Re: TW Courses

Subject: Re: TW Courses
From: marsha durham <m -dot- durham -at- UWS -dot- EDU -dot- AU>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 11:17:48 +1100

I run a three-unit professional writing strand in a BA Communication
major. In the first semester, students conduct an interview with a
professional writer or editor. In the second semester, the major prac
assn. is a brochure. Formerly, we've had them seek their own client, or
undertake on-campus work, but this year we are giving one brochure for
everyone to revise and explain their design and content choices. In the
final semester, Technical Writing, students create a short user manual
for a client, often their employer. They are expected to develop a
documentation plan and give a short progress report on this.

Our major problem is the students' dislike for group work. Because a
manual is so difficult to mark, our marking load would be helped
considerably if students worked well in groups. But despite having a
semester of Group Communication, and lectures on teamwork/group
processes, the students tend to lack the skill to put aside individual
differences and time conflicts in order to serve the client.

If anyone has ideas about promoting successful group/team projects, I
would enjoy hearing them. Our students' view seems to be that they'll
display all the right group behaviours once in the work environment, when
it counts, but don't have the time/inclination to do this when they have
other assignments and responsibilities, e.g. part-time jobs.

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