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”

Program Recap: The Power of Single-Sourcing

On May 22, 2019, STC-SM welcomed Liz Fraley to Ann Arbor all the way from the STC East Bay Chapter in California. In addition to being a prolific speaker and well-known contributor in the technical communication community, Liz is the founder of Single-Sourcing Solutions, TC Camp, and the TC Dojo. Liz spoke with us for over an hour and engaged us in a fascinating discussion about a topic she understands deeply: The Power of Single-Sourcing. Continue reading “Program Recap: The Power of Single-Sourcing”

Recap: STC-SM & WMS Joint Networking Event

Photograph of Michigan STC members at MSU.
Left to right: Alison Phillips, Pat Martz, Deb Stacy, Katherine Baeckeroot, Kelly Smith, Maryann Bowen, and Peggy Fizzo in the greenhouse after a visit to Michigan State’s butterflies.

On April 28, 2019, the Southeastern Michigan and West Michigan Shores chapters held a joint networking event at the Michigan State Horticulture Gardens and Butterfly House in East Lansing. The April weather was kind to us—we dodged the snow and enjoyed a beautiful, sunny day among the butterflies and plants. Continue reading “Recap: STC-SM & WMS Joint Networking Event”

Program Recap: Part 2 of Face-to-face vs. Computer-Mediated Communication Panel Discussion at LTU

Our November panel and moderator. From left to right: Chalice Randazzo, Steven Krause, Rich Leazer, Maryann Bowen, and moderator, Corinne Stavish.

On Wednesday, November 28, an audience of students and technical communications professionals gathered at Lawrence Technological University (LTU) in Southfield for a panel discussion that continued where our October 2017 program left off on discussing the advantages and drawbacks of face-to-face vs. computer-mediated communication. Because our last panel focused primarily on face-to-face interactions, this panel discussed computer-mediated communication (CMC) which, for many of us, is the dominant form of communication in our professional lives. Continue reading “Program Recap: Part 2 of Face-to-face vs. Computer-Mediated Communication Panel Discussion at LTU”

Program Recap: Clear and Simple With Speaker Ed Lanigan

On Wednesday, March 21, we met at Lawrence Technological University for our program Clear and Simple. Our speaker, Ed Lanigan, spoke on how clarifying information and presenting it in a simple way improves our ability to communicate with our readers and creates better customer experiences. Ed has more than 20 years of multi-industry experience focused on customer experience, service performance, and six-sigma continuous improvement, and we are very grateful to have had the opportunity to hear him speak.

This thought-provoking discussion detailed the process of implementing a company-wide strategy for designing and using standardized letter templates that not only improved internal processes by slimming down unnecessary communication but also improved the content of the letters by providing a set of guidelines for writers. With the use of a standardized template, employees in different sections of the company could customize communication to clients while maintaining company branding and ensuring that the information the reader needed to know was visible and well-designed. Continue reading “Program Recap: Clear and Simple With Speaker Ed Lanigan”