Re: Texts to Simulate "Keeping Up w/ Design" etc. Request.

Subject: Re: Texts to Simulate "Keeping Up w/ Design" etc. Request.
From: Michael Keene <MKEENE -at- UTKVX -dot- UTK -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 24 Jan 1995 10:15:44 -0500

> On Mon, 23 Jan 1995, Glen Accardo wrote:
> I was a tech. writer for over 20 years. Now I am trying
> to teach the subject. There are really no text books that I can find
that deal with the realities.
> > <snip>

Dan Azlin wrote:
> The process is the most difficult thing to teach because it is, by
> necessity, a moving target. It must be adaptable to the changing
> requirements of a given project, just as the product being documented is
> evolving. A good book that touches on the entire process of Technical
> Writing is "Writing Well for the Technical Professions" by Anne Eisenberg
> (ISBN 0-06-041892-3). But this is only a good "survey text" that can get
> the student's feet wet.

> If I were teaching a Technical Writing course for serious students, I
> would give them the assignment to go find an engineering student
> developing a project for his/her class and document it as though it was
> the real world and the company was betting the farm on the results. Of,
> course this means that the two students would be forced to work
> together...

Actually, I teach a course like that: the "writers" are graduate
students from all over campus working on theses or dissertations or
articles, and the "coaches" are English majors in our technical
communication option. I've been doing the course for 10 years or so, and
everyone likes it--the writers get their projects finished, often very
well, and the coaches learn in a hands-on way many of the "soft" skills
that go with being a successful technical communicator. The bad news is
there's no text, just a 70-page course packet I wrote and have copied
locally. I used to use Edmond Weiss's excellent *The Writing System for
Engineers and Scientists*, but over time I developed my own materials
that seemed more to the point of this course and lots cheaper. But yes,
the pairing works, to everyone's advantage.

Mike Keene
mkeene -at- utkvx -dot- utk -dot- edu

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