Re: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum

Subject: Re: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum
From: Katie Kearns <kkearns -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 06:51:51 -0800

At 11:54 PM 3/23/2000 -0800, you wrote:
>Okay, some loudmouth challenged me in private email to impart my
semi-brilliant
>vision for a tech comm curriculum. Just to show up the dingle-berry, I
offer up
>the following haphazardly thrown together Technical Communications
Curriculum.

Well, my first response is that this is no good whatsoever for people who
already have 4 year degrees and just want to transition to the tech writing
field. I already have a molecular biology degree, and I certainly don't
want to sit through basic physics, when I've already had 3 years of physics.

What I really, desperately, want to know if all of the stuff that you think
is so useless --layout, standard tech writing procedures, or techniques for
increasing readability.

I already know how to write technically accurate pieces of crud -- I went
to grad school for a year. ;) I can use so much passive voice, jargon, and
impossibly long, hard to understand sentences that no one would have a clue
what I'm saying.

And I'm 100% sure that I can handle having detailed, accurate text as well
as text that's pleasing to the eye and with a nice layout if someone would
only tell me how. Which fonts work when, how much white space is good, and
so forth.

So just give me a certification that teaches me about tech writing. Not
physics. I already know basic, Pascal, C, C++, FORTRAN, HTML, some
javascript, and even LOGO for goodness sakes.

And, oddly enough, my tech writing certification program is teaching me
just what I want to know.

(As an aside, in my program we haven't once been told which tool to use or
even really touched the subject. And I think Framemaker is terribly easy to
learn. And all of my teachers are non-academic people who are tech writers
"in real life".)

Sure, there are tech writing programs that are awful -- but every field has
schools with awful programs. Don't go to them.

-Katie




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