Concepts and Practice of Technical Communication

Develop a thorough grounding in the broad discipline of technical communication as well as a framework for future courses. This course will familiarize you with the challenges that professional technical writers face and the standard practices they use. It will also give you an appreciation of your own competencies and deficiencies, and allow you to tailor the courses you take in the future accordingly.

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

Campus Session(s) Instructor(s) Cost Seats available  
Online - Mellissa Ruryk $640.00 28 Register
Online - - TBD $640.00 30 Register
Online - - TBD $640.00 29 Register

Instructional hours: 20

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:

  • 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 will I learn?

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

  • Weekly course modules accessed through Canvas
  • Independent writing assignments
  • Reading
  • Group assignments
  • Online research and discussion groups

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 
  • Quizzes 
  • Participation in discussions 

Textbooks and learning materials

Required text:

Johnson-Sheehan, Richard; Technical Communication Today, 6th ed: 2018. Pearson. ISBN 9780134425733, 0134425731

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

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.

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:

Hardware and software requirements

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

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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