Velasquez. Las Meninas (1656)


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Weekly Schedule

August 24
August 31
September 7
September 14
September 21
September 28
October 5
October 12
October 19
October 26
November 2
November 9
November 16
November 23
November 30
December 7


Other Links

ACC home page
BGTCM Program home page

Course Overview

This course begins with a general focus on FrameMaker in which you learn basic and book-building skills, along with some formatting and writing exercises. You'll study tutorials and then send me files that demonstrate you have understood the FrameMaker tasks in the tutorials. There will be several projects in this course in which you format existing text and graphics or write original documents. The final project involves a brief "book" that has all the formatting and automation elements we have studied during the course.

Note: Links have been omitted from this page.

Contact me (David McMurrey) for information on how to download and install the free Technical Communication license key, which will expire end of this semester. Go to adobe.com and download the trial version.

MadCap Software has developed an alternative to FrameMaker that it calls Flare. You might to experiment with Flare to check out that claim:

http://www.madcapsoftware.com/demos/player.aspx?v=f38419b334f86

Here are the accompanying slides:

http://assets.madcapsoftware.com/webinar/Presentation_FrameMakertoFlarePrepProcess.pdf

Instructor David A. McMurrey
Class meetings None: online-only class
Office Northridge 4225
Office hours Thurs. 10:00-3:00, and by apptmt. (Always call before driving all the way out to Northridge Campus.)
E-mail davidm@austincc.edu

Week of August 24

Getting organized. In the first week of this course, let's get oriented and organized.

Fill out the questionnaire — due Aug. 27
Write the personal memo — due Aug. 27
See the personal memos
Watch the course overview. These videos do not use audio; they use call-outs instead.

Note: You may need to click the Full Screen button to be able to see better and be ready to click the Pause button if things go too fast. If this MP4 does not work for you, I can generate an MP3 which will. Let me know.

FrameMaker basics. Use the FrameMaker basics tutorial to get familiarized with basic tasks such as creating and saving files, making text italics or bold, changing fonts, setting page numbers, applying standard tags (such as for headings or numbered lists).

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker. Chapter 1: Introduction
Watch the FrameMaker basics recorded tutorial.
Read the FrameMaker basics tutorial (web page) FrameMaker 9. You may find these version 9 tutorials a useful supplement; these core functions have changed little from version 9 to the version we are using in this course.

Do the FrameMaker basics practice for FrameMaker — due Aug. 30

Week of August 31

FrameMaker paragraph and character tags. You'll learn how to apply tags in FrameMaker and how to modify them as necessary. Very recently, FrameMaker is now calling tags "styles."

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 3: Character and Paragraph Tags
Watch the tags overview.
Watch the focus on overrides.
Read FrameMaker tags tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9. (web page).

Do the FrameMaker tags practice — due Sept. 3

FrameMaker tags project. In this project, you use existing FrameMaker tags to format text so that it looks exactly like a PDF document (developed originally in FrameMaker).

FrameMaker tags project — due Sept. 6

Readings in documentation. This course is more than simply about FrameMaker; it is also about the profession of technical communication. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe 2 (constructing text): ReadMe 2 Quiz — due Sept. 6
ReadMe 4 (structuring): ReadMe 4 Quiz — due Sept. 6


Week of September 7

Master pages in FrameMaker. Learn how to apply master pages in FrameMaker, and learn how to modify and create your own.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 2: Master Pages and Text Flows
Watch the master pages overview
Read the FrameMaker master-pages tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

Do the FrameMaker master-pages practice — due Sept. 10

Templates in FrameMaker. Review how to apply templates in FrameMaker, and learn how to create your own.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker: Chapter 1. Review the sections on templates.
Watch the templates overview.
Read the FrameMaker templates tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

Do the FrameMaker templates practice — due Sept. 10

FrameMaker chapter-formatting project. Use graphics and unformatted text supplied by your instructor, create a well-designed technical document using FrameMaker and FrameMaker tags that you have specified.

FrameMaker chapter-formatting project — due Sept. 13

Procedure-writing review. To get ready to write a good instructional procedure, read the link below. This is a collection of topics you may not have encountered before. But getting writing style, headings, numbered and bulleted lists, highlighting, graphics, and tables standard is critical inthe brief procedure projects.

McMurrey. Procedure-writing review

Brief procedure project 1. Get started on the brief procedure in which in at least two FrameMaker pages you provide some instructions. Be sure to apply the guidelines on writing style, headings, lists, notices, and highlighting that you have studied previously.

Brief procedure documentation project 1 — due Sept. 20

Readings in documentation. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe 3 (writing style): ReadMe 3 Quiz — due Sept. 13
ReadMe 7 (procedures): ReadMe 7 Quiz — due Sept. 13


Week of September 14

Brief procedure project 1. Don't forget—this thing is due this week.

Brief procedure documentation project 1 — due Sept. 20

FrameMaker tables. In this unit, use the FrameMaker table tutorial to learn how how to create tables in FrameMaker. (You'll need to use tables when you do the book-design project in one of the next units.)

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 4: Tables
No tables video; easy stuff.
Read the FrameMaker tables tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

Do the FrameMaker tables practice — due Sept. 17

Basic page design. Study some of the standard specifications for headings, lists, notices, cross-references, tables, highlighting, simple typography and layout issues, and other. Explore what is common or standard, focusing particularly on page design concepts for written instructions and rhetorical strategies for writing effective instructions.

McMurrey. Page design
Page design quiz — due Sept. 17

ReadMe 10 (document types): ReadMe 10 Quiz — due Sept. 20


Week of September 21

Okay. This is hell week in this course. We're trying to fit units in to give you extra time at semester's end to do your own FrameMaker project. If one or two of these practice units spill over to next week, no problem.

Anchored frames & graphics with FrameMaker. Learn how to create and incorporate graphics into FrameMaker documents (with anchored frames) as well as how to use screen captures as well as create simple drawings in FrameMaker.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 5: Drawing Tools
Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 6: Imported Graphics
Watch the anchored frames overview.
Read the FrameMaker anchored-frames tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.
No video for graphics.
Read the FrameMaker graphics tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

For the FrameMaker graphics and anchored frames practice, send in the work you do for the tutorial. — due Sept. 24

Autonumbering with FrameMaker. Learn how to automate any numbering stream in a FrameMaker book for rapid updating.

Watch the autonumbering overview 1.
Watch the autonumbering overview 2.
Read the FrameMaker autonumbering tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.


Do the FrameMaker autonumbering practice — due Sept. 24

Brief procedure 2. Find another relatively simple task you are familiar with, and then document that task using FrameMaker and FrameMaker tags that you have designed. Once again, be sure to apply the guidelines on writing style, headings, lists, notices, and highlighting that you have studied previously. This assignment has been canceled. Too much work!

Brief procedure documentation project 2 — due Oct. 11

Readings in documentation. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe 1 (writing mechanics): ReadMe 1 Quiz — due Sept. 27
ReadMe 12 (illustrations): ReadMe 12 Quiz — due Sept. 27


Week of September 28

Book building and TOCs with FrameMaker. Learn how to build a book and generate, format, and update automated tables of contents.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 11: Books
McMurrey. Traditional book setup

Watch the simple book-building overview .
Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 12: Tables of Contents
Read the FrameMaker book-building and TOC tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

Do the FrameMaker book-building and TOC: practice — due Oct. 1

Basic book design. Study or review the standard components of a user guide, from front cover to back cover. We'll explore what is common or standard, look at your user guides, and develop specification grids for decision making.

McMurrey. Book design
Book design quiz — due Oct. 4


Week of October 5

Brief procedure project 2. Don't forget—this thing is due this week.

Brief procedure documentation project 2 — due Oct. 11

Cross-references with FrameMaker. Learn how to create various styles of cross-references using FrameMaker book—both within the same document and between documents.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 10: Cross-references
Watch the cross-referencing overview.
Read the FrameMaker cross-reference tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

Do the FrameMaker cross-reference practice — due Oct. 8

Reference pages with FrameMaker. Learn how to use FrameMaker reference pages to store frequently used graphics that must be positioned consistently throughout a document, to hold boilerplate material or clip art that you can copy and paste on body pages (for example, symbols for cautions and notes), and to maintain hypertext commands, formatting information for generated lists and indexes, definitions of custom math elements, and mappings for converting to XML and HTML.

Read the FrameMaker reference-page tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.
Watch the reference page overview.
For the FrameMaker reference-page practice, please send in the work you do in the tutorial — due Oct. 8

Book-formatting project with FrameMaker. Your project will be to build a book—complete with automated page numbers, cross-references, tables of contents, indexes, headers, and footers—from text supplied by the instructor.

Watch the Book-formatting project orientation (web page) for FrameMaker 9.
Watch the Book-formatting project part 1 for FrameMaker 10.
Watch the Book-formatting project part 2 for FrameMaker 10.

Readings in documentation. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe 11 (editors): ReadMe 11 Quiz — due Oct. 11
ReadMe C (writing style): ReadMe C Quiz — due Oct. 11


Week of October 12

Book-formatting project. Keep working on that book-formatting project — due Nov. 1

Variables and conditional text with FrameMaker. Learn how to variables for rapid updating and how to enable different versions of the same documents using conditional text.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 8: System and User Variables
Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 9: Conditional Text
Watch the variables overview.
FrameMaker variables and conditional-text tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.
Watch the conditional-text overview

Do the FrameMaker variables and conditional text practice — due Oct. 18


Week of October 19

Book-formatting project. Keep working on that book-formatting project — due Nov. 1


Indexing with FrameMaker. Read about standard process and guidelines for indexing hardcopy books, and then learn how to create indexes using FrameMaker.

Read Janet Underwood, Mastering Adobe FrameMaker, Chapter 13: Indexes
Watch the FrameMaker indexing overview for FrameMaker 9.
Read the FrameMaker indexing tutorial (web page) for FrameMaker 9.

Do the FrameMaker indexing practice — due Oct. 22

Readings in documentation. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe 18 (indexing): ReadMe 18 Quiz — due Oct. 25
McMurrey. IndexingIndexing quiz — due Oct. 25
ReadMe 17 (glossaries): ReadMe 17 Quiz — due Oct. 25


Week of October 26

Book-formatting project. Don't forget; this thing is due end of this week: Nov. 1

Final project startup. Find some computer hardware or software product to develop a user guide for. Use the same ideas for project possibilities listed in the brief procedure project.

Project ideas
First draft — due Dec. 6
Final draft — due Dec. 13

Final-project announce. Finish developing your project, and post details about it on your project websie so that the rest of the class can see what you are up to.

Set up your final-project page. (To post your project plans, click Project plans in the light blue area.) — due Nov. 1
View final projects

First and final draft due dates. Here's the plan.

Turn in the first, or "preliminary" draft of your final project. I'll turn it back around to you with comments as fast as I can — due Dec. 6
Using my comments, complete the final draft of your project and send it in — due Dec. 13


Week of November 2

Final project—continued. Keep working on your final project.

Visit to a FrameMaker forum. Post a question or search for an answer in a FrameMaker forum. (This forum changes seemingly every month. If it's out of date, let me know.)

Watch the FrameMaker forum overview
FrameMaker forum visit — due Nov. 5

Readings in documentation. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe A (publications): ReadMe A Quiz — due Nov. 8

Week of November 9

Final project—continued. Keep working on your final project.
Readings in documentation. Read about theory, process, and format related to documentation.

ReadMe 8 (international): ReadMe 8 Quiz — due Nov. 1
ReadMe 9 (legal): ReadMe 9 Quiz — due Nov. 8
ReadMe 14 (GUIs): ReadMe 14 Quiz — due Nov. 15

Week of November 16

Final project—continued. Keep working on your final project.

Week of November 23

Final project—continued. Keep working on your final project.

Week of November 30

PDFs with FrameMaker What you send to your client. I don't need to see this, but make sure you know how to PDF your entire book.

Mastering Adobe FrameMaker: Chapter 13: Publishing (this covers PDFs)

First draft. Turn in the first, or "preliminary" draft of your final project. I'll turn it back around to you with comments as fast as I can.

First draft — due Dec. 6


Week of December 7

Final draft. Using my comments, complete the final draft of your project and send it in.

Final draft — due Dec. 13



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