ERIC Number: ED219805
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Teaching Writing in a Professional Discipline: "Process" as a Key Concept for City Planning.
A city planner's writing is usually not "technical" in the sense that the writing of engineers is technical. In each planning genre, extremely complex information, some of it "technical"--numbers, projections, and so forth--must be communicated clearly. For the professional planner, there are often severe time constraints and the need to proceed quickly while one's mastery of the subject is still incomplete. At the same time, working planners can count on a multiple audience of which at least one faction may be skeptical or even hostile. The writing program for master's degree candidates in city planning at M.I.T., 2 years of core and specialized courses ending in a thesis or client report, attempts to foster quality writing. Every course requires writing. The first semester core course, the Planning Process, requires 8 to 10 pages every 2 or 3 weeks. An illustration of the objectives of the course and the program as a whole is a single writing assignment, which aims to have students take and articulate a strategic stand in a highly uncertain and complex situation. This collaborative writing program has proven to be successful for a number of reasons, among them the course's high visibility among students, its faculty support, the vitality of the students themselves, and shared assumptions between the writing and planning disciplines about the theories of process. Finally, the cooperative writing program is successful through the process of continuing development. Because the program was developed in conjunction with the master's program in city planning, the core course changes radically every few years. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (33rd, San Francisco, CA, March 18-20, 1982).