Re: Imagine you teach

Subject: Re: Imagine you teach
From: Doug Nickerson <Doug_Nickerson -at- ONSETCOMP -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 21 Dec 1998 14:35:48 -0500

apteryx -at- CHISP -dot- NET,Internet writes:
>David Thompson wrote:
>>Imagine you teach tech. writing.
>>You have to teach 1 of the following:
>>1. The principles of On Line Help or
>>2. The principles of programming.
>>Which would you choose and why?
>Let's see, I'm giving a course on tech writing, right? And I'm trying to
>choose what to include in this course, right? And it's about tech
>Well, I guess I'd teach programming, because it's my general policy to
>always teach something completely different than what the course title
>suggests. I think we owe it to our students, if the course is about
>of the Rococo Age", to include a lot about thermodynamics; if the course
>titled "Audio Engineering", to include a lot about corporation finance;
>so on. Cuz, you know, everything is related and all.

Your policy is a good policy. Your policy is very close to that of many
computer book authors. I personally find
it a waste of time if after reading an entire book on say 'Java
Programming,' the author has still not
told me his/her favorite sports team, or favorite micro-brewed beverage.

The original question can be re-interpreted as' what's the best way to
approach the teaching of technical writing: 1) principles of writing
(mechanics, tools) 2) or domain knowledge? Expressed this way, this
relates to the "Research Your subject" thread [discussing the prudence of
acquiring knowledge of your subject matter].

I also agree with Tracy who wonders why 'documenting software' is the only
subject area that comes to mind when thinking of technical writing.
Please, all those who document chemical plants and those who write the
instructions for my vacuum cleaner, speak up!

[Perhaps the pervasiveness of software explains why the Microsoft Manual
of Style has supplanted the
Chicago Manual of Style in many people's consciousness.]

Doug Nickerson
Programmer/freelance author
doug_nickerson -at- onsetcomp -dot- com

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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