Have you thanked your technical writer today?

The Mojo of technical communication and writing as mused by Dr. Lu Kondor

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's that time again!

I can't believe the summer has flown by. The fall semester started at CSUDH. Classes in technical writing and communication have started. I'm very excited to see new students' work. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Classes Start for the Summer Session at CSUDH on June 1

Summer classes start at California State University Dominguez Hills on June 1! I'll be teaching the Advanced Technical Communication Course and the Information Design Course. Learn more about the certificate program here.

The Advanced Course and Information Design course are designed to create portfolio pieces that  challenge students, build technical writing skills, and create work that can be used to demonstrate proficiency for potential employers. The certificate program consists of 3 courses. Come check out the program at a fully accredited California University!

California State University Dominguez Hills Website 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Job Tools - Linkedin

I was talking with a student recently and they asked me about finding jobs. I think one of the most utilized job tools is Linkedin. Recruiters use it frequently as I have been contacted by them through Linkedin. I have found it valuable as a tool to show my skills but also to keep in contact with both past coworkers and students.

Some tips:
  • Build at least 300 connections - both to help with contacts, skill verification, and knowledgebase
  • Keep it up-to-date especially with your current job info
  • Limit what people can see if they are not in your connection group and you are not looking for work
  • Spend time and join relevant groups to your interests or post article
  • Use it to lead to potential employers to own personal site or portfolio
There are other services but Linkedin is popular with many recruiters and human resource managers at organizations. Like any service it may not fit you perfectly so you have to take the time to learn what you want to show others and what you don't.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dr. Lu Kondor is a Now a Blog Contributor at CSUDH

The faculty development center at the California State University Dominguez Hills has a new blog for faculty and Lu is currently a contributor for the blog series entitled, “The Challenge of Facilitating Successful Online Learning."

The Faculty Development Center

Monday, January 12, 2015

Let's Get Style...

One of my favorite things to do in my spare time (and you might find this amusing) is skim through my technical communication library and randomly read through sections of books. Not what everyone would call exciting but there you have it.

One book I really like is Developing Quality Technical Information by IBM Press. Now feel I need to say I have no vested interest in this book other than to use it as part of my favorite research. As I thumbed through this book as I do many times for ideas I opened it to the style section. This section reminded me how important style is even though we take it for granted almost everyday as a reader using manuals, newsletters, and task-based documents. The use of conventions, standards, rules, grammar, tone, and presentation allows the reader to follow a document and get what they need from it quickly and efficiently.

I know the APA (American Psychological Association) guide better than the back of my own hand from just sheer use. For the uninitiated this is a book by a respected body (institution if you will) that promotes a guideline of style for publications and business. Other examples of similar guides are the Chicago Manual of Style, the American Medical Association Manual of Style, or MLA (Modern Language Association). There are many more available as well. But beyond that, organizations want consistency with their documentation so even if you follow say the APA guide, you still will most likely have specific templates for departments and the organization itself. These style guidelines bring a sense of usability and effectiveness. I feel we are creatures of habit (all humans) and so we want to know what to expect especially if we are stressed out trying to find out how to do a particular task or find information, not how do I find this. We’ve come to expect and not think about a table of contents, index etc.

This isn’t to say that just because we’ve always done something a specific way we can’t change it. But in my opinion we should consider change carefully and incrementally unless there is some outstanding exception (no need to email me, there are always exceptions to every recommendation). While usability is very important, always be careful with organizational identity and how that is affected by changes in style. Remember an organization’s publications such as manuals or a website delivers information that a user expects from a product or company in a certain way. Part of our technical communication skill is not to disappoint them.