PLNL320

Advanced User Analysis

In science and engineering, the term “user analysis” refers to the method scientists and engineers use to determine the characteristics of users and how those characteristics influence the development of systems or other technological products. For plain language writers, the term is used similarly. For writing to be effective and meaningful, you need to analyze the characteristics of your target audience and understand who will be receiving your communication.

In this course, you’ll learn how to plan and evaluate writing and writing contexts so that communications can be targeted specifically to your intended audience.

This course is available at the following time(s) and location(s):

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Cheryl Stephens $630.00 25 Register

Instructional hours: 21

Schedule clarification: Online courses begin on the first date listed and end six days after the last date listed. The interim dates/times are not your actual online class times.

What will I learn?

On completion of the course, you will be able to:

  • Describe the communication planning necessary to develop user-centred documents
  • Define usability as it relates to clear communication
  • Use several sources of information to analyze the users/tasks/contexts for a communication
  • Conduct a usability test
  • Revise a document based on user analysis so that it is clear and effective for the target audience

How will I learn?

  • Group assignments
  • Independent writing assignments
  • Extra reading
  • Online research and discussion groups

How will I be evaluated?

Evaluation methods may vary, but you will be evaluated using standard university evaluation approaches, such as a combination of examinations, projects, labs, papers, case studies, assignments and individual and group participation. An A to F letter grading scale will be used. To qualify for a certificate, you must successfully complete the program courses with an overall minimum B average.

Textbooks and learning materials

All required course materials are available online.

Recommended texts:

Cutts, Martin; Oxford Guide to Plain English. (2013) Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199669172.

Stephens, Cheryl; Plain Language in Plain English. (2010) Lulu.com ISBN: 978-0557537877.

Hardware and software requirements 

We deliver this course using SFU's online course management system, Canvas. You will receive course details and Canvas access instructions on the first day of the course. You can check if your browser is compatible with Canvas here.

New to online learning? See Online Programs and Courses for helpful videos and additional information.

English language requirements

To succeed in this course, you will need an advanced level of written and spoken English. If you are unsure whether your English language skills are sufficient, we recommend you complete the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with the following minimums:

  • Overall band score minimum 6.5
  • No band below 6.0
  • Writing band score minimum 8.0

Please note we can't refund your registration fees after the course start date if you find your English language skills are not adequate.

If you have questions or concerns about your English language proficiency, we encourage you to contact your local IELTS Test Centre.

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