Technical & Professional Communication
Sunday, February 29, 2004
Hay everyone!
Since we are going to be finishing our instruction projects this week and starting proposals, I decided to look for some online references for writing proposals. I found a web site that lays out the different parts that might be a good introduction or taste of what we will be doing. The first little section, probably the first fifth of the page is actually relavant to us, or should I say half way interesting. :) Have a look!


I didn’t think that I would like working in a group for this assignment, but now i think that it was a good idea. I never could have made anything out of the stuff that our group picked on my own. I think that it’s nice to because there are a number of different things that we have to do for the assignment and by working in groups we can split it up amongst our group. I am also glad that we have a lot of class time to work on this project because it would be really hard to do all of this if we had to do it outside of class time. I am also really grateful that Laurie is giving us this next weekend to finish the final draft of the project and turn it in because it gives us a little more time to get together with our groups to make some finishing touches and any necessary changes.

I would just like to express the fact that I dislike group work, especially in college. It is so hard to accommodate everyone's schedules. I like that our teacher is giving us class time to work on our instructions assignment. I don't think I have had a group project in all of my four years at the U that was assigned by a considerate professor who gave class time for group work. All of my past experiences with group work involved working outside of class...I think that is the reason why I have come to hate group work so much. I must admit that I am enjoying the instructions assignment group work, though. It was fun to create an object...Now it is time to do the hard part, which is explaining every detail of how to put it together!

Anyone watching the Oscars? I am and they just mentioned that the program is translated into 55 different languages. I thought this was interesting after some of our readings in class and the difficulty with translating. I am curious how the process works. For us the program is live but for the rest of the world I would assume it is taped. I wonder if the translators have to take into consideration words or language that is inappropriate for their audience. Back to the show.

In my group we all decided what our parts would be for this instruction's assignment. I chose to do the step by step on how to create our object. I found this task to be very difficult. What was extremely difficult and frustrating was measuring out everything. While creating it was hard to remember all the steps. While writing the step by step procedure, I could not find the best words to use in order for someone to be able to create an exact replica. I did not realize how hard this would be. I feel for the people who have to do this as a career. This is a very tedious work because you have to be very precise

While contemplating the step-by-step process of putting an object together, it occured to me that I was stewing over my choice of words quite a bit. It would seem logical that there are standard descriptive words for actions of assembly. Having a list of these words would simplify the process. This lead me to think perhaps more experienced writers have developed lists of words that they prefer to use. Being a less experienced writer, I'm left wondering how to clarify: "First you put the thingy around the other thingy and then through the whatcha-call-it." I hope you are all having fun with the assignment!

I'm looking forward to the rest of the instructions project. Although I must admit I was a little skeptical of the assignment when I saw the objects we were required to use for our prototypes. Now I think its a great idea to use abstract objects to test instructions. That way no one will have preconceived notions what the object should look like. I also think it will be fun to test other groups instructions out. I think this is a great way for us to provide constructive and positive feedback for one another.

Comments on Ch 14

I found Ch 14 to be very interesting and incredibly engaging as well. Though when I looked over it again I began to realize that it wasn't about writing at all, it was about leadership. Even the portions not about leadership had much to do with it, as smart people before me have said: it takes a good follower to be a good leader. I recognized many points the chapter made as being very similar to teachings in some of my other classes, as well as bearing striking similarities to some of my own thoughts on leadership. I found the various lists of bulleted tasks to be completed in many of the sections to be very helpful and correlated with many things that I have different names for, but accomplish the same purpose. Also of extreme help was the section on resolving conflict that established many different levels of addressing conflict within an organization that were organized stepwise from least harmful to harmful but necessary. One thing that I am working on right now is developing a Weekly Task Update Form for my fraternity, which looked quite a bit like the task form in Ch 14. Certainly the info included in Ch 14 will help me refine the Form to be more effective.

This instructions assignment is more than just about writing a set of instructions. This is about working together to communicate, organize, and agree on one idea. It is interesting that the twist to this project is to build something from random parts. I am certain that if we were given a familiar item to put together and then write our own instructions from them, it would have been a much more simpler task. I like this challenge because the instructions that we are writing are not base on any object that we may have read the instructions for. This definitely brings out the originality in each group.

When I read chapter 16 I was amazed how easy it is to risk your self by your own hand and also you can risk another human being. I could not believe when I saw how our hand write can make us guilt like if we misled someone and how succeptable we are to get suit because of some little mistake we commit. I would really encourage for everyone to take consideration for whatever we writting and be careful to risk our selves or risk another inocent human being.

I'm going to step away from the instructions assignment since it's been covered really well already by the other blogs. I'm wondering what everyone thinks about grammar lessons. Of course it's vitally important to be able to write clearly and meaningfully, but is it really necessary to know the difference between a restrictive phrase and an nonrestrictive (btw, the spellchecker doesn't even recognize "nonrestrictive" as a word - funny!) phrase? I was writing a paper for another class and was almost paralyzed at the keyboard worrying about if my comma usage was correct or not. How many people in "the real world" actually know all the grammar rules anyway? I've found that as long as your subjects and verbs match up and there aren't any other blatant errors, people are pretty content with your writing.

My group and I worked on our rough draft this weekend, and surprisingly, writing step-by-step instructions was harder than I thought it would be. Even describing how to tape something together can be difficult. It's fun to be creative with the materials, but at the same time it makes the instructions harder for someone else to follow. As a side note, it says in the handout that we can't exceed 3 pages single-spaced, does this include the two visual components? So, if my group has 3 pages single-spaced of instructions, etc.. and then a page of graphics, does that mean we have exceeded the page limit?

My group's instruction assignment took a weird turn when we were trying to figure out what to create on Wednesday. We started out with one thing in mind and ended up with something completely different once we realized that we couldn't select any more objects from the table to use.
Everybody in our group is typing a different part of the instructions manual that we will turn in, so it will be interesting to see if it is difficult or not for us to put all of our writing styles together in such a way that the reader can't tell it was written by 5 different people.

Saturday, February 28, 2004
I feel that we will all realize the importance of technicalities as this assignment progresses. I'm sure that we have all been dreading the steps that we will inevitably have to go through in order to make clear and distinguishable sense, but these steps are extremely important for a successful outcome.
A few months ago I purchased a product made by Virgin Pulse, but quickly returned it because its instructions manual made it impossible for me to figure out how it functioned. The manual was far to concerned with using a "cool" and unclear language than it was with satisfying and assisting its customers.

Friday, February 27, 2004
I thought the instructions assignment on Wednesday was a little difficult at first. Our group had a hard time trying to figure out what kind of project to come with. There were so many things it seemed very overwhelming. As we checked each object, it made us (as well as myself) think creatively. Overall, it was a lot of fun coming up with ideas, putting the different pieces together, and then naming our project. It was also fun watching the other groups put their projects together.
Especially this morning’s class really taught us how we need to work together. This is about all of our ideas and goals and how to share these with everybody in our group. Reading about teamwork is one thing, but actually doing it is very different. A person can read about teamwork to prepare them, but until they are in a situation that requires their help it is completely different.

I like the idea of creating an object from random parts. It is nice to have a more hands on and creative project in a rhetoric class. Often rhetoric classes are all about writing styles and grammer. These aspects are important, but personal ideas and creativity are what make the classes more enjoyable. It is also nice to have an activity where the pratical applications can be seen. After all, people often need to create instructions for others so that others can understand what to do. I hope that the instructions activity stays a part of this class.

Thursday, February 26, 2004
I am feeling a lot better about this instructions assignment after our class on Wednesday. I think that it will be a lot of fun and it will force us to be creative. Building our own item is fun and it will actually make it easier to create instructions. I think that working in groups for this assignment will be really fun. This is definitely the type of assignment I would much rather do with a group than on my own so hopefully everybody's schedules will coordinate and it will all work out.

The group project will be fun. Seeing what other groups design with the weird objects we were given will be interesting. How does everyone else like working in a group? I know a group setting can be difficult for some people because you worry if you can give something to the group or if everyone is going to hold up their ends of the bargain. I think the hardest thing about working with a group is coordinating everyone's schedule, if the group has to meet outside of class or work.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004
I think the excercise we are doing in class is very interesting. I am a little confused about the due dates. I dont know if every one is or not. But when do we have to turn in the outline and the introduction etc. Is it still the same as it is in the assignment sheet or it has changed. This group project is working out great for me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004
In the spirit of learning about effective instructions, I went online to find some different instructions to see how they compared with the run-of-the-mill instructions that come with something like a lamp. If you go to a basic browser website, like, there are more instructions than one can even recognize to actually consider them instructions. For example, in the two minutes I browsed around, I was able to find instructions on how to lose weight, make sure you get the best deal on your tax return, and download a background for your computer. All three of these were quite straight forward, especially when compared to the lamp instructions I’ve recently read. Is this because of the online approach that allows writers to use more common language? Or could it be because pictures are available online that are not in “regular” instructions? These probably have big influences on the instructions, but how do you use a picture to tell someone how to lose weight? Overall, I think technical authors writing traditional instructions should take a hint from online authors and not be so concerned with the technicality of their writing.

Most of you are familiar with the discovery channel. We grew up with this channel and recognize it as being one with shows such as "Wild Discovery", "Shark Week" and "Fangs". These programs basically consisted of a narrorator and a video, Don't get me wrong these shows were great, we all learned from them. Now the Discovery Channel has changed its views and viewers dramatically. The change started with a show called "Monster Garage" which has a host by the name of Jessie James. This show has lead the way for other chart toppers such as "American Choppers" and "Monster House. These shows have combined drama and unimagineable ideas together to attract a viewing audience of nearly 3.5 million. When you are busy sunday night working on your Rhet. homework for Monday feel free to tune into the Discovery Channel and enjoy some new hybrid television.

Monday, February 23, 2004
Since we are currently working on instructions, I have tried to remember what type of directions I have read in the past. For the most part, I find directions to be very disorderly and unable to understand. They offer horrible pictures that only confuse the reader more and the text often contains incomplete thoughts that are of no help. Above all, though, I find that instructions attempt to provide to many unnecessary steps that cause the reader to bypass the correct steps and contemplate the wrong ones. Overall, instructions to objects like building desks and working a cell phone are vague and confusing and often offer no help.

Sunday, February 22, 2004
I am feeling a little uncertain about this group assignment for this week. We have about one week to work on it as a group. I feel that it may not be enough time. I am not against group assignments but I would like this assignment to be extended so we can have more time to work on it. I don't know about the rest of you but for me it is hard to find time outside of class to meet up with classmates to go over the material. I hope that we will have some time in class to work on this assignment.

Going back to the article from Zanon, "Writing for Non-Readers," reading it the second time I noticed something interesting about the format of the document. Zanon uses different text sizes, bold, italics, bullet points, and headings very well. The style of the document is very important for the audience because it emphasizes the important aspects of the documents making it easier for the audience to find what he/she is looking for.

I think that chapter 16 was really helpful in preparing for the instructions assignment. We have a lot to look at when doing this assignment because we want to make sure that our instructions are clear and concise and that everyone will be able to understand them. I think that this is going to be somewhat hard because we have a lot of things that we need to make sure to avoid. It will also be hard because it is a group assignment and it will be hard to try and get together outside of class, and it seems as though we aren't going to have a whole lot of time in class to work on it.


Hey guys,
Man, that activity on Friday was pretty fun, although tricking me is pretty impossible...But hey this next assignment should be fairly interesting. On another note, I am watching sports right now, and man the Twins are going to suck this year! I'm still a fan, but come on? Wasn't the slogan "Get to know em" only a couple of years ago? And now everyone's traded, and we're going to have to "get to know em" again. We finally win two central division championships, and then...geez, this just bugs me! But anyways back to technical writing, I haven't had the chance to read the chapters for this week, so I can't really reply about them, and I don't have any good links that I can give, so I guess I'll just wrap this up!

I enjoyed activity in Friday's class. It was interesting to describe an item without defining its function. Sometimes the function must almost be given to identify the item. As an example, my group did a mixer, but what we thought was a thorough descriptions of a mixer sounded a lot like a drill to another group. I did not think that something else would be guessed other than mixer for our description, but as the guess was stated and the description reviewed, I could see how it sounded like a drill. The only statment that really solidified the other group's guess that it was a mixer instead of a drill was the iffy statement that partially gave away the function: it is in conjunction with a bowl. I just thought that was pretty interesting and shows the importance of an outside party reading instructions; what I think is clearly a mixer may just be a drill to someone else.

Regarding with chapter 5, I always like to use whatever I am writting big vocabulary words that may some times cause bit confusion to the readers but I already adapted this habit and it is bit difficult to stop it. However, after I read chapter 5 in this book I realized that collecting strange vocabulary words are not really necessary but the goal of writting is to understand the concept of whatever the writter is writting. Therefore, most of the time simple words are more relevant and helpful than big ones, but can anyone help me what to do about my old habit that I already adopted which is hunting and collecting vocabulary words.
best regard

Friday's in class activity was a good warm up exercise for the instructions assignment. Constrained to the use of only two graphics I have a feeling we will be describing many things in a long string of words. I have been attempting to prepare myself for the assignment by looking at how other forms of instructions are prepared, though how we form our instructions will be heavily dependent upon what the pieces are we get and what we do with them, so the real planning will begin tomorrow. That being said Chapter 7 more than adequately described the instruction making process. I was surprised to see how differently I look at my lab books and any other form of document attempting to tell someone how to do something now after reading Chapter 7.

I'm sure many of you have heard about the indictment of Jeffery K. Skilling, the ex-chief of Enron. He has been charged with 35 counts of fraud. Along with Skilling, nineteen employees (many executives) of the company were either indicted of pleaded guilty. According to the papers, Skilling is required to pay for his crimes in dollar amounts. I'm not capable of comprehending $66 million in cash; however, is paying money for these crimes justice? I'm wondering what your opinion is. I may not have all the information, so add what you know. It seems to me that ethical crimes of this caliber are deserving of much more than monetary pay back.

I was listening to Howard Clark radio and apparently what he said was that there are people who are breaking into cars and stealing airbags. What I heard was that stolen airbags are marketable and people are making a lot of money. The people stripping the car of its airbags are professionals because most of the time the owners of the vehicles do no know that their airbags have been stolen. On the Clark radio show he also stated how a used card dealership was stripping the vehicles of its airbag and was raking in money. This same dealership would then sell the vehicle that did not have an airbag. In terms of the ethical responsibility this dealership failed because its action was criminal and deceiving.


I came upon this article in which paramedics are using artificial blood on patients without their consent. Apparently, paramedics have found ways in which bypass the consent law. Patients who are subject to receiving the artificial blood are those who are severely injured, in most cases are under shock therefore consent is waived. This artificial blood is called polyheme blood substitute and it is supposed to work with all blood types. Polyheme blood substitute does not contain antigens, so researchers are concluding that the body will accept the blood. Similar testing on patients in the past has resulted in their deaths. There is a question of ethics because patients have the right to know what type of blood they are receiving. Patients do not want to be used as test subjects so consent needs to be given.

I am also looking forward to the instructions assignment , I think it will be very beneficial for the future. Chapter 14 does a good job of explaining how individuals can successfully work together on group/team projects. The information in chapter 14 is very valuable because working in groups/teams is something we are all going to face in our professional careers. I liked the detail in this chapter but at times the author seemed long winded and was just stating the obvious. In the class project section he goes into great detail about how to plan and produce a successful group project. I felt some of the steps were unnecessary. Like meeting as a team one last time to evaluate the groups collaboration process.

I am a little bit concerned about this instructions assignment. It doesn't seem like we will have enough time to work on it, and produce a good paper. Since we only have a few class periods to work on it, it might be necessary to meet with our group members outside of class. This worries me a little bit because it is extremely hard to coordinate several people's schedules. I do think that assignment will be fun and useful, I'm just worried about time issue. But hopefully it will all work out.

I thought Chapter 14 gave pretty good,detailed information about the roles of project manager and individual contributors and how to establish effective communication networks. However, their section on how to collaborate on class projects (which is most useful to us right now) seemed to only be a summary of Chapter 14. There wasn't a whole lot of new information. Also the grammar section at the back of the writing guide wasn't that helpful for me. A lot of the examples actually confused me more. I bought a guide called "A Writer's Reference" 4th edition for a class three years ago (its by Diana Hacker) and the book has really good sections on grammar and punctuation (if anyone is interested).

I know that many people have already posted their opinions regarding our instructions assignment and I seem to agree with a majority of you; this should be challenging, but intersting assignment to complete. The one thing I am not looking forward to though is having to spend more time on grammar in class. I know our Professor mentioned on Friday that we would be starting in class grammar presentations soon and I just don't think it is that necessary. I understand we all need to work on certain areas of our grammar, but I think class time could be better spent. After reviewing my grammar test I have discovered places in my writing that I need to improve, but I would rather work on that in my own time. I was just wondering if anyone else thinks the same, or if you think these presentations would be beneficial.

good website to check for ethics of techincal writting
this website is very good website to look for anyone who wants to see more sources about the ethics of technical and professional writting. the website displays plent of links about the ethics of techinical and profissional writting. I would encourage everyone to visit this website.
thank you all.

Saturday, February 21, 2004
I was thinking about it, and I suppose that you could benefit from knowing how to write instructions at just about any job, even if you are not the one who normally would be doing the instruction writing. Any job where employees use computers would benefit from having employees who could write instructions because there are a lot of instructions involved in teaching people how to use the software to create work documents, which virtually all companies would do. For example, I work for Wells Fargo, and each month we have to create charts and graphs in Excel to show the previous month's figures. We have instruction sheets in a binder that tells the user how to make each graph in Excel. The company didn't hire anyone specifically for the purpose of writing those instructions; they just found an employee who could. It makes that person a more valuable employee because they are able to write such instructions.

Hey, I know that many of you had already commented on the instruction assignment but I still feel like I would like to voice my oppinion on the topic as well. I think, like many of you, that this assignment will be very helpful for me in the future. After graduation in May I will be managing the retail division of a major animal feed distributer in central Minnesota. There will be only one other person who would be even slightly formiliar with the tasks that I will be doing. In order to ensure myself some vacation time I am going to have to write some VERY detailed insrtuctions on how to do the tasks that I do. I think this assignment will be very benefitial for me because most of those people working below me will not really understand many of the steps it takes to manage the retail division. So I guess what I am saying, in this long mess of information, is that it really doesn't matter what field you are interested in, this assignment will be applicable in many areas of your life.

Has anyone else ever been assigned an "instructions" assignment? I was assigned this type of assignment years ago when I was in the seventh grade. I remember the project being a lot of fun! It's amazing to see first-hand how difficult it is to write instructions for even the simplest of tasks. My assigned object in the seventh grade was a banana (one would be surprised at how detailed and explicit instructions should be in order to make them fool proof). I'm excited to see how this assignment progresses. I think that once we have all experienced the difficulties in giving instructions, we'll look at the instructions that we see in our day-to-day lives with a somewhat different perspective.

As I read the text and we progress through our assignments in class, I notice that there is a lot of planning necessary for creating successful documents. First you define your audience, then you outline, then research, write, edit, and edit some more. My big question is how long do professionals typically have to complete all these tasks? Do they get a month, six months, a year? I know that it depends on what type of document they are creating but still. Our instructions project is looming and we have 4 class periods to get it done but how much time is allotted to professionals designing instructions?

Friday, February 20, 2004
Hey Everyone,

How many of you thought the activity of describing a tool (or whatever) in class was fun? I really enjoyed it. It made me realize how hard it actually is to describe something without explaining what its function is. When I was writing my group's description, I realized how many minor things I missed that would have helped the other group guess what it was.
It is those minor details that really has an effect on how someone interprets your writing. This is one thing I learned for our next writing assignment, is to look at everything. You won't believe how even the smallest detail is very important!

When I was looking for examples of good and bad instructions I found that my opinion of the instructions changed as I looked at them from the point of view of different audiences. A set of instructions that at first seemed bad were not as bad if I read them from the perspective of an expert in the area. So, when judging someone else's work as a reader we should keep in mind that the work might not have been written for someone with our expertise.

Thursday, February 19, 2004
Is it just me or does everyone seem alittle bit surprised on how much grammar and other technical writing information you thought you knew and have forgotten. I know I have learned most of this stuff in other classes but I'm having a hard time pulling out the information.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004
I'm wondering what everyone thinks of the instructions assignment. I think it's a good one and could even be fun (wow - what a concept!) However, thinking back to the first day of classes when we went around the room and said our majors, it sounded like most people were more on the professional side than the technical side. So who thinks they will actually write instructions in their professions? I'm just curious because I'm pretty sure I won't, although, instructions are pretty prevalent so maybe you all will. I was hoping for some kind of web page design project because I think just about every profession could potentially use that. What do you think?

I'm not sure about the rest of you, but for the "Instructions" examples we were to collect for today, I found more examples that would be considered "easy" and "difficult", than "good" and "bad". That could merely be my thought process, but looking around my apartment, I found many easy examples, such as; cooking instructions and household instructions. I was just curious what the rest of you came up with for the examples you collected. It will be interesting to see the final projects each group comes up with for the "Technical Instructions" assignment that is due in a few weeks. Have a great day!

I was reading my statistics class and I encountered an statement that was very relevant to Rhetoric. the title of the statement was "wording effects" this statement was focusing how some words can change the whole concept and create un necessary environment without intention. Also, the statement encourage to the readers to double check and over view anything they write before they summitted to someone else.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004
I just finished reading chapter 7, which was about writing instructions. I never would have thought that someone could write a whole chapter on instructions! You never really think about all the time an effort that has to go in to writing manuals and instructions...Just think of all the instruction manuals that come with everything from a little thing like a stapler to a huge entertainment center. Also, just think of all the people who just ignore instructions and try to put things together without them (usually men)! I have always thought that instructions are important, especially since I would have had some trouble without them at certain times, but I never actually thought about the people who write them and all of the "rules" that apply to writing them.

Hey everyone! Well, we're on to editing and I found a neat article you should take a look at. This article is just kind of a little something about editing. It is not very long. The title of the article is "What do editors do anyway" I hope you enjoy it!


Check It Out!!

I'll try to repost that site:
Great Site to View!!!!!

Sunday, February 15, 2004
Some parts of the grammar packet are kind of difficult. I don't think I ever learned what a comma splice is! However, I am grateful that we are doing it because it's always good to brush up on that kind of stuff. I'd rather take the time to do it than to turn in an important paper for school or a professional document at work with grammatical errors on it. That would be pretty embarrassing, especially if you were at a new job and did that.
Since I have the chance to, I also wanted to say thanks to Myleah again. I was sick the day that we did our peer reviews for the audience analysis papers, and although she had already done one in class on Friday, Myleah did my review for me outside of class, on her own time. I thought it was really cool that she was willing to do that. Thanks again, Myleah. You really helped me out. :)

I know in class on Friday we had discussed ethics in the workplace. I belong to the nutrition field and the ethics are hot topics of discussion. The medical field needs this strong code of ethics to abide by. I know I experienced an ethical dilemma facing a dietitian earlier this year when the dietitian was ordered by the doctor to fill out a tube feeding regimine, even though the patient persistently refused the tube feeding and pulled out their tube itself when inserted. It is a hard call to make at times when the patient wants to be left to die, but the doctor and family are making every effort to try to pull them through It is never easy to let someone voluntarily allow themself to give up on life, but depending on mental stability, it is his/her decision and medical professionals must listen. The dietitian did not feel right giving the tube feeding requirement because she knew the doctor was not listening to the patient, but in the end, one was still written.

I found after finishing the assigned reading ( Writting for Non-Readers ) I could relate to the artle in a lot of ways. the article pointed out how when people buy something new the instruction manual usally gets over looked and that people would rather use the trail and error method to learn how to use things. I found this interesting because anytime I buy a new cell phone, I never read the instruction manual. I find more interesting to figure out how to work the phone on my own. When the article went into how pictures are better to use with instructions. I noticed this change in things i buy now as well. When I purchested my computer, it detailed instructions using mostly pictures and very little writting.

Has anyone looked around the website for our textbook?? I realize I sound nerdy for suggesting it, but if you go to the same chapter list that we take quizzes at, there are some really great resources. For example, in the topics for Chapter 15 there were numerous links for finding codes of ethics online like the ones we looked for in class on Friday. There are also links to online writing assistants and grammar websites. I tried out the grammar website for a couple of the questions on the grammar test that I was unsure about, and it seemed to be fairly helpful.

In the article, "Writing for Non-Readers," I am very glad that the author takes into consideration the difference in international audience. It is true that in the US, an image that may seem appropriate may have a different interpretation in another country. I have the same feeling towards the book assigned for the class. In each chapter it has a section that deals with the international audience. It is very important that we recognize the differences in culture and we adjust to our audience accordingly. Although I am very glad that I have been reading about the international audience, I would like for us to spend some time in class talking it.

Hey Everybody,
With regards to ethics in the media, I am curious what kinds of ethical codes reporting journalists have in place, and how strictly they are followed. The media is usually very biased to one side of a story, and as a result they leave out important details. Controversy always makes a better and more interesting story than the truth, so in order to sell newspapers and magazines journalists have to make the stories sound interesting enough for people to buy them. So if always reporting truth is a part of journalist's ethical codes, how do people get away with reporting biased and incomplete information?

I just finished reading the assignes article "Writing for Non-Readers" and I thought it contained some information which pertains to the way I learn and was much easier to read through and understand compared to our other reading assignments. I think that professional writers need to realize that using graphics and images in their writing really helps readers follow along and understand the main points in an article. For many readers, rather than starring at a bunch of words, looking at a chart or pictograph can make an entire article make sense. For me it is much easier to remember basic concepts if they are presented in simple manner, such as a set of images. It is much easier to follow instructions when you eliminate all of the unnecessary background information. Overall I thought the main points of this article are valid and could be useful to anyone in a technical profession.

Man! I am telling you guys! This grammar test is a doozy! (Is that how you spell "doozy"?) The last time I worked on my grammar was in my highschool freshman english class. That english teacher of mine taught me all that I needed to know about my conjunctions, dangling modifiers, and so on. I remember...I used to be able to say what part of speech every word in a paragraph was, and now I'm struggling. But that's ok, it looks as though a couple of you guys have been having trouble like me too.

Also, I find that some of those readings that we have to do are pretty hard. Interesting, but hard. I mean I have been hard-wired to know what every term of Family Social Science is and to read all of these extremely difficult scientific journals, and then I have to read these articles on the theories of rhetoric, and its like I'm trying to decipher a different language! It is interesting though.

Did any of you guys get a chance to watch Conan this past week when he was in Canada? Man tht was some crazy stuff! If you didn't, you missed out!

On the topic of ethics: I would like to raise the question of how much the CEO or president sets the ethical tone for an organization. Can two companies with similar codes of ethics have different standards, which might determine how much ethics are compromised? Is this difference due to the culture created by senior managment of the company or the personal decisions of the employees?
In my opinion, the head of a company certainly influences how employees respond to ethical issues. An example of this may be: A sales manager pressed by expectations to meet his/her numbers may feel it is okay to compromise ethics if the CEO's tone is; employees are expendible if they don't meet the numbers.

Posted By Kysa

In the section within chapter 15 of the text book labeled, "Ethical Relativism Versus Absolutism," (432), I reflected upon the message, and thought it to be very truthful. In this, the main claim is that there must be a middle ground when establishing a code of ethics in the work place. I believe this to be true as well. I think that having a very specific and, "absolute rules", that are not all that beneficial in ethical codes. But on the other end of the spectrum, it is also a grave danger to have complete absence of one as well. I think that codes for ethics, whether in the work place, or for life in general, is better when it is in the middle of these two extremes. I just think that ethics are not something that can be vigorously written out, and in depth, yet, there need to be some form of general outline for those in doubt. However, I have always thought that in all people are good, and have the potential in any situation to know what is justified. Every individual is unique in their status and their professional positions. I just think that if you allow companies to have general outlines, that state the codes, for working towards a general good, there should be no conflict with companies ethical codes. -- I know that this is sort of a random reflection, however, I think it's interesting.

Posted by Kysa 2/15/04

Posted by Kysa 2/15/04

Did you hear about the 17 year old boy that fatally shot two people early this morning in south Minneapolis. The suspect apparently shot his mothers boyfriend and then ten minutes later fatally shot a man walking on the sidewalk with his girlfriend. There is no means of what the motivation was of these shootings. Here is the scary part the suspect is still at large, so be aware of a any seventeen year olds walking down the street with a riffle

I found the "Writing for Non-Readers" article very interesting. I must admit that I am a non-reader, especially when it comes to instructions or long, boring reading assignments for school or work. I am much more interested when there are graphics to accompany all the words. Graphics also make it easier to understand instructions because you can look at the picture and analyze it to find out if you are following the directions correctly. I already know that I am a visual learner. I learn well if there is a diagram, chart, picture, etc for me to look at. Visuals also help me memorize important concepts that I need for my major (nutrition) such as how the heart works and how the stomach digests food.


Comments on Chapter 15

I found chapter 15 to be an interesting shot in the dark attempt to nail down ethics in the professional environment. While most portions of the chapter appeared to be only very minimally attached to each other, all portions of it dealt with the notion of "ethics". I read through the chapter with the expectation that the author was attempting to bring together all these different pieces in an attempt to set down specific rules to the ethics of a professional environment.

I found it interesting that after discussing the ethics of a professional environment in the last sections the author throws up a white flag and states "The term "ethical dilemma" means that you are faced with a decision where the rules aren't clear." (p431, Woolever. Writing for the Technical professions. 2002) I would have been more attune to understanding the shotgun approach of the chapter if I had known at the outset that the author was not attempting to set down rules of ethics for the professional workplace.

Even the section of Establishing a Written Code of Ethics, is preceded by a washing of the author's hands with the statement in the previous section "Instead of thinking of your company's code of ethics as rigid rules, think of each policy as a guideline to help you in using your own critical thinking skills to solve the problem." (p432 Woolever.) Though this statement is definitely riding the fence between the individual's right to ethical decision making and the company's right to ethical decision making, it is probably the best statement that can be made.

In my opinion as long as the intent of the company is made clear to the individual then the individual will make the decisions that best correspond with that intent. If that intent is ethical then so too should be the individual's decision.

I would just like to know if there is anyone else having a few problems with the grammar test. I really thought that it was going to be a lot more simple than what it is turning out to be. There are actually a few parts that I do not understand. For example; what is a dangling modifier? I never learned about these in my high school grammar courses. I am just happy to know this will not be graded for correctness but rather it only counts as participation. While I am sure it is a good way to evaluate our levels of knowledge on grammar it seems a little bit difficult even for what we will be needing to know for the class. Well I hope that all of you do well on the test and that you had a great Valentine's Day.


Saturday, February 14, 2004
It seems as though the ethics we discussed in class and read about in the book that are supposed to be specifically related to technical writing is not distinctly different from any other form of ethics I have discussed in other classes. Maybe the book could have done a better job explaining the subject if the author had split chapter 15 into two chapters. One chapter could have dealt with the topic of ethics allowing for a better description of the subject. The other chapter could have covered the aspects of writing a code of ethics. A page long description of how to write the code did not seem quite long enough to fully cover the topic.
There is also the discussion of social responsibility in chapter 15 that does not quite fit in. The topic is related to ethics but maybe the author could have blended it into the ethics in a better way so that the chapter does not seem to jump around.

HI everyone!! I was searching around for some general information on our current topic...I found a website that is actually quite interesting. I guess I just don't have a great amount of experience with this topic...or class for that every little bit I seem to find is interesting. I didn't realize how much is out there for things I know absolutely nothing about! Anyway, check it out! Great site to view!!


I thought the article we are supposed to read this weekend ("Writing for Non-Readers") was much more useful than the article "Practicing safe visual rhetoric on the web." I found that article to be incredibly long-winded and oftentimes I couldn't figure out what the author was trying to say. It took the author eleven pages to come to the conclusion that there are in fact no "real guidlelines for safe visual rhetoric on the web" (Sullivan,11). I liked how the article "Writing for Non-Readers" was straight and to the point. The author gave useful tips and the information in the article was clear.

We are also discussing ethics in my Management class. It is no surprise that managerial ethics and ethics regarding technical and professional communication are very similar. Both areas stress the importance of economic responsibility, legal responsibility, ethical responsibility and voluntary responsibility. In my management text the author goes more in-depth about the concept of voluntary responsibility and whether or not good citizenship will hurt an organization financially. It costs companies money to donate to charity and support community projects. I was surprised to read there is a small positive relationship between social responsibility and financial performance.

Thursday, February 12, 2004
Having read Chapter 15 in the course text, I am confused at the text's definition of ethics. It appears as though they are trying to give the term ethics a different meaning in comparison to how it is defined outside of communicating technical information. In my opinion, there is not enough of a difference between these two definitions to even attempt to present one.
On another topic, I found the introduction to this chapter quite disturbing. It is difficult to understand how an e-mail consisting of such significant information (faulty Firestone tires) could be pushed aside for two years, while at least forty-five people died from automobile accidents caused solely by Firestone tires.

I have fallen behind in Lauries class due to the birth of my first child. I don't suppose anyone is in the same situation as me, but its a struggle to keep up. I only have one semester or so left, but my advice is don't have kids until after college. Congratulations to Laurie.


Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Hi everyone,
I found a great web site for people who are interested in web page design. They help out non-profit organizations in designing their web page. This is great for organizations that are just starting and don't have alot of money. It is called altrue.
Here are a few reasons why I think this is a great web site. One, they have inexpensive prices for non-profit organizations. They charge $19.00 for a starting subscription. Second, they will offer a free trial web page for 30 days. Third, they help the organization design a web page in a professional manner. The web pages are easy to access and allows the organization to keep their site up to date.
The altrue web page itself is easy access and has contact information for further questions. They also provide a list of organizations that have used their assisstnace for web page design.

Hi everyone,
I found a great web site for people who are interested in web page design. They help out non-profit organizations in designing their web page. This is great for organizations that are just starting and don't have alot of money. It is called
Here are a few reasons why I think this is a great web site. One, they have inexpensive prices for non-profit organizations. They charge $19.00 for a starting subscription. Second, they will offer a free trial web page for 30 days. Third, they help the organization design a web page in a professional manner. The web pages are easy to access and allows the organization to keep their site up to date.
The altrue web page itself is easy access and has contact information for further questions. They also provide a list of organizations that have used their assisstnace for web page design.

Hi everyone,
I found a great web site for people who are interested in web page design. They help out non-profit organizations in designing their web page. This is great for organizations that are just starting and don't have alot of money. It is called altrue web page.
Here are a few reasons why I think this is a great web site. One, they have inexpensive prices for non-profit organizations. They charge $19.00 for a starting subscription. Second, they will offer a free trial web page for 30 days. Third, they help the organization design a web page in a professional manner. The web pages are easy to access and allows the organization to keep their site up to date.
The altrue web page itself is easy access and has contact information for further questions. They also provide a list of organizations that have used their assisstnace for web page design.

So that online article we had to read about practicing safe visual rhetoric? Doesn't it seem like that should have practiced more of what it preached? It did a great job of showing how awful it is to read huge chunks of unbroken text on screen and how boring, text-only pages just make you want to skip them. I understand that the article probably wasn't trying to practice visual rhetoric at all - it was just trying to convey information through words - but wouldn't it have made a better point if the visual element would have been there?


just testing.

Grammer test... sweet...

Just trying to figure out the blogger system!!

test post

Did you Know? Walt disney Corporation is forsale. Michael Eisner is accused of poor management for the past decade.

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