Session A. Legal Issues in Technical Communication
Brand Identity and Social Media 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Konstanze (Konnie) Alex Brown, Dell, Inc.
Unleashing the power of employees as social media brand advocates by trusting, enabling, empowering, and guiding them. Ideally, every employee of a brand is an advocate for the brand. Ideally… in reality, however, a brand has to do a number of things to earn its employees’ advocacy. At the very basic level, the company has to provide employees with tools and processes necessary to share brand messages on social media. More importantly, the brand has to create and foster a culture of trust and provide employees with a system of education, guidelines, and governance for interacting on social media channels. However, if done right, the combined force of employee advocates has the potential of outpacing any paid advertising to create a trusted brand image.
Konstanze (Konnie) Alex Brown works in the Global Social, Digital and Emerging Communications group at Dell, Inc. leading the company’s Social Media communications strategy. Prior to that, Konnie spent six years in executive, technology, and innovation communications at Dell. Before joining Dell, she held a senior editor position in educational publishing at Harcourt. Prior to that, she taught for seven years at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she served as German program and Abitur director. She has co-authored two peer-reviewed articles on the value of internal social media from a social capital perspective and has presented at various academic conferences. Her research focus is on corporate communication using social media technologies and organizational social capital. Contact: Konnie_Brown@nulldell.com
Regulating Visual Language in Technical Communication: Privilege and Paradox 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Charles Kostelnick, Iowa State University
Visual language in professional communication (typefaces, pictures, charts, icons) operates under different legal standards than verbal language, especially regarding ownership, which fluctuates with the marketplace, technology, cultural values, and discourse communities. Having evolved the past 200 years, our contemporary concept of visual ownership differs from that of early print, when images were routinely appropriated and reproduced. Nonetheless, individual ownership is still circumvented today, primarily through the deployment of visual conventions, where conformity is expected or required. Using historical and contemporary examples, I will explore factors that have shaped visual ownership as well as anomalies and paradoxes that have complicated it.
Charles Kostelnick is a professor in the English Department at Iowa State University where he teaches business and technical communication and a graduate and undergraduate course in visual communication. He was co-author of Shaping Information: The Rhetoric of Visual Conventions
and co-author of Designing Visual Language: Strategies for Professional Communicators
Legal Issues in Global Contexts: Re-considering Content Distribution in the Global Economy 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Kirk St.Amant, East Carolina University
While advances in information communication technologies make it easier to create and share content across global networks, doing so is not without its pitfalls and perils. In particular, differing national laws and enforcement practices can greatly affect how technical communicators produce, refine, and distribute content on an international scale. This presentation will overview some of the more common problem areas associated with content management in international contexts and will provide suggestions on how technical communicators can address such items in ways that contribute increased value to their organizations.
Kirk St.Amant is a professor of technical and professional communication and of international studies at East Carolina University where he directs the university’s graduate program in international studies. His research focuses on online communication in global contexts, globalizing online education, and the international aspects of medical and health communication.
Session B. Content Strategy
Implications of Component Content Management and Content Strategy for Curriculum Design 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Tatiana Batova, Arizona State University
The wide-spread adoption of component content management (CCM) and content strategy in work groups requires a robust knowledge base that supports this drastic shift in technical communication work. Based on a co-authored systematic literature review of scholarly and trade publications, this presentation will analyze the current state of this knowledge base, focusing specifically on how CCM and content strategy re-shape the roles of technical communicators and the skills they need to take on the new and changing roles. The presenter will also examine the implications of the changes in roles and skill sets for curriculum development.
Tatiana Batova is an Assistant Professor of Technical Communication at Arizona State University. She researches and teaches in the areas of global technical and health-care communication, content management, and user experience. She has worked as a translator, writer, project manager, and multilingual writing consultant in health-care and pharmaceutical industries.
Beyond DITA: What Students (and Instructors) Need to Know about Content Management 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Dave Clark, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
In technical communication, “content management” is too rarely taught and discussed, and when discussed is often synonymous with “topic-based authoring.” DITA-based topic writing is only a small piece of the larger cross-disciplinary world of “content strategy” that is booming in public relations, marketing, and corporate communications and that re-raises important questions about breaking down content silos, reuse and repurposing, and the very nature of “content.” In this session, I define key terms and provide tools and methods for helping students navigate this terrain and prepare for numerous emerging roles for writers.
Dave Clark is Associate Professor and Chair of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He has taught professional writing for over 20 years, and is a 2013 recipient of the STC’s Jay R. Gould Award for Excellence in Teaching Technical Communication. Dave has also developed scholarly and consulting expertise in automated text management via content strategy and natural language processing.
Putting Out Fires with Content Strategy 1:00pm - 2:30pm
John Collins, Rosetta Stone
You've probably heard someone in your office say, “All I did was put out fires today.” When you're building software, it's a complicated process, and there are sure to be flare-ups. Let's take a look at parallels to firefighting and how to put out “fires” with content strategy. This talk isn't about being the hero. It's about being a team player and the importance of content and content strategy. We'll talk about training that could be useful to creating the next class of content strategists. John grew up surrounded by content, taking his first job in high school working with paste-up boards at a publishing house. After a stint as an award-winning journalist, he became a technical writer and then a content strategist at Rosetta Stone. He enjoys sharing his experiences and helping others learn.
Ricardo B. Contreras, ATLAS.ti
ATLAS.ti is a software for qualitative data analysis. It facilitates the process of making sense of data collected through unstructured or semi-structured methods of data collection, such as in-depth and semi-structured interviewing, focus groups, field notes, and photo voice. ATLAS.ti allows the user to work with documents in text, graphic, audio, video, and Google Earth formats, all integrated under a single analysis project.
Ricardo B. Contreras is the director of ATLAS.ti Americas and of the company’s Training & Partnership Development division. He has an undergraduate degree in sociocultural anthropology from the Universidad de Chile, and master's and doctoral degrees in applied anthropology from the University of South Florida.
Andre Schindler, TeamViewer
TeamViewer is one of the world-wide leading solutions for desktop sharing and online collaboration over the Internet. The German based TeamViewer GmbH was founded in 2005 and is fully focused on development and distribution of high-end solutions for online collaboration and communication.
Andre Schindler is the Sales Manager Americas at TeamViewer.
Session C. Project Management
Lean Principles in Technical Communication 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Alan Houser, Group Wellesley, Inc.
The Lean methodology specifies a framework for optimizing value for the customer while minimizing waste in business processes. This methodology was originally applied to manufacturing. However, Lean has recently gained popularity as a general model for business processes, appearing in trade press books like "The Lean Startup” (2011) and "Lean UX” (2013).
Lean practitioners advocate continually assessing results, and rapidly changing approaches in the face of changing contexts (the Lean "pivot"). We will explore Lean principles as they apply to the technical documentation lifecycle, and consider how to apply these principles in technical communication education and practice.
Alan Houser supports organizations as a technical communication consultant and trainer. Alan holds an MA in professional writing and a BS in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Alan is an STC Fellow, and has served the Society as Pittsburgh chapter president, standards liaison, conference committee chair, and international society president.
Technical Writing Projects and Challenges 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Makarand (Mak) Pandit, Technowrites
Technical writing projects include various challenges that pertain to different types of projects with different levels of complexities ranging from single writer–single location–single deliverable projects to multi-writer– multi-location– multi-deliverable projects. It is also important to differentiate between challenges and risks, as well as successful strategies used for mitigating project risks—including accept, avoid, transfer, and control. These strategies will be addressed through a study based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBoK) project, including practical solutions that can be applied to managing the complexities of other large-scale technical writing projects.
Mak is managing director of Technowrites private limited, and has worked on several projects as a writer, reviewer, project manager. He has over 20 years of experience in technical writing and has worked on several international projects for leading IT and engineering companies. Mak holds a Bachelor's Degree in industrial electronics engineering and a postgraduate degree in marketing management. Mak is also associated as a visiting faculty and examiner with a number of institutes including University of Pune. Mak is also an associate fellow of STC and served as president of STC India chapter in 2005.
What Can Scrum Do for Technical and Professional Communication Students? An Agile Primer 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Rebecca Pope-Ruark, Elon University
Project management is a crucial part of any technical or professional writer’s role in industry. While traditional project management strategies can relegate the writer to service provider rather than team member, these linear practices are being directly and aggressively challenged by a collaborative Agile mindset that values teamwork; consistent, incremental production; and transparency like never before. In this presentation, I briefly introduce Scrum, one of the most popular Agile frameworks; outline the role of technical writers in Scrum teams; and address how bringing Scrum into our programs can empower our students in shaping products and user experiences through Agile participation.
Rebecca Pope-Ruark is an associate professor at Elon University (NC) specializing in Professional Writing and Rhetoric. She teaches courses in professional communication and rhetorical theory, inquiry methods, publishing, and project management. Her research explores the intersections of phronesis
via Agile project management, student collaboration faculty work and development.
Session D. Global Ready Content
The Need for Skills in Creating Global-Ready Content 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra, Comgenesis, LLC
A company’s content can be one of its greatest competitive advantages, but that advantage can easily be lost if the content isn’t ready for global customers. With 11% of the US adult population and 40% of the Canadian adult population as non-native English speakers, the need for Global-Ready Content extends to companies that serve these populations. Global-Ready Content means getting content to the right audience, at the right time, in the right structure/format and language. The process and strategy that go into global-ready content leverage language technologies, content management, and optimize the output for customers. For practitioners, educators, and students of technical communication, this reality indicates a need for some specific skills.
Katherine (Kit) Brown-Hoekstra (MS) is an STC Fellow, STC 2014-15 Society President, and an experienced professional. As Principal of Comgenesis, LLC, Kit provides consulting and training to her clients on a variety of topics, speaks at many conferences worldwide, and contributes articles regularly to professional publications. Her blog is www.pangaeapapers.com
Global English, Controlled Authoring, and Machine Translation at SAS Institute 3:30pm - 5:00pm
John Kohl, SAS Institute
Style guides are important tools for technical communicators, but old-school style guides do not even address many of the issues that are important for communicating effectively with a global audience. Moreover, it is not possible for most technical communicators to conform to innumerable style rules and terminology restrictions without using controlled-authoring software. To make its documentation more suitable for a global audience, SAS Institute uses “global English” in conjunction with controlled-authoring software. Yet the effectiveness of this approach is somewhat limited by most authors’ limited awareness of English grammar, foreign languages, and translation tools and processes. Educators could help address the problem by modifying their curricula and by drawing on resources that the speaker will recommend.
John Kohl is the author of The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market
. As a linguistic engineer at SAS Institute, he customizes and supports tools and processes that help make SAS documentation more consistent, easier to translate, and easier for non-native speakers of English to understand.
Global Ready Content: Readying Technical Documents for Translation 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Bruce Maylath, North Dakota State University
As professional, technical, and scientific communicators work increasingly with translators, and as their roles begin to converge, this presentation examines the gripes that each group has about the other and begins to provide answers to the question “What are the challenges that professional translators face when localizing the texts that communicators send them for translation?” Attendees will come away with a sense of the amount of work involved in translation and localization, the need for adequate time to achieve a high-quality translation, the imperative of terminology management, and the details of revising and reviewing.
Bruce Maylath, professor of English at North Dakota State University, teaches courses in linguistics and technical communication. His current research takes up translation issues in professional communication and has appeared in connexions, IEEE-Transactions in Professional Communication, Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Programmatic Perspectives, and Technical Communication Quarterly
, among others.