Prompt 2

April 15, 2008 at 8:37 pm (Reading responses)

Explore  the relationship between professional/technical writing and computers and composition. Reference at least two of this week’s readings in your exploration.

Other than, as I think Maysel mentioned, they are both subfields of English studies, the fields of professional/technical writing and computers and composition seem to intersect in a very obvious way – over the issue of technology.  Sullivan defines “professional writing” in several different ways: a research field, a workplace activity, and an “academic curricular entity.”  However, I cannot imagine professional writing being employed in any of those uses without at least a surface-level attention to technology.  Professional writing in the workplace cannot be done efficiently without the use of computers, fax machines, and various other technologies; research into professional writing must undoubtedly involve both a use of and an examination of these necessary technologies; professional writing as an academic field must also both utilize and study the technologies used to produce writing.  In this way, Professional/Technical Writing overlaps with Computers and Composition, which also must study and utilize computers and related technology, by its very nature.  I guess this is why Johnson’s “user-centered” discussion becomes so important; with technology being constantly relied upon as an integral part of so many daily workplace activities, not to mention the surrounding research and academic studies, technology must be created in a way that makes it an efficient and beneficial tool for the user, not, as Johnson states, “placed into the user’s situation with the hope that it can be used” (30).  Computers and Composition and Professional/Technical writing are both fields in which the usability of technology, and the design that results in that usability, are vital concerns.

(I hope this answers the question adequately.  – C.Crawford)

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