Thursday, August 11, 2005

Three Oh Seven

My 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.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at August 11, 2005 12:30 PM to Dry Ogre Chalking

The graphic you use on your syllabus is excellent. Eyecatching!

Posted by: Marie at August 11, 2005 5:24 PM

I am in severe coding envy. You hand coded this, didn't you?

Posted by: senioritis at August 11, 2005 9:05 PM

Thanks, Marie. I wanted to play on the ironies of important professional writing, as in "What do you mean my time card wasn't filled out properly?" So yeah, it's meant to be an attention-getter, meant to provoke consideration of the wide range of writing at play in any professional situation.

I coded it handily (using whatever was available, within quick reach), we might say--mostly copy-n-adjust from the style sheet I apply to my CV page. Added a couple of things, changed the colors. The rest is just simple tables and text in my clunky old version of Dreamweaver. I'll take your envy as a statement of approval, assent, etc.

Posted by: Derek at August 12, 2005 8:13 AM

Yep, that's how you should take it. It's my weird way of offering a compliment.

Posted by: senioritis at August 12, 2005 9:28 PM