Re: Exercises for Students

Subject: Re: Exercises for Students
From: Jeffrey Pittman <Jpittman49 -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 02:19:49 -0400

In a message dated 95-09-10 22:53:46 EDT, will -at- QNET -dot- COM writes:

>Yes, projects about documenting how to tie shoelaces can teach a student how
>write. But it is not the real world

The point of the shoe lace exercise is not to give students a taste of
the "real world". The point of the exercise is to force the student to learn
how to write a clear set of instructions. The reason an exercise such as
this one is used is because the student already knows how to tie a shoe, and
therefore the student will be tempted to leave out key steps because of the
assumption that all people already understand all the steps necessary for the
operation. Instruction manuals are written by tech writers, and an awful lot
of them stink.
Technical writing classes are full of students who have no intention of
writing for a living, they are just training for jobs that require writing
skills. (Our English Department would disappear if it only taught classes
for its own students.) A prime example of this is the field of law
enforcement. Administration of Justice (AJ) students are required to take
Tech Writing 111 and 211 at Clark, but no one expects them to ever make their
livings writing. The reason these students are in these classes is to teach
them how to write a clear and concise report, and to make sure that these
reports contain all of the necessary information. This includes any
information the officer normally would consider a given. A How To Tie Your
Shoes Manual is perfect for this type of learning exercise. If the students
are looking for real world exercises, I suggest they write their own grant
applications. If the application passes, the student receives financial
remuneration, and this is as "real world" as you can get.
Good luck,

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