Technical Writing

Technical Writing Extension Certificate

Online

STC-Alberta-Logo.png The field of technical writing continues to experience rapid growth. Businesses need technical writers who can combine the skills of effective communication with practical experience using the latest tools and technology. This program will provide students with experience developing reports, procedural manuals, training guides, design specifications, editing, online documents and various other communication forms.

The Technical Writing program is a recognized member of the Society of Technical Communication (STC).

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  • Prepare to enter the field of technical writing for science, technology, education, oil and gas, business communications, web-based publishing, freelance writing and editing, and more
  • Identify common types of technical communications, including but not limited to manuals, guides, design specifications and online documents
  • Demonstrate skills in using key software programs commonly used by technical writers
  • Apply a systematic approach to creating technical documents
  • Identify and apply appropriate styles of writing for specific technical communications purposes
  • Conduct an audience analysis to organize and present technical information
    evaluate the effectiveness of the content and presentation of a technical communication form
  • Earn a credential
  • Develop highly sought-after technical writing skills using the latest tools, methods and key software programs
  • Complete the 8 required courses (140 hours)
  • Can be completed within 1 year up to a maximum of 3 years
  • Some required courses may require assignments to be submitted within 1 week after the course has finished.

Recommended Preparation

  • A grade 12 level of proficiency in written and spoken English and strong intermediate skills in MS Word and Windows are strongly recommended requirements.
  • To make the most of your learning, we strongly recommend taking courses in the following order:
    • Foundations of Technical Communication AND MS Word for Technical Writers and Editors
    • Creating Publications
    • The remaining courses in any order
Tentative Course Order
Fall
(Sept. - Dec.)
Winter
(Jan. - April)
Spring/Summer
(May - Aug.)
Foundations of Technical Communication
MS Word for Technical Writers and Editors
Creating Publications
Preparing Policies and Procedures
Editing for Technical Writers
Information Architecture
Project Management for Technical Writers
Creating Training Manuals and User Guides


Each course may be offered in a variety of formats. Check the “Courses and fees” tab for more information.

The schedule above is subject to change. Courses start on various dates within each semester. Fall schedule and registration available in June. Winter schedule and registration available in November. Spring/Summer schedule and registration available in March.

Required Courses

Foundations of Technical Communication
Explore the discipline of technical writing and enhance your writing techniques to meet the demands of today's marketplace. Study the concepts involved in the creation of clear, concise, correct and cohesive communications, including writing with purpose, audience analysis and document organization.

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10004 20 Hours Fee: $449
CRN 90503
Online Sept. 13 - Oct. 25

MS Word for Technical Writers and Editors 
(formerly: Advanced Microsoft Word for Writers and Editors) 
Develop intermediate skills to create professional looking documents. Learn how to use features and templates to create and format documents with more complex layouts, including styles, tables, pictures and objects, columns, numbering, headers and footers, tables of contents and templates.

Strongly
recommended: Previous knowledge in MS Word 

Subject (for registration):
Computers - Word Processing

Subject code: XWOP 10011 15 Hours Fee: $309 Choose 1 CRN below
CRN 70191 Online July 5 - Aug. 9
CRN 90075 Online Nov. 1 - Dec. 6

Creating Publications
(formerly: Document Layout & Design) 
Discover how to design visually engaging documentation both for print and online publications. By learning how to properly execute visual design principles, typography and effective use of styles, you will design effective and readable technical documents. Put these principles into practice by designing technical documents using MS Word®.

Recommended Preparation: Successful completion Foundations of Tech Communication and MS Word for Technical Writers and Editors before taking this course. Strong working knowledge of MS Word, English grammar, punctuation, spelling and style.


Textbook (Optional): The Non-Designers Design Book (4th Ed.), Williams, Robin., Peachpit Press (a division of Pearson Education). Available independently or at the Cougars Campus Store.

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10022 20 Hours Fee: $449 Choose 1 CRN below
CRN 70180 Online July 5 - Aug. 16
CRN 90504 Online Nov. 1 - Dec. 13

Preparing Policies & Procedures
Documenting effective policies and procedures is a major focus for technical writers as these documents support regulations and quality standards as they relate to business operations. Students will examine key components of structuring policies and procedures including writing guidelines, research methods, content organization, use of active voice and presentation methods.

Recommended Preparation: Successful completion of Creating Publications before taking this course.

Textbook (required): 7 Steps to Better Written Policies and Procedures. Page, Steven B., Process Improvement Pub (1999). ISBN-13: 978-1929065240.  Available at the Cougar Campus Store or Amazon.ca.

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10017 15 Hours Fee: $429
CRN 90192 Online Sept. 27 - Nov. 1

Editing for Technical Writers
(formerly: Editing Basics for Technical Documents)
Editing is a vital step in creating professional, accurate and usable technical documentation. This course will discuss the role of the editor and the editing process, as well as examine the types of edits that documents can undergo. Various edit types will be learned through hands-on exercises.

Recommended Preparation: Successul completion of Creating Publications before taking this course.

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10023 15 Hours Fee: $429
CRN 90122 Online Nov. 8 - Dec. 13

Information Architecture
(formerly: Site Architecture for Online Media)
As the opportunity for website designers and content creators grows, there is a high demand for authoring in an online world. In this course, you will learn the characteristics of digital media and how they relate to information and site architecture, explore navigation methods as they relate to website design, and examine the steps to developing a robust site structure.

Recommended Preparation:
Successful completion of Creating Publications before taking this course. 

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10025 15 Hours. Fee: $429
CRN 90194 Online Sept. 20 - Oct. 25

 


Project Management for Technical Writers
(formerly: Documentation Project Management)
This course will focus on the skills required by technical writers to independently manage their documentation projects. Focus will be given to documentation projects as they relate to the four stages of project management: initiating and planning, developing and executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. This course will also explore the relationship between the technical writer and the subject matter expert.

Recommended Preparation: Successful completion of Creating Publications before taking this course.

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10032 20 Hours Fee: $449
CRN 90505 Online Nov. 1 - Dec. 13

Creating Training Manuals and User Guides
(formerly: Creating Training Manuals AND Writing User Guides)
Learn to design and prepare effective training materials and user guides to train or explain concepts to your readers. Learn the process of creation through the use of MS Word, including defining characteristics, task analysis, visual instructions, the cognitive learning model and elements of instruction.

Recommended Preparation: Successful completion of Creating Publications before taking this course.

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10033 20 Hours Fee: $449
CRN 90585 Online Sept. 20 - Nov. 1

 


Professional Development


Producing Software Specifications 
(This course does not count towards the Technical Writing Extension Certificate)

Functional requirements and design specifications are vital to any development or manufacturing project. Explore the role these and other technical documents play in developing a software product, and discover the elements they must have to describe a product properly using Use Cases and other specification documents. Prepare representative documents using MS Word.

Please note: this course is no longer part of the certificate program; however, this is a very beneficial course for those interested in the subject area who are seeking further professional development

Subject (for registration): Technical & Business Writing

Subject code: XTBW 10024 15 Hours Fee: $429  Not offered this semester

Textbooks may be purchased independently or at the Cougars Campus Store. Search by Term and Department (XTBW).

ce_img_RichardErlendsonRichard Erlendson

Dr. Richard Erlendson has the distinction of serving as a long-time professor in both the Faculty of Business and Communication Studies and the Faculty of Continuing Education and Extension at MRU. In both faculties, he has taught professional writing, editing, reporting, design, publishing and visual communication. He is a career journalist and photojournalist, and has received the Canadian Word Award for magazine writing. Richard is also a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award at MRU. He holds both a masters and doctorate from the University of Alberta with undergrad degrees in journalism and education.
ce_img_Michelle_ShawMichelle G. Shaw

Michelle brings more than 25 years of industry experience to classroom. She spent a number of years working in a variety of roles as writer, software developer and manager in the Calgary technology community. Michelle believes that effective software development relies on clear and well written documentation that is timely and accessible to a range of stakeholders.

She holds a BSc. in Computer Science from the University of Calgary, and is working on a Master's degree. When she isn't working, Michelle can often be found hiking in the mountains near Calgary, or riding a bike along our amazing network of bike paths.
ce_img_lyndsay_stefflerLyndsay Steffler

Lyndsay Steffler is a native Calgarian, and as such it's unbelievable she doesn't work in oil and gas but rather in aviation. She earned her Degree in Applied Communications (Technical Writing) and began her career as a Technical Editor; eventually working her way into a full-time technical writing role. She has added Project Management, Enterprise Content Management, and Adult Education certifications to her portfolio and began teaching for the technical writing program at MRU in 2006. Lyndsay loves working with the students and is always working diligently to support them throughout the program. Although Lyndsay is passionate about her work, when she's not in the office or the classroom, you are likely to find her enjoying time with her husband and their three children, training for her next run, or attending a kickboxing class.
Victoria ClarkeVictoria-Clarke-2020.png

I’m a native Newfoundlander who moved to Calgary in 1998. Although I trained as a Computer Programmer Analyst, I had experience with technical writing and knew it was my passion. I landed a technical writing job as soon as I arrived in Calgary and never looked back.

Twenty years later, I’ve worked in multiple industries developing help files, instructional guides, classroom training, templates, and more. I’ve created graphics, videos, and online courses, and written in plain English. I’ve watched waterfall software development turn to agile and worked with the teams to incorporate technical writing into scrums. I’ve managed teams, been managed by others, and eventually become my own manager as an independent contractor. Along the way, I’ve been lucky enough to mentor and teach other writers about this career.

Within my field, I work full time as an Instructional Designer, I’m a certified professional technical communicator – expert, and I’m the Chair of the Technical Writing Advisory Committee at Mount Royal University.

Glynndon Dobson BA, MA. GlynndonDobson_img.jpg

Glynndon has a Master’s Degree in English Literature, with a focus on Post 1950’s American War Literature, specializing in Violence in Male Identity.  He is a senior professional who specializes in professional writing with a focus on profit generation and business development. He is currently a Senior Writer and leads Turner & Townsend's Business Development team in Western Canada. He is a goal oriented individual whose demonstrated abilities include: Local, National and International Profit Generation, Proposal Development, Proposal Writing, Bid Development, Technical Writing, Social Media Strategy Development, University Course Instruction, University Course Development and Project Coordination.
Richard MetcalfRichardMetcalfePhoto.jpg

Like many in the field, Richard didn’t start out with ambitions of being a technical writer. Beginning his studies in engineering before finishing with a degree in psychology, he took a more roundabout route to discover the profession. But, after he was given the opportunity to work as a technical writer, he found it was the perfect match to satisfy his interest in technical information and human learning and behavior. Since then, he has spent many years in the field working for clients in several industries. He currently works as a consultant where he creates and delivers training and develops policies, processes, and procedures. He’s passionate about mentoring others and sharing his experience in the industry. When he’s not working or helping students, he loves to travel. That includes everything from exploring the sights in our beautiful province to adventures further abroad (ideally somewhere with a beach).

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Contact us

For information about this program:
cebusiness@mtroyal.ca
403.440.6861 or 1.888.392.3655
Mount Royal University, 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, Calgary AB T3E 6K6

Customize this program for your organization through our Corporate Training unit.