Common Body of Knowledge (was certification is absurd)

Subject: Common Body of Knowledge (was certification is absurd)
From: "walden miller" <wmiller -at- vidiom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2003 08:30:15 -0600

Andrew wrote:
1. Tech writers can't even agree on the MEANING of the word
certification. How on earth will they ever agree on a common body of
knowledge (CBK)? ...

This is the essence of tech writing degrees and the certification

I was a tech writer for 5 years before I took a single tech writing
class (first one in 1990). I did not have a common language to discuss
tech writing, but I knew how to do it. I had an engineering background
and a poetry/fiction/english background (a general studies degree). My
MA degree taught me a great deal about graphics theory (visual rhetoric)
and research methodologies, and gave me a set of terminology that I
could throw around. It did not teach me how to write a manual, a
specification, plan a project, or any of the incredibly useful
talents/bodies of knowledge required of tech writers. I was told that
you get that sort of education in Business Writing programs. Business
Writing programs do cover proposals and specs but also spend an
inordinate amount of time discussing email and typical business
communication while ignoring manuals and other tech doc mainstays. OK.
So I spent a lot of time reviewing other tech writing programs (both
undergrad and postgrad). There is an amazing range in what programs
feel is necessary for a tech writer. However, most still don't include
the business of tech writing.

So that was a round-about way of saying that until colleges can decide
on a CBK, STC and all other certification champions should bide their
time and go back to writing or whatever else we do. That may have come
out snidely, but I am not trying to be mean-spirited.

Other certification programs are in some fashion in step with college
educations. BUT I believe the certification programs came after the
formal education, not before.

So, if there is a space for argument, it might be on what STC should
recommend (to NCTE or CCC) for a tech writing program. Is there really
a fundamental body of knowledge that should be taught? If so, why can't
we formalize it in a recommendation to universities. Wait 15 years to
see if it made any difference and then talk about certification.

O well, back to work.

Purchase RoboHelp X3 in April and receive a $100 mail-in
rebate, plus FREE RoboScreenCapture and WebHelp Merge Module.
Order here:

Help celebrate TECHWR-L's 10th Anniversary starting this month!
Check out the contests at
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday TECHWR-L....

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Certification is absurd: From: Andrew Plato

Previous by Author: RE: Hostility towards STC
Next by Author: RE: What is a spanner head?
Previous by Thread: RE: Certification is absurd
Next by Thread: RE: Certification is absurd

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads