Thanks to all attendees and planners, the STC Houston Mini Conference on February 16 was a great success! We had 19 attendees, and combined with the presenters and organizers a nice crowd of 27 interested tech comm students and professionals. Not bad for a first time 1 day mini conference!

Sadly, Cindy Pao was not able to attend, so Jennifer Shumate presented in her place.

The slides for the presentations are included with the presentation name.

Session Descriptions

Technical Editing: The Foundation of a Quality Product

Linda Oestreich

Learn how you can survive in a world where technical editing often is ignored and devalued, how to be seen as a professional, and how to add value to your company while you maintain integrity, skills, and passion for your work. The workshop includes discussions and exercises to help you embrace levels and types of edit, toolbox contents, attitudes for success, quick overview of copy and comprehensive edits, and basic principles that we’ve often forgotten. Editing is all about quality in a product. Learn how to do it better, sell it to your bosses and clients, and be proud of the job you do.

Slides here

Your Organization’s Content: A Workshop About Sharing Content Across Silos, Content Strategy, and Content Engineering

Alyssa Fox, Paul Mueller, and Alan Porter

In “The Content Strategy Imperative,” Alyssa Fox addresses how strong and relatable content is business-critical to your organization. But do your plans and processes reflect that? Join us in discussing the current state of content in organizations, how content strategy can help, and some practical steps for getting started. 

In “Intro to Content Engineering,” Alan Porter discusses how content engineers bridge the divide between content strategists and producers and the developers and content managers who publish and distribute content. But rather than simply wedging themselves between these players, content engineers help define and facilitate the content structure during the entire content strategy, production and distribution cycle from beginning to end. This session will discuss the role of the Content Engineer and introduce the six disciplines of a content engineering practice.

In “Content Across the Enterprise,” Paul Mueller describes common content types used throughout many companies and how good design and strategy can increase return on investment in valuable content. This high-level overview sets the stage for in depth discussions about delivering content when the user needs it and designing that information effectively.

Note: Content Across the Enterprise slides will be added soon.

Intro to Content Engineering on BrightTalk.com (free registration)

Teaching Technical Writing to Engineers: What Works?

Noel Atzmiller

Teaching technical writing to engineers can be challenging. These highly intelligent individuals require an approach that goes beyond grammar rules and guidelines. Training session content and techniques must focus on the engineers’ common characteristics. Experiences from leading multiple training sessions to engineers and their feedback have revealed some lessons learned to facilitate this approach. These lessons are applicable in technical writing training sessions for many documents.

Teaching Technical Writing to College Students

Yvonne Wade Sanchez

Yvonne will provide information regarding the decision by UHD to change their BS in Professional Writing degree to a BS in Technical Communication. Yvonne will also discuss her experience teaching technical communication to students in multiple disciplines (e.g., computer science, criminal justice, etc.).

A Method for the Madness: Managing Complex Documentation Projects

Jennifer Shumate


Managing a large, complex documentation project is equal parts art and science. Left to its own devices, it can quickly devolve into chaos. Learn how to apply a method to control the madness, using strategies from a real-world Flare project that supports eleven unique software applications. This paper will give you practical tips for getting your documentation project under control. Learn how a strict taxonomy, content reuse, and simplified graphics can all work together to make your life easier.

Common Sense DITA

Erika Frensley

DITA is a powerful method and development tool for creating documentation, and in its full form very complex and developer oriented. However, DITA shouldn’t be that scary. Erika Frensley will discuss how she uses DITA to create online and printed documentation, and really how much writers need to know to create good, basic documentation. The shift isn’t as scary as it seems!

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