RE: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program?

Subject: RE: Most Impt. Skill to Learn in Tech Comm Program?
From: "Nealon, Jessica" <Jessica -dot- Nealon -at- McKesson -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 13:04:25 -0400


Interdepartmental cooperation is my answer.

I think you're reading my mind because I am in a Master's program for
Technical Communication (TC) and seriously considering settling for the

The best thing you can do for TC students is give them the option to take
courses in departments other than English. The best TC programs borrow
heavily from Cognitive Science, Computer Science, and whatever departments
teaches project management, MIS, and GUI Design. NC State in Raleigh is a
good example.

Others may disagree, but my feeling is that if someone has made it through a
Bachelor's in a Liberal Art or Science or even a few years of English
undergraduate education, you can pretty much assume you are dealing with an
analytical thinker already. Who else would chose the subject? Rather than
have students grow this skill with poetry or literature, have them do it
with computer systems directly.

Most people pursue a TC education with the hope of getting a job, a good
one. They're hoping their work in school will enable them to justify either
higher pay or greater responsibility and respect in the workplace. Literary
criticism of Robert Frost, while enlightening, accomplishes neither.
Furthermore, I can do it on my own time for free.

Others may disagree, but I think there is enough to handle in a TC job
without having to connect so many dots from literature to technology once on
the job. I think it's a waste to have TC students (especially at the
graduate level) in literary theory classes when they need the GUI design
class in the building next door and can't get in because of administrative


Jessica Nealon
Technical Writer
Paragon Product Assurance Group - CLT
> McKesson Information Solutions, Inc
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