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Subject:Re: TW Courses (longer note) From:Brenton Faber <Brenton -dot- Faber -at- M -dot- CC -dot- UTAH -dot- EDU> Date:Wed, 25 Jan 1995 09:21:10 -0700
Regarding teaching TW Dan Lupo writes:
> This is excellent advice. This approach fosters the view of technical
> writing as a problem-solving activity. Having to wrestle with
> defining the communications problem... [clipped again]..will help
> students to understand that workplace writers often aren't presented with
> a nice neat package that includes type of document, audience profile,
> seemlessly connected software tools, and cheery, articulate developers.
> Another project option I try to pursue is offering the services of
> my tech writing students to various units on campus who have needs
> for new or revised documentation. One more possibility for this
> type of assignment is to solicit projects from the community: not-
> for-profit orgs especially welcome free help with their docs.
> I'd be interested to hear from others who have used similar projects
> that attempt to incorporate workplace constraints.
I've been teaching a TW course much like the one Dan writes about --
for their final project students contract with a local not-for-profit
and "solve a communications problem." Projects have ranged from
pamphlets and brochures to grant applications and hypertext programs.
It is a bit of a risk -- especially if the not-for-profit bails on the
student -- but the quality of student work outperforms anything that
would ordinarily remain within the protected confines of the classroom.
In this model, students are responsible for contracting with the client,
arranging the project (which I review), and then completing a publication-
ready product. Throughout the process we integrate classroom assignments like
resumes (for their contacts), interviews, proposals, reports,
documentation, and presentations.
Some problems I've faced that I would appreciate some comments on
(privately if you prefer) are (1) cost -- some projects have run pretty
high in cost and while some more wealthy students can afford higher
expenses, other students are really limited in what they can afford.
(2) grading -- as an instructor what grade do I assign if the client
loves it (its free!) but I would still recommend several revisions?
I too would appreciate hearing from others who are using similar
methods in TW or BW courses.
University of Utah
Brenton -dot- Faber -at- m -dot- cc -dot- utah -dot- edu