RE: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum

Subject: RE: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "'Andrew Plato'" <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 08:04:02 -0500


Can I have a fancy GED certificate from you? I did everything in Parts 2
through 6 (and a whole lot of Logan and Briscoe--thank God for A&E) without
having a tech comm degree.

Connie Giordano
-Waiting anxiously to toss my mortarboard and get paid big bucks to sit
around and talk about how to write-

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Plato [mailto:intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, March 24, 2000 2:55 AM
Subject: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum

Okay, some loudmouth challenged me in private email to impart my
vision for a tech comm curriculum. Just to show up the dingle-berry, I offer
the following haphazardly thrown together Technical Communications

The Plato approved Technical Communications Curriculum(tm) has 6 parts,
described as follows...

--Part 1: Logan and Briscoe--

Named after my favorite Law & Order detectives, this set of classes teaches
would be tech commie how to dig up information. The focus is on basic
and information gathering techniques. There should be one class where a guy
yells "PAY ATTENTION AND LISTEN" at you for 6 hours so you never forget that
little chunk of wisdom.

Suggested classes:

Strategies for FORCING people to give you information.
Advanced CYA
How to Build a Concept Matrix
Basic Scientific Method (Brainstorm, Theorize, Test, Document, Collect

--Part 2: Rhetoric --

This section focuses on teaching basic rhetorical techniques and strategies
help writers describe complex ideas. A huge emphasis is placed on crafting
balanced arguments and descriptions.

Suggested classes:

Advanced composition (modes of persuasion, constructing an argument, etc.)
Rhetorical analysis
Logic (Everybody should be forced at gun point to take a logic class once.)

--Part 3: Science and Technology--

This section introduces basic scientific and technological concepts to help
would be tech commie understand complex designs and systems.

Suggested Classes

Basic Electronics
Basic Programming and Data Modeling
Flow charting and process development
Geometry and basic math

--Part 4: Graphic Design--

This section teaches the wannabe tech commie basic principles of graphic
design. Particularly, how to draw diagrams, descriptive charts, and stylized
flow charts or process diagrams.

Suggested classes:

Design basics
Layering and colors
Advanced flow charting
Web design
Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro

--Part 5: Get down to Business

In this phase, our hapless victim is exposed to basic business and economic
principles. This helps our potential tech commie comprehend the decisions
business world makes as well as how products are taken to market.

Basic Marketing
Basic Economics
Business management
Basic finance and accounting
Product development
Branding and franchising

--Part 6: Tech Writing Basics--

This is what most tech comm programs are today. This section focuses on
layout, organization, and usability. Special attention is directed toward
building documentation designs that are simple, effective, and unobtrusive.

Suggested classes
Layout basics
Using Hierarchies
Tools (Frame, Word, etc.)
Audience Analysis
Grammar and editing

After such a program, I would feel confident hiring this person. They would
have solid investigation skills, strategies for forming arguments, basic
science and technology skills, some drawing capabilities, and last but
certainly least - they could write.

Mostly, this person would have a well rounded set of professional and
skills in addition to being able to write.

Now, since this program has many different things, I imagine it would be
hard. Hence it would scare away a lot of people and the universities
be able to profit off people with more money than common sense.

So we have dumbed down tech comm programs that teach a little usability,
you how to install FrameMaker, and survey the latest fonts.


Your suggestions, comments, and additions to my curriculum are encouraged.

I'm really asking for it now.

Andrew Plato

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