M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications
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M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications
A collection of all the tech comm topics I find most timely or helpful, with a special emphasis on e-learning and m-learning
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How Anxiety Empowers A Pro Blogger's Writing

How Anxiety Empowers A Pro Blogger's Writing | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Controlling anxiety, bloggers empower their writing and channel the positive emotions generated by being anxious about writing performance.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Darin L. Hammond's article here couldn't come at a better time for me! I know I often feel anxious that I can't always keep up with my blogging responsibilities, and I own up to that. And yes, sometimes it is writer's block due to anxiety. I'm definitely going to be reviewing this article many times, I'm sure!  Another excellent piece by Darin.

--techcommgeekmom

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Markdown quick reference

Markdown quick reference | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
See the Markdown page for instructions on enabling Markdown for posts, pages and comments on your blog, and for more detailed information about using Markdown. Markdown Processed Emphasis *Emphasiz...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Recently, I had curated a post that recommended that technical communicators should learn to use the markup language of Markdown. I had never heard of it until that point. 

 

It turns out that WordPress does, indeed, support Markdown, and I didn't have the "switch" turned on in my setup to recognize it. WordPress actually provides a quick reference guide on the most commonly used format, which are provided in this link. 

 

Good luck!

--techcommgeekmom

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Blogging in 2014: Mindful resolutions bloggers need for success

Blogging in 2014: Mindful resolutions bloggers need for success | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Have you fallen into resolution traps, where they end up causing much anxiety and little success? The New Year can be a dangerous time to reflect on  the past and plan for the future. Some advice:...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Nice blog post with suggestions on a blogger's New Year's resolution list--or I like to say, goals to attempt achieving.  Great article, as always, compliments of Darin L. Hammond. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Letter from the UK: Doctor Who, the Technical Communicator

Letter from the UK: Doctor Who, the Technical Communicator | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Ah, Mr. Pratt has written an article in the STC Notebook that goes straight to this Whovian's heart.  To answer his question of whether the Doctor would make a good technical communicator? I think if he slowed down for five minutes, perhaps. And as far as writing the instructional manual for the TARDIS? If the Doctor asked me to do it, then DUH, of course I would, provided it means that I could travel with him to see how the TARDIS works in action. ;-) 

 

This is a fun article that appeals to both the technical communicator and the "geek mom" that I am...

--techcommgeekmom

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What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO, Google, and Hummingbird for 2014 - Business 2 Community

What Bloggers Need to Know About SEO, Google, and Hummingbird for 2014 - Business 2 Community | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

At a time when I know that I need to learn more about SEO practices, one of my favorite bloggers about blogging, Darin L. Hammond, has written a fantastic article about the topic, and what to expect with the new Google algorithms. I like what this article says, and Darin is on top of it (as always)! 

 

Anyone who blogs and is interested in figuring out steps that should be followed to generate a greater following should definitely read this article. The steps are a change in mindset (for the better, I think) in favor of better content! 

 

This is a definite must-read, and good reading for the new year and new blogging starts!

--techcommgeekmom

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Get a technical writing internship or on-the-job experience without having much time for it | I'd Rather Be Writing

Get a technical writing internship or on-the-job experience without having much time for it | I'd Rather Be Writing | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I mostly agree with this article...mostly. Yes, there are ways to learn technical writing without the internship or job experience. I still found that getting an education was the best thing. The parent in this article was working full-time and was a busy parent, and couldn't make it to classes. Neither could I. I was working a full-time, very stressful job, parenting a high-functioning autistic child, and being the den leader for my son's Cub Scout group. And I still found time for classes. How? There are LOTS of online courses out there from accredited schools. There are both certificates on the undergrad and graduate level, and degrees on the undergrad, graduate and even doctoral level. Online courses can actually be good if you can make the time for them. For me, I worked on my classes at night after my son went to bed, and on the weekends. Sure, it meant that my husband had to pick up some of the parenting slack (and why wouldn't he?), but he supported my efforts to go back to school while juggling all this other stuff, because he knew it would help me get ahead. The forum conversations were just as lively as in-person conversations, if not more so, and the workload was no different. What grad school--both the certificate I earned and the Master's degree I earned--helped me realize where the gaps were missing in my technical writing education. Yes, over the years, I had picked up some skills due to various jobs, not knowing they were technical communication skills. But getting an online education also helped me get up to speed so that I could find a good entry level position and be more confident in my skills.  I agree that an e-portfolio is essential, and my studies helped me create viable samples for it. But I do feel that having a credential--even if it's just a transcript showing that you took one tech writing course--helps to validate your experience and promote your skills. I just say this from experience. 

--techcommgeekmom

 

(PS--if you are looking for some schools that offer technical communication courses, look on the ID/TC Education tab on the TechCommGeekMom blog.)

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Villegas Views: Festival of (Tech Comm) Lights

Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

An STC blog post with a holiday theme, no less! Enjoy.

--techcommgeekmom

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12 e-Learning Buzzwords You Need to Know

12 e-Learning Buzzwords You Need to Know | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Maybe you’re new to the e-Learning industry, and all of this online training development language is unfamiliar to you—or maybe you’ve been in the industry for years, and you’re always discovering new trends and techniques to make your e-Learning...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Thanks to Christopher Pappas for posting this great article by Christie Wroten on Google+. 

 

I think people in technical communication who don't work directly in e-learning should learn these terms as well! I learned them by hanging out with the right people (like Christopher) on Twitter. I can say that I knew what all of these were! But even the other day, I mentioned "m-learning" to someone in the tech comm field, and they had no idea what it was, even from inference.  Understanding these terms is important, because a big part of content is e-learning these days, whether it's a simple help document or a full course.  E-learning is moving fast, so understanding this lingo will help immensely.  

--techcommgeekmom

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Technical skills that every writer should consider developing

Technical skills that every writer should consider developing | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
As writers, we do more than just write. Whether we realize it or not. Many of us have a number of skills that relate to and go beyond writing. Regardless, there are a number of skills that every wr...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I agree with all of these, although I admit that I'm not familiar with Markdown which is mentioned. I looked at the Wikipedia explanation of what it was, and it's just an extension of basic HTML, so learning that makes sense, and I'm sure I could figure that out, too!

 

I find the significance of this important. During one of my past positions, there were those at the company where I was contracted that were full-time employees making the big bucks with the big titles, but were considered "web publishers." The irony of it was that not one of those individuals knew basic HTML needed to fix a simple table, let along any basic HTML formatting issues. A large part of my job was fixing tables because these people would merely copy and paste a table from Word into the CMS, and thought it would automatically format the same way. It wouldn't.  And yet, these were WEB publishers!  Having the basic skills outlined in this article have actually taken me far in my career. It got me out of a life of doing customer service into the IT/tech comm world.

 

This is a must-read article!

--techcommgeekmom 

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A Boy Was Born Without A Hand. I Couldn't Have Guessed What His Dad Made For Him. Mind: Blown!

A Boy Was Born Without A Hand. I Couldn't Have Guessed What His Dad Made For Him. Mind: Blown! | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
DIY technology at its best.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a very cool story that you need to see.  3D printing is getting to be more and more accessible, and here's a perfect example of using DIY technology--that kids can learn at a young age--for the greater good. Bravo for this dad and son!

--techcommgeekmom

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Here's Why Microsoft's New Mobile Strategy Will Help It Overtake Apple In 3 Years

Here's Why Microsoft's New Mobile Strategy Will Help It Overtake Apple In 3 Years | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Most technology companies don’t often get the chance to regain a market category lead after being swept aside by not one but two technology giants.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

RJ Jacquez posted this article on his Facebook feed, and it's definitely interesting. I know both he and I have talked about the emergence of Surface, and how we weren't too impressed by it initially, but this article seems to support how Windows in mobile is better supported with the Windows phone OS versus the Surface OS/Windows 8.1 (although there are signs that things are getting on the right track). Definitely an interesting read. 

--techcommgeekmom

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This Drool-Worthy $99 Kit Lets Kids Build Their Own Computers | Wired Design | Wired.com

This Drool-Worthy $99 Kit Lets Kids Build Their Own Computers | Wired Design | Wired.com | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
A computer kit that's fun enough to hold kids’ attentions, but smart enough to actually teach them something.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a cool teaching concept for kids to learn more about computing--both from the hardware and software perspectives. The idea was to create something that could be fun like a toy, but a teachable object. 

 

If someone wants to get one of these for me for Christmas, it would make me happy! I wish we had stuff like this when I was a kid. I'd probably share this with my son, since the site talks about using this in conjunction with Minecraft, which is something my son LOVES.

 

Check this out!

--techcommgeekmom 

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A bucket list for a career in tech comm? | I'd Rather Be Writing

A bucket list for a career in tech comm? | I'd Rather Be Writing | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Tom Johnson has written another gem on his blog. What's on my "bucket list" for the next year? Good question. I don't think many of us really think about the way Tom has portrayed it here.  I know some of my "bucket list" items for this year weren't done, but then again, I still gained some new but important experiences and skills that will help me in tech comm. I'm sure I'll set some new goals for the next year with new skill sets and such, but it's hard to say what specifically. Learn a new software app or package? Learn a new computer language (or at least how to read it)?  This is a great article to get one thinking about how to keep things moving in a career!

--techcommgeekmom

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Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments On Pace to Grow 7.6 Percent in 2014

Gartner Says Worldwide Traditional PC, Tablet, Ultramobile and Mobile Phone Shipments On Pace to Grow 7.6 Percent in 2014 | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Worldwide combined shipments of devices (PCs, tablets, ultramobiles and mobile phones) are projected to reach 2.5 billion units in 2014, a 7.6 percent increase from 2013, according to Gartner, Inc.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Thanks to Marta Rauch for posting this up in several social media spots. 

 

What's most important to gain from this article is the fact that mobile is taking over--the numbers don't lie. Most people find the convenience of smartphones and tablets good enough to meet their needs. Apps of all types are constantly raising the bar to increase productivity on these devices.  At what point will mobile devices be taking over completely? In my imagination, it might still be a while, since there are still those of us who use desktops and laptops to run heavy duty apps for work purposes.  But for everyday use consumer use, it's easy to see that mobile devices are taking over. 

 

While tech comm and e-learning communities are already embracing this, it still seems to me that we're still not there yet. Many companies still don't have as many mobile workstations or write websites for mobile.  A few years ago, this time was deemed the "mobile revolution", and indeed, it's evident from this article that the revolution has started. But at what point do we determine that the revolution is over? From what I can tell, we're still not there, and we need to keep pushing this agenda. 

--techcommgeekmom

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What to do When Your Chromebook is Offline - Chrome Story

What to do When Your Chromebook is Offline - Chrome Story | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Does chromebook work offline. chromebook offline features, offline chromebook apps, chromebook google docs offline, and chromebook offline document editing
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Chromebook is a laptop alternative to traditional laptops, as that it's lightweight, wi-fi enabled, runs on Google's OS instead of Windows or Mac's OS or Linux, and is highly affordable. Since most of its functions are highly dependent on wi-fi internet connectivity, my husband and I recently questioned if getting a Chromebook is a viable option for someone who spends a lot of time on the Internet for doing work, especially if wi-fi isn't available for some reason. (We're not in the market to get a new notebook for either of us, but we saw these at our local Best Buy store ,and we were curious.) 

 

This article shows how one can still be productive offline while using a Chromebook. So now, I know. Interesting article. 

--techcommgeekmom

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TechCommGeekMom's 2013 Year in Review

TechCommGeekMom's 2013 Year in Review | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Okay, I'll admit this is going to be a slightly self-indulgent (and slightly long) blog post. I read something recently that said that there shouldn't be so much "self-promotion" in promoting your ...
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4 Changes to English So Subtle We Hardly Notice They're Happening

4 Changes to English So Subtle We Hardly Notice They're Happening | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
These days, it's possible to spot subtle linguistic changes by analyzing large digital collections of text.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

My interest in linguistics have come late in life, but I find it so interesting to find how language is constantly evolving and changing. This article presents strong examples of English language evolution that has been subtle, but it's definitely noticible once it's been revealed.  

 

It makes me realize why translation has to be one of the hardest disciplines in the academic and professional world.  Language changes are like moving targets because of the constant changes over time. It's difficult enough to try to deal with differences and nuances between dialects within a single language, such as British English and American English, for example. But add the types of changes listed in this article...it's no wonder that automated machine translation of languages haven't been perfected yet. 

 

This is definitely worth reading to get a good idea of the kind of changes taking place in the English language. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Real Business - Poor grammar on websites scares 59% away

Real Business - Poor grammar on websites scares 59% away | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Fifty-nine per cent of Britons would not use a company with poor grammar on its website. Have you checked yours recently?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I found this thanks to a post from Bill Swallow. Oh, I am NOT surprised by this at all. I always though it was because I was an unofficial member of the "grammar police", but rather I'm  not alone. I recall having a disagreement at work, one time, in which I received something I needed to post, and it was one of those "your/you're" issues. (The former was used when the latter was correct.) When I pointed out the error to the person who gave it to me, I was told, "Well, I'm not going to do it that way. That's just the way we do it in Texas." I was livid!  I know it's not done that way in Texas or anywhere else, and I know plenty of well-spoken, excellent writers from Texas that know the difference. I actually had to get my manager to explain to this person that I was correct, and that the document needed to be corrected in order to not give the group putting out the flyer a bad reputation.  So, it's not that it happens only on amateur sites, but rather it can happen frequently on professional sites as well. I see lots of grammatical errors on news sites these days as well. It bothers me a lot! 

--techcommgeekmom

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Dorian Love's curator insight, December 20, 2013 9:56 AM

Listen to your English teacher!

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The twelve days of Tech Comm

The twelve days of Tech Comm | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Today's technical communicator must work with multiple tools and multiple output formats, be adept at audience analysis, and be social-media savvy -- often while working on remote teams and often p...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Larry Kunz shared some holiday fun with a tech comm flair to it here. It's a little tech comm humor, which we can all use during this busy end-of-the-year season.  Clever! Nice job, Larry!

 

Enjoy!

--techcommgeekmom

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The Beginner’s Guide To Going Paperless With A Mac, iPad and iPhone

The Beginner’s Guide To Going Paperless With A Mac, iPad and iPhone | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I've been paperless for nearly three years now, thanks to my Mac, iPad, and iPhone, as well as numerous powerful third-party apps.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
When personal computers first appeared more than 30 years ago, it was thought that its presence would be the genesis of a paperless society. The opposite effect happened. I think the main reason it didn't happen was it was the first time people could easily print thing for themselves, and there wasn't always the easy ability to share or transport documentation. With the advent of smartphones and tablets, it's much easier to do this now, so becoming a paperless society is within reach more now than thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago. I use some of the tools mentioned in this article, and I'm definitely trying to move to being more paperless. Isn't that what writing and managing mobile content is supposed to be about? --techcommgeekmom
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The Answer Lady: Finding the Right Mentor | TechWhirl

The Answer Lady: Finding the Right Mentor | TechWhirl | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
The Answer Lady provides guidance on finding a mentor, what to look for, and more, for communication professionals stymied by the need for an advisor.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is a great article on TechWhirl by my friend, Rachel Houghton.  During my grad school years, my professors were my best mentors in the end. I tried joining a mentorship program, but the person I was paired up with questioned my choice of technical communication for my career field. (Ha! Look at me now!) And since graduation, especially since I'm a contractor and not an employee, I have found that having my friendships with people whom I've met through social media and especially those who were social media friends who I got to meet in person through the STC and Lavacon events have been great resources for mentorship. I feel that I don't have one mentor, but many! That's a good thing, because that way, I can get a variety of experienced opinions that can help me weigh in on information throughout my career.  

 

Good advice in this article. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Big Idea 2014: Poor Communicators Need Not Apply

Big Idea 2014: Poor Communicators Need Not Apply | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
This post is part of a series in which LinkedIn Influencers pick one big idea that will shape 2014. See all the ideas here.Technical skills matter. Doctors need to know the difference between an
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is an excellent article that I found on LinkedIn this morning. I agree with the main points of this article. While I am not without fault on occasion myself, I do find that effective communications skills are quickly slipping away professionally, and this need to be readdressed in professional education. Having worked customer service/client services, where communication is key to ensure a happy customer, and now being in technical communication, I see this issue clearly.  This idea of clear communication is essential, as the author of this article correctly points out, as information is exchanged more freely and openly due to internet mobility. It disappoints me enough that  I find simple grammatical mistakes and even wrong data in online articles from various news sources. I was looking at an online magazine today from the UK where people were clearly mislabeled in photos, incorrect relationships were listed (in the case of the article I was reading, it was that Princess Margaret was married to George VI. No! George VI was her father!), and common grammatical mistakes that should have never been there in the first place. As I watch television show--especially the reality shows--it is often obvious to the audience what an issue is, and yet the players in a situation can't articulate the issue effectively to resolve the problem. 

 

As professionals of any kind, clear, articulate communication is key, and I'm glad to see that more professionals are starting to realize that as a world society, we need help and we need to correct this now!

--techcommgeekmom

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Book Review: 8 Steps to Amazing Webinars by Sharon Burton

Book Review: 8 Steps to Amazing Webinars by Sharon Burton | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
In less than a week from this writing, I will be doing a new webinar that I was asked to do by one of the STC Special Interest Groups (SIGs). I was really honored to have been asked, and it's about...
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Hyperland

Hyperland is a 50-minute long documentary film about hypertext and surrounding technologies. It was written by Douglas Adams and produced and directed by Max Whitby…
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This is so awesome! I came across this via one of my Doctor Who connections/groups on Google+. Of course, having Tom Baker (the actor who played the 4th Doctor) and Douglas Adams (most known as the author of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy") doesn't hurt! We talked a lot about hypertext theory when I was a tech comm grad student, and having a good understanding of this applies to all technical communicators--what is your content? How did your audience get to that content? How do we personalize it? Where could your audience be directed from your content? I wish I had known about this little documentary back in grad school! I think it would've been most helpful--and a fun way to learn the basics, even if the context is a little outdated since this was made in the early 1990s.  A good refresher for all technical communicators!  

--techcommgeekmom

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Power Blogging

Power Blogging | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Darin's note:  I have followed the moves of Neil Patel for some time now, as he arose from almost nothing to virtual stardom in marketing. I share his tips for gaining traffic, but I want to point...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

While many are starting to ask me for blogging advice, I often find myself turning to Darin L. Hammond's ZipMinis blog for advice. This post by Darin is interesting because many of the pointers are things that I try to incorporate when writing my blog. The topics I cover on my blog are niche topics, so I don't expect the traffic proposed in this article--yet. Perhaps in time, and applying some more of these pointers, I'll be able to get those kinds of numbers.  But do read these over--they provide some great insight on the mechanics of writing a good blog and driving up interest. 

--techcommgeekmom

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