Re: a quick lecture on technical writing

Subject: Re: a quick lecture on technical writing
From: Jim Jones <han4yu3 -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Don Cunningham <doncunningham79 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 1 Sep 2013 16:28:44 -0500

Hey Don, This is Jim Jones in Chicago. Konnichi wa? No longer at the old
department? Been thinking about you wrt Japanese swords, one of your areas
of expertise. I remember that you wrote a book on the topic.

Becca, I'd recommend relevant sections from the excellent HT Write and
Present Tech Info [abbreviations are mine] by Charles Sides, and it's in
the 3rd edition [1999].

How to Write and Present Technical Information is one of the two texts for
my graduate Computer Science class [Over the summer I completed the last
course of my old BA program in Linguistics from the University of Chicago
-- I'm over 50 but I did it].

Now I'm a grad student in Linguistics but because of my Technical
Communication and computing interests, I'm taking some Computer Science
courses too.

In fact, our instructor Jim Albright just yesterday gave us a lecture which
summarized the first four chapters of that excellent book...I can send you
the great ppt that he did. Just e-mail me privately.

Jim Jones

linkedin.com/in/jimxlat

communication.openhill.com

Twitter: @han4yu3 [Mandarin Coaching]

On Sun, Sep 1, 2013 at 3:10 PM, Don Cunningham <doncunningham79 -at- yahoo -dot- com>wrote:

> Becca,
>
> As a sometimes lurker, I seldom chime in on a discussion. Besides, I feel
> like I've said what I wanted to say about technical communication in
> articles and books (some of the latter can be identified by googling my
> full name (Donald H. Cunningham) and presentations and lectures over the
> past four decades. But I have decided to respond to your call for
> suggestions.
>
> I have heard and seen this request many times during my over forty years
> as a technical communication faculty member, academic undergraduate and
> graduate program administrator, department head, and consultant and
> practitioner. What the professor requests of you reveals our history of
> failure as educators, professional practitioners, and trainers to
> demonstrate and persuade administrators, managers, and new and interested
> faculty and coworkers that it takes more than one course, let alone an
> hour-and-a-half presentation, for students to learn how to write and
> speak in their discipline and profession.
>
> Can you imagine engineering, business, or science faculty or coworkers
> from other professions believing that students are able to learn the basics
> of their discipline or profession in a single presentation or perhaps even
> in a single course?
>
> That said and asked, I commend you for agreeing to help the faculty member
> introduce report writing to students. You mention that the college's
> English program has a course in business writing. Is there also a technical
> writing course? Perhaps the professor could benefit from visiting with
> anybody who teaches that course, although I suspect that if the business
> writing course is "light weight," the technical writing course, if any, is
> as well.
>
> I suggest that you recommend that the professor get a copy of a
> venerable but still useful book published by the Association of Teachers of
> Technical Writing: John S. Harris's Teaching Technical Writing: A Pragmatic
> Approach, which is surely out of print but may be available online, in
> used-book stores, or from nearby college and university libraries that have
> a service or professional program in technical communication. I know no
> better resource for an initial dip into the subject and preparing to teach
> the course. As you undoubtedly know, there are many useful textbooks and
> scholarly works that are also available on the subject.
>
> Definitely situational analysis (audiences, purposes--both the writer's
> and reader's, probable circumstances of use, etc.), that is, teaching the
> kind of planning that helps the students to create usable oral, graphic,
> print, and digital documents should be front-loaded into the
> presentation. My experience consulting and writing and editing for law
> enforcement agencies, the military, various kinds of companies and
> corporations and government agencies leads me to suggest teaching something
> about proposals, recommendation reports, and instructions and procedures
> is important, regardless of medium, format, etc. I suspect the problem you
> will face will be overloading students in a single presentation.
>
> Good luck with your presentation and thanks for your willingness to
> introduce a valuable skill to this professor's students.
>
> Don C.
>
> Donald H. Cunningham
> Professor Emeritus of English
> Auburn University
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Becca <becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com>
> To: tech2wr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Sent: Sunday, September 1, 2013 10:45 AM
> Subject: a quick lecture on technical writing
>
>
> I've been doing some technical writing for a professor at a small college
> in Vermont. While it's basically a military college, there are lots of
> civilians there too. This particular professor's students will be going
> into the military, into law enforcement, into intelligence (he teaches
> cyber forensics), into the consulting world - and therefore will be writing
> lots and lots of reports.
>
> The English program at this school has one course in business writing, but
> it sounds like it's a pretty light-weight class - the example of some of
> the homework my professor friend gave me is to write a letter to a neighbor
> complaining about a noisy dog.
>
> This is not going to help my friends get ready for all the report writing
> they're going to have to do.
>
> My professor friend has asked me to put together a 1-1.5 hour presentation
> that I can give to his students about technical writing. I've got some
> basic rules that I like to use as my own guidelines (ABC’s—accuracy,
> brevity, and clarity. 3Cs: Concise, coherent, and complete.), and I know
> the report format that my professor friend prefers, so I can speak to that,
> explain some of the things that should be in each of the sections of his
> suggested format. I'm also thinking about speaking about Word styles and
> why you should love them and use them.
>
>
> What else should I include? How do you teach technical writing to a bunch
> of kids in an hour or an hour and a half?
>
>
> Regards,
> Becca
> _________________________
> Dragons and Dreams: Bedtime Stories is now available at Amazon!
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References:
a quick lecture on technical writing: From: Becca
Re: a quick lecture on technical writing: From: Don Cunningham

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