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Bringing your Print Shop into the Information Age

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This is a syllabus I created for a class targeting small printing franchises who were not harnessing the tools offered by the web. This was created in 2006, so a bit dated, but still a bit relevant

This is a syllabus I created for a class targeting small printing franchises who were not harnessing the tools offered by the web. This was created in 2006, so a bit dated, but still a bit relevant

Published in: Business, Technology

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  • 1. Kevin Duggan July 29,2006 Bringing Your Print Shop Into The Information Age BACKGROUND Small Print Shops are usually staffed by three to fifteen employees. The equipment found in this type shop are a few computers/copy machines and printing press or two. This business, is often a franchise, sustained for the most part by a local client base. Minuteman Press and Sir Speedy printing are franchises that fit this description of small neighborhood businesses. My program will address four technological issues currently not addressed by these businesses, would improve workflow and customer base. NEEDS ANALYSIS I gathered information from five local MinuteMan Press companies in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. All five of these shops have computers and access to the Internet and they utilize the computer to press/copier technology. This technology allows the document to be transferred electronically from the typesetter/graphic
  • 2. designer (computer) to the digital press (copier ) or platemaker were it is outputted for reproduction using the printing press. Traditional or analog modes of document preparation for reproduction used photographic techniques to create plates for the printing press. As mentioned earlier the customer base for these shops have is mainly local. My proposal is to enhance business prospects is four areas of technology available today which would improve workflow and increase the customer base. Presently, this technology is not in use by these franchises/small shops but its use would improve business both internally and externally. The four technological issues are as follows: 1. Solving problems using the internet. This which would enable font identification, and help resolve software problems and hardware problems. This problem solving is done through the use of search engines, directories, metasearch, news groups and listserves. 2. The use of PreFlight software. PreFlight software analyzes native digital files before inserting them into A prepress workflow. Peter Muir a professor at Rochestor Institute of Technology and author of the book “PreFlight” says “Preflight software is not a luxury but a necessity.” The term PreFlight comes from the aircraft instrument check before flight. The pilots would not want to be at cruising altitude wondering if fuel supply was sufficient. When at the base of the evolution of a print job, Preflight software diagnoses customer files finding mistakes: Missing fonts, color modes, missing pictures a host of possible problems.
  • 3. 3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) The use of a SEO increases the rankings of a web site when a query is made using a search engine. The top ten results of a search query get the majority of visibility on the web so the goal is to have your site show up in the top ten. 4. Web Site Optimization (WSO) involves optimizing the web site for traffic flow. The difference between WSO and SEO could be illustrated using a supermarket. First the WSO: the WSO optimizes the content on the web site much like the supermarket manager optimizes items in the store. The strategy of putting milk in the rear of the store hinges on the fact that milk is purchased in small intervals. The consumer has to navigate though the store spending as much time as possible inside hopefully making additional purchases. The SEO would be the person responsible for advertising bringing customers to the supermarkets door. Web Site Optimization software analyzes server log files. Information like Demographics, errors, downloads, browsers, operating systems and traffic flow are found using WSO software. FTP software is used to connect to the server and either upload or download files. FTP software allows access to the server log files this is were the web sites traffic information is stored. ASSESSMENT AND LEARNING OBJECTIVES The major goals of “Bringing your Print Shop into the Information Age “ are to: • Make owners and managers aware of current technology and its advantages to a business. • Train owners and managers of small print shops in the use of current technologies.
  • 4. LEARNER OBJECTIVES Following instruction participants will be able to: • Use the web to solve problems using Search Engines, Directories, Metasearch, Newsgroups. Example: Given a web browser the student will access a Search Engine, Directory or Newsgroup to locate answers to his or her questions regarding printing issues.. • Utilize Preflight/Prepress software to diagnose customer files. This improves the workflow by eliminating problems before they happen. Example: Given Preflight/PrePress software, a student will input client files, run a report, and analyze results to understand where problems occur.. • Employ Search Engine Optimization. Creating or modifying the company web page with the results being that ranks higher in the
  • 5. search engines. Example: Given the source HTML of the web page the student can diagnose and modify keywords, content, and links improving the sites rankings using Macromedia Dreamweaver and FTP software. • Analyze and optimize web sites through the use of software for analyzing web logs and FTP software. Example: Given the web logs of the web site student can analyze traffic flow within the web site, errors, and demographics. CONTENT The course “Bringing your Print Shop into the Information Age” consists of six three-hour modules  Module A: Problem solving using the web (see detailed instructional plan below)  Module B: Improved workflow through PreFlight software
  • 6.  Module C: Search Engine Optimization introduction to FTP software.  Module D: Search Engine Optimization, beginning Macromedia Dreamweaver software techniques for building and modifying web sites.  Module E: Web Site Optimization, Macromedia Dreamweaver, FTP  Module F: Putting it all together and review THE INSTRUCTIONAL TECHNIQUES WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING: LEARNING • LECTURE: ------------- My modules will consist of mpeg movies, documents (PDF's) all downloadable and a collection of URL's. A discussion page will follow which will be related to the material. • DEMONSTRATIONS: ---------------------------- Online movies explaining software Techniques
  • 7. FACILITATION • LEARNER TO LEARNER: --------------------------------- Collaboration on projects like Search Engine Optimization and Web Analysis. Small groups will be formed were data and techniques are shared. . • LEARNER TO COMMUNITY: -------------------------------------- This type of interaction will be fostered using Newsgroups, Bulletin Boards, List Serves are places in the web were people congregate to discuss topics. This type of a community is were mentors can be found and online relationships established. • ONLINE FACILITATION OF DIRECTIVE ASSIGNMENT: ------------------------------------ Communicating in a proactive manner, prompt feedback on the part of the instructor. Alternative methods of communication in the event of a technological problem. MOTIVATION
  • 8. • MOTIVATION Inclusion: respect and connectedness: The respect is mutual and the connectedness is helped by the fact that all are in the same Industry at the same capacity Meaning: engagement and challenge: Present engaging material which is challenging like finding inventive ways to learn and use software. Multidimensional sharing: having groups work together on deciphering web logs downloaded from a website. Demographic information, traffic and errors are found in web logs downloaded from a website server. The learner would be exposed to more facets in the problem solving through the use of groups. Also prompt and consistent feedback is very important keeping morale high. Authentic performance tasks for assessment so students can hit the ground running. INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
  • 9. • Computer with access to the internet • PreFlight software • Dreamweaver Software • FTP software • Printer • Notebook and writing implement Title: __Problem solving using the web______ Date: _7/9/06___ Time: ____3 hours_______ Overview (context) Audience (description of learners): This module be the first of four sections of a course Small print shop owners like Sir Speedy and Minuteman Called “Taking your Print Shop into the Information Age”. Press which are both franchises. Most participants of this course would be male aged from 30 to mid fifties. • Problem solving using the web. Computer competency here would be across the spectrum • Using Preflight Software with the majority of learners being not too computer literate. • Search Engine Optimization to increase web visibility The motivation for taking this course would be to increase • Analyzing and Optimizing your Web site business by improved workflow and expanding the customer base. Learning Objectives Content Heading Key Points Instructional Evaluation Estimated Time
  • 10. (The participants will be Techniques/Methods/ able to…) media Search Search Lecture, Short quiz 40 minutes Find resources using Engines/Directories: Engine/Directory Demo, Search Engines, Interfaces, Q&A Directories Google and Yahoo The two main Hands on practice search engines. Metasearch Engines Locating information Performing basic Lecture Search test: 30 minutes and other search tools on the World Wide searches using Demo Show annotated list Web The correct tool Q&A of search results Lab Locate relevant World Wide Web News Groups, Lecture Successfully 40 minutes information via Communities, News Group Demo Installing News communities on the Google groups Software, Q&A Software web. Terminology Hands on practice and configuring. Subscribe to List serves, Solving everyday Lecture Teacher 20 minutes e-mail communities Yahoo Groups business problems Discussion Evaluation Using the internet, Hands on practice Subscribing and e-relationships Posting to newsgroups. Demonstrate advanced Advanced web Narrowing in Demo Locating 50 minutes search techniques searching Using Googles Q&A Information using Google advanced tools Lab test . Materials/Media: Pens, notebooks
  • 11. Facilities/room arrangement: A classroom with a overhead to project the instructors computer, a computer for every learner with a internet connection. Supplies (handouts or other): Handouts for all 5 sections Prep for teachers: review material, prepare tests PROGRAM DEVELOPERS QUALIFICATIONS I have worked in the printing industry for 25 years and am well acquainted with the Industry. I have a BS in Information Systems and a Masters Degree of Professional Studies in Digital Media. CONCLUSION Since the introduction of the first Macintosh computer the printing industry has changed more than the previous fifty years. Today networks transmit electronic media whose problems are not as evident as earlier modes of printing. PreFlight software is essential in creating a smooth error free workflow in today’s print shops. The internet has transformed business allowing for opportunities not possible in the past. Where small shops are concerned harnessing these technologies does not provide a competitive advantage they are essential in order to compete.
  • 12. Muir, Peter (2000). Preflight. San Diego, CA: Windsor Professional Information, LLC This handy, up-to-the-minute, desk reference is a must have book for designers, pre-press operators, printers, desktop publishers, and all others who work with print communication. Calishan, Tara and Dorfest, Paul (2005) Google Hacks, second edition. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media, Inc. Google Hacks contains 100 tips, tricks and scripts that you can use to become instantly more effective in your research Grappone, Jennifer and Couzin, Gradiva (2006) Search Engine Optimization, An hour a day. Indianapolis, Indiana: Wiley Publishing Inc. A new book offers a systematic, common-sense approach to the art and science of SEO. Pallof, Rena and Pratt, Keith (2001) Lessons From The Cyberspace Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Inc. Very practical and applicable . . .an invaluable tool for any faculty preparing to teach in the virtual world.