In 2009, iFixit’s Technical Writing Program was introduced at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California. Since its inception, nearly two thousand repair guides have been created by over a thousand students from eight universities across the United States. Success comes from the innovative features of our program, which include the following:
Students get the opportunity to take apart real consumer electronics, providing first-hand experience in writing technical repair manuals. Our program is the ultimate chance for students to open up “black box” consumer electronics. This experience empowers students with the knowledge to troubleshoot, repair, and document devices in the future.
Students produce authentic documentation for the world to use. Their contributions provide free repair instructions to two million visitors every year. The program offers students concrete, published technical writing experience.
Like all things iFixit, the curriculum follows our strong commitment to ethics. The project reinforces the need to recycle in a wasteful consumer age and encourages students to take personal responsibility in addressing the significant problem of e-waste. The iFixit curriculum focuses on repairing devices to keep them running longer, thus reducing the overall demand for devices and the amount of e-waste. This environmental cause motivates student projects, taking their impact far beyond the four walls of the classroom.
Why does it matter? Check it out.
Instructors and students have access to the curriculum 24/7. Our field-tested curriculum and support materials, including all documentation, are always available via the internet. Everything you need is hosted right on our website.
The iFixit Technical Writing Program emphasizes collaboration among students who work in teams to create peer-edited technical documentation. The collaborative nature of our “Wikipedia-esque” guides allows for improvements and updates by the broader iFixit community, which creates accurate guides with longevity.
All great technical writing is user-friendly and dynamic. Our easy-to-use Guidebook platform makes creating and contributing to guides simple. Our community is always growing and changing. Questions from users, updates to guides, and success reports are just some of the ways that iFixit’s Technical Writing projects are more than just printed pamphlets. These guides are living technical documentation.
This program can be integrated into a regular curriculum or used as a stand-alone project. Our all-inclusive program provides the easy-to-use curriculum, web-based format, documentation, video tutorials, grading rubrics, checklists, devices, and tools.
The tech writing team at iFixit provides support via email for any questions that instructors and students may have. We are committed to providing all the support required for the project's success.
What do students have to say?
Students are broken into teams and given a device for which they create repair documentation. In addition to devices, iFixit provides each group with a general-purpose toolkit for disassembling the device. Students create a device background page, troubleshooting guide, and step-by-step guides for replacing the major components of the device. These guides include both text and images. After peer review, the guides are made public on iFixit.com for the world to use.
Need a clearer picture of how this works? Here are some sample student projects:
Looking for more specifics on the curriculum? Check it out.
Here is a video of the original lecture given to a Technical Writing class at Cal Poly, explaining the project.
iFixit was started in 2003 by Luke and Kyle in a dorm room at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Since then, we've grown a bit. iFixit now helps thousands of people repair their devices every day. Why do we do it? Because companies like Apple don't provide repair parts and documentation to end users. We believe everyone should have the right to maintain and repair their products.
In short, we want to fix the world, one device at a time. This video explains our motivation pretty well:
Contact us! We’d love to talk to you about setting up a pilot program at your university. Send us an email: education[at]ifixit.com.