Resources for business and technical writing

Portfolios for technical writers


Portfolios can be excellent tools for technical writers seeking employment. Examine various types and discuss the process of developing a portfolio, including deciding which technical writing documents to include/exclude, organizing work samples and assessing there value from an employer’s point of view. Discuss how a portfolio supports other job search tools.

Porfolios for technical writers micro-site

Writing user guides


User guides help people understand how to use a product. They are a set of instructions for completing the tasks that a product was designed to accomplish. This course will show you how to design and prepare effective user guides that enable the reader to successfully operate a product.

Study and follow through  the process of guide and manual creation, including task and audience  analysis, documentation standards, instruction writing, and information  organization using MS Word.

Writing User Guides micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Examined methods to understand your audience’s capabilities.
  • Developed a blueprint for the documents required  to satisfy the needs of your audience.
  • Practised many of the writing skills needed to prepare  effective user guides.
  • Considered the appropriate use of various training  approaches.
  • Practised many of the writing skills needed to prepare  effective training guides.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical  hands-on exercises.

Indexing for Technical Writers


A well-crafted index is the best retrieval tool we can provide to our readers.

Our index must meet the needs of all of readers of our publication: those who are experienced with the product or technology, those who are familiar with similar products and technologies, and those who have no experience with the product or technology.

Most technical writers have to create an index sometime during their career, yet preparing an effective index is a complex process. This practical, hands-on course presents a systematic indexing method for technical writers.

Indexing micro-site

This practical, hands-on course presents a systematic indexing method for technical writers.

A well-crafted index is essential to locating information within a document, yet preparing an effective index is a complex process. This practical, hands-on course presents a systematic indexing method for technical writers.

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Reviewed the purpose and types of indexes.
  • Examined the methods and considerations necessary when determining index entries.
  • Discussed how to edit and test an index.
  • Practiced creating, editing, formatting, and testing an index.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises using Microsoft Word.

A minimum of 80% attendance, active participation, and successful completion of all course assignments are required to complete this course successfully.

Preparing Software Specifications


Functional requirements and design specifications are vital to software development projects.  Explore the role these and other technical documents play in developing a software product, and discover the how to describe a software product properly using Use Cases and other specification documents.  Prepare representative documents using MSWord.

Preparing Software PSecifications micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Examined methods to capture and communicate business and user requirements.
  • Reviewed some of the document types included in a software product development library.
  • Reviewed some of the requirement and design specification standards in current use.
  • Practised many of the writing skills needed to prepare effective requirement specifications.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises.

Design and Authoring for the Online Media


The online media presents exciting opportunities for the efficient and effective delivery of information. Web sites, online help systems, intranets, and e-mail are firmly rooted in most of our business and technical world. But the online media extends beyond these to include blogs, chat rooms, online communities, wikis, and more.

The online media differs in many ways from conventional paper publishing and requires a special set of skills to use effectively. Two courses are offered to help you master authoring in the online media: Site Architecture for the online media, and Design and authoring for the online media.

Design and Authoring for the Online Media micro-site (This is now part of the unified OnlineMedia micro-site)

In this course we discover how to author pages that are organized, readable, easily comprehended and credible. We apply these skills while authoring pages using a combination of XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) within a managed environment.

Site Architecture for the Online Media


The online media presents exciting opportunities for the efficient and effective delivery of information. Web sites, online help systems, intranets, and e-mail are firmly rooted in most of our business and technical world. But the online media extends beyond these to include blogs, chat rooms, online communities, wikis, and more.

The online media differs in many ways from conventional paper publishing and requires a special set of skills to use effectively. Two courses are offered to help you master authoring in the online media: Site Architecture for the online media, and Design and authoring for the online media.

Site Architecture for the Online Media micro-site

In this course we review the benefits and challenges of the online media, and examine and practise the skills necessary to design sites that are well organized and easy to navigate. We apply these skills while developing an information site using a combination of XHTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and a Content Management System.

Technical Layout and Design


The presentation of information has value that extends well beyond aesthetics; it can determine whether or not the contents are accessible and understandable to our readers.

Discover how the principles of page layout, typography and design can help you produce effective and readable technical documents. Put these principles into practice by designing technical documents using Microsoft Word®.

Technical Layout and Design micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Discussed basic design principles and design goals.
  • Applied the basic principles of design to existing documents.
  • Examined typography and its role in effective communication.
  • Practiced using typographic concepts to enhance the usability of a document.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises using both Microsoft Word®.

Creating Training Manuals


The purpose of training manuals is to increase the knowledge of the trainee, often with the goal of improving the quality of a performed task. They can be published in a variety of forms including books, booklets, brochures, and as online sites.

Design and prepare effective training materials for a variety of training situations. Study and follow through the process of creating training materials using MS Word, including task and audience analysis, documentation standards, teaching roles, learning sequences, and evaluation techniques.

Creating Training Manuals micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Reviewed the difference between preparing stand alone instructions and instructions that are utilized by a trainer or facilitator.
  • Reviewed the various teaching roles and learning sequences that can be used for training, and devised suitable document organizations to support these roles and sequences.
  • Written instructional materials that both support the teaching roles and learning sequences, and that are suitable to the anticipated course participants.<?li>
  • Reviewed the criteria for meaningful course participant evaluations and prepared representative evaluations.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises.

Flare–from Fundamentals to Mastery


Flare–from Fundamentals to Mastery is a combination of practical hands-on exercises and discussions periods that guide you through the development of actual HTML-based on-line information systems. This course provides practical experience using Flare to create feature-rich websites and on-line help systems.

Note, this site has been recently updated to the newest version of Flare, version 9.1.

Flare micro-site

By the conclusion of this course you will have:

  • Reviewed many capabilities provided by Flare to help manage on-line projects.
  • Reviewed the basics of HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
  • Prepared an on-line help system and a PDF manual using Flare.
  • Discussed the requirements for delivering context sensitive information.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises.

Flare-from fundamentals to Mastery, uses an activity centred workshop approach where we focus on a major project, and work together developing it with Flare.

Foundations of Technical Communcations


Explore the discipline of technical writing, and enhance your writing techniques to meet the demands of today’s business and industrial world. Familiarize yourself with the time-honoured skills and approaches needed to prepare effective, usable technical documentation – whether you are writing reports, proposals, computer manuals or other documents.

Foundations of Technical Communcations micro-site

By the conclusion of this 15 hour course you will have:

  • Examined methods to evaluate your audience.
  • Reviewed some of the organizational methods and writing forms encountered in today’s business and technical writing.
  • Practiced many of the writing skills needed to prepare clear, concise, correct, and cohesive communications.
  • Examined the basics of effective page layout.

The skills presented during this course are reinforced with practical hands-on exercises.