I. Our 2010-2011 Events

June 16, 2011 - Saul Carliner

Lessons for Technical Communicators & Trainers from the Cancellations of "All My Children and One Life to Live"

Summer Social

Some industry insiders have labeled soap operas as a writers' medium. Others have labeled them "worlds without end." After 40-plus years on air each, however, two of these worlds are reaching their ends within the next 8 months.

Can writers and trainers working in other branches of commercial communication learn anything from the downfall of the soaps? If so, what are the lessons? (If not, can this presentation, at the least, entertain you?)

About Saul Carliner: http://saulcarliner.blogspot.com/

Presentation: jun162011.wmv - Windows Media (111Mb)

June 16 2011 - Saul Carliner

WORKSHOP: Tips for Internally Marketing your Communication & Training Services

Description: Presents practical ways that an internal documentation or training group can promote its services and successfully compete for assignments where they can have a meaningful impact, like interface design and multimedia development. You'll actually begin outlining your department marketing plan, so you can start your marketing effort as soon as you return to the office.

Who Should Attend: Internal managers, instructional designers, information designers, senior technical communicators, and senior trainers who have responsibility for promoting their department's services within the organization.

Note: Although focused on people working internally, those working externally are likely to find material of interest to them, too.

What You Will Learn:

Main Objective: Develop a plan for effectively marketing the services of an internal training or communication departmentto internal stakeholders.

Supporting Objectives: To achieve the main objective, you should be able to:

    • Describe the marketing process

    • Name the key components that a marketing plan must address

    • Clearly position the services you offer

    • Identify the collateral needed

    • Describe at least 3 low-cost tactics that you can use to market your services

    • Identify the resources needed to effectively market services

May 12, 2011 - Louellen Coker Professional Portfolios: Real Projects = Real Results (Personal Branding)

Leveraging social media for today's market

Thinking about finding a new job? Looking to promote yourself within your company? You need an online portfolio!

An online portfolio allows you to present your talents and abilities while giving prospective employers an opportunity to learn about you. We're proud to welcome Louellen Coker, recently honored as an STC Associate Fellow, who can help you to develop an online presence and showcase your technical communications skills. She'll provide ideas about how to blog, how to use social media, what to include in your portfolio and how to best promote yourself.

About Louellen Coker: http://www.yourcontentsolutions.com/aboutus/our-team/louellen

Presentation: may122011.wmv - Windows Media (180Mb)

Presentation at SlideShare

Hands on Workshops:

Workshop1: Leveraging Social Media for your Business

Workshop 2: Blogging Basics: Mining the Fields & Writing Effective Blog Posts

May 12, 2011 - Louellen Coker

Louellen presented 2 half-day workshops and at an evening meeting to show you how to develop an online portfolio. Participants also learned to blog, and leverage social media for their business.

WORKSHOP: Leveraging Social Media for Your Business

As marketing efforts move to the social web, technical communicators are called upon to engage in a conversation with their employers, clients, and colleagues in different ways. To effectively embrace this genre of communication, we are called upon to expand our modes of participating in this conversation. This interactive session will provide practical information about how to do just that, including how to:

    • Develop an understanding of Social Media Marketing.

    • Develop an understanding of why they should care.

    • Learn blogging basics.

    • Learn how to expand into the appropriate social media venues.

    • Learn how to distribute their content throughout their social web.

WORKSHOP: Blogging Basics: Mining the Fields & Writing Effective Blog Posts

You’ve got your blog set up, but now what? If you find yourself staring at a blinking curser, this is the session for you. We will take a close look at the practice of blogging. During this session, you will:

    • Develop an understanding of what blogging is and is not

    • Learn how to research and integrate keywords effectively

    • Complete a brainstorming activity

    • Learn best practices of writing a blog post

    • Create a production calendar

    • Learn how to distribute their content throughout their social web

Discussions and examples in this session will focus on the WordPress platform, with discussions of best practices that will apply across blogging platforms.

About Louellen Coker

Louellen S. Coker is the founder as well as chief writer, editor, designer, and all around chief of all things content at Content Solutions, a certified woman-owned business. She focuses on helping her clients effectively communicate their message within their organization as well as with their varied communities through writing, design and the web. She has conducted several conference presentations, published numerous articles, and taught workshops on Social Media Marketing.

Louellen holds a Master of Arts degree in Technical Communication from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baylor University. She is an Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication and is a past president of both the Lone Star Community of the Society for Technical Communication and the Women Business Owners of Denton County. She is also affiliated with several professional organizations including IEEE Professional Communication Society, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, and DFW Search Engine Marketers.

When Louellen isn’t leading her firm in creating strategic and user-driven creative cross-pollination of content, she's either traveling with her husband, hiking all over the world, winning national and state championship sailing regattas, training for marathons, or running in them.

April 14, 2011 - Joe Ganci Rapid Instructional Design: Great, Good or Wow, Be Careful?

Rapid Authoring and Instructional Design means many things to different people. However, there is no question that everyone seems to want to design eLearning applications faster and faster. How can we speed up the process without stripping the Learning out of eLearning? It's paramount that we are able to work faster, but how do we ensure that our designs are still helping people learn what they need?

The session focused on two main areas:

    • What is rapid prototyping? What are its advantages? When should you use it and when to avoid it? How does it compare to the ADDIE process?

    • What tools exist to shorten the design cycle? Is it possible to collapse design and development into one step without making a mess of things?

About Joe Ganci: http://www.joeganci.com/

Presentation: apr142011.wmv - Windows Media (95Mb)

April 14, 2011 - Joe Ganci

WORKSHOPS: Designing Outstanding elearning Using Captivate 5 Workshops

Level 1 – Beginner Workshop

Day 1 is the Level 1 workshop for those who are just starting to learn Captivate and for those who want to review Captivate and learn more about Captivate 5.

Joe will show how Adobe Captivate is much more than just a software simulation capture tool. You can use it to create branching, add audio, images and more. You will be engaged in using them to develop a project from start to finish. You will receive a storyboard, and learn how to create each element in Captivate 5. Learning the Captivate options available to you will help you to more quickly and easily meet the needs of your instructional design. Your questions will be welcome, your participation will be expected, and you will have fun while you learn!

In this session, you will learn:

    1. An Overview of Captivate

    2. Captivate Views

    3. Recording Software Simulations

    4. The Timeline and Stage Objects

    5. Text Captions

    6. Images

    7. Animations

    8. Flash Videos

    9. Audio

    10. Publishing

    11. Tips and Tricks for Added Maintenance

Download the course outline.

Level 2 - Intermediate/Advanced Workshop

Level 2 is intended for those who already know the topics in Part 1. In this workshop, you will not only learn the advanced features of Captivate, you will learn how to develop engaging eLearning. You will receive a storyboard, and learn how to create advanced elements in Captivate 5. Joe will share several Tips and Tricks on how to use Captivate productively. Your questions will be welcome, your participation will be expected, and you will have fun while you learn!

In this workshop, you will learn:

    1. Rollover Captions

    2. Rollover Images

    3. Rollover Slidelets

    4. Interactive Objects: Buttons

    5. Interactive Objects: Text Entry Boxes

    6. Quizzes and Questions

    7. Creating and Using Question Pools

    8. Randomizing Questions

    9. Creating Progress Tracking

    10. Setting up the Publisher to Track Progress

    11. Using system variables

    12. Customizing system variables

    13. Creating user variables

    14. Assigning values to user variables

    15. Retrieving values from both system and user variables

    16. Creating Advanced Actions

    17. Creating Conditional Statements

    18. Assigning Variables in Advanced Actions

    19. Using and Customizing Widgets

    20. Captivate Aggregator and TOC

    21. Sending a Captivate file for review, using AIR

    22. Captivate XML file structure

Download the course outline.

About Joe Ganci

Joseph Ganci is President of Dazzle Technologies Corp, a custom training and learning company located in Ashburn, VA, right outside Washington. D.C. Since 1983 he has been involved in every aspect of learning development. Joe holds a degree in Computer Science and is a published author, having written several books and many articles about eLearning .

Joe is considered a guru for his expertise in eLearning development and teaches classes and seminars at commercial companies, government facilities, leading universities and at many industry conferences. Mr. Ganci is one of only nine members of the Adobe eLearning Advisory Council and is an Adobe Certified Captivate Expert. He is on a mission to improve the quality of eLearning with practical approaches that work.

March 17, 2011 - Nitza Hauser

Being an Agile Technical Communicator

The role of Technical Communication in the world of Agile Development Methodology

So, is it Football? Rugby? What's all this talk about SCRUMS and Sprints? No, it's Agile terminology! Ever since the introduction of the Agile Manifesto in February 2001, the number of software companies adopting an Agile development methodology has increased dramatically. Should we care?

Our presenter, Nitza Hauser has been a key player in her organization's transition into Agile Development for the past several years. She strongly believes that Technical Communicators are uniquely suited to serve as Agile team Players, given their skills in modular writing, time management and most importantly - as facilitators and mediators.

The Agile development methodology attempts to accept and manage change rather then trying to control it. It offers significant benefits in today's constantly changing business world. As Technical Communicators, we are no strangers to constant change, and the Agile development methodology offers us a unique opportunity to bring our skills and experience to bear, and make significant contributions to software products early on in the development phase. This presentation explains the basic tenets of the Agile (or SCRUM) development methodology, provides useful terminology and describes the process.

It gives insight into the role of Technical Communicators in this relatively new process, and explains the benefits and challenges for Technical Communicators in being Agile:

    • What new skills are needed?

    • What do we, as Technical Communicators, bring to the table?

    • How can we provide valuable support when our organization goes Agile?

Important lessons were learned and insights were shared. Whether you have been in the business of writing for many years, or are just starting your way in the world of technical communication, you will do well to become more familiar with this exciting new way of doing things.

Presentation: mar172011.pdf - Adobe PDF (1.6Mb)

February 16, 2011

Everything You Want To Ask About Adobe Technical Communication Suite 3 - Special Event


Tom Aldous - Adobe Product Evangelist

Kapil Verma - Adobe FrameMaker Product Manager

Ankur Jain - Adobe RoboHelp and Technical Communication Suite Product Manager

Presentation: Adobe Presentation Site


February 10, 2011 - Joe Welinske

An Overview of Trends, Tools, and Technologies in Software User Assistance

The application of technical communication skills to the development of software user assistance has grown immensely in the past twenty years. This specialization is very fulfilling and challenging and technical communicators are finding their role in the software development process to be increasingly valued.

User assistance is much more than "Help." It encompasses a wide range of skills and technologies that are combined to improve the software user's experience.

We contribute through wizards, tutorials, and web-based training. We develop and populate knowledge bases and content management systems. Printed manuals and their PDF equivalents are still an important element of our documentation sets.

Many of us are now embedding helpful content directly into the user interface. We are involved with usability testing, localization, testing, quality assurance, and branding. This presentation provides a cutting-edge overview of the latest trends in software user assistance, defines the key terminology, highlights the most important technologies, and offers predictions on future directions of our field. The seventy-five minute session should be of interest to technical communicators of all backgrounds and experience levels.

About Joe Welinske: http://www.writersua.com/jwbio.htm

January 19, 2011 - Neil Perlin

Structured/Topic-Based Authoring, Writing for Mobile Devices and Writing for the "Unknown"

Many organizations are currently writing or planning applications that enable their workforce and customers access whenever, wherever and however they want. You too can be an active player in that solution.

Today, we create content that might go out as online help and PDF, period. Tomorrow - who knows? Perhaps mobile, but what kinds?

Dynamically configurable online help? Voice? Perhaps some output that's on the drawing board now? It's hard to predict. Who in 1992 would have predicted the spectacular growth of the web?

About Neil Perlin: http://www.hyperword.com/about.htm

Presentation: » jan202011.pdf - Adobe Acrobat document (251Kb)

January 19, 2011 - Neil Perlin

Structured and Topic-Based Authoring

Structured and topic-based authoring have become hot topics in recent years because of single sourcing and the on-again/off-again DITA. But there's still confusion over what the two methodologies are, whether you need them, how to implement them, and whether you need structured FrameMaker or DITA. This session addresses those questions.

Topic-based authoring involves creating content in small, largely stand-alone units rather than large, book-style units. Structured authoring involves creating content that follows a structural standard of some sort. They're different methodologies but most effective when used together, especially in single sourcing. Topic-based authoring's chunking of content provide the flexibility to create different outputs from one content source; structured authoring adds consistency to those outputs. The combination can support a company's strategic content direction, which makes the authors more valuable to the company.

As good as this sounds, implementation of topic-based and structured authoring can lead to major operational disruption and expense. This intensive workshop looks at topic-based and structured authoring in ways that use existing tools when possible to simplify the process, focus on strategic fit, and generally try to minimize the pain.

WORKSHOP: Creating Mobile Output using Flare

This half-day, hands-on, web-based workshop is aimed at Flare authors who want to quickly get up to speed on the primary tasks in converting existing projects to Flare WebHelp Mobile output. Previous experience on one or more Flare projects is helpful but not necessary.

    • Mobile - Why Now?

    • Mobile Architectures

    • Flare Mobile

Read more and see outline at http://www.hyperword.com/FlareMobile.htm

WORKSHOP: Creating Mobile Output Using RoboHelp

This half-day, hands-on workshop is aimed at RoboHelp authors who want to quickly get up to speed on the primary tasks in converting existing projects to ePub output. Previous experience on one or more RoboHelp projects is helpful but not necessary.

    • Mobile - Why Now?

    • Mobile Architectures

    • RoboHelp Mobile

Read more and see outline at http://www.hyperword.com/RoboHelpMobile.htm