Re: TW Skills and TW Students/New Writers

Subject: Re: TW Skills and TW Students/New Writers
From: "John P. Brinegar" <johnbri -at- PRIMENET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 1 Feb 1996 08:31:34 -0700

Jane,

>I DO think clear writing is the most important for THESE students. To
>concentrate on the skills John mentions would be a disservice to them.

I'm not suggesting concentrating on them. I am suggesting not forgetting
them, as many do.

> . . . . . Writers may not always work in a "cross-functional-team"
>environment. These kinds
>of things are better taught on the job than taught as part of an academic
>curriculum.

This envionment is becomming more common. Exposure to this type of work can
prepare students who may encounter it and can encourage them to help to
promote such work environments (for a whole bunch of reasons that I won't
go into here).

> . . . .Not all students will write computer manuals.

It seems to me that most, if not all of the skills I listed apply to all
types of tech writing.

>Companies that hire new writers need to put into place good programs
>for training. That would take care of the majority of these
>non-writing deficiencies. Nothing, however, can make up for lack of
>good writing skills, language mastery, and problem-solving skills.

If they can afford to.

I prefer that TW courses give at least equal time to skills other than
writing and leave the basics, like writing terse, clear, effective text, to
courses with a broader application.

The tech comm profession is changing rapidly. Technology and better human
interfaces (in all products, not just computers) are diminishing the need
for technical documentation. Aspiring tech communicators need many more
skills than just writing.

-----------------------------------
John P. Brinegar, http://www.netzone.com/~jbrinega/
Consulting and development
-Performance support systems
-Technical communications

Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.
(602) 278-7398
johnbri -at- primenet -dot- com


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