Connors, Robert J. “The Rise of Technical Writing Instruction in America.” Ed. Stuart A. Selber. Central Works in Technical Communication. Ed. Johndan Johnson-Eilola. New York: Oxford UP, 2004. 3-19. Print.
History of Technical Writing
Early Years (1895-1939): relatively new field being taught in college; Civil War had more people going to college–especially for engineering–that merited these courses; English teachers were soon to be in demand, but they felt they needed to “humanize” engineers, and so they received literary instruction along with writing instruction; no cooperation between English and engineering departments and it becomes more severe as time wears on
A Discipline Comes of Age (1940-1980): “engineering English” was gone from academia during WWII 1940-46; technical writing was an actual job because of its demand during WWII; rhetoric and technical writing marry in late 1950’s; “reader-writer relationship” p 14; other disciplines take advantage of technical writing; still, people who taught techwrit still wanted to teach lit because that was their background; 1970s finally found ground for technical writing as its own field
“Sypherd complained bitterly that literature courses were too few and too little to matter, that freshman courses were ineffective, and that lack of writing in other engineering courses, bad student attitudes, and no interdepartmental cooperation had brought engineering English to a critical pass.” p 11
“During the fifties the importance of the profession of technical writing became apparent to industry, and colleges gave more serious consideration to turning out trained technical writers.” p 13
“Technical writing teachers were not always rewarded by their departments, but many found freedom and credit in the 1970’s that had previously only been dreamt of.” p 17
Can the digital humanities study this timeline and make any inferences as to its own fate?
What major event on the scale of World War II could make the digital humanities boom by need?
Will or is technical writing its own department at some colleges and universities?
H.E. Hand, An Attempt to Measure Success in Technical Writing, Proceedings, ASEE, 72, pp. 70-72, 1964.
J.A. Walter, Confessions of a Teacher of Technical Writing, The Technical Writing Teacher, 1, pp. 5-6, 1973.
J.H. Wilson, Jr., Our Colleges Can Teach Writing–If They Are Made To, Proceedings, ASEE, 62, pp. 431-435, 1955.