Fundamentals of Creating Online Documents

The ability to write and present online material is not just an asset in the current job market—it's a requirement. This course will introduce you to the principles and processes of designing effective online documentation.

We'll begin with an overview of online documentation today, and explore how online documentation is changing the role of the technical communicator.

We will also examine how users interact with online documents and what techniques you can incorporate into your documentation design to facilitate these interactions. You will get hands-on practice with several current industry tools to create some basic online documents.

Instructional hours: 18


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 6 weeks
Tuition: $630
Can be applied to:
Technical Communication Certificate

Upcoming Offerings

Register for a course at any time, with the option to apply to a program later.

Start Date
Seats Available
Start DateTue, Sep 17, 2024
  • Tue, Sep 17 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Sep 24 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 1 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 8 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 15 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 22 (self-paced all week)
InstructorJune Madison
Seats Available24
Start DateTue, Mar 11, 2025
  • Tue, Mar 11 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 18 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 25 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Apr 1 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Apr 8 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Apr 15 (self-paced all week)
InstructorJune Madison
Seats Available25

What you will learn

After completing this course, you’ll be able to do the following:

  • Recognize and describe several different kinds of online documents, and begin to evaluate their usefulness and design
  • Examine the changing role of technical communicators in a rapidly changing environment
  • Describe how users interact and respond to online documentation
  • Begin to design and create documentation that takes users’ needs into account
  • Explain how to organize and structure content and navigation to provide optimal access for the users of your projects
  • Use graphics, layout and visual elements to maximize a user’s positive response to your documentation
  • Write and design text elements for online documents to improve readability and understanding
  • Use current industry tools to create an online help project and a wiki

How you will learn and be evaluated

  • Prepare to spend 10–15 hours per week on coursework
  • Expect reading and other assignments on a weekly basis
  • Plan to access the course at least once every few days to keep up with your work and assignments

You will be evaluated on:

  • Assignments
  • Participation in discussions

Learning Materials

No textbook is required. We will provide all course materials online.

Recommended reading:

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition. University of Chicago Press, 2017. ISBN 978-0226287058

Note: Courses use the author-date style from the Chicago/Turabian (17th ed.) citation guide.

Once you begin the course you’ll be sent SFU library access information for this text. Alternatively, you may wish to access a 30-day free trial of the online version of Chicago Manual of Style.

Technical Requirements

For online courses, you will need a computer with audio and microphone that is connected to the internet. Canvas is the online system that will be used for the course. For more information and online support, visit Online Learning.

This course requires:

  • MadCap Flare demonstration software (links will be available during the course)
  • A PC (Windows XP or later) with full administrative rights so you can install trial software. Due to the trial software requirements, this course is not accessible on a Mac. Mac users may run Flare through a Windows emulator if you choose, however, we do not provide hardware or software support for configuring your Mac.
  • Microsoft Word 2010 or other word processing software for creating PDF files
  • High-speed internet access

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.