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.

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

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - - TBD $630.00 29 Register

Instructional hours: 18

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:

  • 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 will I learn?

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

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Online discussions
  • Readings
  • Individual exercises
  • Individual 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?

  • Two individual assignments

Textbooks and learning materials

Recommended text:

The Chicago Manual of Style, 16th ed, (or later): 2010. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226104201

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 download a 30-day free trial of the online version of Chicago Manual of Style

All other course materials are available online.

Hardware and software requirements

  • 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

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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