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STC TC Communicator
Published by the Twin Cities Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication
                                                                                                               January 2017, Volume 3, Issue 1
Our January Meeting

Single Source Content Management Using a Help Authoring Tool
with Barbara Beresford

Are you considering single-source content management for improved usability and efficiency, but you don't have requirements for XML and/or DITA? If so, join this program on using a help authoring tool (for example, RoboHelp) to efficiently manage your content, while delivering multiple output types, including print documentation, ebooks, WebHelp, and Responsive HTML5 Help.

You can create and manage highly usable content for your users, while improving your efficiency.

Developing content using a help authoring tool involves the following best practices:   
  • Designing minimalist content for topic-based authoring
  • Getting started with your help authoring tool
  • Adding and editing content in your help project
  • Using a version control system for the help project
  • Generating output types
  • Integrating online help output with software
January 10, 2017
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Wilder Foundation
451 Lexington Pkwy N
St. Paul, MN 55104

> Free Parking in Ramp


Register Online

STC TC has created a Facebook group. It's basically a chat room where members who are on Facebook can join a private discussion of all things tech comm!

Join us here. Your requests will be approved as they come in.


STC Certification: Twin Cities CPTC™ Class is Next Month

Training for the Certified Professional Technical Communicator - Foundation Level is fast approaching. The class will run on February 9th and 10th!

Nine core areas of technical communication will be covered. These will prepare you for the certification exam. An APMG-accredited CPTC trainer, Chris Hester, will lead the class. The textbook is available online.

If you need further information about attending the upcoming CPTC class in February or if you'd like to schedule a private class for your organization, please contact Chris Hester at



Chris Hester, Certification Instructor

The Technical Writing and Communication Program at the University of Minnesota


Part I: Curriculum


Part II: Students and faculty talk about training!


Part III: Students discuss program design, features, fit, and personal goals.


 The University of Minnesota
Technical Writing Program

Part I of III

Hello everyone,
My name is Ayanfe and I’m a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Technical Writing and Communication. In the next three issues, I will be providing a brief overview on the technical writing program offered here, alongside opinions from various faculty and students. Part I of this series will focus on the curriculum and courses students can take. In Part II, I will be interviewing my professors and technical writing professionals. Enjoy!
The technical writing program offered at the University offers students a combination of written, digital, oral, and visual communication theory applied to interdisciplinary areas of science and technology. The curriculum not only educates students on technical writing theory, but also gives them the practical skills and expertise in order to succeed after graduation.
Overall, the curriculum is highly flexible and can vary from student to student, but there are approximately nine core courses (25 cr.) that every student needs to take in order to build a solid base of technical writing concepts. Examples are: Introduction to Technical Writing and Communication, Technical and Professional Writing, and Rhetorical Theory for TWC.  In addition to the nine core classes, students must take 12 credits from two categories:

  • Oral, Written, Visual, and Digital Communication (6 cr.). Examples are: Business and Professional Writing, Public Writing, and Writing with Digital Technologies.
  • Science, Technology, and Society (6 cr.). Examples are: Writing on Issues of Science and Technology, Writing and Modern Cultural Movements, and Humanistic Healthcare and Communication.
Beyond these aforementioned categories, students must also specialize in one of four sub-plans (15 cr.);  Information Technology and Design, Environmental Science, Biological and Health Sciences, and Legal Discourse and Public Policy. The sub-plan courses do not cover technical writing concepts and ideas; rather, they supplement knowledge learned from core classes, and offer a more nuanced perspective on how one can apply technical writing expertise to other fields.
I am in the Legal Discourse and the Public Policy sub-plan, because of my interest in sociology; the core classes I have taken, alongside the ones catered to my sub-plan, have expanded my learning. Last semester I took Sociology of Law, which really exemplified this intersection of fields by providing a topic that I’m passionate about and improving my writing skills related to the law. Because the course was not part of the core curriculum and was mostly populated by pre-law students, I was constantly exposed to ideas and writing strategies that are not common to technical writing courses. For example, all of the assignments required students to write about various sociological theories and their applications to modern law, and in order to receive top grades, the professor expected a high level of analysis, depth, and detail. Although my technical writing courses have comparable requirements, they have a greater emphasis on the fundamentals of technical writing and theory, rather than on analysis. My sub-plan course on Sociology of Law, on the other hand, helped me develop specialized skills in writing analysis and detail that are needed in the field of Content Strategy, which is my career goal.

The courses provided here at the University are so varied in technical subject matter and methodology that students are well prepared for the job market, and the courses offer opportunities for everyone to find their niche.

Next month, in Part II, I will be interviewing my professors and technical writing professionals to compare formal technical writing education in the past to the education provided now.

Are you interested by what you've just read? If you have any questions for me or my professors, please contact me at

For further reference regarding the curriculum, visit the University website which details the classes and requirements in full.
Thank you,



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