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Course Name
Technical Communication, an Introduction for Current Technical Writers, Editors and Designers

Contact Hours: 30

Course Description
If you have been doing some form of technical writing, editing, or design for a while, but you wonder what the whole profession really involves, this course will expand your perspective, and help you polish your skills. You`ll learn how to articulate the benefits of technical communication for the user and for your organization.

As you delve into the course of study the tech student will see how the profession looks today, reflect on the forces that have shaped our field, and identify the wide range of activities that now constitute technical communication. Learn how your work fits into the organization`s process, and where the field is headed. You`ll learn best practices for planning, designing, writing, editing, and user-testing your documentation, online and on paper. 

The course is designed to help you become a sophisticated professional.

Outcome
By the end of this course, you`ll be able to:
 
  • Define the field of technical communication.
  • Identify tasks and job titles in the profession of technical communication.
  • Describe the historical forces that have shaped the profession.
  • Define key terms used in technical communication.
  • Analyze the actual experience of people using your documents.
  • Identify the way that typography and layout affect your readers.
  • Identify how you fit into a product management process, as a technical communicator.
  • 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 your documentation.
  • Identify the key emotional competences for outstanding performance.
  • Articulate the levels of edit.
  • Identify best practices when writing or editing procedures
  • Identify problems and opportunities when publishing text online.


Assessment
Your progress will be assessed in several ways:
 
  • Through evaluation of your written work, using detailed guidelines given in each module.
  • Through self quizzes.
  • Through comments on your reports of activities that you undertake.
  • A final exam.


Required Book(s)
No book is required for this course. All curriculum materials are included in the Learning Management System.

Outline

Topics (Most or all are covered at discretion of the instructor)

  1. Defining the field, becoming a profession 
  2. The ideas of documentation, documents, and design 
  3. Forces that have shaped our concept of technical communication 
  4. A tour of the activities that now constitute technical communication 
  5. Key tools you need to know-and how you can learn them quickly 
  6. Observing readers in action 
  7. Engaging readers`thinking and feelings 
  8. Balancing the readers` needs with your organization`s goals 
  9. Considering the actual experience of the users 
  10. Seeing the text 
  11. The role of typography and space 
  12. Gestalt principles for design 
  13. The interplay of words and images 
  14. How your work fits into the organization`s life 
  15. The idea of process 
  16. The process of product management 
  17. The importance of the information plan
  18.  Analyzing your audience 
  19. Doing task analysis 
  20. Drawing up the task list 
  21. Completing the information plan 
  22. Creating a content specification
  23. The process of user-centered design
  24. How technical communicators fit in 
  25. Putting the user at the center of the development process 
  26. Testing your documentation for usability 
  27. Developing your emotional intelligence, to become a star performer 
  28. Understanding and using the levels of edit 
  29. Case study: Writing a procedure 
  30. Problems and opportunities when moving text online 
  31. Final exam