Technical writing/Our experience
In theory I love all the things this proposed policy/method/recommendation envisions learning. And according to some interpretations of the standards in the "Wiki Way" I'm an abject failure.
Rather than having most of the content sort of self-form (as in the Wikipedia Way), I've found that I have contributed well over half of the content, with the rest being created mostly by students and former students in my real world classes. This seems to better the 90:9:1 ratio of content creation in Web 2.0, but not by much...
So I'm currently using this as an online host for my course content, modifying it as I go along.
I just made a lot of changes, so please contact me with reactions. TWFred 15:51, 2 December 2007 (UTC)
Some drawbacks of using Wikiversity
Concurrent editing of the same page when collaboratively creating a wiki. Even when each writer limits edits only to a subsection, there seem to be conflicts resulting in potentially lost work. (Hint: When this happens, tell the student to just use the back button until their work reappears, copy it for safety, and try again.)
This introductory course in Technical Writing has very much been the brainchild of Fred, although I have acted in a co-instructor role as well as being the editor in chief of the Wikiversity pages.
We decided during our course to migrate all our materials to Wikiversity so that current students could access them at weekends and away from the office.
Not only have we learnt a lot about technical writing, but also several of us have become wiki activists (should we call them wikivists?) - seeing opportunities to get involved in other courses, both as teachers and students. Using Wikiversity has also opened doors to other wiki projects, in several languages.
Wikiversity also allowed us to see "live" what we were looking at in the classroom situation - and also when things didn't work out, to have more minds than one to find a solution.
The next step for us is to continue refining the introductory course, as well as doing a re-run in the autumn. We also plan to develop an intermediate level course in Technical Writing.
We want to thank the custodians who have given us pointers, advice and the benefit of their experience - in particular JWSchmidt and HapperCamper have proven to be mines of knowledge, thanks guys.
AlistairReece 13:18, 5 September 2007 (UTC)
Bob Cooper's Comments
Thanks to Fred and Alistair for being brave and starting the process. It is easy to critise and difficult to give unpatronising praise but these guys trod where angels had feared to tread and still made it to the destination. We only realised how difficult it was to localise the information when we tried to translate the text into Russian.Olga the translater asked me Bob what does any of this this mean? I had to admit that although I knew roughly what some of the idioms meant I had to google some of them to be sure. So we cut the text down to the incontravertible.
The style and voice in Russian has to be authoritative and they just do not appreciate a friendly colloquial narrative. I can give an example. When I first became sector manager I emailed my group leader in Moscow over some minor matter and he replied very reverentially to Mr Robert Copper Dokumetation Secktor Manazer and I emailed him back saying
" Blah blah blah....... By the way you can call me Bob"
seconds later my phone was ringing. I said
"Why are you phoning me?"
" you said in email I should phone"
And thus began a journey to understanding of how little we really understand of each other.