no shortages of attempts to do so. The attempts to define technical writing are, as Jo Allen points out in her article, "The Case Against Defining Technical Writing," confounded by definitions that either take an excessively broad focus which makes the definition pretty useless or an excessively narrow focus which tends to arbitrarily categorize what is and what isn't technical writing. You'll have a chance to weigh in on the definition problem after reading Allen's article in your first blog post for the course. No, matter how we define technical writing, it is, like all writing a problem-solving activity. 2 What is it?
just one solution. Writers must constantly interpret writing situations and weigh possible solutions to effectively meet these situations. That means the situations and products they produce are dynamic, not static. Understanding how writing is a problem-solving activity will help you develop writing skills that transfer to new situations.
is the use of language to persuade. In common usage, however, the rhetoric has increasingly been defined pejoratively. And, there’s a reason for that. Plato and Aristotle from School of Athens by Raphael Sanzio (1509)
acknowledges that it informs whatever we do with language (and visuals). It is how we use language to elicit any number of responses from diverse audiences and for a wide variety purposes. This definition of rhetoric is what the course uses. And the goal is to help you become a strong rhetor: a person who can enter and successfully communicate in professional environments.