Help with TW Skills

Subject: Help with TW Skills
From: Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 1996 11:43:58 -0800

LynnDianne Beene (lbeene -at- unm -dot- edu) writes:
> In the fall semester I'll be teaching technical writing
> in a computer lab for the first time. The students will
> be mostly undergraduates wanting to become professional
> writers and editors. Their writing skills vary greatly,
> from some who are great writers to some who can't recognize
> a sentence fragment from a graphic. As professionals,
> what would you all say are the top skills I should push in
> this class?

> Any and all help will be *greatly*!! appreciated. Thanks!

Here's some ideas:

1. Gathing information. This includes interviewing, researching, etc. This
is number one because, simply, one cannot write if one does not have source
material. As a rule, we shouldn't "make it up as we go."

2. Organizing information. This includes not only organizing information
logically and in a useful manner, but also determining what's NOT IMPORTANT
to the reader and then NOT WRITING ABOUT THAT.

3. Following the document process cycle. This includes making a schedule for
a document with important milestones/tasks such as editing, production,
reviews, etc. Emphasize building in time for document transportation via
snail mail, courier, interoffice mail, etc.

4. Working with SMEs. Newbies often make the mistake of overwhelming SMEs
with requests for information. Teach your students to work with SMEs, not
against them. Important concepts are: have questions organized, don't demand
face to face meetings, don't call every 3 hours with a new question, etc.

I could go on, but these are just some ideas. I'm sure you'll get great
ideas from other contributors!


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