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News Archives 2008

STC Twin Cities meeting
December 12, 2008

The Twin Cities chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) will hold its monthly meeting on Friday, December 12th. The topic is "The Missing Step in Creating Effective Content" and will take place from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm in St. Paul, MN. The cost for members is $10/plate. Visit the Twin Cities STC website for directions and more information.

Alumni Night
November 14, 2008

The Alumni Night event took place from 6:30 to 8:30 in the Heritage Room in the Centennial Student Union on Friday, November 14th. There was networking before the presentations. The speakers included David Chapman, Gretchen Herrick, and Susuan (Hendley) Campbell. For more information, check out the flyer.

World Usability Day
November 13, 2008

This year World Usability Day was Tuesday, November 13, 2008. Primarily sponsored by the Usability Professionals' Association, World Usability Day is a series of events that promote the values and benefits of usability engineering and user-centered design.

The events will take place over a 36-hour period in more than 30 countries around the globe. “STC’s involvement in World Usability Day is a logical extension of technical communication,” says Paula Berger, president of STC. “Everything that technical communicators do is about usability, whether making instructions more usable through better writing, interfaces more usable because of better labeling and navigation, or products more usable because of user testing. It’s all part of the same continuum.”

 

Carlson & Komarenko poster earns top award at 2008 STC Conference
June 1-4, 2008

J.J. Carlson and Oleksandr Komarenko received the top honor in their category for the poster they submitted to the 55th Annual STC Convention, which was held in Philadelphia from June 1–4. Dr. Gretchen Haas served as their faculty advisor for the project. Both J.J. and Oleksandr attended the conference and gave a short oral presentation to the panel of judges. They were awarded first place and they each received $100 as well as a copy of Technical Communication Suite software from Adobe. Their poster was placed directly facing the entrance to the registration booth, trade show, and keynote stage. "As a result, our poster recieved a lot of traffic, and the forty brochures we had printed prior to the conerference, went fast," J.J. stated.

Since both students were volunteers for the conference, they were responsible for handing out feedback surveys to session attendees. As a result, they attended various sessions. Some of the topics of the sessions J.J. attended included instructional design, web interface, usability, emerging technologies, distance education, and what not to do in technical communication. Two sessions in particular that J.J. enjoyed were "Writing as an Asynchronous Conversation" with Ginny Redish and an informative session about intuitive design and the evolution of technical writing with Jared Spool. J.J. recalled that "The most bizarre session I attended was a discussion on Second Life." Second life is a virtual world in which users create cyber identities. The speaker explained how Second Life is a place to advertise or start a business and is not only for social networking. Companies and colleges use it as a recruiting tool. Although he learned that individuals spend hours in the online community, J.J. commented, "Despite all that happens in the world of Second Life, I was not convinced to hop into it. I currently have no intention of hanging up my real wold identity for the one in the virtual community."

Overall, it was a positive experience for J.J. and Oleksandr. Social networking was a postive experience. Both met people from across the United States, as well as participants from China. The pair met another student from Boise State and were able to take a tour of the city of Philidelphia. Overall it was a good experience for both students. J.J. concluded, "The STC Summit was successful for me as I was able to network with a lot of bright people in our field and share what I've learned with them. I had the opportunty to attend sessions that covered important issues, and I will take what I have lerand and add it to the many skills I've obtained through my education at MInnesota State University, Mankato."

Students and Faculty Attend Uni-Systems Field Trip and Join University of Minnesota Students and Faculty for Lunch
April 16, 2008MSU and U of M students and faculty meet for lunch

On April 16, 2008, Minnesota State University, Mankato STC chapter members Lee Tesdell, J.J. Carlson, and Matthew Bichler made a trip to Minneapolis-based Uni-Systems Corp, an engineering firm, which specializes in transformative structures such as retractable stadium roofs. Beth Frampton, the technical communications manager, explained the areas of the engineering processes that her department is responsible for at Uni-Systems: content management, documentation, web development, etc. A discussion with one of the lead engineers reveled the need for a technical communicator during the prototyping process. He explained that without someone to document the changes and reasoning for the changes during the process that much of it gets forgotten before the engineering report is written. The Minnesota State STC chapter tries to take at least one trip like this each year to get its members exposure to real world business practices.

Following the field trip to Uni-Systems, Lee and J.J. headed over to the University of Minnesota campus for a lunch with faculty and students.  The visit was lively and educational as the attendees discussed advancements in technology and, of course, Technical Communication.  Among the lunch attendees was Jane Xiong, a student in the Minnesota State Mankato Technical Communication program who had yet to meet most of her fellow students and professors.  All who attended expressed interest in future communication, so it is our hope that this will not be a one-time visit.  The field trip and lunch have once again proven that communication with other professionals in our field is crucial to its continued growth and success.

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Last Updated: 04/14/2009