Re: On degrees and the like...

Subject: Re: On degrees and the like...
From: Christi <christi -at- sageinst -dot- COM>
To: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- lts -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 10:25:33 -0800

Eric Ray wrote:
>> For example, an aspiring technical writer fresh out of
>> college with a degree in "technical communication" would
>> have far better chances to jump right into a tech comm
>> position if the resume shows Frame, RoboHelp, and HTML
>> skills.

Elna Tymes wrote:
> Today's job market focuses (unfortunately) so much on familiarity with tools
> that certificate programs and some BA programs
> tend to teach the tools at the expense of broader education.

I am in a certificate program. I started after being a tech writer for ~1
year. I was a lone writer and I thought I could learn a lot from it. I did.
But halfway through the program they changed focus from skills to tools. Now
at least half the classes are on Frame or FrontPage (blech!). I'm
investigating creating my own certificate program so that I don't have to
take tool classes. I learn the tools at work, and I learn software pretty
easily. But, I don't know some of the principles behind creating a good
index, which I think is important. So I do want to take a class to learn
about it.
I guess my point is, I definitely wish the programs would be more skill
focused than tool focused. And I wish employers would realize that tools are
far easier to learn than skills, so they should hire people with skills and
then give them the opportunity to learn the tools.

Arlen. P. Walker wrote:
> Universities have rarely been interested in getting their students to
> think; they've always been more interested in turning out rows of clones,
> whose regurgitation of the party line (university line?) is impeccable and
> unassailable.

I lucked out in my undergrad degree. I went to the University of California
at Santa Cruz. No grades, just narrative evaluations. I am deeply saddened
that recently the faculty voted to institute mandatory letter grades.
I think having narratives allowed us focus more on learning and less on
regurgitation. The professors (or TAs) who wrote the evals could comment on
class participation, general subject knowledge, test scores, and how the all
related. As an example, a friend and I were in a particular class that we
loved. We often went to office hours to talk about the material (number
theory) w/ the prof. However for various reasons, we didn't end up doing so
great on the final. Our prof had the ability, through narrative evaluations,
to write that we knew the material much better than was reflected by our
final exam grades.
I think many schools and students would benefit from this type of system.
Not only universities, but all the way down to elementary schools.

Christi Carew
Technical Writer

christi -at- sageinst -dot- com
p. 831-761-6565
f. 831-761-2452

Sage Instruments
240 Airport Blvd.
Freedom, CA 95019

If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it.
-Albert Einstein

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