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Technical Writing Programs in the United States PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Technical Writing Programs in the United States Bob Bergland Missouri Western State College St. Joseph, Missouri, USA [email protected] Overview Differences between Technical Communication and Business Comm. Departmental location of TC and BC Varieties of Tech Comm programs

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Technical Writing Programs in the United States

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Technical Writing Programs in the United States

Bob Bergland

Missouri Western State College

St. Joseph, Missouri, USA

[email protected]


Overview

  • Differences between Technical Communication and Business Comm.

  • Departmental location of TC and BC

  • Varieties of Tech Comm programs

  • Audience discussion of differences between European Tech Comm and Business Comm programs


Differences between Business and Tech. Comm. in the US

  • Business Communication focuses more on memos, resumes/cover letters, reports

  • Business Communication often stresses oral skills more

  • Business Communication students are typically business majors; occasionally English, communication or computer


Differences between Business and Tech. Comm. in the US

  • TC students are usually a mix of engineering, computer and English majors (depending on school)

  • TC puts more emphasis on product documentation and utilizing technology in writing (page design, graphics, Web)


Differences between Business and Tech. Comm. in the US

  • While schools usually offer only 1-2 BC courses, many schools offer full undergraduate degree programs in TC

  • Some schools offer master’s and PhD programs in Scientific/Technical Communication


Location of Business Communication

  • Often found in English Department (with literature and writing courses)

  • Also often found in Business Department

  • Sometimes offered within Communication Department or within each division/department/school


Location of Technical Communication

  • Most often found in English Department (or within a Humanities Division, if the school is tech oriented and does not have an English Department

  • Occasionally taught within Engineering Department or School


Varieties of Professional/Technical Comm Programs

  • Technical Communication only

  • English/Technical Communication hybrid

  • Professional Writing/Communication

  • Cutting edge programs/new trends


Technical Communication Only

  • Contains only Tech Comm and related courses (journalism, graphic design)

  • May have emphasis/concentration areas in foreign languages, computer science, commercial art

  • Example: Southern Polytechnic State U.


Tech Comm/English hybrid

  • Contains between one-third and two-thirds Technical Communication courses

  • Includes courses in literature and language

  • Found more often in smaller schools

  • Located in English department

  • Example: Missouri Western State


Professional Writing

  • Often with the “Writing” rather than “Communication” name

  • May include more courses from other disciplines

  • Often includes journalism and creative writing courses

  • Example: Purdue University, Millikin


The Cutting Edge/Trends in TC Degree Programs

  • Switch from print to focus on wide range of media (Web/CD/DVD/Video)

  • Degrees in Communication/Information Design

  • Interdisciplinary degrees involving English, art, engineering, computer science, communication/video and music programs

  • Examples: Renssalaer, Carnegie Mellon


Discussion

  • Strengths/Weaknesses of these various programs?

  • Effects of school/departmental history on development of Tech Comm programs, courses

  • Differences between US and European models for programs, courses in Tech Comm? Business Comm?


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