ERIC Number: ED224047
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Introducing Past and Present Technical Writing into the Freshman Composition Course.
Weaver, Laura H.
Using technical writing in the regular freshman composition course stimulates student interest by having the appeal of novelty and expands the horizons of students in the humanities and the pure and applied sciences. To begin the unit, one might stimulate interest in the content and style of technical writing of the past by using Robert M. Hutchins' preface to "Great Books of the Western World." Next, students should scan the table of contents of the "Books," noting that of the 70 writers included in the 54 volumes, 20 are technical or scientific--among them, Euclid, Ptolemy, Galileo, Hippocrates, and Copernicus. A device for creating interest in current technical writing is the preface to W. Steve Anderson and Don Richard Cox's anthology, "The Technical Reader: Readings in Technical, Business, and Scientific Communication." After such introductions, students can begin the study of selected passages. In choosing selections, one might be guided by subject areas, rhetorical type, degree of difficulty, and human interest. In examining selections, one might consider audience, point of view, the concept of objectivity, sentence length, vocabulary, and rhetorical strategies. A number of activities can grow out of a study of past and present selections: students might do technical writing in which they emulate the best of the past and the present; write for differing audiences and with varying degrees of formality; do formatting exercises; and construct simple graphics. To help students gain historical perspective, one might give them undated passages of technical writing and ask them to speculate on the dates. Finally, the unit can also be the stimulus for research papers. Examples of process, description, classification, partition, analogy, and audience are provided for past and present technical writing. (HOD)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Audience Awareness; Freshman Composition
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (72nd, Washington, DC, November 19-24, 1982).