Engineering Your Networking Experience – Program Recap

On January 26th, 2021, Kelly Schrank, an Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and a technical writer and editor with over 20 years of experience in different industries, presented the “Engineering Your Networking Experience” webinar for STC. The purpose of the webinar was to describe how to network effectively and to present tips for people with introverted personalities to connect with other people at networking events.

To introduce the webinar, Schrank made an analogy suggesting that people should think about networking the same way they think about their jobs. People often face challenges at work that make it unlikely that they would consistently enjoy their jobs every day. Similarly, most people do not always enjoy networking; however, just as people stick to a job because of pay, benefits, opportunities to gain experience, job satisfaction, and other reasons, they network to reap its benefits.

Schrank quoted the Dictionary.com definition of networking: “a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest” (Dictionary.com, n.d.). People network to build relationships, to learn from other people they meet, and to share ideas. What is important to remember is that networking is not transactional, and to succeed at it, attendees must be relational with each other and not use each other as a means to an end. For example, simply asking a stranger for a job would be detrimental to building a relationship with that person.

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Microcontent Program Recap

On November 10, 2020, Joyce Lam, the President of Society for Technical Communication for the Toronto chapter, delivered a virtual presentation describing the topic of microcontent, its significance, and how it relates to user experience. To put this discussion into perspective, she described how content evolved, beginning in 100,000 BCE when communication occurred mainly through spoken word, and then she explained how, over time, content expression advanced to the use of stone, parchment, presses, computers, and the World Wide Web. Today’s communication focuses more on integrating technology with the spoken and written word, which is disseminated through the Internet of Things. Organizations are also trying to figure out how technology can be used to help users work with information. Continue reading “Microcontent Program Recap”

Recap: Mastering Your Website 101

On Tuesday, October 20, I had the pleasure of attending STC’s webinar, Mastering Your Website 101, presented by Timothy Esposito. This webinar was for those looking to set up websites for the first time or those wanting to learn WordPress and cPanel basics. Mr. Esposito is self taught in HTML and earned a paid internship in 1996 as a webmaster. He has worked progressively in the field ever since, including as a webmaster for STC. Continue reading “Recap: Mastering Your Website 101”

Using Content Strategy to Improve Your Technical Writing

At first glance, the term “content strategy” might seem a bit ambiguous. Content strategy is a broad term, one that could be filled with numerous meanings, depending on the context in which it is used. In the webinar What Every Technical Communicator Should Know About Content Strategy, speaker Guiseppe Getto described this concept as twofold, where content describes the information that people actually see, and strategy describes the means for achieving a goal. Continue reading “Using Content Strategy to Improve Your Technical Writing”

Program Recap: Agile IRL

Agile is a set of methods and practices conceived in 2001 by 17 software developers who craved a radically different approach to the way teams developed software. In her virtual presentation on March 26, Heather Shelley provided an introduction to and a brief history of Agile, and used examples from her extensive experience to show how Agile was designed to work and how it actually works in real life (IRL). Continue reading “Program Recap: Agile IRL”

Program Recap: The STC Technical Communication Body of Knowledge

On Tuesday, February 18, STC-SM hosted a webinar with Dr. Pam Estes Brewer of Mercer University. Dr. Brewer provided an overview of the STC Technical Communication Body of Knowledge (TCBOK), which was first presented to the STC in May 2009.

Dr. Brewer, who was chair of the TCBOK committee in 2019, began her presentation by pointing out that other fields, such as engineering, medicine, and law all have bodies of knowledge, which describe and share their standards, processes, and knowledge. This helped to build credibility in these professions over time. They also have external certifications, just as STC offers technical communication certification along with emphasizing academic programs. Having both academic programs and a body of knowledge allows for synergy between business and academia as both work together to further the practice of technical communication. Continue reading “Program Recap: The STC Technical Communication Body of Knowledge”

Program Recap: What Harry Potter Professors Can Teach Us About Instructional Design

On Tuesday, January 21, muggle Jamye Sagan presented to the STC-SM and Northeastern Ohio Chapters about the lessons we can learn from Harry Potter professors when it comes to technical communication and instructional design.

One of the last things you were probably thinking about when you read the beloved Harry Potter series or watched the movies was technical communication. Sound about right? Not only is the series filled with magical adventures, contention between good and evil, and the development of friendship, but it’s also replete with examples of learning and teaching. Continue reading “Program Recap: What Harry Potter Professors Can Teach Us About Instructional Design”

Program Recap: Accessibility: Expanding the Reach of Your Technical Communication Work

On November 14, 2019, STC-SM hosted the program Accessibility: Expanding the Reach of Your Technical Communication Work at Washtenaw Community College (WCC). This program was presented by Jason Withrow who is an instructor at WCC and an accessibility specialist.

What is accessibility and web accessibility? Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments to be usable by people with impairments. Web accessibility refers to the accessibility of websites. Continue reading “Program Recap: Accessibility: Expanding the Reach of Your Technical Communication Work”

Program Recap: Usability in Health and Medical Contexts

On September 18, Kirk St. Amant presented a webinar through STC describing how to tailor your writing in the medical field to the user’s specific situation. Kirk has numerous credentials teaching UX and technical communication at various universities, including Louisiana Tech, University of Limerick, Southeast University in China, and University of Strasbourg. He’s currently researching how cognitive processes affect the usability of technology in the medical field and in online education. Continue reading “Program Recap: Usability in Health and Medical Contexts”

Program Recap: Extended Reality and Tech Comm

On October 29, 2019, STC-SM hosted a program at Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator. David Pollock, CEO of Mirari, walked us through the space, which included a Re’flekt XR station, 3D printers, a small shop to build products, and workspaces— all of which serve to connect businesses and students to drive innovation. Mirari became engaged with the facility from their work related to CAD/engineering model data consumption to produce lightweight 3D/CGI content for users. Users can then interact with the content quickly and easily on multiple devices for support and training. Continue reading “Program Recap: Extended Reality and Tech Comm”