Course Name
Certificate in Professional Technical Communication - Portfolio

Contact Hours: 140

Course Description
In this Portfolio program, under the direction and advice of your instructor, you write some of the most important documents that a technical communicator creates and build them into a powerful online or hardcopy portfolio. The portfolio, which will demonstrate the skills you have acquired in this course, will be an essential tool in your employment and advancement as a technical communicator.
The lessons in this course include readings, strategies, exercises, and writing assignments on the following:
  • Technical concepts
  • Proposals
  • Recommendation reports
  • Instructions
  • User guides
  • Data reports
  • Guidance documents
  • Reference information
  • Technical articles
The writing projects span the worlds of business, high-tech, and government where technical writing is essential and valued. In each of these lessons, you follow a reliable project-planning process, practice essential format and style relevant to the writing assignment and have multiple chances to revise under the guidance of your instructor.
Your resulting portfolio will have writing samples of interest to employers in business and technology corporations as well in government agencies.
Methodology (what to expect)
A typical lesson is as follows:
  • You start by reading about the purpose of the lesson and the assignments that it will contain.
  • You do the readings.
  • You look at examples similar to the assignment you will do in this lesson.
  • You do exercises that give you practice doing essential tasks required by the assignment.
  • You brainstorm and plan writing assignment: finding a topic, identifying and analyzing an audience, rough-sketching an outline, and so on.
  • You do research online or at your local library as needed.
  • You write a rough draft of the assignment, following the stated guidelines, and send it to your instructor.
  • Your instructor reviews, comments on, and sends your draft back to you.
  • You and your instructor agree on revisions you'll do, you revise and return the revision, and your instructor likely signs off (although the review–revise cycle can repeat if necessary).
  • You write a self-evaluation of how this lesson worked for you, suggest changes, and send to your instructor.
Please note: Course of study may be completed earlier than indicated.
This Certificate Course must be completed within the specified time period noted at the time of enrollment. If additional time is needed to complete the course of study, Extension Fees will apply.
Upon successful completion, students may opt to receive an Official Certificate in Professional Technical Communication; processing fees apply.

As a result of engaging in this course of study, all serious-minded students will benefit in the following ways: 
  • Plan writing projects with a strong understanding of the subject matter.
  • Learn how to fit a focused strategy to your audience and purpose.
  • Engage in both task and audience analysis.
  • Study and write important projects common to business, government, and industry.
  • Learn revision strategies for new and existing documents.
  • Expand writing styles and abilities.
  • Earn a highly recognized Professional Technical Completion Certificate credential.

In this course, you must engage in independent and self-paced study. The instructional developer of this program has been careful to provide a detailed method of study for each unit.
For each unit, you will submit one more writing projects and related practice exercises to your instructor. Your instructor will evaluate your writing projects according to the stated guidelines as well as according to the standards of good technical writing and advise you on revising those projects.
Toward the end of this course, you will develop an online portfolio that shows the impressive work you've done in this course.

Required Book(s)
No books are required for this course; the lessons contain informative readings and links to related resources.


Note: You may request to substitute some of the writing samples below with your own writing projects. It is up to the discretion of your instructor to approve such requests.
Lesson 1: Write about a Technical Concept
In this lesson, you follow the standard writing process to write a concept document, find a topic, narrow it if necessary, and more.
Lesson 2: Write a How-To Document
The goal of this lesson is to learn the essential purpose, content, format, and style of instructions and to write your own instructions on how to perform, build, or repair something.
Lesson 3: Write a Proposal
The goal of this lesson is to write a proposal that combines persuasive elements and factual presentation to convince reviewers to award you a contract or buy your services.
Lesson 4: Write a Data Report
The goal of this lesson is to present data in your writing. Data can be numbers presented in a table or interspersed in your text. It an also be displayed visually in charts and graphs.
Lesson 5: Write a Recommendation Report
The goal of this lesson is to write an important type of report used in business decision: the recommendation report. You'll use a framework in which you establish requirements, compare the choice on a point-by-point basis, reach conclusions, and then make a recommendation.
Lesson 6: Write a Guidance or Reference Document
The goal of this lesson is to give you some experience with important forms of of technical communication—the guidance document and the reference manual.
Lesson 7: Write a User Guide
User guides help readers understand how to perform several different tasks for a product or process. User guides also include reference and conceptual information.
Lesson 8: Write a Technical Article for Nonspecialist Readers
The goal of this lesson is to write a magazine-style article about a science or technology topic. Because it is intended for general, nonspecialist, mainstream readers, it should be engaging, interesting, and enjoyable to read. This is just one more way to write about technical topics: you've experienced others in the preceding assignments in this course.