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Introductory course in conflict-free, realtime stenographic machine shorthand writing. Students will learn chapters 1 through 96 of Mark Kislingbury's Magnum Steno theory book. Students will learn brief forms for writing thousands of the most common words and phrases and a phonetic-based system for writing all words. They will learn all keys on the stenographic machine, proper writing posture and form, readback and transcription of notes, and dictionary building.

MAGNUM STENO: Concepts covered include: Philadelphia Shift, Finger Spelling, Numbers and Number Bar, and Introduction to Right-Hand Phrase Enders. Students will continue to develop skills in high-level, efficient writing. Concepts covered include: Question and Answer Court Reporting Symbols; Q&A Extensions; Legal, Testimony, and Jury Charge Terminology; Prefixes and Suffixes; State Names; Common First and Last Names; Years in One Stroke; and Advanced Right-Hand Phrase Enders.

Students enrolled in a semester program have approximately 15 weeks of class each semester. By the end of the second 15-week semester students learn every sound and can phonetically write any word they hear at a speed of 80 plus words per minute.



LESSON FORMAT:  New material is gradually presented throughout the textbook along with review lessons. Students must master each concept before they move on to the next lesson as each lesson contains material from previous lessons. To minimize frustration, lessons are balanced so more difficult material is dispersed throughout the textbook and intermingled with easier material. All lessons begin with finger exercises and a warm-up. Except for the review lessons, all lessons contain the following:

  1. Drills for numbers, alphabets, finger exercises;
  2. New keystrokes, principles of writing, or new steno rules;
  3. Keyboard drills and practice;,
  4. Outlines for brief forms and phrases;,
  5. Word lists illustrating the new rule and reinforcing previously learned rules;
  6. Preview words for all sentences;
  7. Sentences for straight-copy practice and dictation containing all the new material and reviewing previous material.



DAILY STUDY PLAN:  To effectively master machine shorthand theory, students should study and write on their machine a minimum of five days a week. The amount of time each day depends on the student, but students will be highly proficient and can complete the program in two years or less if they allow four hours a day for each lesson. The following daily study plan for lessons containing new material is recommended:

  1. Students should read through the lesson.
  2. Students should visualize and memorize the new keystrokes that are introduced in the lesson.
  3. Students should practice writing the new strokes on their steno machines and check their steno strokes to see if they wrote them correctly.
  4. Students should write each section at least five times before going on to the next section.
  5. The teacher should go over all aspects of the lesson in class.
  6. When students go through the preview words, they should read each word as well as the correct steno outlines.
  7. Students are encouraged to think of the relevance or logic of the rules for writing the words to help in memorizing the outlines.
  8. Students write the words on their shorthand machines.
  9. Students are told to always read and correct their notes before going on to another part of the lesson.



REVIEW LESSONS:  Students should be working through the textbook a second time as review. Start at Chapter 1 and review each chapter until each concept is solidified in your muscle memory.



READING SHORTHAND NOTES:  An essential element of developing speed, skill, and accuracy in machine shorthand is having students read and correct their shorthand notes. It is important that they read printed shorthand notes from their software instead of the shorthand on their computer screens. When reading and correcting shorthand notes for the first time, they should use a red pen and quickly mark all errors. They are encouraged to practice reading their corrected notes more than once. If they frequently misstroke a particular outline, they should mark it every time. Reading the paper notes and using a red pen programs their subconscious to subsequently write the correct steno outlines. This reinforcement is crucial for adult learners.

If they occasionally read notes from their computer screen, students should set the CAT software so the steno comes up in the “Read Notes” or “Vertical Notes” format.



STENO CONFLICTS IN SHORTHAND OUTLINES:  Some shorthand outlines could translate homophones as more than one word. CAT systems contain a conflict database that is a compilation of steno conflicts that will be resolved by the software’s artificial intelligence capabilities. The first few times a conflict is resolved, the software stores the selections. Eventually, it automatically selects the correct word when used again in the same context as it was when it was resolved. The Magnum Steno Theory incorporates the artificial intelligence capabilities of CAT software. 



STRAIGHT-COPY PRACTICE:  Straight-copy practice or text-based copy is valuable for adults when developing skill in machine shorthand, especially for “visual” learners. The Magnum Steno textbook emphasize straight-copy practice in learning and progressing in machine shorthand. Straight-copy practice occurs when students write on their shorthand machine while looking at a printed page. It gives them the ability to focus on getting correct outlines, making corrections on misstrokes, and writing all the punctuation. Students should write all sections of each lesson from the textbook before the teacher goes over the lessons in class.



BRIEF FORMS, CONTRACTIONS, AND WORD FAMILIES:  Most words are written phonetically, by sound and by what one hears, and they may resemble English (especially with certain vowel sounds). Brief outlines for words are introduced in most lessons. These are words that are written a specific way and not necessarily phonetically. Outlines have been developed to prevent conflicts or shortened to increase the ability to write faster. Silent letters are often dropped in brief forms, and many outlines use text messaging concepts or commonly abbreviated words and phrases. Contractions and groups of words called “word families” are also taught. All contractions are written in one stroke. These special outlines are systematically introduced throughout the text and are logical and easily learned.



PREVIEW WORDS AND SENTENCES:  All lessons contain sentences using the new outlines and principles of writing presented in the lesson. In addition, word generator files are provided for accelerated practice and to maximize learning.




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