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WTD Australia event recording — 'Remote discussion: Techcomm in the times of pandemic'

I recently co-presented in a WTD Australia event titled Techcomm in the times of pandemic on May 28, 2020. The other presenter was professor Kirk St. Amant.
Tags: Australia, Seo, TechComm, Academics-and-practitioners, Technical-writing


Guest post: Why are technical writers often treated as such an unimportant part of a company?

A reader whose company recently laid two-thirds of their tech pubs staff recently asked why technical writers are often seen as unimportant in a company. I asked Jeremy Rosselot-Merritt, an academic at the University of Minnesota who has been doing research into tech comm value in the workplace, to respond to the reader's question.
Tags: Seo, University of Minnesota, Academics-and-practitioners, Technical-writing, Jeremy Rosselot Merritt


WTD Australia event recording — "Remote discussion: Techcomm in the times of pandemic"

I recently co-presented in a WTD Australia event titled Techcomm in the times of pandemic on May 28, 2020. The other presenter was professor Kirk St. Amant.
Tags: Australia, Seo, TechComm, Academics-and-practitioners, Technical-writing


Upcoming WTD Australia event: Remote discussion: Techcomm in the times of pandemic

I'm participating in a remote discussion with WTD Australia this Friday, May 29, 2020, in an event called Techcomm in the times of pandemic. Other participants include Kirk St. Amant, Swapnil Ogale, and Sarah Maddox.
Tags: Australia, Seo, TechComm, Academics-and-practitioners, Technical-writing, Kirk St Amant Swapnil Ogale


Are technical writers increasingly playing non-technical roles? Some thoughts on the evolution of technical writing roles

How is the role of the technical writer evolving? It seems we're moving away from writing and more towards other roles, such as reviewer/convener, user champion, editor, publisher, and promoter. However, it's difficult to gauge change, especially across different job categories. In some scenarios, writing might never have been why we were hired.
Tags: Podcasts, Seo, Api-doc, Stitcher, Academics-and-practitioners, Technical-writing


Evolving roles of technical writers

How is the role of the technical writer evolving? It seems we're moving away from writing and more towards other roles, such as convener, user champion, editor, publisher, and promoter. However, it's difficult to gauge change, and in some scenarios, writing might never have been why we were hired.
Tags: Podcasts, Seo, Api-doc, Stitcher, Academics-and-practitioners, Technical-writing


Podcast: Users as producers of knowledge — conversation with Nupoor Ranade about how tech writer roles are changing

How can users shape and influence the documentation you're producing? In this podcast, I chat with Nupoor Ranade, PhD candidate at North Carolina State University, about how the roles of technical writers are changing. Instead of writers authoring content for passive users, users are actively directing and shaping the knowledge that writers produce. In this podcast, we look at ways docs-as-code workflows are facilitating that shift in roles. This podcast is more of a conversation, where I first ...
Tags: Podcasts, Seo, North Carolina State University, Api-doc, Stitcher, Academics-and-practitioners, Nupoor Ranade, Nupoor


New topic in API course: Five strategies for documenting code

Previous articles I've shared on documenting code introduced the complexity of the challenge. In this article, I expand on five different techniques writers take in documenting their code, including the Lego approach, the Nautilus approach, juxtaposed columns, and more. In particular, I expand on why describing the finalized code might not be so instructive for users, and why it's nearly impossible for writers to decompile the developer's logic that led to the finalized code anyway. See Five str...
Tags: Seo, Api-doc, Academics-and-practitioners


New topic in API course: Research on documenting code

I added another topic to the Documenting Code section in my API documentation course. This new topic is called Research on documenting code and summarizes/discusses two academic articles on documenting code.
Tags: Seo, Api-doc, Academics-and-practitioners


New video recordings of Raleigh API documentation workshop now available

A couple of weeks ago, I gave a full-day API documentation workshop in Raleigh. I recorded the workshop and have made the video and audio content available in my API documentation course here: Video recordings of API doc workshops. There are more than 6 hours of video available for you to watch for free. I also describing my recording process here.
Tags: Podcasts, Seo, Screencasting, Api-doc, Academics-and-practitioners


Why I decided not to become a grasshopper expert, or, Not deciding your focus based on where readers are clicking

Although site analytics can be insightful in identifying popular topics, sometimes your most visited content isn't your most beloved content. It doesn't mean you have to switch your interests to align with your visitors' interests over your own.
Tags: Writing, Seo, Academics-and-practitioners


Recognizing Research Realities Across Technical Communication -- guest post by Kirk St. Amant

In this guest post, Kirk St. Amant argues that despite having common ground through similar research interests, 5 barriers tend to separate tech comm practitioners from academics. These barriers involve Scope, Scale, Speed, Strategy, and Situatedness.
Tags: Seo, Kirk St Amant, Academics-and-practitioners


Master's in technical writing at Mercer — FAQ

Considering earning a master's in technical writing to move up the career ladder? If so, check out Mercer's online master's in Technical Communication Management program, which is positioned within Mercer's School of Engineering and focuses on teaching you management skills to influence significant organizational change. There are many details to consider when choosing a master's in technical writing program, so I reached out to Pam Brewer, who directs the program at Mercer, with some questions.
Tags: Writing, Seo, Mercer, Pam Brewer, Academics-and-practitioners, Mercer FAQ, Technical Communication Management


Should you get a degree in a tech comm program? Two considerations to keep in mind

If you're considering entering a tech comm program to transition into technical writing, keep in mind two considerations — the emphasis on technical skills, and the potential drift from corporate relevance.
Tags: Writing, Seo, Academics-and-practitioners


How to design API documentation for opportunistic (active, experiential) learning styles

A recent study looked at how developers interact with API documentation. It found a mix of systematic and opportunistic learning styles. While we often write with the former in mind, focusing on the latter styles (opportunistic) might be more beneficial, and will cause us to focus on improving search, navigation, interactive components, troubleshooting, error messages, and other action-oriented features.
Tags: Seo, Api-doc, Academics-and-practitioners


Corporate exodus narratives: A close look at the tension between the corporation and academia

Corporations often expect tech comm academics to fashion their curriculums to suit corporate needs; in contrast, academic departments want to give students a safe space free of corporate agendas for critical inquiry. Tech comm academics are often caught between these two groups and must satisfy both.
Tags: Podcasts, Seo, Stitcher, Academics-and-practitioners


Asserting your expertise as a SME in the workplace: Q&A with Jennifer Mallette and Megan Gehrke

In the workplace, why aren't technical writers recognized as SMEs with the same credibility and respect as engineering SMEs? Why do PMs and others often override the judgment of technical writers on matters of language and docs? This post explores the challenges that technical writers experience as SMEs in the workplace, and strategies they can implement for asserting their expertise. The format is a Q&A with authors of a CDQ article, with a survey at the end.
Tags: Seo, Jennifer Mallette, Academics-and-practitioners, Megan Gehrke


Research on code documentation -- when not to comment on code

In this post, I summarize the findings of an extensive research project about how developers at Google find and use code documentation. The research found that for simple code, sometimes developers prefer to read the code directly. However, for more complex code, developers consult documentation, often by looking in the formal class declarations for information they need; other times they look at comments in the implementation code. Besides the location of docs, the researchers also identify wha...
Tags: Google, Seo, Api-doc, Academics-and-practitioners


My conflicted thoughts about the decentralized web (while taking the Census of Technical Communicators survey)

Seeing my name in the Census of Technical Communicators survey as a possible source for professional development made me think about the impact of blogs as a learning resource. Advertising encourages bloggers to create rapid-fire, lightweight content in order to increase page views and other attention on the advertised product or service. The proliferation of blog content turns the wheels of social media, creating micro-bursts of attention for companies. The negative impact, however, is that mor...
Tags: Podcasts, Seo, Stitcher, Simplifying-complexity, Academics-and-practitioners, Census of Technical Communicators


Reciprocal knowledge networks and the iFixit Technical Writing Project -- Conversation with Guiseppe Getto

In this conversation post, I chat with Guiseppe Getto about the reciprocal influences within networks that contribute towards better knowledge creation. We talk about the iFixit's Technical Writing project, Latour's Actor-Network Theory, the revolution of the spudger in circumventing corporate non-repair agendas, why students learned to triple-check their work and begin tinkering deeply with broken devices, and more.
Tags: Seo, Academics-and-practitioners, Guiseppe Getto


Looking at the theoretical foundations for tech comm -- Conversation with Lisa Melonçon

In this conversation post, I chat with Lisa Melonçon about the theoretical underpinnings of tech comm, mainly its connection to rhetoric that allows tech comm to get a seat at the English table within academia. We chat about what rhetoric is, why it is or isn't important to tech comm today, and why constant participation and involvement is critical for inclusion within either academia or the workplace.
Tags: Seo, Lisa Meloncon, Academics-and-practitioners


Adventures of a Techie Academic with Lightweight DITA (LwDITA): Conversation with Carlos Evia

In this conversation with Carlos Evia, we focus mostly on lightweight DITA, exploring what led to his initial interest in DITA, what it means to focus on technology in the context of academia, why more general academic research hasn't focused on DITA (but has investigated single-sourcing and content re-use), why DITA can be so polarizing, his participation in OASIS on the DITA committee and how the standards process works, and more.
Tags: Seo, Dita, Carlos Evia, Academics-and-practitioners


Teaching Technological Adaptability to Bridge the Gap (Guest post by Melonie McMichael)

The following is a guest post by Melonie McMichael, a senior instructor at the University of Colorado and the proprietor of Technodaptability. In this post, she explores the challenge of teaching technology to students in tech comm programs, arguing that perhaps the chief challenge of teaching adaptability is the need to be adaptable ourselves.
Tags: General, Seo, University Of Colorado, Academics-and-practitioners, Melonie McMichael


Combatting the "Make-It-Pretty" Philosophy: Technical Writers Fight Back (Guest post by Emily January Petersen)

In this guest post, Emily January Petersen, an assistant professor at Weber State University in the Professional and Technical Writing Program, talks about stereotypes in the workplace that devalues the work the work of technical and professional communicators. These myths perpetuate the idea that technical communication work is cosmetic, secretarial, unknown, and unnecessary.
Tags: Seo, Weber State University, Academics-and-practitioners, Emily January Petersen, Professional and Technical Writing Program



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