Leah Guren, Owner/Operator, Cow TC
Technical communication is an exciting and challenging career that offers unlimited opportunity for professional development. But to succeed, it's not enough to learn a desktop publishing or Help Authoring Tool—you need to master the analysis process. This is a thinking person's dream career!
TechComm 101 is the fastest, most efficient way to jump-start your career in technical communication. It covers key theory that you can immediately apply to your work, as well as giving you the skills you need to continue to learn and grow.
Each element of theory is presented with hands-on exercises, real-world examples, and plenty of discussion. The course is sure to leave you feeling enthusiastic and well-prepared to get started in the field.
- Understand the role of the technical communicator.
- Identify how TC writing differs from other kinds of writing.
- Correct common mistakes in writing.
- Master the correct writing style for TC.
- Be able to target your audience.
- Recognize and treat hazards in documentation.
- Learn and apply key theory for TC work.
- Write effective definitions and procedures.
- Develop visual design skills.
- Identify the purpose and key elements of main TC documentation types.
Sessions and Work Requirements
- Seven weekly 90-minute online lectures
- Weekly homework assignments
- Final exam
- Anyone new to the field.
- Anyone working in the field without formal training.
- Professionals returning to writing positions after a hiatus.
Session 1—Introduction and Grammar Review
This session will provide an overview of the role of technical communicators in a company. Learn how technical communication differs from other forms of writing. Discover how to avoid mistakes that can detract from documentation and review grammar and punctuation issues.
Session 2—Four Key TC Concepts (Theory and Application)
The following four key concepts to technical communication will be covered:
- Know Your Audience: Conducting audience analysis and key techniques for discovering your target audience.
- Highlight Hazards: Protecting users and the company through effective cautions and warnings.
- Break It Out: Using design and layout to help communicate information in a document.
- Don't Write Blind: Learning to ask the right questions and analyze information; learning the product and process yourself.
Session 3—Five Key TC Concepts (Theory and Application)
The following five key concepts to technical communication will be covered:
- Be Consistent: Understanding how consistency helps users follow documentation more easily.
- Signpost: Making information accessible within the document.
- Don't Violate Standards: Analyzing standards and applying them.
- Contemplate Before You Illustrate: Adding graphics that help rather than confuse; a review of the basic rules.
- Cut the Fluff: Trimming the unnecessary words out of documents to make them more useful.
Session 4—TC Deliverables and Writing Definitions
Understand the functional purpose, key elements, and deliverables associated with the most common types of TC projects: user guides, installation guides, maintenance manuals, reference manuals, tutorials, specs, white papers, release notes, and online Help. Learning how to define technical terms is important.
Session 5—Writing Procedures
In this session you will learn how to write task-based documentation (step-by-step procedures), which is an essential core skill.
Session 6—Design and Layout
Design good documents by understanding the basics of layout: fonts, paragraphs, white space, chunking, plumb lines, visual hierarchies, nesting, and mating.
Session 7—Editing and Moving On
Discover how to write with clarity, avoid ambiguity, and be proactive in flagging suspicious data to produce better documents. This session will assist in the preparation for an ongoing learning experience in your new career.