Re: Worthless Tech Comm Degrees... is it the USA?

Subject: Re: Worthless Tech Comm Degrees... is it the USA?
From: SusanH -at- cardsetc -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 10:52:53 +1100


I was just going to watch and marvel at this thread but ...

When was a technical communications degree just a matter of doing graphics
and learning layout? Australia was slow in rising to the challenge of
offering tertiary education in technical communication but I know of
several excellent courses at Sydney universities. Graduates have the
mental tools and theoretical knowledge that they need to move into testing
and practising what they have learned.

I have nothing to do with any university course... I just interact with
graduates at technical communication seminars and conferences. Generally,
they have an impressive understanding of writing approaches, they have a
strong user requirements focus (no, don't let's start that thread again),
and they have a very good understanding of the challenges posed by
different information delivery technologies. I cannot believe that
Australian writers would run down the degree courses that are giving birth
to the new generation of writers... the ones who started out believing they
wanted to be technical communicators, rather than the ones of my vintage
who came from every imaginable profession!

Universities don't teach trades.. and a university degree doesn't mean that
learning has stopped... it is so odd to suggest, as Andrew Plato implies,
that people should learn their technical subject matter in their
communications course. Which area of subject matter expertise? Some firms
believe that subject matter knowledge is more important that the ability to
analyse information requirements and develop responses to those
requirements. They hire technical people who develop writing skills.
Sometimes that is a successful re-orientation of the engineer, sometimes
not.

I am sure that the United States has colleges and universities that offer
valuable "tech comm" degree courses...

Susan Harkus
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