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Professor Smith: Well, for me it is. I'm an old...I guess people call me all sorts of things away from my face, as long as they call Mr. Ron in the class room, I don't really mind. One of the things I tell my students when they walk in the door, it's like I have an affinity for the old west, I have an affinity for the west and saloons. [laughter] So when students walk into my technical communication classes I ask them to check their essays at the door. I don't like to hear words like "essays" and "papers." Don't get me wrong: I think all of us need to learn how to write academically. If you're writing a paper in political science, or history, or English, or the humanities, you write a good, solid essay and it should adhere to conventions that go with it. But the same holds true in a technical communication or a science writing course. There students are exposed to different conventions. You also need to be able to understand why you write a particular way in the sciences and how you need to adapt that writing professionally. Your question was about debunking, though? I'm not interested in debunking as in rethinking: in the sciences, I ask my students to think about writing in a particular way. There are lots of conventions, ones that perhaps you wouldn't think about in a traditional essay context, that you start to entertain as a technical communicator. That's not to say, for example, that good organization, good paragraphing skills, knowing how to organize and structure a good paper--that they're not skills that you leave outside the class in a technical communication course, but I think technical communication is different. I like to say to my students that one of the drivers, or one of the prerequisites for good technical communication, is that you think visually about your writing. Perhaps a lot of times we don't do that in a traditional or more conventional academic writing environment. In science and technical writing you start to consider visual arrangement. In traditional academic writing, you develop kind of a closed page style. When you write in a technical or scientific way, you're being exposed to, I think in a descriptive way, how to write through these conventions and, in the long term, how to apply them in a work place. You want to help your readers see--through diagrams, charts, arrangement of words on the page. So I see science writing, or technical writing, or business communication as a type of writing you'll take to the workplace. Not very many of us are going to the workplace to sit in our office and write an essay on John Locke's second treatise on civil government.