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The eLearning Companion to Career Success

With a pandemic looming and lingering, a long period of sheltering in place presented an opportunity to move back-burner projects to the forefront. With a pause in client work, both this business owner and employees could focus on some fun stuff. Long-time employee Julia expressed an interest in learning Articulate Storyline 360 to create eLearning content. The question was, “What existing content could we use?”

For 35 years, Shenouda Associates Inc. has created technical and business publications for clients, from guides that show users how a product works to manuals that service engineers use when installing equipment, replacing parts, doing adjustments, and more. Over the past 10 years, I have authored and published my own books, both in print and eBook formats. With the help of my extraordinary employees, these books have been inside jobs, from writing and editing, to designing and publishing, to distributing through online stores. One book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal, proved to be the right candidate to use for eLearning content. Thus, the process began.

Julia explored the capabilities of Articulate Storyline 360. Early on, she wrote, “My first goal was just to see how well the tool could handle users answering the types of questions in the Career Success book.” She found that the tool could handle the book’s essay, multiple-choice, and fill-in-the-blank questions.

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal includes a Self-Assessment in which readers begin to explore their strengths, their likes, and their current work situation. The book also includes My Evolving Story, a series of 12 stories (each aligned with one of the 12 steps to career success) in which readers fill in the blanks to write their own story for moving forward at work or in other life endeavors. The Self-Assessment and My Evolving Story are the backbone of the eLearning companion.

Julia continued to learn the tool and communicate her progress. Throughout the development process, I set the direction, reviewed drafts, and offered feedback.

With the eLearning ready to share, the focus now is finding organizations and groups that can benefit from using it as a standalone tool, a companion to the book, or in preparation for an instructor-led workshop.

I applaud Julia’s desire to learn Articulate Storyline 360 and consider the resulting eLearning product impressive and useful.

If you would like to try the eLearning companion and feed back how it worked for you, please provide contact information below.

Give. Share. Be generous.

With Mother’s Day approaching, I can hear my dear mother and her always wise advice to give, share, and be generous. To honor her memory, I have two gifts for you.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud is a light, whimsical book of flash, slices-of-life stories intended to entertain and inspire. When read aloud, the critters’ sweet talk can enchant even the youngest of listeners.

In A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way, you’ll discover ways to take a little of this and that, make a mishmash, cook, bake, eat, kibbitz, and enjoy. Along with the recipes, you’ll find recollections of cooks and kitchens that continue to sustain.

Download Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud here.

Download A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way here.

The freebies are available on May 7, 8, and 9. I hope you enjoy them.

Happy Mother’s Day to all.

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We spiffed up our website with words wrapped in graphics

Challenge

At Shenouda Associates Inc., we even edit ourselves… continually! To keep pace with evolving technology and taste, our website needed some updates: optimization for the small screens of mobile devices as well as the large screens of computers, with less need to zoom in on or scroll through dense text, and with more visual appeal.

Solution

Several associates had used the application Flare by MadCap Software and considered it an easy choice—the right choice. Its well-designed interface eliminated or minimized the need to know any of the standard languages used in website development. It included several easily modifiable templates and all the tools needed to create a modern, easy-to-use, visually pleasing website, including:

Responsive layouts that can be viewed and navigated with ease on any device

Expandable text that gives the reader the choice of what to read and when

Graphic components—on the Home page and on the Our Work page

On the Home page, we freshened the look by replacing text boxes with panels that introduce, both in words and graphics, the content on the website.

On the Our Work page, we added Read More

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Words of Gratitude from Froggy and His Critter Friends

What fun I had doing this recording of sweet-talking stories from my book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud for the Writers & Books Literary Partners Reading Series.

You’ll find that Froggy and his critter friends mix and mingle, and work and play. They live with energy, with purpose, and with gratitude. They might just give you a few good ideas for living well in your world of plenty.

For more stories and more ideas for living well, visit Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, available as an ebook or paperback.

 

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The critters know that in any season, in any weather, during hours of light and dark, the time, the moment, and the space are ripe for relaxation, rest, and renewal.

“Renewal, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud

Before 2019 ends, enjoy this gift of the ebook Kindle edition of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty. May the sweet talk of Froggy and his critter friends offer renewal, sustenance, light, laughter, and all that’s good to you and yours.

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A big thank-you to the very talented gardeners at my business, Shenouda Associates Inc., where we write all kinds of business and technical publications, including infographics like this.

Writing is like growing a garden. As we nurture the seedlings of ideas, the results we deliver are the product of a careful, methodical writing process that starts with understanding our readers’ needs and planning how to meet them.

At the start, we take a close look at the environment. We analyze the existing materials and start to picture the finished product. As the scope of work comes into focus, we map out how to move from the existing materials to the finished product. We consider how best to organize and format the deliverables. We assemble tools and break ground by creating a framework with outlines and templates. We sink our hands into the dirt, gather input from subject matter experts, and do our homework to understand the subject matter.

We place content into the right location and shape it into paragraphs, lists, tables, and other text elements. By leaving out whatever is not needed, we streamline ideas, showcasing the most important content and nurturing it to maturity.

We make sure that our creation matches our plans and feels like a balanced, unified whole. We check that the work is accurate and complete, minimizing distraction from jarring details.

As we walk through our garden, we confirm that it is easy to navigate. At harvest time, we publish our work, providing readers a bounty of new food for thought. Mature, published documents continue to grow and change with the seasons. We review and revise. We weed out what is no longer needed. We provide ongoing maintenance.

With the proper care, we allow our garden to grow.

Of course, we can do the same to support your writing needs.

For more information, visit Shenouda Associates Inc.

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Achilles’ heel: A weak or vulnerable factor. From the legend of Greek hero Achilles, who had one vulnerable part of his body, his heel. As an infant, his mother had held him by one heel to dip him in the River Styx to make him invulnerable.

Wordsmith: A word expert who uses language very well

Wordsmith with an Achilles’ heel: Someone who has to check yet again if well or good is the correct word to use in the previous definition

Take a look at what Shenouda employee Donna Muldoon learned from a recent informal and unscientific study of colleagues and their Achilles’ heels.

The rules, they are a changing

In the survey, colleagues noted that once-standard rules have changed, making it necessary to research and confirm they are using the most recent format. For example, some businesses are still unaware that double spaces after a period or full stop are no longer the standard. A change that is more jarring for those who focus on grammar is the more recent revision to the singular subject and plural verb agreement format. It is now common to see variations of “Each owner should have their own copy of the lease.” Through use, and supported by guides such as the APA Style Blog, the new format is becoming acceptable.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Even wordsmiths who adeptly manage sentence structure sometimes hesitate when it comes to basic English grammar issues. Writers in the survey gave examples that cause them to rethink what they wrote. Is it that or which? Alternative or alternate? Since or because? On site or on-site or onsite? More than one writer found it necessary to look up when compound adjectives or prefixes take a hyphen. Some writers keep their own customized reference sheet to solve nagging, recurring wordsmithing questions.

While good spelling is common among writers and editors, specific words were an Achilles’ heel nevertheless. Condolences tripped up one writer, license another. An editor who often reviewed documents in both American and British English, would begin to lose focus on which version of fulfill/fulfil, practice/practise, aging/ageing, or program/programme to use. There was also a tendency among writers to watch for repetitive use of certain words, such as so or but. A technical writer who wrote with a controlled language that specified words could only be used in their approved category of noun, verb, or adjective found difficulty writing more creative, less restrictive marketing content. Read More

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Over many years, all of us at Shenouda Associates Inc. have researched, written, edited, and published hundreds (maybe even more) of works both large and small. For us, attention to detail is more than chic or fashionable. It is de rigueur—necessary, required, and proper. Shenouda team member, Donna Muldoon, knows a thing or two about guides to stylish writing. Here is her take on the subject.

Of all the tools that a writer employs, a style guide may be the most used, most reliable, and most important in the day-to-day work of that writer. A style guide that is well organized, complete, and easy to use can save a writer the time and frustration of continually looking up information.

Just as an encyclopedia is a reference source that provides information that can be found in several other sources, a style guide can also act as a compendium of much of the information needed by a writer. A style guide is part Bible, part cookbook, part dictionary, part game rule book, and part fashion magazine. Like the Bible, a style guide proclaims what you shall and shall not do. As a cookbook, it outlines the recipes for font, color, dimensions, and icon usage. It serves as a shortcut dictionary for both common and product-specific words. Like a game rule book, a style guide can make referee-type decisions by reinforcing legal and corporate standards in matters of dispute. And the fashion magazine aspect is characterized through guidelines on tone, voice, and the presentation of content.

The main purpose of a style guide is to provide uniform, consistent standards throughout a group—whether it is a company, a field, a community, or a publication. The standards can form a unified voice and appearance that create a single brand image for all content creation including web pages, video, and marketing collateral. But most importantly, it ensures that multiple writers, contributors, and editors write with a common consistency.

So many options

There are several well-known commercial style guides such as the Associated Press (AP) Stylebook, The Chicago Manual of Style, and the newly updated Microsoft Writing Style Guide. These are acknowledged sources of editorial guidance used and approved by various writing communities. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to use clear governmental communication that the public can understand and use. The U.S. government website (www.plainlanguage.gov) includes excellent general writing advice, including addressing your audience, using concise language, attending to visual design, and testing your content.

Read More

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With second editions of my three books now published, I’m launching them! Ready or not, world, here they are. Happily, there are some occasions to introduce them.

What’s happening?

October 6, 2018, Irondequoit Library’s Local Author Day, 1 to 4 p.m. Along with other authors, I′ll be there discussing, selling, and signing my books. If you’re in the area, please stop by. For more information, click here.

October 7, 2018, Hosted by The Shift to Wellness, 5 to 6 p.m. EDT. Kirstin Kurtz Pinit interviews me during this online discussion and reading of Living Well in Froggy′s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud. If you missed the discussion, take a look here.

December 2, 2018, at the Irondequoit Public Library, 1290 Titus Ave, Rochester, NY, Room 113. Author meet and greet at 1:30 p.m., author reading and talk at 2:00 p.m., and book sale and signing at 2:30 p.m.

I’m ready, willing, and able to participate in events and tell the story of these books, including why I wrote them, who influenced me, and how they came to life. I’m eager to share bits of wisdom learned about living well that, in one way or another, found their way into my books. My intention is to inspire you and others to live with abundance.

How can you help?

Take a look inside these new 2018 second editions:

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps, A Journal

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way

If you like what you see, write an Amazon review, ask me to be a guest blogger, and invite me to participate in your events. Tell me where I can share a little of this and a little of that about living well at work, in nature, and with food, family, friends.

Reach out to me at Shenouda@easescommunication.com. I would love to hear from you.

 

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When family members wanted to compile a cookbook of favorite recipes, I was happy to oblige. They know how to cook and bake. I know how to write, edit, and publish. We all know how to eat tasty food. Thus, the first edition of A Bisl of This and That: Eating Our Way was born.

Yummy first edition

I loved sharing the first edition with family, friends, and many others who delighted in the recipes and stories as evidenced in their comments:

“This book made me hungry in more ways than one: the delicious recipes, of course, but also the sweet family stories connected with them. From the Stuffed Cabbage to the Noodle Kugel to the Honey Cake for dessert, my mouth watered with every page. These recipes range from simple to complex, sweet to savory, little-bits and whole-lots—all delish! By the end, I felt like I was a member of the family having shared a meal and a song around the piano all together.”

“The recipes are easy to follow, which I can only imagine is a result of having been put together by an author with years of technical communication experience, and I believe the Spanish Rice and Tzimmes dishes may become a part of my own family’s go-to favorites. As a bonus, each recipe comes with a family story about how the dish was enjoyed. It is a great way to enjoy the time while the food cooks in the oven.”

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That…the perfect title for this delicious cookbook has replaced my old, worn, always dependable go-to cookbook. Judy Ellison Shenouda has compiled not only a mouth-watering collection of varied recipes but has invited you into memories of her childhood home as (extended) family members recall and share delightful gatherings, framed by love, remarkable food, and always…music. This wonderful book almost has you sitting at her family table sharing culinary history as you imagine the aroma of home-made food that even you can easily duplicate.”

Even more yummy second edition

At book events, folks flipped through the pages of the first edition and asked interesting questions. “What, no Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls?” “No Half-Moon Cookies?” “Can you find a recipe for the Plum Kuchen my mother brought with her many years ago from Europe?” With this new second edition, you can now make these dishes and more. Start your day with Bagels or Bread Pudding. Try a wonderful meal of Chicken Paprikás, Hungarian Dumplings, and Cucumber Salad. Cook the Amish Onion Cakes and Tater Tot Shepherd’s Pie for lighter fare. Cap a meal with Mahogany Cake or Orange Cookies from Poland.

Look inside

Take a Look inside Amazon for this new edition. I bet you’ll like the recipes for eating well and the stories for living well found within these jam-packed, food-filled pages.