September kicked off with a fantastic presentation by Noel Atzmiller, “Teaching Engineers to Fish”. Teaching technical writing to engineers can be a challenge, and yet can help improve business communications greatly. When faced with such a task, hearing some “lesson learned” from other technical communicators who have met this challenge can be helpful.
Noel Atzmiller, Manager of Technical Publications at Baker Hughes, has led more than 30 technical writing teaching sessions to engineers. From these experiences, he has gathered several lessons learned that would be useful to other technical communicators who face this challenge.
Noel’s fast-paced presentation explains these lessons learned and provides many candid comments on “what works.” Noel kindly sent us his presentation – take a look to see how it could help you.
by Noel Atzmiller
Spring Into Technical Writing for Engineers and Scientists, by Barry J. Rosenberg;
Pearson Education, Inc., Addison-Wesley Publishers, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 2005.
Throughout the document, Rosenberg uses a somewhat flippant writing style and humor to direct the book “at engineers and scientists who must write about stuff.” When he describes the key principles of technical writing, for example, he cites this ditty: “Technical communication is to write and to say, the geekiest things in the simplest way.”
Books Before Typography by Frederick W. Hamilton
Published by the Committee on Education, United Typothetae of America, Chicago, Ilinois,1918.
Did you know that ancient Peruvians used a series of knots that they tied on colored cords to convey messages? What is the difference between an ideogram and a phonogram? Which people are credited with originating an alphabet that is considered by many as the “common mother” of many alphabets used today? What is papyrus, and how was it made?
I found the answers to these fascinating questions (and many more) in Books Before Typography. Frederick Hamilton, the author, composed this document as part of a textbook collection for use in trade school classes. The entire collection, titledTypographic Technical Series for Apprentices, contained 64 publications, each focusing on a single topic that would benefit students of typography.