• Welcome to the TC Dojo
    From the creators, producers, and host of Arbortext Monster Garage and TC Camp!
  • Looking for the Master series?
    Exclusive, member-driven discussions of the topics on your mind today

How does it work?

There are three ways to learn at the Dojo: Open Sessions, Master Series, and Private Sessions.

TC Dojo Public Sessions

TC Dojo Public Sessions

TC Dojo Open Sessions

Free General Audience Sessions
For students at every level.

In this Dojo, we cover a wide range of topics appropriate for a wide range of practitioners from the beginner to the advanced. Look for the code key:

  • B - Beginner
  • I - Intermediate
  • A - Advanced

Open Session Topics will be selected by the attendees and can cover anything of concern to Technical Communications professionals such as architectural design, analysis or tools.

Vote on upcoming sessions ›

The sessions run for only 30 minutes and meet once a month.

We may increase the frequency depending on audience interest and demand. However, we will always keep these sessions short and to the point.

TC Dojo Master Series

TC Dojo Master Series

TC Dojo Master Series

How much time, effort and money is it costing you to keep struggling to learn how to implement, grow, and transform your content by yourself?

These member only sessions meet once a month. The focus in the master session is to delve deeper into solving complex issues in real time amongst a small group of peers.

Sessions run 45 minutes once a month. The forum is open discussion with a moderator and a scribe. There is a fee to join the Master Series.

TC Dojo Master Series

One-on-One time with a Master

TC Dojo Private Sessions

Private sessions are one-on-one time between you and one of the TC Dojo masters where you can ask questions and get advice on issues specific to you.

TC Dojo Masters can advise on everything from constructing metrics and arguing for resources to C-level executives to data reuse strategies to down-and-dirty coding tips to meet specific output feature requirements. The subject of a private session is up to you.

Request a private session ›

Private sessions are handled through the Advisory Line. Sessions can run from a few minutes to a few hours and the cost varies. Compare options ›

Upcoming Sessions

  • Ageism in Techcomm

    • TC Dojo Open Session
    • Audience: B - Beginner
    • Cost: Free

    Hiring managers and older candidates often experience frustration that is related to ageism and generational differences. Andrew Davis, a recruiter of technology industry content developers (Technical Writers, Trainers, and those with related skills), sees these issues first-hand and helps his candidates resolve them. In this presentation, he’ll identify symptoms, causes, and solutions, all while seeking your input. Come prepared to participate; it’s sure to be a lively meeting.

    Watch the Video, see the slides, get the notes ›

    TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    A single conversation among a small group of peers. Attendees present their challenges and solicit advice in a confidential supportive environment with other Master Series Members who are going through, or who have gone through, the same thing!

    Become a member ›
  • Unhappy customers are Just the Beginning - Part 2

    Joseph Devney, Visiting Dojo Master

    • TC Dojo Open Session
    • Audience: B - Beginner
    • Cost: Free

    Part 2: Examples and stories about companies that have skimped on the documentation.

    A perennial question in the technical communication community is how to justify our work in financial terms that management will understand. One partial answer is to consider potential consequences of putting insufficient resources into technical documentation. What happens if the material is poorly written, or not written at all? Consequences can range from unhappy customers to wasted employee time to debilitating lawsuits—and worse. Joseph Devney uses statistics and real-life examples to illustrate some of the risks of having inadequate documentation.

    Joseph Devney, M.A., is an STC Fellow and president of the Berkeley chapter. He has seen his share of bad documentation, and done his best to improve it. Joe has been a guest speaker at several STC chapters and for other organizations, and taught document design at San Francisco State University

    Register ›

    TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    Get that networking experience you need without having to travel to get it!

    Share your expertise with others, while they share theirs with you. Discuss your challenges and solicit advice that applies to your unique situation.

    The Master Series provides an opportunity for discussion in a confidential, supportive environment. Network with your peers and benefit from each other's experiences.

    Join the TC Dojo Mastermind Group ›

    TC Camp 2015!

    • On-Site
    • Audience: ALL
    • Cost: $30 workshops/FREE unconference

    TC Camp is an Unconference focused on Technical Communications issues, skills, challenges, and the various applications used by technical communicators.

    The purpose of TC Camp is to provide a local bay area conference for technical communicators that is driven by the members of that community–writers, editors, designers, and the people who support them.

    Come to Camp ›
  • Information Architecture Bottom-up: Part 1. Organization

    Visiting Dojo Master: Mark Baker, Every Page Is Page One

    • TC Dojo Open Session
    • Audience: B - Beginner
    • Cost: Free

    The advent of electronic media and particularly the Web has profoundly changed how people seek and use information. Information seeking today is dominated by search, and not by search of individual works, but search of the whole: whole sites, whole doc sets, and, in particular, the whole Web. With search, and with hypertext systems, you don’t start at the top and work down, you dive to the bottom and work your way up or sideways. Despite these changes, much tech comm content is still organized top down and written to be read top down. But content organized top down does not work well for readers navigating from the bottom up. To serve them well, we need a bottom-up information architecture.

    We have thousands of years of civilization based on organizing information top-down. It is ingrained in our education and our culture, and in our processes and the way we create and manage content. Moving to a bottom-up information architecture is no trivial task, therefore. This first session in the Information Architecture Bottom-up series will look at how top-down organization fails for modern information seekers, and what bottom up information architecture is and how it works. It will also consider when a mix of top-down and bottom-up organization is appropriate.

    Mark Baker is a twenty-five-year veteran of the technical communication industry, with particular experience in developing task-oriented, topic-based content, and technical communication on the Web. He has worked as a technical writer, a publications manager, a structured authoring consultant and trainer, and as a designer, architect, and builder of structured authoring systems. It is his firm belief that the future of Technical Communications lies on the Web, and that to be successful on the Web, we cannot simply publish traditional books or help systems on the Web, we must create content that is native to the Web.

    Register ›

    TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    Get that networking experience you need without having to travel to get it!

    Share your expertise with others, while they share theirs with you. Discuss your challenges and solicit advice that applies to your unique situation.

    The Master Series provides an opportunity for discussion in a confidential, supportive environment. Network with your peers and benefit from each other's experiences.

    Join the TC Dojo Mastermind Group ›
  • Information Architecture Bottom-up: Part 2. Writing

    Visiting Dojo Master: Mark Baker, Every Page Is Page One

    • TC Dojo Open Session
    • Audience: B - Beginner
    • Cost: Free

    Adopting a bottom-up information architecture is not just about changing how content is organized, it also means significant changes in how content is written. In fact, our traditional ways of writing have been strongly tied to the top-down organization of content. In the top-down world, a common technique was to plan a table of contents and then write content to fit into that TOC. The author is very deliberately creating what they consider to be the optimal curriculum for the reader. In a media like paper, where moving from one piece of information to another was expensive, constructing this recommended reading order made sense. In a world in which search and links make moving trivially easy, however, readers are much more likely to construct their own curriculum based on their individual backgrounds and their immediate task concerns.

    In a bottom-up information architecture, every page is a potential page one for the reader, and every page acts as a hub that allows the reader to travel onward on their chosen course. The second session in the Information Architecture Bottom-up series will look at how to write for a bottom-up information architecture using the seven principles of Every Page is Page One information design.

    Mark Baker is a twenty-five-year veteran of the technical communication industry, with particular experience in developing task-oriented, topic-based content, and technical communication on the Web. He has worked as a technical writer, a publications manager, a structured authoring consultant and trainer, and as a designer, architect, and builder of structured authoring systems. It is his firm belief that the future of Technical Communications lies on the Web, and that to be successful on the Web, we cannot simply publish traditional books or help systems on the Web, we must create content that is native to the Web.

    Register ›

    TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    Get that networking experience you need without having to travel to get it!

    Share your expertise with others, while they share theirs with you. Discuss your challenges and solicit advice that applies to your unique situation.

    The Master Series provides an opportunity for discussion in a confidential, supportive environment. Network with your peers and benefit from each other's experiences.

    Join the TC Dojo Mastermind Group ›
  • Information Architecture Bottom-up: Part 3. Tools

    Visiting Dojo Master: Mark Baker, Every Page Is Page One

    • TC Dojo Open Session
    • Audience: B - Beginner
    • Cost: Free

    Tools play an important role in how we write and organize content. Every tool encapsulates certain ideas about content organization and information architecture. This may not have been obvious when we were producing books because the design and architecture of books was so standardized and conventional that every tools essentially had the same model. Now, however, we have a variety of tools that encapsulate significantly different approaches to content organization and information architecture. If you want to create an information architecture that is different from the one your tools was designed for, you may need to put significant conscious effort into how to achieve that new architecture with your existing tool – or else change to a tool better suited to the architecture you want to create.

    Most of the tools that technical writers have traditionally used, whether it be unstructured tools like Word, FrameMaker, or help-authoring tools, or structured vocabularies such as DocBook and DITA, were designed for top-down information architecture. We also have unstructured bottom-up tools available to us in the form of wikis and blogging platforms such as WordPress. This third session in the Information Architecture Bottom-up series will look at how various tools impact content design and information architecture and will introduce you to SPFE (“Spiffy”), a structured approach to writing and organizing content with a bottom-up information architecture.

    Mark Baker is a twenty-five-year veteran of the technical communication industry, with particular experience in developing task-oriented, topic-based content, and technical communication on the Web. He has worked as a technical writer, a publications manager, a structured authoring consultant and trainer, and as a designer, architect, and builder of structured authoring systems. It is his firm belief that the future of Technical Communications lies on the Web, and that to be successful on the Web, we cannot simply publish traditional books or help systems on the Web, we must create content that is native to the Web.

    Register ›

    TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    Get that networking experience you need without having to travel to get it!

    Share your expertise with others, while they share theirs with you. Discuss your challenges and solicit advice that applies to your unique situation.

    The Master Series provides an opportunity for discussion in a confidential, supportive environment. Network with your peers and benefit from each other's experiences.

    Join the TC Dojo Mastermind Group ›
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