FW: BAD classroom exercises

Subject: FW: BAD classroom exercises
From: "Delaney, Misti" <ncr02!ncr02!mdelaney -at- UCS01 -dot- ATTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 1995 12:29:00 -0500

From: Price, Becca
Subject: RE: BAD classroom exercises
Date: Monday, September 11, 1995 11:26AM

good points... I particularly liked the suggestion of having people write
instructions for a copier.

No one exercise can include all the elements that we deal with in real life
- tight deadlines, grouchy or unavailable SMEs, etc. I like the pencil
exercise because it is a good exercise in chunking down information, in
forcing people to look at an activity they take for granted and breaking it
into logical units.. forcing people to at least look at all their
assumptions. tech writing has to be literal, but too many people are used
to having people hear what the speaker means rather than what they said.

To: internet!VM1.ucc.okstate.edu!TECHWR-L (Multiple recipients of list
Subject: BAD classroom exercises
Date: Sunday, September 10, 1995 11:11AM

If those of us who teach want our students to consider their audiences--and
I certainly hope we do--some of the recent suggestions about classroom
exercises are extremely counterproductive. Has anyone EVER learned how to
use a pencil by reading a user manual for one, as one listmember suggested?
Has anyone EVER learned how to tie shoelaces by reading a set of
for doing so, as another listmember suggested? (Hate to pick on just those
two; there were others.) Assignments that call for students to write for
nonexistent audiences send the wrong message to students.

Why not a user manual for the office or campus standard telephone
which nowadays is likely to REQUIRE a manual? Why not instructions for
using that badly designed photocopier that all of us encounter in a public
area--instructions BRIEF enough to fit on a poster located above the copier?

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.

Steve Hollander
holland -at- cvax -dot- ipfw -dot- indiana -dot- edu

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