January 11th

Ahem

Where I am starting in the course
What is of interest to me
Questions for guests

I am a graduating student in the Written Communications program here at EMU. I will consider myself self-taught in the program and not taught much at that. I am a clean slate. So use me and abuse me and confuse me…and stuff. Everything interests me. I consider it all new and exciting. I would like to be able to gauge my sense of confidence and competency in “the field” or “the job” that is important. My questions for the guest would include pretty standard “getting to know ya questions like: 1. Where do you work? 2. What’s yer name? 3. How did you get where you are? 4. What do you like best about your job? 5. What do you like least? 6. Am I perty? 7. What qualifications to succeed in your job/career field do you identify?

Money Shot

These articles were interesting to read. They did their best to provide some much needed perspective on what a technical writer is and does and what makes for a good technical writer, etc. Technical writing seems to be what is forced on us here in this program and without much explanation of why that is or what technical writing is and what skill set is important blah blah blah. This is a good start. But I wonder what is beyond technical writing. Just for fun’s sake. Will it just blow my mind to learn? [cue the pink floyd]

Allen
How do we define the field?
If defining technical writing is this troublesome then it will be debated over til the end of time. What then? Enough! The inability to define technical writing hasn’t prevented “technical writers” from writing technically; plying their trade in techno world, has it? Apparently not (see cookbook). Defining exactly what gravity is or isn’t never made the world stop spinning, did it? No, not so much. Did homosapiens mate with neanderthals? (I dunno.) The birds will continue to chirp, the sun will rise again, bullies will still bully, the Detroit Lions will still suck, water will still be wet and Mr. T will forever be The Man.

Turner, Rainey
Core Competencies
*Interpersonal skills — check
*Write well and for an audience — check
*Willingness and ability to learn and use technology — check
*Take initiative, evaluate self and others — check

This article is very useful, indeed. it is nice to see some kind of accountability to “the job” and get some feedback on the expectations of skills and knowledge to be successful as a technical writer. (Whatever that is, yeah. You like that Allen? I said, “Whatever that is”). But I’m surprised that not every H.S. graduate has some measure of any of these skills. They sound basic like: must birth live young, or breathe oxygen through lungs.

Whiteside
Skill Set
Ditto (see above)

I am somewhat nervous after reading Whiteside. The world is a global place, I know. That is probably a good thing. However, learning foreign languages has always been about as difficult for me as math or Logic was. Despite a keen interest in learning French, and self-teaching Greek, man I suck at languages. It is a scary thought to think I am deficient because of this.

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3 Responses to “January 11th”

  1. tkeezer Says:

    Whiteside made me a little nervous for the same reason. The last time I took a foreign language course was in high school, which was a very long time ago. I understand the point, though, because software *is* global, and companies won’t necessarily want to hire translators if they have writers who can translate their own work. I think I’d like to see how much of a concern that really is to employers: is it as significant as Whiteside implies, or is it more of a “that would be nice, but I’m not really looking for it” kind of thing?

    • Nadine Says:

      I’m with you guys – the last foreign language class I took was 9th and 10th grade German, and I know that will not be useful! I would like to know more about this from our guests as well. I’m very interested about learning about other cultures and doing research, but actually learning the language is really intimidating.

  2. Ann Blakeslee Says:

    These are interesting comments. There’s increasing emphasis being placed on global issues in tech comm. It would be interesting to pursue this with some of our guests — and to pursue just want this means to some of them and what it’s translating into. I don’t know if it’s as much knowing different languages — although that certainly couldn’t hurt — as having an understanding of different cultures and…??? Again, some things for us certainly to pursue and inquire about. I also suspect that in certain respects, even though we’ll take a lot of different paths, this semester will ultimately be all about skills sets and what technical communicators need to know to be effective in their jobs. It will be interesting to see where it all leads and what kinds of observations we can make and conclusions we might draw from it all…

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