Re: BAD classroom exercises

Subject: Re: BAD classroom exercises
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 09:19:46 -0400

Steve Hollander wrote:

>Assignments that call for students to write for
>nonexistent audiences send the wrong message to students.
>There are lots of REAL and potentially USEFUL assignments--assignments
>that'll give students a clear sense of serving a real audience for a real
>purpose. They need that.


As a freelancer, I've had to pay for all of my coursework; there is no
corporation to pick up the tab. And I resented INTENSELY the silly little
timewasters that were part of one (only *one*, thank your deity of choice)
professional writing course.

Fortunately, I was able to convince the instructor to let me substitute
something real for the second exercise. Instead of instructions for tying
shoelaces (something that is better taught by demonstration!) my group
wrote instructions for making emergency calls on the campus telephone
network---a procedure that was not intuitively obvious, but was frequently
necessary for students taking evening courses at our urban satellite

We worked out a reasonable set of instructions over coffee after class and
posted them (with a comment sheet) near two of the emergency phones. The
group met two hours early before the next class, retrieved the comment
sheets, revised the instructions, and presented a nice package to the
instructor at the beginning of class: prototype, usability test results,
and edited draft.

Oh, and we printed up a copy of the final version on 5x7 card stock and
gave it to the campus security office. They printed and laminated enough
to post by all the phones in the building. MUCH more satisfying than an
instruction sheet for shoelaces!

@Kat_____ Kat Nagel, MasterWork Consulting Services
\'o o'/ LIFE1 (techwriting/docdesign) katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
={ ^ }= LIFE2 (vocal chamber music) PlaynSong -at- aol -dot- com
() () Where am I going? And why is it called a handbasket?

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