The Basic Technical Writing Certificate consists of three courses that have been developed for those entering into the field for the first time or those in the downsized IT industry. The program is Instructor-Led, meaning you learn from highly qualified industry and tech writing university faculty. Now in its 12 th year, our program has been designed for those who lack sufficient experience in the field or those who want to enhance existing careers in technical writing or move in a new direction within the corporate workplace. (See Below Outlook for Technical Writers Bureau of Labor Statistics)
The certificate is specifically focused for the following:
- Those who aspire to develop their technical language and communication skills
- Those who need to update their knowledge and skills
- Those who need preparation for teaching professional communication
- Those who must prepare and deliver training for their companies
- Those who aspire to advance in documentation and other technical communication positions
- Those who seek a verifiable Certificate Credential from an accredited university
Upon successful completion of this certificate, you will be able to:
- Analyze audiences and purposes for various technical documents and write effective technical documents by incorporating editorial changes and user feedback
- Correct instances of improper usage, eliminate trite and redundant phrases, so you can write clear and precise sentences
- Apply sound formatting principles to the design and layout of documents and insert eye-catching graphics, charts, and tables that illustrate key points
- Create information plans and content specifications and implement publications projects
- Manage production processes and evaluate project successes and failures
Individual Course Descriptions
- Introduction to Technical Writing for Industry
- Intermediate Technical Writing
- Advanced Technical Writing
Introduction to Technical Writing for Industry
If you want to become a technical writer, or if you have just become a technical writer and wonder what the job and the profession may involve, this course will introduce you to an exciting and rewarding career in technical communication. You’ll learn what tasks you will do, how your work fits into the organization’s process, and where the field is headed.
Dig in and get right into planning, writing, editing, and testing – the key activities in a technical communicator’s day. Each lesson focuses on a specific area of technical communications and you will receive information, resources, questions and assignments geared towards the specific area.
You can email any questions, thoughts, or concerns you may have at any time. After your writing assignment has been completed and submitted, it will be reviewed and returned with comments. The course is designed to help you become a professional technical communicator so I invite you to ask any questions that occur to you along the way.
By the end of this course, you’ll be able to…
- Identify tasks and job titles in the profession of technical communication.
- Write and edit step by step instructions.
- Organize a set of procedures.
- Articulate the levels of edit.
- Analyze and edit a document following the recommendations in a style guide.
- Identify key components of an information plan, and content specification.
- Analyze an audience.
- Perform a task analysis.
- Identify key activities in user-centered design.
- Perform user testing on a procedure.
- Identify the key emotional competences for outstanding performance.
- Define key terms used in technical communication.
Your progress will be assessed in several ways:
- Through instructor evaluation of written work.
- Through self quizzes.
- Through instructor comments on your reports of activities that you undertake.
- In-depth responses from the instructor on your weekly work.
- A final exam.
- What is technical communication?
- Define the field and what it takes to become a professional
- The ideas of documentation, documents, and design
- Forces that have shaped our concept of technical communication
- Visual display
- Why is visual analysis necessary
- Using tables and charts to communicate data
- The Gestalt principles for design
- Perform a task analysis
- Testing your documentation for usability
- Grammatical structure
- Creating effective documentation
- Using the correct formatting, styles, templates, and headings
- Document design
- Writing for your audience
- Perform an audience analysis
- What is user centered design
- Editing and delivering a quality product
- Understanding and using various levels of technical editing
- Create a style guide
- How can you become a top notch technical communicator
Intermediate Technical WritingCourse Description
This technical-writing course introduces you to basic page design such as headings, lists, tables, notices, and highlighting.
You`ll learn and be expected to use standard design, format, and style for these page-design elements in the documents you write for this course. These are much the same standards as those used in the technical-publishing industry today.
After you study the page-design units, you will write a set of instructions in which you use these guidelines and of course the general standards for good writing as well.
You will e-mail these instructions to your instructor who will review, comment on, and send them back to you by e-mail attachment.
You`ll follow the same process for the recommendation report. The course is appropriate for people who have had some on-the-job experience as well as those who may have taken Introduction to Technical Writing for Industry. may be taken alone or as part of the sequence of courses leading to a certificate in technical writing.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
- State good design practices for headings, lists, notices, graphics, tables, and highlighting.
- Recognize common problems involving headings, lists, notices, graphics, tables, and highlighting.
- Use standard design, format, and style of headings, lists, notices, graphics, tables, and highlighting in their writing projects.
- State the common design and structure of written instructions and for recommendation reports.
- Use headings, lists, notices, graphics, tables, and highlighting effectively in written instructions.
- Perform audience and task analyses in preparation to write instructions.
- Create instructions that focus on reader tasks, that explain actions clearly and that use an effective design enabling readers to accomplish their tasks.
Introductions and start-up. To begin the course, you will fill out an online schedule and questionnaire, specifying your own due dates for the units included in this course. Doing so will generate your own web-page schedule with links to all the assignments, readings, exercises, and related information.
You`ll receive an e-mail introduction from your instructor and will then send e-mail introducing yourself.
- Headings and lists. In more or less the first week of this course, you will study headings and lists, using the online textbook and other resources and then take quizzes on these two topics to ensure your understanding of them. Your instructor automatically receives your quiz results and is available by e-mail or chat room to answer any questions you may have.
- Special notices and graphics. In more or less the second week of this course, you will study notices and graphics, using the online textbook and other resources and then take quizzes on these two topics to ensure your understanding of them. Your instructor automatically receives your quiz results and is available by e-mail or chat room to answer any questions you may have.
- Tables and highlighting. In more or less the third week of this course, you will study tables and highlighting, using the online textbook and other resources and then take quizzes on these two topics to ensure your understanding of them. Your instructor automatically receives your quiz results and is available by e-mail or chat room to answer any questions you may have.
- Writing project: instructions. In the next two to three weeks of this course, you will put what you`ve learned about headings, lists, notices, graphics, tables, and highlighting to work in a set of instructions. You`ll use readings, exercises, and examples from the online textbook as well as other resources. Your instructor will be available to discuss your ideas and plans for the instructions project. You`ll send your instructions by e-mail to your instructor who will review, comment on, and send them back to you by e-mail. You will then revise accordingly, e-mailing your instructor if you have any questions. If all goes well, your instructor will approve your revised instructions (if any revision is necessary).
Writing project: recommendation report. In the final weeks of this course, you`ll write a recommendation report that gives you further practice with the concepts in this course. You`ll use readings, exercises, and examples from the online textbook as well as other resources. Your instructor will be available to discuss your ideas and plans for this report project. You`ll send your report by e-mail to your instructor who will review, comment on, and send it back to you by e-mail. You`ll then revise accordingly, e-mailing your instructor if you have any questions. If all goes well, your instructor will approve your revised recommendation report (if any revision is necessary), and you`ll have successfully completed the course.
Advanced Technical Writing
Advanced Technical Writing will give you the expertise and confidence to market yourself as a technical writer or simply to tackle more advanced assignments at work. Building on the skills you have acquired in the previous technical writing courses, this course emphasizes audience analysis, document organization and design, supplements, visuals, and research techniques. The course consists of one proposal that will incorporate all stage of technical writing: planning, writing, designing, and revising.
Throughout the course students can communicate with the instructor on assignments and may discuss any issues related to technical writing.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Analyze readers and/or situations to prepare for writing a proposal
- Define the purpose of a proposal
- Gather, record, and interpret data
- Use content, design, and style guidelines to produce a more readable, concise document
- Write and edit technical documentation
- Write a winning proposal
- Students will demonstrate their understanding of advanced technical writing by creating a proposal that meets the required standards set forth by the instructor.
- The proposal will include research, supplemental materials, and graphics that meet the expectations and criteria.
- The student will submit the proposal in stages for assessment and feedback.
- Students demonstrate mastery of advanced technical writing by achieving at least 80% on the final proposal.