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 to Write a Compelling Whitepaper

How to Write a Compelling Whitepaper | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Whitepapers are one of the most common content pillars among marketing teams. And who can blame them?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Thanks to Craig Cardimon for finding this one. Nice little article about the basics on how to write a white paper. Having written one or two (and I should write more), these seem like great guidelines. Would you add anything to these guidelines? Include your comments below.
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How To Proofread Your Technical Writing

How To Proofread Your Technical Writing | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Proofreading what you write is not easy. Proofreading is not editing. Proofreading is not reading for meaning. Proofreading is focusing on the mechanics, not the content. The goal of proofreading is to find and correct blatant errors...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
If you have access to LinkedIn, I highly encourage you to read Yvonne Kucher's essay about how to proofread your technical writing. I've met Yvonne at STC Summits, and she is a sharp-thinker. Yvonne offers fantastic guidelines on how to sharpen your proofreading skills, something that I think we all can learn to do better. What do you think? Do you have anything to add to Yvonne's recommendations? Include your suggestions below. --TechCommGeekMom
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'Li-fi 100 times faster than wi-fi' - BBC News

Li-fi, a faster way to deliver internet access, has been tested in a real-life, working office in Tallinn, Estonia.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Talk about li-fi has been around a lot in the news lately. Provided that this new technology can truly work and is safe, this would be a HUGE advancement. I often half-joke that one of those life necessities that I can't live without besides, water, food, shelter, clothing, and electricity is wi-fi. I know, it's a "first world problem" to be without wi-fi. But think of this--building this technology into a simple light bulb could help connect many more efficiently--or at all--in second- and third-world countries. The ability to communicate and disseminate information would be greater than ever. Mobile is already the predominate means of getting information and communication around the world--why not help it become more readily available to be in "the grid" if you want to be on the grid? I look forward to when this technology will be mainstream that gaining internet access will be as easy as screwing in a lightbulb. This will also affect technical writing, digital marketing, and e-learning. How? Because there will be even more emphasis on mobile delivery than ever before. Think about that. Then think about how you will contribute to the future.
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Learning to Code: Not A Guarantee

Learning to Code: Not A Guarantee | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
This is a great article because it supports, I think, a big argument why technical communicators are needed and what their training should be. I'm an advanced beginner to intermediate level user of HTML. I understand how to tweak JavaScript, CSS, HTML5, and XML, but I can't program those languages from scratch. I used to know a little SQL, too. I often find that employers are looking for developers/programmers that can write. They are out there, but very few. And I often find that many of these job postings out there claim that the tech writer/content strategist/tech communicator needs to have various complicated programming languages under their belt when they really don't. Having a little bit of foundational coding helps in understanding, but as the author points out, you don't need to be a programmer to do jobs that are important for a tech project. I think part of the solution is for employers to have realistic expectations, and consider candidates who have the main skills needed and the potential to learn how to maneuver around code. I had a similar discussion about this with my husband when a recent Mashable article about the 15 programming languages you (supposedly) should know for 2015 was up. He looked at the list, and probable knew 10 of the 15, but that was knowledge acquired over 25+ years. Some of the other 5 languages were ones he said he wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole. I've often said to him, "Maybe I need to learn ___ language," and his reply is often, "Why? You can write, and can manage content, understand UX, and other stuff like that. Why would you want to learn coding?" "Because all these employers are asking for it." "Nah, don't bother. The odds of you actually using it are next to none." And he's usually right. What do you think? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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How high-tech clothes could be your next doctor - CNN.com

How high-tech clothes could be your next doctor - CNN.com | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
To find out about your body's vital signs, all you need to do is to get dressed, with smart fabrics letting you monitor your health with your clothes.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
As someone who has been interested in the future of wearables as well as one who has been working on improving my health, I found this interesting. If it was available at an affordable price, I'd be interested in it, and I can see the medical benefits proposed in this article. However, I'd be concerned about the accuracy of the data collected, the security of the data, and the reliability of the garment. When I say I question the reliability of the garment, the mom in me wondered if these garments could survive the clothes washer and clothes dryer for cleaning! What do you think of this next idea in wearables? What would it take for you to purchase it if available? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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Copycat--or Copyright?

Copycat--or Copyright? | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I have been tasked with working on a team that's in the process of setting up a new standard of practice and a new process for handling copyright documents and multimedia. While many of you may hav...
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Can Learning to Knit Help Learning to Code? | MindShift | KQED News

Can Learning to Knit Help Learning to Code? | MindShift | KQED News | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Handwork and technology might seem at first glance to be at odds. But there's a case to be made that handwork and computing -- and the kind of process that
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
Knitting to help learn code? Brilliant! There are many knitters in the tech comm world out there, including some well-known tech comm knitters such as Val Swisher, Sarah O'Keefe, Sharon Burton, and Marcia Riefer Johnston. In fact, I met these tech comm ladies DUE to knitting! Almost exactly 3 years ago, I attended my first Adobe Day at LavaCon, and we all went for a yarn crawl afterwards. I've been friends with them all ever since. Good company, for knitting AND tech comm and coding! There are many others out there too. And many of us do understand some part of how to code, because we have been trained to read patterns like the one in the article. Although I can say, I learned coding first, which made knitting easier! Have fun reading this article, and if you need help learning to knit, there are plenty of us in the tech comm community to help you bridge that gap. --TechCommGeekMom
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Is this how compliance training should be done? | TechCommGeekMom

Is this how compliance training should be done? | TechCommGeekMom | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
I've recently taken on a new "adventure" working for a large pharmaceutical company. Now, I've worked for pharmaceutical companies before, but it's been more than 20 years since my last job in the industry. One of the things I've been getting bombarded with in the past few weeks is that I have to do a…
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BBC - Future - How the internet is becoming a part of us

BBC - Future - How the internet is becoming a part of us | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Beyond Limits
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
When I was in grad school, we had an entire course that talked about the integration of technology with human kind. As time as progressed, technology has been adopted with mixed feelings. On one hand, technology can enhance our lives. On the other hand, at what point do we lose our humanity? The Six Million Dollar Man (look up 1970s television shows if you don't know who he is) , Luke Skywalker's robot hand--and heck, his dad, Darth Vader--should be included as examples that come to mind when technology and humanity come together. Oh, and Bicentennial Man, too. On the other hand, you could have Cybermen (see Doctor Who) or the Borg (see Star Trek), where humanity seems to be lost altogether. So, this begs the question, where does it stop? Even if the tech is helpful, what do we do to not lose our humanity in the process? Include your comments below. I'd like to know what you think. --TechCommGeekMom
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Adobe’s Plan to Make Your iPad as Good as Your Desktop

Adobe’s Plan to Make Your iPad as Good as Your Desktop | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Sync represents Adobe's latest push to bring professional creativity to mobile devices.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

This WIRED article picqued my interest. Adobe was definitely one of the first software companies to try to embrace iPad tech early on. I think I have almost every iPad app they've made, and I applaud them for their work towards working in a mobile medium. However, there will always be tools, like Framemaker, that I can't imagine being translated into an iPad app, even with the iPad Pro. Perhaps I'll be proven wrong at some point in time, but it leaves me with the question that's been hounding us since tablets--especially the iPad came out, namely, are we truly going to be a society using only mobile tools like smartphones and tablets, and the laptop/desktop will be obsolete? I think this move by Adobe shows that we are headed in that direction, but I suspect it's still not as close to being 100% mobile as people suspect. Unless storage memory, RAM, and processor speeds get to the point that they can process what's in a laptop as well for programming--or projects that would be made on tools like Framemaker (which is, by the way, an Adobe product, coincidentally enough), it's going to be a while until we are completely mobile. In many cases, even the some of the apps on the iPad that Adobe makes are watered down versions of the desktop/laptop versions, which in many cases is enough, but there are always exceptions. Is all of Creative Cloud in app form? I don't think so. But give it time...give it time...

 

What do you think? Include your comments below. 

--techcommgeekmom

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10 Awesome #WordPress Plugins for Podcasters | SEJ

10 Awesome #WordPress Plugins for Podcasters | SEJ | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Give your podcast a little extra umph with these ten WordPress plugins.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Thanks to Adam Helweh for posting this great article featured in the Search Engine Journal on Facebook. 

 

I know I'm investigating the idea of adding more podcasts to TechCommGeekMom, so seeing this article piqued my interest, especially since I am a WordPress user.  I thought this might also be of interest to other budding podcasters as well. 

 

This looks like a great list of tools to check out! 

--techcommgeekmom

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"Curation" versus Fair Use: How to keep your content safe

"Curation" versus Fair Use: How to keep your content safe | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
If you are curating content are you breaking the law? Understanding
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Mark Schaefer posted this article by Kerry O'Shea Gorgone from his website on LinkedIn. I know this is a fairly important subject, especially for content creators, whether they are creating for marketing reasons or otherwise. 

 

I know for myself, I use ScoopIt! to help me curate content so that it points to the original source (or at least the source where I got the information), or I try to ensure that I make some sort of citation either directly or through a hyperlink to the source of my information. It's no different than making sure you included footnotes of stuff when you were a kid doing a research paper for school, except this is real world content. 

 

There are some good tips here, for sure. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Stop Weaving Your Content Into a New Form of English

Stop Weaving Your Content Into a New Form of English | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
How learning to weave on a loom became the perfect reminder to produce better content.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Val Swisher of Content Rules does it again, using an analogy that I can personally understand. Val is an incredible crafter, and she is adding weaving to her collection of craft skills. I have my own weaving loom as well, and have been self teaching myself as well. (PS Val--check out YouTube videos, and see if there are videos on how to warp your particular loom. That helped me immensely.) Anyway, she's written an excellent article that anyone can understand about using technical terms and trying to explain them in plain English. Technical writing doesn't have to be limited to software or technology itself, but it can be about a technique used for centuries as well--like weaving. 

 

Read this, and you'll understand what I mean. 

 

This inspires me to get my loom out and try again...;-)

--techcommgeekmom

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Out of Work? Here's Why Your Career Isn't Over | Glassdoor Blog

Out of Work? Here's Why Your Career Isn't Over | Glassdoor Blog | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
While losing a job is hard for anyone, it can hurt even more for older workers, particularly if they have to take a job they perceive is beneath them.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I'm posting this because I know a lot of 40-somethings and 50-somethings looking for jobs right now, and they are not easy to come by. I'm not quite in the 50-year range yet, and I'm getting close! My problem is that as a technical communicator, I've been in the field for about 3-4 years, but as a worker who has done some tech comm related work before officially revamping my career path, I've been working...a lot longer. I'm probably too expensive as a beginner, but not experienced enough for other jobs that peers my age who have been in the business longer would make. It's a hard conundrum for me to be in, to say the least. 

 

There are some good pieces of advice in here though, several items which I also have been doing and follow. Good thing I bought a new, hip but age-appropriate dress for interviews in the future! 

 

Do you agree with these suggestions? Comment below. 

--TechCommGeekMom

 

 

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Anger at ‘stolen’ online courses on Udemy - BBC News

Anger at ‘stolen’ online courses on Udemy - BBC News | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Udemy, a platform for experts to share courses in any subject, has been accused not doing enough to remove stolen content from its service.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This is a big blow to the MOOC and online learning industry. Online learning, as we know it now, is big business. To have one of the larger providers of online learning, Udemy, have a big problem with copyright infringement and other administrative issues should be a wake up call to all online learning providers. Check your protocols now! It could well save you from the headache that Udemy is suffering from now. Be accountable!
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Mapping Words Around Australia

Mapping Words Around Australia | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
As part of the Linguistics Roadshow, we put together a short survey on some Australian English vocabulary. We invited people to fill it in and tell us which words they prefer for particular things,...
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Thanks to Kirsty Taylor for posting this article on Facebook. I tell you, I went into the wrong field. I should've gone into linguistics. I love to read articles like this. Usually, I post about the differences in American or British vocabulary or accents, but Kirsty has provided this link to differences found in Australia. It's still all English, my friends! It's interesting to see these patterns of terms used around the country. And my New Jersey answer for the question of "does 'dance' rhyme with 'aunts' or 'pants'", I say both! LOL  

 

Take a look at this, and see where you might fit in with your use of English. It's another example of how there really is no such thing as "global English", and that we need to pay attention to localized language. 

 

What's your reaction to this? Include your comments below. 

--techcommgeekmom

 

 

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Mobile computing will eat the world and change the menu

Mobile computing will eat  the world and change the menu | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Web Summit talk by Benedict Evans showed just how revolutionary the smartphone is
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This is a fascinating article that covers one of the talks at the recent Web Summit in Dublin, Ireland. I've read this idea of mobile's trajectory for years, and here's someone that confirms it with some facts and figures. This is not only important for e-learning, but all aspects of use going forward. Do you agree? I think the speed of mobile's dominance is hard to predict, but there's no question the disruption is happening in leaps and bounds. The problem is, not everyone has still caught on that mobile is gaining dominance globally. Include your insights below. --TechCommGeekMom
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How long will Flash survive? - BBC News

How long will Flash survive? - BBC News | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Many experts have predicted the demise of the once ubiquitous Flash plug-in. How long will it survive?
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
As the video in this article points out, the death of Flash has been proclaimed since around 2010, yet it still hangs on. I'll have to post the case study I wrote about it at the time (if I didn't post it already at some point) in which I concluded that we needed to move on as well. However, having worked in several rather large companies, these companies are often slower to adapt to current technology, let alone outdated technology, which might be the reason it clings on for dear life. What do you think? Should we be making a greater effort to move away from Flash and towards leaner coding that works with multiple platforms, or continue to support Flash? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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EU doctor suspended from UK work for 'poor English test' - BBC News

EU doctor suspended from UK work for 'poor English test' - BBC News | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
An Italian doctor has been suspended from practising in the UK after failing an English language test.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
This seems like something rather controversial, but in my opinion, it's not so much. It's great that doctors want to be able to help others by practicing in various EU countries, but it should be imperative that those doctors can communicate and understand medical instructions correctly in the country they are in. The first thing that came to my mind was the entire reason that Translators Without Borders was created--to help bridge that communication gap, especially with medicine and aid. As this article states at the end, there was a precedence for this requirement for doctors licensed outside the UK and wanting reciprocal licensing to practice in the UK. I am not aware if there is anything like this in Canada or the US. (Let me know if this is the case in the comments.) I don't think it's anything but practical, really, if you think about it. If medical instructions are not communicated correctly, it could be a matter of life or death--literally. What do you think? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom .
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A 'Sputnik' moment for women in technology (Opinion) - CNN.com

A 'Sputnik' moment for women in technology (Opinion) - CNN.com | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
If women don't participate in technology, we risk losing many of the economic, political and social gains we have made over decades.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
I've written many times about encouraging girls to be women in STEM, and this is an excellent article to support it. The author mentions something that I've written about before, which is that the UK and other nations are already implementing STEM programs for school-age curriculums, so why isn't there more in the US? Compelling article. Do you agree? Comment below. --TechCommGeekMom
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Digital dependence 'eroding human memory' - BBC News

Digital dependence 'eroding human memory' - BBC News | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
An over-reliance on using computers and search engines is weakening people's memories, according to a study.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:
As I've written about mobile and memory and done presentations/workshops that relate to this topic, I would argue that this is just an evolutionary step. There is too much data on the Internet for a human to fully absorb, so steps are made to capture the knowledge the best way available. Doing a proper search takes some skill to find the right data, after all. Since time began, Walter Ong would argue, we've had to learn things in small pieces, and technology--whether it was repetitive storytelling, songs, or writing--has weakened the human mind. What do you think? Include your comments below. --TechCommGeekMom
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The Age of the Content Manager

The Age of the Content Manager | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it

When I started my career in tech writing, it was the age of the writer. Tech writers tended to work independently on a single book for months at a time. Better, for many, they not only got to write the book, they got to design it and shepherd it through the publication process. At the end of the process a book arrived from the printer and you got to keep a copy — I still have several. It was, from beginning to end, your work, your product, your book. Fewer of us get to work that way today. We now live in the age of the content manager. 

Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Mark Baker wrote an excellent and thought-provoking article on his "Every Page is Page One" blog that intrigues me, because he's trying to address the balance between technical communications having a foundation in technical writing, versus tech comm having a foundation in content management. He makes sound arguments for both sides, and I can say that I understand where he's coming from. I like to think of myself as a content strategist and definitely a content manager, but there's a side of me that longs to continue to craft the art of writing well. His assertion at the end of the article about the use of hypertext theory is an interesting one as well, as it's something that's crossed my mind as well. 

 

Take a look at this. Do you agree with Mark's assessment and how he came to his conclusions? What do you think? Include your answers below. 

--techcommgeekmom

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Restarting Your Business Blog? Five Mistakes to Avoid

Restarting Your Business Blog? Five Mistakes to Avoid | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
Towards the end of last year, I found myself in a blogging slump, which as you can imagine was not something I wanted to talk much about. I am, after
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

My LinkedIn connection Holly Genser posted this LinkedIn article by Linda Dessau, and it's rather good. I know for myself, it was reassuring that even the best bloggers burn out now and then, and sometimes there are circumstances that don't allow you to write or post as much as in the past (which is my circumstance right now). 

 

Linda's pointers are good ones, and they are realistic and obtainable, at least in my eyes. 

 

Are these easy mistakes to avoid? I think so. Read the article, and tell me what you think.

--techcommgeekmom


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Five Reasons Job-Hunting Is Harder Than It Should Be

When did the job search process get broken? Years ago, getting a new job was a straightforward process.

--Liz Ryan

Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

I've been following Liz Ryan on LinkedIn for a while now, and I appreciate her insights on job hunting. Instead of automation for picking out candidates, it'd be nice if the HR industry would develop a better way to come up with a better UX for onboarding! That process is always a mess with filling out too many forms and the process of verifying education and employment taking too long.

Having been unemployed several times over the past few years, as well as having several friends in the same situation, it's hard to see talented people get passed over because a machine doesn't see a special keyword. I've learned to use keywords to say things such as, "I don't know (keyword), but I understand XYZ, so I'm sure I can pick that skill up quickly," to try to trick the system. It's a pain, but somehow it helps.

 

Take a look at this if you are frustrated about finding work. If you are an employer, take a look, and think about what you can do to find the talented people you really want.

--techcommgeekmom 

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Welcome to the ‘MacGyver age of content creation’: Content Camp + PodCamp Philly

Welcome to the ‘MacGyver age of content creation’: Content Camp + PodCamp Philly | M-learning, E-Learning, and Technical Communications | Scoop.it
NPR's Linda Holmes delivered the keynote at the annual unconference, trying to find hope in the content chaos.
Danielle M. Villegas's insight:

Thanks to David Dylan Thomas for sharing this on Facebook.

I attended this fantastic "un-conference" last weekend (which David was at, too, and was one of the conference team members), and I don't think I could write a better summary myself. This was a little different than some other conferences I went to because it was very casual, and it focused on more media-based content rather than only text-based. I learned about apps like Periscope, learned a little history about podcasting, learned about content within the context of media, and digital hacks to help with work and personal life. I got to spend time with some of my STC-PMC friends, as well as made some new friendship as well. The event was very inexpensive, and I enjoyed being around a lot of creative minds. It helped spark my mind, at least! I enjoyed the event quite a bit, and look forward to attending future events by this group if I can. 

 

If you have something like this in your area, I encourage you to go! You never know what you may learn, or who you may meet. 

--techcommgeekmom

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