Teaching the craft offshore--?

Subject: Teaching the craft offshore--?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: Amanda Abelove <bluestreaker1977 -at- hotmail -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 08 Feb 2006 13:58:35 -0500

Amanda Abelove wondered: <<And that was the other side of it... the company wants to teach requirements writing offshore. It seems to me you can't write up requirements for a system remotely from the customer site...>>

Sure you can... it's just more difficult and takes longer. The simple Rube Goldberg way to accomplish this is to set up an instant messaging ("chat") session using your favorite software, and keep the chat window open on one part of your screen. You can then use anything from a Web page that you update and re-upload manually (to reflect the ongoing state of your revised design) to a Wiki or other online collaboration tool to handle the revision and update more elegantly.

This suggests you should re-ask your question here to find out how other techwhirlers are doing this kind of long-distance collaboration so you can include that in teaching your course.

Also, as noted in my previous message, there are going to be cultural differences, and you'll need to teach your Indian colleagues a fair bit about Western etiquette. (As you know, there's a considerable amount of racism out there, combined with resentment over jobs being offshored, so perhaps that's one of the unpleasant things you'll need to warn them about.) We Westerners have a somewhat deserved reputation for being rude and etiquette-free in contrast with other cultures, but all cultures, including ours, have written and unwritten rules. (You shouldn't be the only one who learns something about other cultures during this exchange! <g>)

A great way to do this is to role-play a typical situation. You come up with a design that your Indian students are going to have to interview you to learn. Pay close attention to anything that makes you even the slightest bit uncomfortable as you respond to their interview questions: the discomfort is a hint that the student may have transgressed some unspoken American cultural assumption, and with some thought, you can figure out what that is and teach it.

There are several Indian tech writers on this list, so why not take an opportunity to ask them for advice on this topic. It should be very revealing, and of interest to all of us if the discussion can be kept civil!

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Re: How bad an idea is this?: From: John Posada
Re: How bad an idea is this?: From: Michele Davis
Re: How bad an idea is this?: From: Gene Kim-Eng
Re: How bad an idea is this?: From: Dick Margulis
Teaching the craft offshore--: From: Amanda Abelove

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