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Are Tech Comm classes doing it right? Help me find out.

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I need techies who aren’t writers or editors of any kind to give me some feedback on your workplace writing process by completing this short survey.

Tech Professional Writing Process Survey

Here’s why…

I’m not going to surprise any writing teachers when I say I don’t think my students are reading my feedback. Gasp!

So, that got my colleague and me wondering why we were spending so much time commenting if we knew students weren’t reading it. But more importantly, we wondered if we should be doing the whole rough draft, feedback, revision process differently. Because, let’s face it, in tech-centric professional writing, this isn’t really the process we follow.

Typically, when I work on a project, I’m given an assignment. I ask questions. I get sent off to write a draft. I present the draft. And my boss says, “Yeah, these are things I want you to fix”–in broad terms. There’s very little editing, red marks, etc. I’m expected to know that already. Sometimes they’ll say, “Oh, and make sure it matches our stuff (read style guide).” And that’s pretty much it. There isn’t this line-by-line, comments-in-the-margins-explaining-what-they-want, telling-me-how-to-fix-it stuff. So, why, if the tech comm class is preparing students to participate in the professional writing process do we continually teach the process this way? Well, I think it’s largely because that’s the way we were taught. Technical and professional communication pedagogy picked up on the feedback strategies emerging from the composition field and ran with it. But, we’ve not really looked into whether or not this practice best mimics the field. We think we have a good alternative through collective feedback, but we need to know more about the writing processes of techs in the field.

As part of my dissertation research into online tech comm teaching strategies, I’m looking for those in tech fields to complete the short survey above on their writing practices. It should only take a few minutes. And, remember, I need non-writers here. Thanks!

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