RE: TC vs TW

Subject: RE: TC vs TW
From: David Hailey <david -dot- hailey -at- usu -dot- edu>
To: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 May 2008 12:03:50 -0600

One possible "solution" might be to bring in instructors who teach from actual industry experience, and who understand that new tools and methodologies don't constitute "new traditions."

1. New tools and methodologies do not constitute new traditions, they are the tools and methodologies of the new traditions. One of the things that happens in education is people with professional backgrounds (such as me) spend all of their time examining the real world for how it is evolving (how its traditions are changing). They then use that knowledge to better prepare their students for the real world to come.

2. In engineering, teachers include PEs and research theorists. This is how their students may receive the best rounded educations possible. Excellent technical communication programs also have professionals and theoreticals teaching, also giving their students well rounded educations. In engineering, the current practice is to always be teaching for the coming traditions (as opposed to current traditions)in the real world.

3. You are using "technical writing" as if it meant "technical communicator." It doesn't. Technical writers write. Technical communicators use all of the varied communication tools to design, inform and instruct. Many technical communicators never write, so though all technical writers are technical communicators, not all technical communicators are writers. The term "communicator" is much more expansive and inclusive than "writer," and the terms cannot be logically merged.

4. Technical writers are technicians, they are craftsmen. They take other peoples' ideas and mold them to meet the needs of the other people. That's what carpenters do.

5. Finally, knowing how to use the many and varied tools and processes of the industry does not make a better technical writer (since many of the tools don't involve writing at all), but it does make a competent technical communicator.

David E. Hailey, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor -- Professional and Technical Writing
Utah State University
dhailey -at- english -dot- usu -dot- edu
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Follow-Ups:

References:
TC vs TW: From: Technical Writer
Re: TC vs TW: From: Gene Kim-Eng
RE: TC vs TW: From: Technical Writer
RE: TC vs TW: From: David Hailey
RE: TC vs TW: From: Leonard C. Porrello
Re: TC vs TW: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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