Colleges/Courses in shorthand

I was recently online and noticed that you can receive a stenographers degree (associates from Kingsborough College in the CUNY system)  Does anyone know of other colleges around the US that have degrees, night programs, or certifications in Gregg shorthand?  I’m still plugging away at Gregg shorthand here in Iraq–at lesson 31 in simplified.  I would love to learn more about an in-person course if there is one.

(by bob1106 for everyone)

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  1. I would bet you dollars to doughnuts that those courses are in machine shorthand.  Pen written shorthand has lost most of its institutional support.  I live in San Francisco and none of our post-secondary schools offer any sort of Gregg Shorthand classes.    Secretaries these days don't usually have to take shorthand.  In the law firm in which I work, I'm the only secretary who knows shorthand.  It's taken me 3 years and I've finally gotten the partner I work for to dictate to me.    I had to prove the value of my skill by going to court for a hearing on several motions.  I took notes of the hearing and was able to provide her with what the judge said in the orders on the various motions.  We were able to figure out what to do next before (a) we ordered the transcript from the court reporter (who actually made a bad transcript and was attributing statements of opposing counsel to the attorney I work for); and (b) before the judge actually issued her own order on the motions.  If we had been directed to provide an order for the judge's signature, we would have had a leg up based on the notes I took.    Not only was the court reporter not very accurate (there were all kinds of other errors in her transcript), but she took WEEKS to provide the transcript.  The transcript of the hearing was only 41 pages long.  To add insult to injury, she was writing on a Stentura so I would bet that much of the transcrpt could have been produced rather quickly.  Given her age, I bet she doesn't write a theory that is conflict free or very computer-compatible.    

  2. I'm sure you're right about the majority of post-secondary colleges not offering manual shorthand.  However, this university actually does!  It's Gregg Shorthand from beginning to end!  Here's the link:   I also know a little bit of machine shorthand (I have one of the nice old Stenograph machines that doesn't plug into the wall–the pretty '70's green kind!) and I can imagine how frustrating it was to you to wait that long for a transcript.   I'm just looking around to see if there is anything out there….I like search for those things when I have some down time!

  3. Well, I stand corrected.  The link isn't active for some reason, but I'll trust your word.    I haven't been able to find anything local to me here in California.  All I'm really doing is brushing up a bit.    I look forward to browsing their offerings.  It's great to know that there's someone out there still teaching shorthand.    

  4. I just took a look at the course offerings.  Eighty words a minute for 2 minutes?  I shocked that they consider that "sustained" speed.  When I was in school we were down to 3 minute takes.  Back in the day you had to sustain your speed for 5 minutes.    I don't suppose that in the work-a-day world your typical stenographer would have to write for more than a couple of minutes at a time.  I wonder which version of Gregg they are teaching?   One problem that arises from the shorter takes is that you don't get enough practice at efficient page turning.  🙂  While writing for 5 minutes, you have to turn the page.  I'm less proficient at leaf turning than I should be after all these years. 

  5. I totally agree… two minutes is *not* sustained. In my machine steno speed-building courses, the tests are five minutes, and some teachers do dictations that last ten to fifteen minutes, especially in ladder speeds (where they go 80% to 125% to 100% of the goal speed in one reading). Unfortunately, the majority of teachers do two- and three-minute takes regularly, so stamina is one of my issues.

    How can you expect to take dictation for hours at a time if you aren't given takes longer than two minutes?

    AnniversaryFan: page-turning should be a non-issue, shouldn't it? The way I do it is I move the sheets up with my free hand so my writing hand only moves up or down two or so inches. Then when it's time to turn a page, the leaf is already almost completely turned already, and the pen is in the right place for the next page.

  6. From: NiftyBoy1 Sent: 3/6/2008 6:02 PM
    AnniversaryFan: page-turning should be a non-issue, shouldn't it? The way I do it is I move the sheets up with my free hand so my writing hand only moves up or down two or so inches. Then when it's time to turn a page, the leaf is already almost completely turned already, and the pen is in the right place for the next page. That's how it's suppose to be done, but I have a hard time doing that myself.  I even saw some pictures in some shorthand book on how to do that so I had more of a visual. I don't know of any courses in shorthand.  The lady who taught our night school class in Speedwriting Shorthand had a another course fro brush up Gregg, but that was years and yeas ago.  So she didn't have anyone start learning Gregg, just brush up on it.  I keep looking at the course schedule hoping for one as that class did help me do pretty good with what I had. Debbi

  7. Anniversaryfan1 wrote: 'I took notes of the hearing and was able to provide her with what the judge said in the orders on the various motions.'   So are you a certified court reporter? Then your notes would have authority.

  8. I am by no means a certified reporter.  I'm just a legal secretary.  My notes were not necessarily verbatim, but they were complete enough and contained enough of the Court's actual statement that it was useful.    I don't have near the capacity that is required for someone who is certified.  Even in my salad days, I was probably not writing more than 160.  The writing in court is challenging, but the dictation in the office is much slower.  🙂  It's been nice knowing that she's finally realized that she can dictate stuff to me on the fly and then turn to something else.  By the time she's finished what she was doing, I have the document ready for discussion and review.  It's not always easy to be able to make those situations happen these days.  I figure if I can tag along to court more often, I can prove the usefulness of having someone with stenographic skill.    Once during a trial the lead counsel dictated the settlement letter to me, however, he was old enough to remember when secretaries wrote shorthand.  I sometimes feel like it's a sort of artificial respiration for shorthand. 

  9. Yes, NiftyBoy, page turning should be a non-issue.  🙂   Hence my public shame at not being better at it.  With a 3 minute take you can pretty much write it in the two columns on a page.  So, I was never really working at acquiring skill of turning the pages while writing at any appreciable speed.  I'm working now with longer takes and am trying to focus on the finer points of turning the page without my habit of writing away and then realizing I'm two lines from the bottom of the second column and I've just been concentrating on the writing.  I am getting better at shifting the page up gradually as I'm writing down the second column.  Getting dictation for five minutes in a take is difficult if I'm not making my own.    Also, it has been a long while since I was doing any shorthand writing vocationaly.  Rusty is a pretty good description.  Carpal tunnel syndrome has also done a job on my stamina.  🙂

  10. I would also be interested in knowing which version of Shorthand is being taught.   I also wonder where the teacher(s) are from and their backgrounds.   Wouldn't you think they would have sought out an online group of Gregg Shorthand users?

  11. To teach a course in shorthand today, I would think someone who had actually learned shorthand in high school or college and used it professionally would be the best teacher.

    If I were to be chosen as a shorthand teacher, rather than fall into that old Pitman maneuvre of teaching the basic system and then having students learn to modify their writing and learn new shortcuts, I would want to be consistent which means (to me) a choice of either Anniversary or Simplified. Considering that there is little demand for verbatim reporting today, despite my preference for Anniversary, I'd go with Simplified, expecially since the Manual is still readily available at a reasonable price. Also, if a student actually learns Simplified and would like to acquire faster speeds, it's not too difficult for him or her to learn Anniversary by using the 1929 Manual and the supplementary texts or the 1936 Functional Manual.

    Simplified is a good choice for the beginner because of the highly developed principle of analogy when studying the theory. Also reasonable speeds can be attained with Simplified more easily (in my humble opinion) than with DJS, Series 90 or Centenniel.

    So, who wants to hire me as a shorthand teacher. (I can always turn to Chuck if I need advice on how deeply to go into phrasing with students.)

  12. Kingsborough? I used to know one of the teachers there.

    They're now teaching Centennial–or they were when he retired. He said enrollment was down to the bare minimum and the student population in the classes were not native English speakers so it was an uphill battle all the way.


  13. 'So who wants to hire me as a shorthand teacher?'   In the big town where I used to live, the Parks and Recreation Department offered community courses at various locations throughout the city. Each season they would publish a list of offerings. The teachers were often people in the community who wanted to teach a class. I would see shorthand listed–that was about 15 years ago. I don't know if shorthand still turns up.   But I checked into teaching a class (on a different topic) and found out that anyone could teach a class if they could demonstrate that they were reasonably competent in their topic. I think the department had a fee per class, such as $20. and the teacher set the price for the class and either paid a flat fee to the department, or a percentage of enrollment. My memory tells me it was a flat fee of about $15 for use of the facility, but it may have been a combination of the two or the latter.   Anyway, maybe your big town has similar opportunities. Also, colleges have continuing education programs, and they don't have to be taught by degree bearing individuals, if they are otherwise qualified.   E

  14. We have a Continuing Education where I learned speedwriting shorthand.  It was a night class at a high school.  I think it's the same as said above, you don't need a degree just show you are capable and are willing to teach.  I think Simplified would be the choice too, because the textbook is available and higher speeds can be developed and it's not as hard as Anniversary.  

  15. Anniversaryfan1, there's a link I got from this board ( that has old, very old, Gregg shorthand books,a nd one is one Court Reporting, called "The Gregg Reporter".  Has some very useful shortcuts for court reporting.  Thought you might find it helpful if you would like it.   There's also a book on teaching shorthand.    Those who remember, this also has Alice in Wonderland in Gregg and Letters from a self-made merchant to his Son'.    All available for download (if your country laws accept it) Debbi  

  16. Hey, Debbi —   I downloaded a copy of the Gregg Reporter.  It contains much of the same material as the "Gregg Reporting Shortcuts" — it's an older edition.    I also downloaded the book about teaching shorthand.  It's an interesting read.    Thanks for looking out for me, Debbi.  It was kind of you to think of me.   My carpal tunnel has made me reduce my practice and writing.  Once I start the strengthening exercises, I'm hoping I get back to normal.    Thanks again.   Peter

  17. In our area, both the college and high school offer general interest courses, but only the high school advertises for teachers.


    About the carpal tunnel. It's worth getting a proper physiotherapist. I went in with what I thought was a rotator cuff injury.

    The doctor didn't even bother diagnosing it. She just signed the papers and said the physiotherapist would do more thorough tests than she could do.

    It turns out a pinched nerve in my neck caused that entire shoulder to be too loose, which made it susceptible to the injury that took me to the doctor. The other shoulder to be too tight, but symptomless, to compensate. The twinges along my forearm that I thought were unrelated were the same nerve — it wasn't gliding properly in the sheathe. She had to hold one vertebra still while bending my neck, to get the right parts to loosen up. Another exercise, she twisted my arm and moved it in strange ways behind my back — white fire all along the pinky side of my arm, armpit to wrist. I tried to duplicate it at home, but it was impossible.

    So, even if I had diagnosed it right, I would still have needed help fixing it.

    It took only two visits to feel a lot of relief. The whole thing took three months. If cost is an issue, she can adapt, as long as she knows up front.

    My family has often been told by doctors that physiotherapists know more about muscles and movement than they do, and have seen proof, even for things doctors had said were untreatable, so I'd push for physio even if the doctor disagrees.


  18. Hey, Cricket —   I am under the care of a hand surgeon at this time.  I'm doing the stretching exercises he has prescribed and they are helping.  The tingling and numbness I was having are no longer a problem.  I'd been diagnosed with CTS years ago.  I was bad at doing the stretching exercises.  I've learned my lesson.  The next step is the strengthening exercises.  I still have a whole lotta stretchin' to do.  🙂   He hasn't suggested a physical therapist at this point.  I'm wondering if he will send me to one when I start the strengthening.    We'll see what happens.  I wouldn't mind having some physical therapy.  When I see him next, I'm going to ask him about it.    Thanks very much for your advice.  I appreciate your sharing.   Peter

  19. Good to hear it! I've seen too many people either ignore it, or self-treat, or do surgery without physio, all with bad results.

    Definitely push for the physio. They do stretching as well as strengthening, help retrain the muscles so the right ones do the work, and show you how to set up your work area. They also have more time than the doctor.

  20. I attended the course at Kingsborough College up until 2006. The book we used was "Gregg Shorthand College Book 1 Centennial Edition". Book 2 is introduced for the third semester of 3. They also have the tapes that accompany these books, and will make a copy for you if you take the course and give them 25 or so blank audio cassettes.

    The first two semesters covered the strokes, brief forms and rules. The third semester covered speedbuilding. An A in the speedbuilding course was achieved by taking dictation at 80WPM for 2 minutes with fewer than 8 errors in the transcription (95% accuracy). In order to avoid failing, a student had to achieve 70WPM for 2 min with fewer than 14 errors in the transcription (90% accuracy).

    I managed to achieve about 100 WPM in the course, sustained for 2 minutes with only 1 or 2 errors. Two students of 12 were able to achieve this speed. Of course, the rest of the students had a full course load, and I was only taking this one course, so I had more time to focus on it.

    Enrollment in these courses was very low. The college canceled 2 semesters of the speedbuilding course before enough students finally registered for the course, and the minimum enrollment was only 10 students. That means that they were getting about 4 registrations per semester on average from the entire college, and eight students got turned away and had to reregister at least once in a later semester. I registered 3 times before I got in, due to the cancellations. I hope that they keep the course going, because I'd like to review it, but at that rate, who knows.

    They offered another Gregg course in midtown Manhattan, New York up until around 2004 at Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School, based on Series 90. I took this course before attending Kingsborough, but the teacher wasn't as skilled, and covered up how poorly we were learning by over-estimating our dictation speed so we wouldn't feel bad. The course had only four students, and was removed from their curriculum the semester after I took it.

    After all is said and done, I think taking a shorthand course was totally worth it versus trying to learn it myself. I'm glad I took it, even though taking it at a college made it very expensive. I doubt I'd have been able to get the skill otherwise, and I feel sure that I never would have achieved 100WPM. If you are in the area, and you can possibly take it at Kingsborough, I highly recommend it.

  21. I just found one, pitman 2000 in melbourne

    Who knew and right in my own city. 700 dollars unfortunately though quite remarkable claims. They claim students should reach a minimum speed of 60wpm and the course goes for exactly 1.5 months. It's twice a week (6hrs altogether). It took me twice as long to reach the same speed and I did a lot of practice.

    I imagine that lessons really do help then, or maybe pitman2000 has less theory to trot through.

  22. Pitman2000 apparently does have a lot less theory. New Era is the one most-used and most-recommended, and has been around for quite a while. I'm not sure how much conflict there is in the theory for the two outlines, or if 2000 is merely a subset of NE.

  23. Somewhere, I think, is a post from GeorgeAmberson1 about the differences between Pitman New Era and 2000. I think he likened the differences to the differences between Anny and DJ.   Perhaps he would like to comment as a Pitman writer?   sidhe

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