Mike Markel’s “Technical Communication” is one of the most popular technical communication textbooks available. It received four stars on Amazon.com and four on the Barnes and Noble website. There are several aspects of the book that have helped turn it into a successful guide to technical communication.
Markel is a technical communication instructor at Boise State University. His desire was to create a book that was easy to read and which featured real examples of technical communication and technical writing. A big problem with many of these textbooks was that they were too dry, too technical and offered very little real world examples.
“Technical Communication” has fixed this problem by being written in as simple a way to read as possible. Although the process of technical communication can be complex, Markel has tried to keep the language clear, simple and clear. He split the book into various sections, such as planning, revising and writing each technical document. Each of these sections uses specific scenarios and writing examples to show the ins and outs of technical communication. He also discusses the various types of technical documents, including instruction manuals and proposals.
Markel also includes chapter exercises throughout the book to get students actively working and trying out new technical communication methods. These exercises are designed to test what the student has just learned and to expand their understanding of each idea in a real world method. He also includes checklists for each exercise and interviews with technical communication experts. Hearing from real technical communication experts helps bring real world experience to the book.
Markel frequently updates his text and has included new sections on Internet research. He tries to stress the importance of using suitable, reliable sources for technical information. Other aspects of the Internet section include how to cite websites and ways to avoid websites with poor or even incorrect information.
A supplementary website for the book is also available to use concurrently with the book. People who have purchased the book can read each chapter online. They can also check out supplementary information. Self directed quizzes help writers test the knowledge they have learned from the book. Flash cards are also available to view online or print. These cards are specific to each chapter and focus on terms, definitions and technical communication rules such as proper citation.
Interactive samples give writers exposure to real pieces of technical documents. Writers can scroll through these samples to see how these documents are created. Interactive tutorials will walk writers through each aspect of document writing, including proper research and citation methods. A links section gives a library of links that the reader can follow to learn all about the different, specific aspects of the chapter’s in the book. Each section on the website is written in the same easy to read tone as the paper book. [http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/techcomm/default.asp?s=&n=&i=&v=&o=&ns=0&uid=0&rau=0]