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> It does not matter AT ALL what is used as a teaching example or
> exercise if the material, idea, or process serves the purpose it was
> intended to serve.
I'm assuming that a manual about a pencil or tying shoe laces
would be in an "Introduction to Technical Writing" course. In my
experience, these classes have far more engineering and computer
science majors than technical communication majors. Most of the
people in my "Intro" class really didn't want to be there. They
attend a technical writing course because of their degree requirements.
If the engineers and computer scientists of tomorrow think
technical writing is a Big Joke, then the road for tomorrow's
tech writers will be that much harder. First impressions do
make a difference. I contend that students will have more respect
for the field if the first assignment has them documenting something
simple, common, and mechanical (calculators, watches, toasters, etc.)
rather than something nonmechanical (tying shoes, PBJ sandwiches, etc.).
As someone previously noted, audience is important.
kevinh -at- tivoli -dot- com