WasTechnical writers and multimedia?

Subject: WasTechnical writers and multimedia?
From: sclarke -at- nucleus -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Aug 2002 18:30:48 -0600


I'm really surprised-in a way-that this there's any question about whether
Tech Writers need exposure, training and a foundation in multi-media when
we're surrounded with it every day. I'm a fairly "new" graduate from a
tech writing program in Canada and I'd like to offer my perspective both
as a "former" student and now professional.

I took a course such as you are proposing. It was a mandatory core course
for graduation. As a former student I can tell you it's really important
for people to have exposure to multimedia development for a variety of
reasons. First, it makes you more marketable as a tech writer. I was hired
by my former employer simply because I could do *basic* (I'm talking
really basic) web design and publish a web page. I took that web-design
course which was billed as "multi-media" elsewhere in the college I
attended of my own accord. In fact of the entire 4 years of my degree I
believe that was the single most useful course I took.

My fellow classmates were in absolute "awe" that I possessed this
skill-they did not. They seemed to consider it magic. (I guess I rather
thought so too).

Secondly, if you do decide to offer the multi media course it's important
to have knowledgeable people teach the software and the theory. The course
I was 'forced' to take could and *should* have been a real hum zinger. I
was so excited because I believed I was going to learn the basics of
Authorware and develop a basic instructional piece.

The prof (who was schlepped with teaching it at the last moment literally
had no idea how to run the program himself OR how to teach other people
how to use software). It was a dismal dissapointment and, frankly, a waste
of my money. I was forced to learn the program on my own [it's a steep
learning curve)in order to be able to "do" the required assignments to get
the grade to pass. I still feel cheated. [I guess that's manifest eh?]

I was approached by a noted tech writing firm in Alberta simply because I
could say I had "exposure" to Authorware on my resume. In fact, they
phoned me up and hounded me to take a position they had...even after I
told them my skills were pretty basic.

Need I say more?

Sara Sue in Canada

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