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Technical writing courses are most often part of undergraduate and graduate degree programs, but are also offered in some colleges and universities as non-credit courses. Read on to learn more about the classes offered in this field of study.
Technical writing courses may focus on the details of writing technical manuals, formal reports, newsletters and online documentation, as well as how to format and layout these items. Those pursuing a specialization usually focus on the documents most commonly used in their chosen field. Additionally, it is common for technical writing programs to include an internship or final technical writing project.
Here is a list of common concepts taught in technical writing courses:
This course addresses the creation of a variety of print and electronic documents, including brochures, reports, websites, software documents and scientific reports. Students learn how to organize and express facts and ideas through the written word. Coursework focuses on the production of technical documents that may be used in industry, government, business and academia.
Technical editing is a part of technical writing, though it is often treated as a stand-alone job in practice. In this graduate-level course, students learn how to edit professional and technical documents for grammar, punctuation, spelling, usage, format and style. Courses typically address the job duties of the business and scientific technical editor. Topics include establishing positive working relationships with both writers and upper-level management, in addition to the use of copyediting marks and style guides.
This course focuses on the design elements of technical and professional documents. Typography, color and page layout are addressed as students use software programs to design documents. Projects encompass both print and electronic media design, including manuals and online help sites. Professional development is emphasized.
Those who start out as technical writers may find themselves managing other writers. This course addresses the organization of technical writing departments, with examples ranging from small, independent businesses to the communications divisions of large organizations. Students may participate in discussions with practicing managers in order to learn about techniques and strategies in this field.