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ABCs of Technical Writing

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Course Description

Technical writing is the art and science of translating technical information into readable, accessible writing usable by a wide audience. If you have ever read the user's manual for a piece of software or equipment you've purchased, you've seen technical writing in action. Creating manuals, help and technical support systems, online help systems, and instruction manuals are some of the main projects technical writers take on. Since nearly every business in every industry imaginable has at least an occasional need to bring technical information to its users and customers, technical writing is found in nearly every business, government agency, and non-profit organization.

If you work in a high tech industry, technical writing may be a part of your job description and daily duties. If you love to write, enjoy learning, and have an interest in technology, technical writing can be an exciting, rewarding career in itself. Job opportunities in the field are expected to grow as technology continues to advance.

Whether you are called upon to communicate technical information to clients and coworkers, or you are thinking of technical writing as a new and interesting career, this course is designed to help you get started. We'll talk more about the kinds of products technical writers get involved in, and discuss the kinds of skills that successful technical writing requires. We'll talk about ways to approach and organize a technical writing project, and look at the kinds of materials technical writers produce, from written manuals to video tutorials. For those looking at technical writing as a new career, we'll discuss ways of improving your skill set, getting training, making contacts, and breaking into the field.

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  • Accredited CEUs
Universal Class is an IACET Accredited Provider

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Course Lessons

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Lesson 1. What is Technical Writing?

Technical writing is the art and science of translating technical information generated by subject matter experts into readable, accessible information usable by a wider audience. 31 Total Points
  • Lesson 1 Video
  • Complete Assignment: An Introduction
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 1
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 1: What is Technical Writing?

Lesson 2. Projects for Technical Writers

As we've discussed before, nearly every industry involves some technical writing, especially if we include marketing materials under the technical writing umbrella. 39 Total Points
  • Lesson 2 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Freelance Technical Writers; Are You Ready?
  • Take Poll: Imagination Rules
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 2
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 2: Projects for Technical Writers

Lesson 3. The Technical Writing Process

Whether you're writing software manuals, online help, brochures, or scripting a video, the core goals of technical writing remain the same. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 3 Video
  • Review Article: Subject Matter Experts
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 3: The Technical Writing Process

Lesson 4. How to Write Effectively

At its core, good technical writing is simply good writing about technical topics. 50 Total Points
  • Lesson 4 Video
  • Review Article: Competitively Writing!
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 4
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 4: How to Write Effectively

Lesson 5. Teaching an Alien to Drive

The challenge in delivering usable information is in knowing what level of detail and complexity is appropriate, and what elements of a given process you can assume that your reader knows and which ones you'll have to explain. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 5 Video
  • Review Article: Tech Writing Resources
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 5: Teaching an Alien to Drive

Lesson 6. The First End User, You

In this lesson, we'll look at this part of the process in greater detail, and we'll see how the technical writer can add value to the company's product by evaluating its usability as it is being developed. 11 Total Points
  • Lesson 6 Video
  • Review Article: Keeping Up With Technology
  • Take Poll: What Type of Learner are You?
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 6
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 6: The First End User: You

Lesson 7. Getting It Done. Project Management and the Technical Writer

Technical writers often need to manage more than one large project at a time. Developing good project management skills is as important (or more so) than good writing skills. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 7 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: How to Write a Technical Essay; What Are They Looking For?
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 7: Getting It Done: Project Management and the Technical Writer

Lesson 8. Words, Pictures, and Links. The Growing Array of Deliverable Formats

As we've seen in earlier lessons, a technical writer's output is not just written manuals anymore. Let's look further at the types of deliverables you as a technical writer could be called upon to produce. 9 Total Points
  • Lesson 8 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Be Creative!; Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 8: Words, Pictures, and Links: The Growing Array of Deliverable Formats

Lesson 9. Breaking into Technical Writing

Is a career in technical writing for you? By now we've talked enough about the kind of work that you'd be doing to give you a sense of whether it is the kind of work you might enjoy. 35 Total Points
  • Lesson 9 Video
  • Review 3 Articles: Starting Out; Job Opportunities; Your Portfolio
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 9
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 9: Breaking into Technical Writing

Lesson 10. The Tech Writer's Toolbox

What tools do you need to succeed as a technical writer? Often, you need to know whatever tools your company chooses to use. 10 Total Points
  • Lesson 10 Video
  • Take Poll: Language Basics
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 10: The Tech Writer's Toolbox

Lesson 11. Staying in Touch

What is the future of technical writing? The answer is interactivity. The phenomenon of Web 2.0 has converted Web surfers into Web content providers. People don't just browse the web anymore, they get involved. 565 Total Points
  • Lesson 11 Video
  • Review 2 Articles: Your Writing Future; Technical Writing Blogs
  • Take Poll: How would you rate this course?
  • Take Survey: Program Evaluation Follow-up Survey (End of Course)
  • Complete: Assignment - Lesson 11
  • Complete Exam: Lesson 11: Staying in Touch
  • Complete: Technical Writing - Final Exam
Total Course Points

Additional Course Information

Online CEU Certificate
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Document Your CEUs on Your Resume
Course Title: ABCs of Technical Writing
Course Number: 7550201
Languages: English - United States, Canada and other English speaking countries
Course Type: Professional Development
CEU Value: 0.9 IACET CEUs (Continuing Education Units)
CE Accreditation: Universal Class, Inc. has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).
Grading Policy: Earn a final grade of 70% or higher to receive an online/downloadable CEU Certification documenting CEUs earned.
Assessment Method: Lesson assignments and review exams
Instructor: Dr. Deirdre Mithaug
Syllabus: View Syllabus
Duration: Continuous: Enroll anytime!
Course Fee: $50.00 (no CEU Certification) || with CEU Certification: $75.00

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Learning Outcomes

By successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  • Identify what technical writing is.
  • Identify the types of projects that require technical writers.
  • Know the technical writing process.
  • Write technical materials more effectively.
  • Write with the end-user in mind, and not the product owner.
  • Demonstrate time management skills to complete a project.
  • Evaluate your technical writing.
  • Identify the best resources for finding technical writing projects, and
  • Demonstrate mastery of lesson content at levels of 70% or higher.

Student Testimonials

  • "Excellent!" -- Jeannine S.
  • "I really enjoyed working with the instructor. I found the writing assignments most helpful. Practicing specific writing skills is the best way to learn technical writing." -- Paul S.
  • "The instructor was so helpful." -- Anchal N.
  • "Everything was great." -- Nancy M.
  • "It was a good overview, which is exactly what I was looking for. I enjoyed your classes. Thank you." -- Beth B.

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