Category Archives: Presentations

Master of Arts, English Thesis: Ethics in #TechComm Graduate Programs

The purpose of this post is to provide some of the content for my thesis that I completed July 2013. The full text of my thesis is available through ProQuest (UMI):

The programs that were included in my study are the following: Auburn University; James Madison’s MA and MS programs; Mercer; Minnesota State University, Mankato; Montana Tech of the University of Montana; New Jersey Institute of Technology; North Dakato State University; University of Wisconsis-Stout; West Virginia University.

Thesis Abstract:

In this research, I performed a content analysis of the required courses in technical and professional communication (TPC) graduate course syllabi to investigate the prevalence of ethics-related materials included in course instruction. The content analysis for my research included collecting the syllabi of required courses from a sample of TPC graduate programs, and coding for the occurrence of journal articles and textbook chapters that included the word “ethics” in the title, summary, or keywords. My findings show that on average Continue reading


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STC Live Webinar 2012: Using YouTube Videos to Enhance “Traditional” Documentation

This webinar was originally given as a presentation at the STC Summit, 2012.

For the audio/video of our original presentation the STC Summit 2012, visit the Summit@aClick site (first 5 minutes free, login required:

Using Videos to Enhance “Traditional” Documentation.

Below are the description and slides for the updated presentation Ben and I gave as an STC Live Web Seminar, 11 December 2012.

Presentation description:

The way users consume information is becoming increasingly visual. Technical communicators can address this need and increase user satisfaction by creating video tutorials.  Ben and Fer present some best practices for choosing topics, creating, sharing, promoting, and measuring the success of video tutorials in YouTube.

Topic description:

Rich media, including video, infographics, screencasts, screen recordings, and flash animation, is an effective tool to supplement and enhance online support documentation. Users are increasingly using sites such as YouTube to share video-tutorials for tasks such as replacing a print cartridge in a printer, to basic software tutorials.

If your organization is considering using video tutorials, this session will provide real-world examples and ideas from two different companies that are using video tutorials with success.

This presentation will discuss what content to produce, how to best deliver it, and why it is more effective for increasing customer satisfaction for some users than text-only support documentation. Additionally, technical communicators can incorporate rich media into their social media strategy to leverage content across several channels thereby reaching the most users possible.

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Report: Webinar Best Practices for Online Learning and Collaboration

Last semester (Spring 2012), I worked on a collabortive project with students in my International Technical Communication class (Minnesota State University, Mankato) along with students from the German university Hochschule Karlsruhe – Technik und Wirtschaft (Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences). I met with my German counterparts throughout the semester and my Mankato-based team completed a project that documented webinar best practices for online learning and collaboration.

Introduction to the report

With the increasingly global nature of business and education, both have been challenged with adapting current models to facilitate learning to accommodate diverse and globally located audiences.

From the business perspective, webinars are an inexpensive, quick way to reach out to users and employees while still maintaining a semblance of personal contact—using a webinar’s video component, this face-to-face (F2F) capability of a webinar allows for collaboration and interaction among the webinar’s participants. This is preferable to a ‘static’ recording or pre-recorded tutorial that is ‘mass produced’ with a general audience in mind (for example, “customers” or “employees”) but cannot compare to the personal aspect that a webinar has.

Social Constructivist Pedagogy

For education, an example of one pedagogical proponent of webinar and F2F technology is the social constructivist pedagogy. The constructionist pedagogy believes that for true learning to occur, students need to experience knowledge outside of their individual framework and this concept is advanced by “collaborative learning”, which Bruffee defines as “a process that constitutes fields or disciplines of study. Collaborative learning is based on the rationale that the task of learning to think and write as a knowledgeable peer is not solely an individual and mental endeavor but instead occurs through interaction” (Thralls and Blyler 1993, 251).

Download the PDF report: Webinar best practices for online learning and collaboration.


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#STC12 Conference Session Review: Introduction to Global English & Functional Design

I really enjoyed John Kohl’s presentation on his extensive work with writing Global English. I particularly appreciate how John Kohl includes many examples to demonstrate the theory behind his suggestions. I will not summarize his session in this post because Sarah Maddox gave a great session recap in her blog, so instead I will focus my time reviewing Jürgen Muthig’s presentation on Functional Design. Continue reading


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What to Expect Presenting at an Academic Conference

Last month, I submitted a proposal to present a research paper on technical communications and rhetoric and it was accepted. The conference was in Albuquerque, New Mexico and would be my first academic conference as either an attendee or presenter.  I wanted to recap my experience and provide some answers to questions that I had going into the conference. Continue reading


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STC Summit 2012 Presentation: Using Video in Tech Comm

I am excited to be presenting at this year’s STC Summit. Last year I presented in the Beyond the Bleeding Edge session on how technical writers can leverage their skills to contribute to an organization’s social media strategy. An ancillary benefit to attending the conference was that I met Ben Johnson. Proof that STC member networking works, Continue reading


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WritersUA 2012: Peer Showcase

I will be attending The Conference for Software User Assistance (WritersUA 2012) in March 2012. There are so many sessions that I am looking forward to. For instance, below is a list of some of the sessions that I plan to attend and are examples of what makes WritersUA such a great conference:

Enhance your Help with Simulations

Writing Help for Software Trial Versions

Getting Started with UA for Mobile Applications

Integrating Help, Technical Support, and Training Content

Social Strategies for Online Video Syndication

My peer showcase will demonstrate how to Create Flash Rollover Images with Captivate and Snagit. Just as important, my demonstration will show not just how but when and why this dynamic content should be used.

See below for the description of my showcase or read about all the peer showcases at the Conference website. Continue reading

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