Ask Prof. Jerz: Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

Specific Questions

I Missed Class...Did Anything Important Happen?
Most teachers I know cringe when students request an e-mail transcript of a class they missed. My policy is to ask you to get the notes from a classmate first, and then come to me if you have specific questions. 

My Computer Crashed -- Do I Get an Extension?
Well... no, not automatically. If it's a minor assignment and it's the first time you've run into this problem, I might accept a rough draft at the proper due date and then let you turn in a clean draft by the end of the day; but if you can't even turn in a rough draft because some last-minute computer trouble prevented you from turning in anything at all, then I'd say the problem wasn't really computer trouble -- it was probably the "last-minute" part.

Online Class Projects: What You Should Know First
You do not have to be a computer programmer in order to create a good, useful web page.  But you need to account for the needs of strangers who might follow a search engine to your pages, which means writing in a slightly different way. And don't spend too much time fiddling with the style of your site, so that you end up neglecting the substance.

What is Tenure?
Tenure is a professor's [more or less] permanent job contract, granted after a probationary period of six or seven years. At the larger, big-name schools, a professor's tenure is mostly dependent on achieving a national reputation as a scholar (or artist, or performer, etc.) in a particular field. At smaller schools, research is still important, but teaching ability is paramount.

What is the Difference between Public Relations and Technical Writing?
While there is certainly some overlap, a technical writer typically writes inside an organization, for experts, or for existing customers; a public relations person writes or delivers messages for a broader range of people (the "public").

What is Technical Writing?
While technical writers need to have good computer skills, they do not necessarily have to write about computers all their lives. The Greek word techne simply means "skill".

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