Frustrated at the age of 5 by a toy typewriter that didn’t really type, Beth Agnew has been pursuing improvements in communication technology most of her life. She was first published at 14, and continued to write for magazines and newspapers even when sidetracked by a career in military telecommunications. That exposure to computer-mediated communication spurred her interest in using technology to facilitate the expression of information and ideas.
Her desire to make technology accessible to others resulted in an emphasis on technical writing and editing. Her creative nature inspired a move into broadcasting, where she hosted a number of musical, information, and comedy shows including “Friday Morning Visit” for CBC-affiliated CFN, as well as writing freelance pieces for various markets, including Canadian Living and The Stars & Stripes.
Over the years, her writing and editing responsibilities increased to encompass marketing communications for scientific and high technology clients, speaking engagements, and teaching opportunities related to computers and communications technology.
Among her previous employers is Sanctuary Woods Multimedia Corporation where she wrote and edited interactive stories for CD-ROM. She adapted the 20th Century-Fox animated feature film “Once Upon a Forest” to interactive CD-ROM, and was Story Editor for more than a dozen other interactive titles. Following that, she ran her own communications company specializing in designing and authoring multimedia courseware and applications. Projects included adapting and producing The Joy of Quilting on CD-ROM.
At InSystems Technologies Inc., Prof. Agnew applied her communications expertise to interface design and information development for the company’s knowledge management and document assembly products. She has been Executive Producer for The Medea Group, a Toronto-based multimedia design firm, and continues to consult for a number of companies in all aspects of communications and technology. Her clients have included corporations, institutions, and various federal and provincial ministries.
Beth Agnew has been teaching communication at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto since 1997. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Institute for New Media Research and Development, College of the Rockies, Cranbrook, B.C., and was on the Seneca College Technical Communication program Advisory Committee prior to accepting a full time position on the faculty in 2002. She has been co-ordinator of the Technical Communication program since 2008.
Prof. Agnew has a BFA in Creative Writing from the University of Victoria. She is a Senior Member and Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication, and has been a popular speaker at their annual conference. She is one of the first in the world to become a Certified Professional Technical Communicator™, a designation awarded based on an independent evaluation of her skills in the profession.