A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Collaboration

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476.
#26926

Leadership in Collaboration: Filmmaking and Interaction Design

For projects of importance, you need divergent skills to succeed. It is not possible to find an individual with all of the skill sets needed, nor would you want to. To create a first rate website or software product, you need many tasks to be done in parallel, which means that more than one person has to be working at them. As soon as two or more people are involved, the dynamic for how decisions are made, and how work gets done, becomes important. Any group of people can do work together, but it takes the right approach and team philosophy for that group to produce good work. Collaboration is critical in any creative pursuit involving groups of people, from filmmaking, to urban architecture or even web and software development.

Berkun, Scott. ScottBerkun.com (2002). Careers>Management>Collaboration>Interaction Design

477.
#30355

Leadership Through Empowerment

Assigning responsibility without sharing authority is like making someone a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but leaving out the bread. They know what they're supposed to chew, but have absolutely no way to handle, no way to manage the project.

Juillet, Christopher. Boston Broadside (1990). Articles>Management>Collaboration

478.
#37559

Learn from Your Topics and Collaborate

We tech writers can learn from our chunks of content: What makes a topic successful can also make us writers successful! I think there’s a lesson for tech writers here beyond team management: How successful you’ll be in your work as a tech writer depends on how well you define your job’s purpose and communicate it to others.

Weber, Kai. Kai's Tech Writing Blog (2010). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Collaboration

479.
#35494

Learn How Much You Don’t Know

I’m amazed when I hear people say they learn nothing from others in the technical communication field. Some people have a lot of experience, so they feel there are few opportunities to learn from others. I believe they forget that often through discussions, we discover a new perspective or a new way to solve an old problem. Different approaches can also lead to new techniques and solutions.

Mueller, Paul. Answers for All (2009). Articles>TC>Community Building>Collaboration

480.
#19514

Learning at Work: The Role of Technical Communication in Organizational Learning   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Concludes that technical support is an important audience for customer documentation and a source of knowledge. Proposes that technical communicators produce documentation that meets the needs of technical support and taps into that knowledge.

Wahl, Scott. Technical Communication Online (2003). Articles>Collaboration>Workplace

481.
#14209

Learning from the Work of Others

Rolf Molich has conducted two experiments comparing the work of different usability teams, examining their practices, and looking for patterns and differences. His experiments provide extremely valuable material for sharpening individual usability practices.

Schroeder, Will. User Interface Engineering (2002). Articles>Usability>Collaboration

482.
#22732

Learning Languages with Instant Messaging

While e-mail and discussion groups are other popular communication genres on the Internet, instant messaging is the most conducive to learning languages because of its synchronous nature. There are many ways to communicate over the Internet, but instant messaging is unique, because it almost simulates a face-to-face conversation. Unlike e-mail and discussion groups, users are not simply leaving messages to be read later. Users are both present, holding a live conversation. Although some of the subtle features of conversation are lost (such as facial expressions or tone of voice), instant messaging makes up for these disadvantages by being so widely accessible to so many people across the world.

Dean, Heather. Techniques (2003). Articles>Language>Collaboration>Instant Messaging

483.
#22690

Learning the Fine Art of Reviewing

If you asked me what the most painful part of being a technical writer is, my answer would be: 'Getting reviews on time. Getting good feedback and inputs on your work.' For me technical writing has been very pleasurable because I hardly got any review comments. My morale has therefore been very high. Project managers, developers and others are so busy trying to come up with good software (read trying to fix all the goof-ups and bugs!) that they usually tend to give documentation lesser importance. User manuals, who reads them anyway? We do not have time for it!

Kamath, Gurudutt R. IT People (2003). Articles>Editing>Collaboration>Technical Writing

484.
#36446

Learning the Hard Way (But Still Learning!): Using Team Teaching as a Vehicle for Pedagogical Change   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

I am the course director of MGT 3373 (Managerial Communication), a basic business communication course required for all business students attending a large university in the American Southwest. The course I inherited was functioning adequately, but it needed an infusion of energy and ideas to help it evolve into a more positive, relevant part of students’ educational experience. I was hired to transform MGT 3373 and given the charge to modernize the course, which had not been significantly updated for several decades. The transformation process is still in progress, and it involves revising curriculum, updat- ing policies, implementing technology, and promoting pedagogical innovation. I am committed to making the managerial communication course an exemplary course, recognized for pedagogical innovation and curricular excellence. MGT 3373 uses an integrated model of classroom instruction. This means that students attend one large lecture and two labs every week during the semester. I teach the large lecture, and seven instructors (including me) teach the 19 lab sections. In previous years, the lecture and labs functioned separately, with little coordination between what students learned in lecture and what they did in lab. Further, the instructors of these lab sections exercised “pedagogical autonomy”; instructional goals, classroom instruction, and assignments reflected individual preferences, styles, and habits.

Conn, Cynthia E. Business Communication Quarterly (2010). Articles>Education>Collaboration

485.
#14545

Learning to Listen   (PDF)

We have been given two ears and but a single mouth in order that we may hear more and talk less - Zeno of Citium, ancient philosopher. Listening is our most used communication skill, yet it is the skill that is taught the least. This paper discusses why people don’t listen and how we view those who don’t listen. The paper also covers how to actively listen and the benefits of effective listening.

Scroggs, Debbie L. STC Proceedings (1995). Presentations>Collaboration>Communication

486.
#26423

Learning to Use Virtual Team Collaboration to Solve Wicked Problems

The focus of this paper is the ELEARNING RESEARCH PROJECT (hereafter referred to as the EProject), a project to investigate how virtual teams collaborate to solve highly complex or wicked problems. The EProject designed, constructed, and assessed a Web-based collaborative learning environment to support virtual teams of intelligence analysts. The mission of these geo-distributed and cross-disciplinary teams is to learn to collaborate in order to integrate knowledge from diverse domains and thereby produce solutions for wicked problems.

Cupp, Stephanie, Joel Foreman, S. Gievska-Krliu, and Rachelle S. Heller. ACM Crossroads (2004). Articles>Collaboration>Online

487.
#21101

Less Than Metcalfe's Law

Metcalfe's Law basically tells us that as you connect n number of machines you get n squared in potential value. So, with 2 machines you get a value of 4. When you connect 10 machines, you get a value of 100. When you connect 200 machines, you get a value of 40,000. People like to apply this idea to the internet. In particular, people claim that the strength of the internet is a direct result of so many machines being connected. I think that this is bullshit.

Rhodes, John S. WebWord (2001). Articles>Collaboration>Online

488.
#34225

Let Them Eat Tweets - Why Twitter Is a Trap   (members only)

Twitter can be entertaining, and useful — and, really, who doesn’t like the illusion, from time to time, of lots of company? I have only lately begun to wonder whether I’d use Twitter if I were fully at liberty to do what I liked.

Heffernan, Virginia. New York Times, The (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Online>Social Networking

489.
#35010

Let Us Now Praise Editors

Editors are craftsmen, ghosts, psychiatrists, bullies, sparring partners, experts, enablers, ignoramuses, translators, writers, goalies, friends, foremen, wimps, ditch diggers, mind readers, coaches, bomb throwers, muses and spittoons -- sometimes all while working on the same piece.

Kamiya, Gary. Salon (2007). Articles>Editing>Collaboration

490.
#31276

Leveraging Collaborative Environments

Meet Scott, age 28, with a Dunkin' Donuts cup costume, a web site, a MySpace page and an archive of compelling brand content that, by the way, happens to rank number four in a Google search for the brand name. Scott is among the legions of brand enthusiasts who are knocking down the walls of the traditional "us versus them" brand relationship, demanding to be let in and be a part of the brand experience.

Key, Rob. Communication World Bulletin (2007). Articles>Web Design>Collaboration>Social Networking

491.
#32627

A Life Online: Living Decentralised

As the computing world becomes more and more decentralised, people are realising more and more ways to free themselves from a single PC, work socially, and live a life online. This paper discusses how you can take to this new way of working, how you can decentralise your tasks and methods of working. It discusses the online applications you can use to replace your PC‘s programs, identifying both benefits and drawbacks.

Mercurytide (2006). Articles>Collaboration>Online>Social Networking

492.
#28873

Liminality and Othering   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Subject matter experts, under the influence of modernist notions of authorship, often view technical writers as mere grammar and punctuation specialists and marginalize them as their ignorant 'other.' Technical writers, on the other hand, as rhetoricians occupying a liminal space between different disciplines, can understand different disciplinary rhetorics. If subject matter experts, instead of marginalizing technical writers, would view them as liminal subjects who are knowledgeable in different disciplinary rhetorics, then technical writers, through liminal practice, may be able to use their knowledge of audience and rhetoric to improve the quality of documentation.

Jeyeraj, Joseph. Journal of Business and Technical Communication (2004). Articles>TC>Theory>Collaboration

493.
#31337

The Link Between Communication and Teambuilding

In today's world, employees are searching for meaning in their work. They want to understand the big picture and how they can contribute to it. Companies are increasingly being asked to put the values they mention in their mission statements into practice. It is against this background that teambuilding is acquiring a whole new meaning.

Cambié, Silvia. Communication World Bulletin (2006). Articles>Communication>Collaboration

494.
#27246

Listening to the Customer's Voice

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing the software developer is sharing the vision of the final product with the customer. All stakeholders in a project-developers, end users, software managers, customer managers-must achieve a common understanding of what the product will be and do, or someone will be surprised when it is delivered. Surprises in software are almost never good news. Therefore, we need ways to accurately capture, interpret, and represent the voice of the customer when specifying the requirements for a software product.

Wiegers, Karl E. Process Impact. Articles>User Centered Design>Collaboration

495.
#35789

Listening: An Essential Skill for the Freelancer

How often do you really, truly listen to what a client has to say? Probably not often enough. This post looks at why you should.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Freelance>Collaboration

496.
#30326

Listening: the Often Forgotten Ingredient

If listening isn't in the mix when developing documentation, then the project may not cook.

Allen, Clare. Boston Broadside (1992). Articles>Documentation>Collaboration>SMEs

497.
#15159

Listservs: Connecting Students with Practitioners   (PDF)

An instructor of technical communication describes how she uses technology to give her students access to professionals in the field.

Dyke, Julie L. Intercom (2000). Articles>Collaboration>Mailing Lists

498.
#30005

Location is Everything When it Comes to Getting Information from SMEs

A 20 minute monologue about the best way to get information from SMEs--sit by them, permanently if possible. Many IT organizations station the writer remotely from the developers, programmers, and other SMEs, but nothing could be more damaging to getting the information you need. Increasing your proximity also increases the communication you receive.

Johnson, Tom H. Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>TC>Collaboration>SMEs

499.
#35966

Location is Everything When it Comes to Getting Information from SMEs

A 20 minute monologue about the best way to get information from SMEs: sit by them, permanently if possible. Many IT organizations station the writer remotely from the developers, programmers, and other SMEs, but nothing could be more damaging to getting the information you need. Increasing your proximity also increases the communication you receive.

Johnson, Tom H. Tech Writer Voices (2007). Articles>Collaboration>SMEs>Podcasts

500.
#31223

Location, Location, Location—Not!

One of the traditional signs of corporate success has been the corner office. Yet today some of the most successful communication executives don't have an office at all. They work from home, the airport, a visitor’s cubicle at headquarters, the back of a cab, a corner Starbucks or a beachfront cottage. If you’re setting up a corporate communication department today, it’s time to think outside the box—or the cubicle—when it comes to locating yourself and your coworkers.

Whitworth, Brad. Communication World Bulletin (2008). Careers>Workplace>Collaboration

 
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