Great course! I learned so much. I wasn't sure whether to pursue technical writing, but now I'm equipped with the knowledge to make an educated opinion. I have already recommended this course to several people. I was very impressed with the instructor's technique and information.
What a valuable course! Janet boiled down the professional basics of technical writing so clearly. I have enough refreshed and new skills (including confidence) to do my own professional grade tech writing practice project, and then look for a technical writing job or contract. The course's supplementary information is great too, and will keep me busy. Thanks so much, Janet.
I've really enjoyed this course. The structure is perfect, and Janet is a beautiful writer. She is a real role model for what a technical writer and course developer should be and the results they should deliver. I have a long way to go, and I'm looking forward to taking more courses in this series - hopefully with Janet as instructor.
I loved taking this class. The information provided was up-to-date, useful, and easy to understand. The instructor was always available and I knew if I had any questions or concerns she would be there to answer them. I will highly recommend this class to anyone who is interested in pursuing technical writing.
Ms. Underwood is a gifted instructor as well as consummate professional. The instruction was better than any graduate course in my area. Not only were the assignments relevant, they were challenging enough that I couldn't wait to read her comments and other students. She personalized her comments in a very helpful way, sometimes giving very protracted answers!
I really enjoyed this course. It did exactly what I wanted by refreshing me on something I was taught in school along with the opportunity to learn the small details maybe they didn't cover in school and ideally what's current right now. I really enjoyed the class, the instructors style...You can tell the passion and experience in every lesson.
This course was great. I now know without a doubt that I like technical writing, and I feel like I have a good idea of how to start a career in it. Far more useful than any quiz or exam are the assignments. Going through the steps of creating a technical document was invaluable, and I now have work that I can be proud of and use in the future.
Janet was AMAZING!!! She is was a great instructor, writer, and was patient, responsive and made the reading interesting fun and very easy to understand. I can't say enough great things about her style of teaching and the way she conducted this online course. I would recommend it to anyone that is starting a technical career!
As a technical writer, I enjoyed this course very much. Having been out of the technical writer arena full-time for almost 10 years, there were a lot of things that I needed to review and in some instances, to learn due to the advancement of technology. Lucky me, I was taking this course while I landed a contract to edit and proofread a system manual. Needless to say this course came in handy. Professor Underwood's lectures were clear, concise and very easy to follow and understand. She was always ready to help any of her students beyond the call of duty which makes her a great teacher. I was one of those students. I would definitely referred anybody who is interested in learning more about technical writing to take her class. She is awesome!
Wow! This course is amazing! The instructor and the material is the best I've ever seen. I felt that Janet was there through every step of the course. She's very articulate, compassionate, and supportive throughout the entire course. Honestly, I was intimidated at first. But after the first lesson that went away. The discussion is was my comfort blanket. All the people in there, with the questions and answer from the instructor, made it feel like a small community with a common goal. Never once did I feel like I was judge poorly. Bottom line. I would definitely recommend this course to all who are interested in the fundamentals of tech writing. It will open your mind to things that you've never thought you know about the tech writing word. The instructor inspired me to continue to learn more about, MS Words, the English language, and most importantly, how to be write more professionally, because how you write is just as important as how you speak.
Course Code: tec
In our first lesson, you'll learn the fascinating history of technical writing, plus how the instructor (and many others) became technical writers. You'll learn the basics of project management, key questions to help you analyze your reading audience, and how to organize the information you gather.
Find out how to develop your listening skills, use inviting body language, and ask questions that help you get the answers you need. You’ll learn how to analyze the information you've gathered—and also how to overcome writer’s block and keep writing even when you don't have all the information you need. And in this week’s grammar lesson, you’ll learn how to make your writing more interesting.
Discover time-honored technical writing conventions, such as using parallel structure, inverted pyramid style, effective headings, and lists. We'll also go over the difference between the most popular graphic file formats and their guidelines. You’ll learn how to create screenshots on your PC, then manipulate your shots in Windows Paint, saving you the expense of far more costly graphics programs.
Learn how to use different typefaces and layouts effectively in your document. We'll look at some common layouts, then discuss how to achieve those layouts using Microsoft Word. You'll learn how Microsoft Word is different from other word-processing applications and how to use, modify, and create paragraph styles.
I’ll offer some tips on quick ways to build templates, plus you'll learn some Word skills that will help you dazzle potential employers, such as recording macros, customizing your toolbar, and using cross-references, AutoText, and captions. We'll then review indexing conventions, with a few tips on building a great index for your document.
In our final week, you'll learn tips from professional proofreaders and editors, as well as ways you can use Microsoft Word to help you check your spelling and grammar. We’ll talk about different printing options and trends in publishing and explore ways you can use your technical writing skills in the job market, including freelancing.
Janet Underwood has more than 20 years of experience as a senior technical writer. She started her career as an English teacher and later worked as an editor and writer for several internationally known trade publications before combining her love of technology with her passion for writing to become a technical writer. She currently develops technical documentation for major corporations. Janet has won numerous awards her technical writing, and two of her books are used in college courses. She also teaches FrameMaker classes as an adjunct professor.
Any type of word processor can be used in the initial manuscript set-up, however, Word for Windows is used as the example. Two additional types of software, Sigil and Calibre, available free online, are used in the actual conversion to e-book formats.
As a profession, technical writing is relatively new, but people have been writing technical documents for centuries. After all, civilizations have always needed information, especially about complex topics. Whether you’re writing end user documents like instructions for electronics, articles for trade magazines or scientific journals, or internal communications such as sales pitches or training manuals, this is a career path where the opportunities seem to be never-ending. Our Fundamentals of Technical Writing program will introduce you to this fascinating field and provide you with a stepping stone to a new, fulfilling career—no matter what path you choose.
You will need access to the internet and you’ll need to use Mozilla Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer 9.0 or above as your browser. Communicating with your facilitator requires a working email account. You’ll also need Adobe Acrobat Reader (download here) and Microsoft Word. This course is not suitable for Mac users.
Typically, activities in a technical writing class cover the principles, best practices, and real-life examples of this type of writing. While the types of documents you can create are endless, you must start with the basics of English grammar and punctuation, gathering and organizing your research, and proficiency in Microsoft Word. From there, the sky is the limit.
Microsoft Word has nearly a 93% market share for PC-based word processing, and it's the de facto standard for most corporations and government agencies. Chances are high that you'll use it in your technical writing career. In fact, most companies require that you be proficient with Word when considering you for technical writing positions.