RE: How do I teach manual writing in a four-hour seminar?

Subject: RE: How do I teach manual writing in a four-hour seminar?
From: Bill Swallow <bill_swallow -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L listserv <TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Jul 2000 05:35:41 -0700 (PDT)

<snip>
I've recently begun my hand at consulting after
teaching writing for a number of years. One problem

I'm faced with is this: Many organizations will
want me to teach their staff how to write manuals
(which I've done in multi-session classes). But for

the one-day seminar that many businesses want, how
do I compress the steps into a short period while
doing justice to the process? Is it even possible?
</snip>

First, make no guarantees that a four hour class will
make a good tech writer out of anyone. If it were that
easy, we wouldn't be in this line of work (or at least
not in such a healthy market).

Second, stress that the four hour course is nothing
more than an introduction and a basic guide, nothing
more. If you want to press your luck, you can offer
"advanced courses" should they have difficulty after
your first class is over.

I think your best approach is to provide your class
with training procedures and examples of good
documentation. A bare-bones style guide might help
them as well, at least to help keep their writing
consistent.

I was tasked with teaching a client how to maintain
their Help system in RoboHelp. The people I was
training knew nothing about online Help or technical
documentation. It was... interesting... but in the end
they were able to make the text and hyperlink changes
themselves. Any other work required a consultant to
step in. It wasn't the best solution, but it was what
the client wanted (to "save money"). I don't think
they got their money's worth though. ;-)



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