Wednesday, September 9, 2009

History, Rhetoric, and Humanism

My reflections on Russell Rutter's "History, Rhetoric, and Humanism":

Points out technical communication is most known for its emphasis on workplace practicality

Quotes a project manager who says technical writing
- 1/3 writing proficiency
- 1/3 problem solving
- 1/3 ability to work with people

TC more than profiency in writing, more than facts

TC training should not simulate corporate training but produce competent communicators and effective problem solvers

Bruffee -- Civilization, society, conversation place people and knowledge ahead of systems and activities

Quintilian - being precedes doing

Humanist tradition - What a person knows and is determines what that person will do and how well he or she will do it

TC rhetorical above all

Writing creates its own reality then convinces readers to accept its version of reality

TC not a closed system but dynamic

Its task not to serve technology in abstract but to produce writing that can accommodate technology to the user

Technical communicators are rhetoricians

People in professional and technical occupations spend more than one day in five writing

Technical communicators must know how to do more than write
- adapt to changing demands
- function in collaborative context of workplace

Discourse community knowledge is key

Technical communicators are not channels of information but senders, not just shape medium but also matter of message

Can accommodate technology to user and see technology in broad social perspective

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