RE: Tech writing class (Intellectual Foundations) LONG

Subject: RE: Tech writing class (Intellectual Foundations) LONG
From: bryan -dot- westbrook -at- amd -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2001 10:24:36 -0500

It has been my experience that there are two very distinct types of
technical writing students: those who want to actually be writers and those
who want to be writing teachers. A good technical writing program will
strive to meet the needs of both.

I did my undergraduate work in a program that emphasizes the theoretical way
too much at the expense of the practical. At the time I was there (Dec.
'97), there were no student accessible computers with RoboHelp or FrameMaker
and I only learned of STC through this mailing list, which I learned of from
another student.

Most of the time I was there I felt like they were focusing solely on
producing graduate students for their M.A. program, and I was in the
minority of the students. Very few of the classes had anything to do with
the business of technical writing.

I'm not saying that theory is not important -- otherwise, why not just go to
a vo-tech instead of college -- but I think that you have to find a good
balance between teaching foundations and teaching job skills. I've seen
hundreds of job ads over the years ask for RH or FM experience, but I've
never seen a single one that asked for knowledge of Kenneth Burke or any of
the other rhetorical philosophers.

If a technical writing program produces unemployable graduates that program
is not going to last very long. I certainly wouldn't want to be their

BTW, I just started graduate school this spring (while working fulltime, as
was always my eventual plan) and have found the program at SWT to be very
well balanced so far.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Shaeffer [mailto:jims -at- spsi -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2001 9:28 AM
Subject: RE: Tech writing class (Intellectual Foundations) LONG

Is not college a time for studying and discussing the intellectual
foundations and new ideas of a field?
Rather than getting job training, perhaps students of Technical
Communication should consider questions like:


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