Introduction to Technical Communication

Technical writers and editors work in a variety of industries. In this introduction to technical communication, you’ll learn about the core competencies identified by the Society for Technical Communication (STC):

  • Project planning and analysis
  • Content development, using both visual and written communication
  • Organizational design
  • Editorial review
  • Content management
  • Production and delivery

By the end of the course, you’ll be familiar with the processes technical communicators follow every day at work.

Note: this course was formerly called Concepts and Practice of Technical Communication.

Instructional hours: 20


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 8 weeks
Tuition: $640
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
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Start DateTue, May 7, 2024
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InstructorMette Aube
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InstructorMette Aube
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Start DateTue, May 13, 2025
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Start DateTue, Sep 16, 2025
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Seats Available25

What you will learn

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

  • List the nine core competencies of technical communication
  • Discuss document planning and project scheduling strategies
  • Use standard document development methodology to write and produce effective, user-focused technical documents
  • Apply collaboration techniques to produce online or print documentation deliverables
  • Organize and present technical information effectively, both in print and online
  • Apply plain language principles to communicate clearly with the broadest range of users
  • Employ design principles to create print and online documents that make it easy for readers/users to find and use information
  • Recognize and recall the product and process terminology used by technical communicators

How you will learn and be evaluated

  • Prepare to spend 6–10 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 group assignments

You will be evaluated on:

  • Assignments (individual and group)
  • Participation in online discussions
  • Quizzes

To graduate with the Technical Communication Certificate, complete all courses with minimum average grade of B- (70%).

Learning Materials

Course fees do not include textbooks. We recommend you purchase your textbook as soon as you’ve registered. We will provide additional course materials online.

Required text:

Johnson-Sheehan, Richard. Technical Communication Today6th Edition. Pearson, 2018. ISBN 9780134425733, 0134425731.

You can purchase this textbook through the Pearson or Vital Source website.  

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:

  • Microsoft Word or other word processing software that can create PDF files
  • High-speed internet access
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader

To get the most from this course, you should be comfortable with the following MS Word and/or Google Docs functions:

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.