syllabus for WRT307 still needs a small bit of tuning, but it’s sufficiently
complete that I have turned it over for a departmental stamp of good-enough.
The schedule is much rougher, but I have plans for the week ahead to sharpen the
early weeks, and I’m generally reluctant to hyperplot the daily events,
especially for a MWF class. I’ve always found MWF classes challenging to
pace; the 50-55 minute meetings spill over too easily, exceeding the tight
unit of time.
I’m asking you for feedback, too, either in the comments or via email,
especially if you’re struck with the sense that what shows might (not) work–an
added reading, an assignment tweak, an alternative order of events. Two
quandaries with the course-as-planned:
(-1-) The Writer’s Cluetrain: The End of Professional Writing as Usual
is conceived as a semi-formal collaborative project that will take off from
The Cluetrain Manifesto and devise writerly insights from it. People
of the world: 50 theses. We’ll devise these while reading CM, I
think. The pinch: all fit and flow, where in the course, how to
frame it as a subsidiary and collaborative project and still have it come
together. That’s all.
(-2-) Because this is the first time I’m teaching WRT307, I’ve been
softening my stance toward the use of a textbook. In fact, I ordered exam
copies of Pearsall’s Elements of Technical Writing and Gurak and Lannon’s
Concise Guide to Technical Communication. At $25 per copy,
Pearsall’s is inexpensive, and as I looked it over, I just didn’t find it to be
the kind of thing I would use very much. A few of the examples are good,
but the framework is just a bit reductive–elemental. Not flawed
elemental, just elemental. And that’s Pearsall’s shtick with this book:
affordable and basic. Gurak and Lannon are quite the opposite. Their
Concise Guide is really quite a textbook as textbooks go–loaded with
rich and impressive (situationalized) grips on tech comm. Problem: at $62
bucks a pop I wonder how central a piece it must be in the course to be worth
its price. Quite a book, quite a price. I’m inclined to adopt it,
but I think this move will also compel me to expand the textbook’s role and do a
bit more to feature it. That’s quandary no. 2.