Teaching Tech Writing

Subject: Teaching Tech Writing
From: Melissa Lowery <MLOWERY -at- GWM -dot- SC -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 1996 13:12:32 -0400


I usually hate those, "Yeah, right on, I agree" type posts, but I just have to second this call for tech
writers to teach tech writing.

This summer my university offered a class for English department graduate students called
"Teaching Technical Writing". It was taught by a professor who has not worked as a tech writer
recently (and may have never in the past) to graduate students who have NO technical writing
experience but who wanted to learn how to teach it to undergraduates! Talk about the blind
leading the blind! From what I heard, this class offered outdated information that was of little
practical use to those needing to know about technical writing as it is practiced. Now these grad
students, who now see themselves as qualified to teach tech writing because they took the
class, are out there teaching students this same useless information. I'm glad I passed on this
class to work as a tech writer this summer and learned tech writing on-the-job. At least my
experience is based on real world circumstances and not on outdated academic research!

Please, tech writers, get out there and tell universities, colleges, community colleges that you
want to teach, then do it. It helps not only you (the original reason it was suggested), but also
benefits the next generation of tech writers (who need people who really know how to do that
which they teach).

Melissa Lowery
mlowery -at- gwm -dot- sc -dot- edu
USC CSD Contractual Services

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