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Hoe to improve technical writing and presentation skills as an ESL student?
April 30, 2012 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Can you recommend any free/low-cost but reliable online courses/videos/books on technical writing and/or creating decent power point presentations? Also, how do you achieve an academic standard of English when it's not your first language?

My husband is an Engineering student, and is also a complete novice when it comes to technical writing and creating Power Point presentations. He wants to use his summer vacations to wildly improve his skills in both.

YouTube videos, online classes, anything that is trustworthy would do.

*Bonus: we are both non-native English speakers, so any resources on acquiring respectable, academia-worthy vocab and grammar skills would also be welcome.

Thanks!
posted by ADent to Education (2 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
If you are US-based, you can start at one of my first favorite places, the school bookstore (I suppose it's online now) and find a book on technical communications for tech writing classes to work through. He may also find a workbook/set on Office itself - not "this years" edition but last year's that's been depreciated.

MS has how to information for Office/Powerpoint online:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/powerpoint-help/

Here's a quickly googled overview: http://engr.arizona.edu/future/files/tech_writing_overview.pdf

I've got a stack of books at home my non-native English colleagues and I used to hammer out grammar points, will post later. Visible from my desk I have:

Chicago Manual of style (later not now)
1001 Pitfalls in English Grammar
Asstd specialized technical topic dictionaries
A Writer's Reference (D. Hacker, older editions are cheap)
Roget's Super Thesarus
Office 2010 Bible (Wiley Press)
posted by tilde at 8:31 AM on April 30, 2012


As far as Powerpoint presentations go, I think the best advice is to watch a few of Steve Jobs' Apple keynote speeches and some of the most popular TED talks and take note of what works and what they have in common. The best ones have an amazing flow to them, with the slides pulling you along and helpfully illustrating what the speaker is discussing. They make even seemingly mundane or difficult topics fascinating.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 12:42 PM on April 30, 2012 [1 favorite]


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