Design and Production of Technical Publications

Technical writers constantly face the challenge of creating documents that are easy to understand, aesthetically pleasing, and economical. In this course, we will examine different ways of achieving these goals by taking a careful look at the elements of design and their impact on usability and production.

The final assignment for this course is due one week after the course ends.

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

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Flora Gordon $525.00 28 Register
Online - - TBD $525.00 30 Register
Online - - TBD $525.00 30 Register

Instructional hours: 15

Schedule clarification: This course begins on the first date listed and ends six days after the last date listed. Between those times, you work at your own pace within the timelines set by the instructor.

What will I learn?

By the end of the course, you will be able to do the following:

  • Describe good design and how it applies to technical documents
  • Apply the five guiding principles of effective graphic design
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of the terminology, types and reasons for using grids for page layout
  • Explain the history, terminology, classifications and components of typefaces
  • Use tables, charts, graphs and other graphic elements
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of image file formats, their terminology and their use
  • Identify document structures, organization methods and binding
  • Analyze different output processes (printing, electronic) and select the best one based on the project usage, budget, schedule, distribution and accessibility needs

How will I learn?

Prepare to spend 10 to 15 hours per week on coursework, including:

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Reading course content (online)
  • Online discussions (asynchronous)
  • Exercises
  • Extra reading
  • Independent assignments

Course materials will be available 24/7, and assignment deadlines will be posted well in advance, allowing you to set your own pace for learning.

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.

How will I be evaluated?

  • Assignments (75%)
  • Online participation (15%)
  • Quiz (10%)

Textbooks and learning materials

All course materials are available online.

Technical requirements

To get the most out of this online course, we strongly recommend being comfortable with the following word processor (Microsoft Word, Google Docs) functions:

The assignments can also be completed using Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Publisher, Adobe InDesign, or Canva.

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 About Online Learning for helpful videos and additional information.

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