IUNTC - Which qualification is interesting for employers?
Daniela Straub, Ivonne Cleary
The focus of the third meeting of the International University Network in Technical Communication (IUNTC) was on curriculum development. Two presentations dealt with the following question: how can technical communication programs prepare students for the job market?
The first presentation showed how students in other fields of study benefit from the knowledge of technical communication. The second presentation emphasized the growing importance of UX Writing in educational curricula.
The exchanges in the network are relevant and interesting for companies as well as universities. Almost 30 participants from different countries attended the 1.5 hour meeting and engaged in lively discussions following the presentations.
Interest in technical communication is often low among students in other disciplines.
In the first presentation Dr Marie McCullagh, a Senior Lecturer at University of Portsmouth, showed by using the example of a module in Technical Communication for English Language students, how technical communication can be introduced to other professions and integrated into the curriculum of other fields of study. First, the module name needed to be attractive for the student target audience. Among several proposals she preferred the title “Writing to Persuade”. The module content also needed to be interesting, important, and useful to students. In this case, topics such as accessibility, understandability and usability, among others, were integrated into the content. Marie concluded that students in other disciplines – or even other professions – can benefit from knowledge and methods in technical communication but first of all, it is necessary to convince them of its value.
In a flash poll, we asked participants about their experiences with the topic. These are the results of the short survey after the 1st presentation.
In the second presentation Dr Gustav Verhulsdonck, from the Central Michigan University, considered technical communication education from a different perspective. Employability is a central concern for graduates. Industry is increasingly seeking experts in UX design and design thinking. Job titles are evolving from Technical Writer or Information Developer to UX Writer. UX Writing can be described as a method that integrates content from technical communication, user experience, content strategy, design thinking and copy writing / product and digital marketing. UX Writers develop content for multiple devices and delivery modes. Students in technical communication trained in UX Writing are even more attractive to future employers.
And here are the results of the short survey after the 2nd presentation. They show the importance of the topic "UX Writing".
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