hand-pointing Use Technically We Write in the classroom

Instructors are welcome to share our content with their classes as a useful resource in technical writing.

In colleges and universities around the world, students are returning to campus, and professors are preparing for the start of classes. We hope Technically We Write will be a useful resource for faculty who teach technical writing. To any faculty who have recently discovered Technically We Write: "Welcome!"

Technically We Write is an open community about technical writing, technical editing, usability, web content, and everything else under the "technical communication" category. On this site, you'll find articles about every corner of technical communication.

New skills and tools

Technically We Write thrives on articles about how to use different tools and technologies in technical communication. We encourage instructors to share these articles with students.

HTML: Jim wrote several articles about getting started in writing your own HTML. A gentle introduction to HTML provides the basics on block and inline elements with <div> and <span>. Writing technical documents in HTML explains the basic HTML tags used in technical writing. Write HTML documentation with style introduces how to add a stylesheet to control the appearance of an HTML document.

Drupal: Nadiia wrote an excellent series about how to use the Drupal web content management system to create feature-rich websites. What's new and cool in Drupal 10.1 highlights several new features for web content authors. ChatGPT integration with Drupal websites and Using ChatGPT content assistance with Drupal both explain how to use ChatGPT with your Drupal website. How to schedule content for future publishing in Drupal shows how to build a publication queue. Boost SEO with URL redirects in Drupal explains how to guide users to find content on your website.

DITA and Oxygen: Robin shared an article series about how to reuse and remix content using DITA, with the Oxygen XML Editor: Solving the copy/paste problem is an introduction to DITA, and Manage DITA projects in Oxygen is an introduction to Oxygen XML Editor. DITA topics with Oxygen explains how DITA topics work together.

Robin further explained DITA topics in her series on DITA files: DITA Concept files in Oxygen and DITA by example: Concept files for descriptions about a thing or process. DITA Task files in Oxygen and DITA by example: Task files for steps to perform a task. DITA References in Oxygen and DITA by example: Reference files for just the facts. Putting it all together with DITA Maps explains how to transform DITA topics into full documents with a DITA Map.

LaTeX: The LaTeX document preparation system remains popular in scientific and engineering because it makes typesetting equations simple. Refer to our ongoing series of how-to articles explaining how to use LaTeX: Getting started with LaTeX explains how to write your first LaTeX document. LaTeX by example provides a reference of typical LaTeX formatting. LaTeX by example: equations shows how to add math to a scientific document. LaTeX by example: code listings demonstrates several ways to provide source code in a document. LaTeX by example: tables shows how to include tabular data in documents.

Usability: Jim shared an article series about how to meet the needs of users through usability testing. Quick start guide to usability testing provides an overview. How to write usability testing personas explores crafting descriptions of your users, while Writing great user stories shows how to connect those personas to activities. How many usability testers explains why you only need five testers for most tests. The art of the scenario task emphasizes that good usability test questions set a brief context then ask the tester to do something specific. Analyzing usability tests with heat maps provides another way to understand usability test results and prioritize improvements.

Learn about roles

Technically We Write has interviews and roundups with professionals in the technical communication industry. These can be excellent resources in class about the different ways students might find their way in a career in technical communication.

Seth Kenlon shared his journey in technical communication in Perspectives on technical writing.

Jim Hall described his role as editor for Technically We Write in My role as an editor.

AmyJune Hineline discussed technical writing and working with the Drupal community in Your journey in technical writing.

Don Watkins shared his passion and experience as a technical writer about Linux and open source in Technical writing as a passion project.

Mike Saunders at The Document Foundation discussed LibreOffice, its history, and what it can do in An introduction to LibreOffice.

Brian Kernighan discussed the history of nroff and troff, and how he writes his books in Technical writing with GNU groff.

Nick Rosencrans talked about usability testing, how to do usability testing, and how to get started in the field in Learning about usability.

Tech writing history

RUNOFF was an early significant milestone in technical writing, using the computer to process text. We interviewed Jerry Saltzer about it in A brief history of RUNOFF.

Unix nroff and troff were milestones in technical writing, and a favorite returning topic at Technically We Write. A look back: Technical writing with nroff and troff and nroff by example: the basics explore basic formatting. Watch: How to write documents with groff -me is a visual walkthrough of using nroff and troff to prepare documents with the popular -me macro package. Nroff by example: manual pages shows how to prepare online manual ("man") pages. Groff by example: equations with eqn demonstrates how to format equations with the eqn preprocessor. Tables with groff tbl explains how to include tables in a document using the tbl preprocessor. Code samples with GNU groff demonstrates how to include inline and block code samples in troff documents.

GNU groff is the modern replacement for the original nroff and troff programs on Unix. And groff remains under active development. To learn more about the latest release, Jim interviewed several of the groff developers in GNU groff: Powerful document formatting in a small package (G. Branden Robinson) and Modern troff with GNU groff (Deri James).

We also like to reflect on previous technical writing tools in our ongoing "A look back" article series. A look back: WordStar 4.0 for DOS demonstrates a classic desktop word processor. A look back: Microsoft Word for DOS 5.5 shows how this DOS-based word processor still feels familiar with modern writers. A look back: WordPerfect on DOS explores the development of this extremely popular word processor from the 1980s and early 1990s. A look back: Galaxy word processor highlights a feature-rich DOS word processor with a low price.

A look back: Unix from 50 years ago shares a video walkthrough of how technical writers used tools like ed and nroff to prepare documents on early Unix systems. Check spelling on Linux with this cool script shows how technical writers checked spelling in documents with Unix 3rd Edition tools, while How to check spelling on old school Unix shows how to create your own spell-check tools on Unix 2nd Edition.

Please share

We welcome all instructors to use any material from our website in your courses. Technically We Write aims to publish everything under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) license. This makes it easy to incorporate articles from Technically We Write into your courses. Feel free to link to our articles or copy them into your course management system, with attribution and under the same CC BY-SA terms.

Some images in a few articles may be published under a different license. These instances are rare, and any exceptions should be noted for you in the articles.