TC Summer Camp

TC Summer Camp

by TC Camp, the only techcomm unconference.


Morning Workshops followed by Unconference

Doors open for Registration at 8:30 AM. Continental breakfast provided for vendors and workshop attendees as well as coffee/tea service.

The Morning Workshops at TC Camp run in the morning on the day of the unconference event. All Morning Workshops start at 9:00 am and end promptly at 10:30 am and run simultaneously. You can only attend ONE morning workshop. If you decide you want to attend a different class on the day of the event instead of the one you signed up for, we will allow you to switch to the new class, as long as there are seats available.



8:30 Registration/arrival, coffee/tea service
9:00-10:30 Workshops
10:30 Break, coffee/tea service, Late Registration
11:00 Unconference begins
– Welcome, Camp introduction, Overview of the day
– Panel of industry experts
– Nominate afternoon break-out session topics
– Vendor presentations
– Lunch break and voting
– Sessions Breakouts – (3 time slots x 6 rooms, with subject, leader and scribe per session)
– Raffle, Summary Session, Closing and Feedback
6:30 Conference ends


Details at

Don’t forget to get yourself some TC Summer Camp Gear!


Camp Ambassador: TBA

Camp Scout Leaders:

  • TBA

Camp Rangers:

Camp Conservationists:

Camp Stewards:

  • TBA

Camp Counselors:


Unconference Tickets – Unconference tickets do not include a lunch ticket or a workshop ticket. Unconference tickets provide entrance to the afternoon events starting at 11 AM.

Workshop Tickets – Workshop tickets include a ticket to the afternoon unconference. You can only attend one workshop because they all run simultaneously. Workshop tickets do not include lunch. 

Lunch Tickets – Ticket for lunch only. Lunch tickets do not include unconference or workshop tickets. Nothing else is included in this ticket.


Sharing Registrant Information with Vendors – Vendors are critical to the success of TC Summer Camp. Although other revenue models are possible, TC Camp has chosen a vendor-supported revenue model, in which attendees can attend TC Summer Camp at no cost. TC Summer Camp also offers professional-quality morning workshops at far below market rate. This would not be possible without the support of our vendors and sponsors.

Vendors and sponsors expect value in return for their support of TC Summer Camp. Vendors seek leads, which they hope to turn into sales. By default (unless a registrant purchases an opt-out ticket), TC Camp shares registrant information with vendors. This is common for other professional conferences.

Opt-Out Policy – To accommodate the small number of registrants who, in past years, requested to opt-out from vendor sharing, TC Summer Camp 2016 will have a formal opt-out option. To compensate for lost vendor/sponsor value, TC Camp will offer an “Opt-Out” ticket that represents a fee to opt-out from vendor sharing. Only those registrants who purchase an “Opt-Out” ticket will have their information withheld from the vendors/sponsors.  

For more information:

TC Camp has a Code of Conduct

Event Review: Building Your Professional Identity in Technical Communication Workshop at GMU

This is the first post by guest blogger Greta Boller, a talented technical communicator who is new to the DC-Baltimore area. Many thanks to Boller for creating and sharing this review. Read more on her blog, The Lone Technical Writer.


The George Mason University Student Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (GMU STC), the newest chapter of STC, held its inaugural event Tuesday night for GMU students and alumni, local professionals, and members of STC. The event was sponsored by GMU STC, with support from the Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) Program at GMU and the STC Washington DC-Baltimore Chapter (WDCB).

The Building Your Professional Identity in Technical Communication workshop promised the "opportunity to learn more about careers in technical communication, gain valuable feedback on resumes or your writing portfolio, and connect you to area students and professionals in technical communication." It also featured three breakout sessions: resumes, portfolios, and social media/online presence.

Welcoming Remarks

Though this was their first event, it hardly showed. Attendees were welcomed with a sign-in sheet, nametags, and a raffle ticket (the prize: a free STC webinar of their choosing). Presentations, room divisions, and snacks were all in perfect order. The attendance balanced local professionals with graduate and undergraduate students, eager to get the evening started.

Heidi Lawrence, Assistant Professor of English at GMU, kicked the night off by welcoming the room full of technical communicators. She was poised, yet visibly excited, giving many thanks to the people who made the evening possible. She quickly outlined the evening: introductions, breakout sessions, review, and then networking.

Chris Lyons, STC CEO, and Liz Pohland, STC Director of Communications and Intercom Editor, spoke next. They encouraged the group to get involved with STC by attending meetings, visiting headquarters, and writing articles. They emphasized that Intercom and the STC blog welcome student submissions (a note jotted down by many attendees). While their attendance was a highlight of the event, they excused themselves before many had a chance to make a personal connection. For those who missed their chance, Lyons and Pohland appear in the STC staff directory, and headquarters is not far away.

Breakout Sessions

Before the breakout sessions, Heidi allowed each presenter to introduce themselves. Ugur Akinci, Melissa Kulm, and Viqui Dill stood up to announce the resume, portfolio, and social media sessions respectively. As the room broke into sessions, I selected social media and online presence.

Dill stated from the very beginning: this is not how to hide on the internet. Quite the opposite actually, Dill wanted her audience to make their presence known using social media. She started with an ice breaker, asking each person to tell their “superpower” and “kryptonite” to the group. Essentially asking: what makes you awesome and what can hold you back?

She went on to explain that social media gives the opportunity for you to show your best self by accenting your superpowers. How? Dill pointed to Career Sherpa, Hannah Morgan, for specific advice, but said it all starts with creating a home on the web. A blog, Dill said, is a great way to gather social media contacts as well as share your writing and presentations. Accent it with a LinkedIn profile and SlideShare account to show the world what you can do.

What about your kryptonite? Lock it down and flush it out with your superpowers was Dill’s advice. You can clean house by altering privacy settings and deleting harmful results, but Dill encouraged her audience to focus on what to show rather than what not to. She explained that negative results can be “flushed out” of your top results by positive, well-maintained social media profiles. Ultimately, this will bring positives to your online presence rather than just removing the negatives. Concerned about your online results? Dill pointed to Google Alerts and EdgeRank to stay ahead of the curve.


At this point, the breakout sessions concluded and the group reconvened. Each presenter took a moment to recap their presentation for the group, encouraging those who attended other sessions to reach out with any questions. After some brief, concluding statements, the raffle was held (I won!) and personal networking commenced. Attendees spoke up about local job opportunities and STC members made themselves available to those interested in joining the chapter. As I made my leave, the room still buzzed with excitement as people discussed future events, graduate programs, and the excitement of technical communication.

Bravo GMU STC for a successful first event. I know many walked away excited about what this chapter has in store. I look forward to your next gathering.

About the Author

Greta Boller is a technical writer and blogger in Washington, D.C. As a technical writer, she not only authors documentation for technicians and management, but develops processes to create and restructure technical writing programs. As a blogger, she is The Lone Technical Writer, dedicated to collecting lessons learned in technical writing.

Building Your Professional Identity in Technical Communication Workshop

We are delighted to announce a collaboration with the students and staff of the Writing and Rhetoric program at George Mason University. The event will have something for those entering the profession, as well as job seekers and professionals.
eventbriteRegister on Eventbrite or scroll down to use the Eventbrite widget below.

Would you like to learn more about technical communication as a career? Are you currently seeking a job in technical communication? Or, are you a technical or professional communicator who would like to boost some of your career and communications skills?

The Building your Professional Identity in Technical Communication workshop will give you the opportunity to learn more about careers in technical communication, gain valuable feedback on resumes or your writing portfolio, and connect you to area students and professionals in technical communication.

The Workshop will feature three breakout sessions: Resumes, Portfolios, and Social Media/Online Presence. Each breakout session will combine presentations by experts in technical communication with one-on-one time for feedback on your materials and Q&A.

Current students, alumni, local professionals, and members of STC are welcome to join. This event is free to all participants. Refreshments will be provided.

Sponsored by the George Mason University Student Chapter of the Society for Technical Communication (GMU STC), with support from the Professional Writing and Rhetoric (PWR) Program at GMU and the STC Washington DC-Baltimore Chapter (WDCB).

We will be meeting at George Mason University’s Fairfax campus in The Hub, Meeting Rooms 1 and 2. From the main entrance, Meeting Rooms 1 and 2 are down the corridor to the left. The Hub is building 56 on the GMU map, in red.

There is usually ample parking in George Mason’s parking garages. The closest garage is the Shenandoah Parking Deck. The Shenandoah Parking Deck is building 43 on the GMU map, in purple. The Mason Pond deck is often a good back-up, and it isn’t quite as full. Parking can be challenging at Mason, so please be sure to leave yourself extra time (and patience!) to grapple with traffic.

For a map of the event location and parking areas, see the map at

eventbriteRegister on Eventbrite or scroll down to use the Eventbrite widget below.

API Documentation Workshop with Sarah Maddox

Workshop: API Technical Writing

Sponsors: Google, Group Wellesley, Inc., STC WBDC Chapter, InfoDevDC Meetup Group.
Date: Friday, March 20th, 2015
Time: 9 am to 4 pm
Instructor: Sarah Maddox
Cost: None. The workshop is given free of charge.
Location: Room: “The White Space”, 9th Floor, 25 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 (Google Maps: A parking garage is connected to the building. To see parking rates and hours, search for the address on the parking locator.

The venue is within a 10-minute walk from Washington DC Union Station and the Red Line Union Station stop on the Washington Metrorail.

Workshop Description

This is a practical course on API technical writing, consisting of lectures interspersed with hands-on sessions where participants will apply what they have learned. The focus will be on APIs themselves as well as on documentation, since technical writers need to be able to understand and use a product before they can document it.

The workshop will include the following sessions:

  • Lecture: Introduction to APIs, including a demo of some REST and JavaScript APIs.
  • Hands-on: Play with a REST API.
  • Lecture: JavaScript essentials.
  • Hands-on: Play with a JavaScript API.
  • Lecture: The components of API documentation and other developer aids.
  • Hands-on: Generate reference documentation using Javadoc.
  • Lecture: Beyond Javadoc – other doc generation tools.


Google will provide lunch, and morning and afternoon refreshments, free of charge. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions you may have.


This workshop assumes that you have some experience as a technical writer in the software industry, and are interested in moving into API documentation.

You’ll need a working knowledge of web pages and HTML, and an acquaintance with CSS. It will be useful if you have a basic understanding of programming. Recommended reading before the workshop:

What to bring and what to install

Bring your own laptop with a WiFi connection and power cable. Please install the following software before the workshop.

Install the Java JDK

You’ll need a current version of the Java SE JDK. Make sure you have the JDK (development kit), not just the JRE (runtime environment).

To check whether you have Java, run the following in a command window:

  • On Mac OS X, run:
    You should see something like this, assuming your JDK is version 7 (also known as 1.7):

  • On Windows, run:
    echo %JAVA_HOME%
    You should see a directory path that includes the letters ‘JDK’, something like this:
    C:Program FilesJavaJDK7

If you don’t have the JDK, download and install it. If the above commands don’t work, your setup is incorrect – follow the installation and setup instructions again.

To install and set up the JDK:

  • Follow Oracle’s JDK installation instructions:

  • If you’re on Windows:
    • Where the instructions say “Updating the PATH Environment Variable (Optional)”, treat it as mandatory, not optional. This will make your life much easier.
    • Setting JAVA_HOME on Windows, from Kaan Mutlu’s Blog.

Here are some other useful guides:

Install a text editor of your choice

If you don’t have a preference, try Komodo Edit. (Komodo Edit is a free, open source edition of the full Komodo IDE.)

Install Eclipse (optional)

It will be handy to have Eclipse, a free and open source IDE (integrated development environment). The “Eclipse IDE for Java Developers” is a good one to have.

Install Chrome

Chrome browser has some useful development tools and add-ons. In particular, we’ll be using a Chrome add-on for sending requests to a REST API. A different browser is fine too, if you’re more comfortable with its web development tools.


For questions about the workshop content, contact Sarah Maddox (the instructor) at
email hidden; JavaScript is required.

For questions about the registration process, contact Alan Houser, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

About the instructor

Sarah Maddox is a technical writer in Google’s Developer Platforms team, writing the documentation for the Google Maps APIs and Google Places API. She’s also worked at Atlassian and many other organisations around the world. With fifteen years’ experience as a technical writer and ten as a software developer, Sarah specializes in making words and code play nicely together. She also has a strong belief that chocolate solves many a tech comm problem.

Twitter: @sarahmaddox
Google+: +sarahmaddox