Technical Writing and Editing

As a technical communicator, your ultimate goal is to produce the most effective and usable documentation for your audience. To achieve your goal, you’ll need to understand how to structure and organize user-centric technical documentation using standard components and how to write well, using plain and concise language. No one writes a perfect first draft, so you’ll also learn how to edit technical documentation, and how to use a style guide to facilitate consistency.

Through reading, discussions and homework, you will create a how-to manual, practising techniques for creating concise and functional documentation that will work well in print or online. Throughout the course, you will complete assignments, contribute to class forum discussions and edit a classmate’s project while yours is being edited.

Instructional hours: 15


Location: Online
Format: Self-paced within deadlines set by instructor
Duration: 5 weeks
Tuition: $525
Can be applied to:
Technical Communication Certificate
Editing Certificate
Plain Language 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, Nov 14, 2023
  • Tue, Nov 14 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Nov 21 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Nov 28 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Dec 5 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Dec 12 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available10
Start DateTue, Jan 23, 2024
  • Tue, Jan 23 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Jan 30 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Feb 6 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Feb 13 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Feb 20 (self-paced all week)
InstructorMette Aube
Seats Available25
Start DateTue, Mar 19, 2024
  • Tue, Mar 19 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Mar 26 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Apr 2 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Apr 9 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Apr 16 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available25
Start DateTue, May 14, 2024
  • Tue, May 14 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, May 21 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, May 28 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Jun 4 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Jun 11 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available25
Start DateTue, Oct 8, 2024
  • Tue, Oct 8 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 15 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 22 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Oct 29 (self-paced all week)
  • Tue, Nov 5 (self-paced all week)
Seats Available25

What you will learn

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

  • Describe what technical writers do and what skills they need
  • Define types of technical documentation
  • Identify document parts and elements and how to use them to structure your document for clarity and flow
  • Describe and practice using the tools of the trade, such as style guides and templates
  • Write clear and concise online and print documents
  • Describe the different types of edits and style guides, practice editing and create your own personal editing style guide

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 a minimum average grade of B- (70%).

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:

  • 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.