TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Help w/TW skills From:"Cramer, Kim" <kcramer -at- NCSLINK -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 1 Feb 1996 07:50:00 -0700
I did some more thinking about your training situation and had some ideas.
How about having students do a pseudo-real-world project on a "frammis" and
follow the documentation process all the way through. The "frammis" could
be anything you like - I would suggest a real thing, but something that most
people don't know a lot about.
The project would involve students attending a typical project kick-off
meeting, followed by some research on the frammis at the library to develop
a basic understanding of similar products. Then you could have students
develop a documentation plan for a "User Guide" and begin interviewing SMEs.
Perhaps some folks from your local STC chapter could volunteer to act as
SMEs - some could be helpful, some could be as much fun to interview as
having your teeth pulled! [We've all been there! ;-) ] I would try to
give them a lesson or two on interviewing techniques before throwing them to
You could have some "development specs" as well, so students learn to
synthesize written as well as oral material. I'd establish due dates for
drafts, and have the drafts reviewed by the volunteer SMEs. You could also
invite an editor to edit the drafts and then speak to the class about why
she/he made specific changes.
Then comes the rewrite to final phase. I would try to have new
functionality added to the frammis at this stage, so they get a feel for
integrating new material. I would use the students themselves as peer
editors and have your volunteer editor review the edits and speak to the
class again to reinforce these points.
There are various opportunities for grading throughout this process with the
final grade being the completed document.
Let me know what you think! (As I'm sure *everybody* on this list will!!!!)
kcramer -at- ncslink -dot- com