Re: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum

Subject: Re: Suggested Tech Comm Curriculum
From: "Sella Rush" <sellar -at- mail -dot- apptechsys -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 16:08:34 -0800

Andrew's opinion of current tech comm programs bears little resemblance to
reality, except maybe for some "continuing ed" courses offered down at the
local community center for 50 bucks a pop.

There's really no way to respond to his assertions because they're so
completely unfounded. (Just because people say that's all they learned,
that doesn't mean it was all that was taught.)

Re Andrew's curriculum:

The main problem with Andrew's curriculum is that so much of it is redundant
and too specific. Every accredited college requires graduates to meet some
general requirements, including math, science, and english (rhetoric). It
is appropriate for a tech comm program to require a specific set of classes
in addition to the general requirements--**and many do**.

But I'll reiterate: we are responsible for our own education. Maybe a good
tech comm program/guidance counselor can help students identify and
concentrate on the subjects that will be most helpful to them in their
career, whether it be business, physics, graphic design, or whatever.

But what a tech comm degree must do is deal with the basics that every tech
writer will need to know: how to gather information (Andrew's part 1), and
how to write for our specific audiences (Andrew's part 6). It might also be
useful to have some basic courses slanted for the tech writer, such as
logic, project management, and graphic design/use, which almost all tech
writers will need.

For the record, here are the pertinent classes my 4-year degree required as
a minimum:

*English/Communication (English 101 and one other writing/speech course)
*Math (intermediate algebra coupled with a logic class)
*Science (18 quarter credits in at least 3 disciplines, or an advanced track
in one discipline)
*Social sciences including business (17 quarter credits in at least 2
*Humanities/Fine Arts (20 quarter credits in at least 3 disciplines)

Much of the stuff in Andrew's list falls into these requirements. The fact
that I concentrated my social sciences work in Anthropology instead of
business and management was a choice I made. If I choose later to start my
own business, or become a manager, or go into marketing, I may decide to
take another class.

Here are the classes in my tech comm certificate program (which required a
4-year degree):

*TC principles and practices (rhetoric, analysis, gathering information)
*Tech writing style (emphasis on clarity, conciseness and coherance)
*Tech editing (copyediting to substantive editing, lots on organization)
*Project management
*Computer documentation (task-based writing, usability)
*Production editing (design, layout, practicalities of print production)

Gee--sounds kind of familiar.

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