential, of course. That,
to me, is a given.

And while I think that some software application training is
important, I don't think that this should be a major focal point
of any TW degree program.

What I do think is essential is what I can only term "elementary
cognitive psychology" -- tech writers need to know about perception
and learning styles to be really effective writers. Knowing all the
grammar in the world doesn't help if you fail to consider how the
eye moves as we read and what happens when the brain expects a
verb and smacks into a noun instead. Additionally, I'd like to
find someone who knows about different learning styles and how to
accomodate them.

Additionally, I'd like a recent college grad to be well versed in
the body of research that already stands behind us. I would expect
someone with a TW degree to site chapter and verse of John Carroll's
research into minimalism, to be capable of modularizing topics as
Edmund Weiss suggests, and to analyse the benefits of information
mapping. Furthermore, students should be able to draw from this
body of research and incorporate elements into their projects as

Anyway, that's my take.

-Sue Gallagher
susan-gallagher -at- vertel -dot- com

The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate. --Douglas Adams

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