RE: Tech writing course in vo-tech curriculum

Subject: RE: Tech writing course in vo-tech curriculum
From: KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2001 14:18:57 -0500

I like Nora's idea. Students'll get a LOT more out of
a Tech Writing class if you know they come into
it with certain basic prerequisites. Then, you
get to concentrate more on the practical, useful
course-specific material. If a kid can't spell
worth crap, at least s/he (stitch) will find out
about it a semester before proper spelling is
demanded. Same with grammar. Same with the ability
to organize ideas. Even if the number of hours
is fixed, it'll work better to spread it over two
or three terms, rather than concentrate it like
a technical module.

The other way, you can end up bogged down with
remedial work until you've frittered away most
of the semester. Either that, or you forge ahead
to cover the mandated curriculum (in Tech Wr),
and you leave many students choking in the dust,
because they didn't have time to build the
required skills and basic writing knowledge
(that they SHOULD have picked up in Grade 5...).

But, my first question to the inquiring school
official would be: How much course time is
going to be devoted to this? That'll tell you
how tightly you'd need to define your priorities
and proposed curriculum. The next question would
be: What will constitute success? How will you
know your TechWr class is doing any good (i.e. by
actually teaching something, as opposed to just
serving as a filter to screen out the less-skilled)?

OK, so that would be the third (or maybe move it
to first place) question. Is it the purpose of
the class to elevate the capabilities of the
students, or is it being used as a way to thin
out class numbers for second year? :-)

/kevin (i am not a cynic) mclauchlan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Patty Ewy [mailto:pewy -at- microsoft -dot- com]

> We are looking at requesting an additional option for our students in
> the communications area. We are discussing adding a Technical Writing
> class as an option in place of the composition class that all of our
> students currently take. We would like this class to concentrate on
> areas such as writing memos, Help Files, RFP's, program
> documents, etc.
> along with general grammar and punctuation rules.

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