Technical Writer


Algonquin College’s Technical Writer graduate certificate program prepares students for a career in technical communication through a combination of technical writing/documentation course work and an on-site placement.

ALSO AVAILABLE FULL-TIME ONLINE

Mobile DeviceBring Your Own Device (BYOD): As a student in this on-campus program, you will require a mobile computing device that meets the specifications outlined by your program at http://algonquincollege.com/byod

(Please note this was previously referred to as a Mobile Learning Program)

Another Mobile Device ImageeTextbooks: As a student in a program that has adopted etextbooks, your required texts and digital resources will be provided to you at the beginning of each term (with the exception of general education electives). For more information and associated fees, go to http://www.algonquincollege.com/etextbooks/

Ontario College Graduate Certificate
1 Year

Program Code: 1182X01FWO
Academic Year: 2014/2015


Our Program

This one-year Ontario College Graduate Certificate program prepares students from a wide variety of diploma and degree programs for careers in the field of technical communication.

While a proven ability in writing is a prerequisite for admission to the program, successful candidates are trained to communicate clear and accurate information to online, print and real-time audiences. The spread of technology-based communications has created a high demand for qualified writers beyond the area of high technology in every field of industry and in the public sector.

In addition to possessing advanced writing skills, technical communicators need well-developed abilities in research, analysis and organization. An essential part of a technical writer's work is to provide efficient communication that an organization can use to function effectively. Students are trained to gather relevant product data and to produce technical documentation that meets the needs of businesses and their clients. Students participate in small group projects and collaborative activities within the program and across technology programs at the College. In addition to honing research, analysis and organizational skills, these activities also refine the development of team skills prized in the workplace.

The program concludes with an onsite, practical workplace assignment which is typically arranged by the program coordinator. However, students who maintain a College-prescribed academic standing and who possess the appropriate level of technical writing skills may apply for a paid co-operative education placement to satisfy the practical workplace requirement.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD): Students are expected to have and use a laptop or mobile computing device when registered in this on-campus program. Hardware and software specifications required by your program are outlined at www.algonquincollege.com/byod. Mobile devices/laptops and supplies can be purchased directly from Algonquin's New Technology Store at educational rates. When purchasing a computer, a PC with the latest Windows operating system is strongly recommended.

SUCCESS FACTORS

This program is well-suited for students who:

  • Possess advanced written and oral communication abilities.
  • Enjoy designing, developing, writing and refining online and print material.
  • Possess interpersonal skills for collaboration with colleagues.
  • Enjoy researching, collecting, analyzing and organizing technical information.
  • Function in a self-directed manner in a team environment.
  • Organize their work and pay attention to detail.
  • Enjoy using software tools to create documents and websites.

Your Career

Graduates may be successful in finding work as writers, editors and documentation specialists. Canadian and international demand is high for qualified technical communicators in both the private and the public sectors. While most graduates may work as employees in large organizations, some choose self-employment in the field.

Courses

Programs at Algonquin College are delivered using a variety of instruction modes. Courses may be offered in the classroom or lab, entirely online, or in a hybrid mode which combines classroom sessions with online learning activities. Upon registration, each full-time student is provided an Algonquin email account which is used to communicate important information about program or course events.
Level: 01 Hours
TWR2000 Students learn how to communicate written technical information to an intended audience. They evaluate the needs of readers before writing technical documents, such as instructions, proposals and tutorials. In addition to communicating technical information in written form, students are also required to communicate in oral form through presentations. The classes are organized as writing workshops so that students can develop their abilities to work individually and as members of a group. Technical Writing I Students learn how to communicate written technical information to an intended audience. They evaluate the needs of readers before writing technical documents, such as instructions, proposals and tutorials. In addition to communicating technical information in written form, students are also required to communicate in oral form through presentations. The classes are organized as writing workshops so that students can develop their abilities to work individually and as members of a group. 60.0
TWR2002 Students learn to write and manage large technical documents using a leading publication tool preferred by technical communicators. Students receive guided, practical training on the population and production of large technical documents. Emphasis is placed on applications, publishing methods and formats that are industry standards. Desktop Publishing Students learn to write and manage large technical documents using a leading publication tool preferred by technical communicators. Students receive guided, practical training on the population and production of large technical documents. Emphasis is placed on applications, publishing methods and formats that are industry standards. 45.0
TWR2009 Students are introduced to activities, emerging technologies, developments, options and careers in the field of technical communication. The course is taught through a combination of class lectures, field trips, workshops, guest speakers, student-led presentations and seminars and self-directed learning. Selected Topics I Students are introduced to activities, emerging technologies, developments, options and careers in the field of technical communication. The course is taught through a combination of class lectures, field trips, workshops, guest speakers, student-led presentations and seminars and self-directed learning. 30.0
TWR2010 Students learn the principles of designing effective visual information. To maximize the impact of their content, technical communicators must ensure that their deliverables are not only well written, but also well designed. By learning the textual, spatial, and graphic elements which support the rhetorical purpose, students are able to produce more usable online and print communications in which the visual elements reinforce the written content. Designing VIsual Information Students learn the principles of designing effective visual information. To maximize the impact of their content, technical communicators must ensure that their deliverables are not only well written, but also well designed. By learning the textual, spatial, and graphic elements which support the rhetorical purpose, students are able to produce more usable online and print communications in which the visual elements reinforce the written content. 30.0
TWR2014 Students examine the processes and the skills required for planning, designing, managing and controlling online and print information development, with a focus on content specifications, estimation of time and budgets, content management, single sourcing and document scheduling and tracking. Emphasis is placed on the relationship of writers to other corporate team members in information development. Information Planning and Management Students examine the processes and the skills required for planning, designing, managing and controlling online and print information development, with a focus on content specifications, estimation of time and budgets, content management, single sourcing and document scheduling and tracking. Emphasis is placed on the relationship of writers to other corporate team members in information development. 45.0
TWR2015 Students develop and improve their abilities to edit written work in a variety of media. Through the use of assigned readings, exercises and online discussions, they develop an understanding of the levels and tools of editing and the roles and responsibilities of an editor. Emphasis is placed on reviewing and applying the basic rules of grammar, mechanics, spelling, punctuation and usage to passages and documents for improvement in clarity, conciseness, precision, correctness, accuracy and readability.

Co-requisites: TWR2000
Editing I Students develop and improve their abilities to edit written work in a variety of media. Through the use of assigned readings, exercises and online discussions, they develop an understanding of the levels and tools of editing and the roles and responsibilities of an editor. Emphasis is placed on reviewing and applying the basic rules of grammar, mechanics, spelling, punctuation and usage to passages and documents for improvement in clarity, conciseness, precision, correctness, accuracy and readability.

Co-requisites: TWR2000
30.0
Level: 02 Hours
TWR2003 Students are provided with a foundation in the features of Adobe RoboHelp, the preferred online help software for technical writers. Some of the features covered include importing files, creating a table of contents, formatting text and using style sheets. Emphasis is placed on improving the quality, visual appeal, presentation and the functionality of help systems. Other topics include advanced help coding skills and other forms of online documentation, such as PDFs and HTML help. This course is organized as a lab-based workshop to allow students to receive guided practical training on the application.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2010
Online Documentation Students are provided with a foundation in the features of Adobe RoboHelp, the preferred online help software for technical writers. Some of the features covered include importing files, creating a table of contents, formatting text and using style sheets. Emphasis is placed on improving the quality, visual appeal, presentation and the functionality of help systems. Other topics include advanced help coding skills and other forms of online documentation, such as PDFs and HTML help. This course is organized as a lab-based workshop to allow students to receive guided practical training on the application.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2010
45.0
TWR2004 Students continue to communicate written technical information to an intended audience. They organize, research and analyze information from subject matter experts to produce a variety of task oriented documents. Students collaborate with classmates and with students from other technology programs to produce technical information.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2010
Technical Writing II Students continue to communicate written technical information to an intended audience. They organize, research and analyze information from subject matter experts to produce a variety of task oriented documents. Students collaborate with classmates and with students from other technology programs to produce technical information.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2010
60.0
TWR2011 Students explore the extent to which a total product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. The processes and the skills required for planning, designing and testing for usability are outlined, with a focus on desirability, findability and accessibility. Students create user profiles, perform task analysis and design user interface prototypes as they characterize aspects of user experience. Usability in Product Design Students explore the extent to which a total product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use. The processes and the skills required for planning, designing and testing for usability are outlined, with a focus on desirability, findability and accessibility. Students create user profiles, perform task analysis and design user interface prototypes as they characterize aspects of user experience. 30.0
TWR2012 Students learn the latest tools and technologies used in industry to create web-based documents. Through the use of assigned readings, projects, and computer-based instruction, they build and manage websites, create screencasts and design PDF communication used for online review. This course is organized as a lab-based workshop to allow students to receive guided practical training on various software applications.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2010
Web-Based Documentation Students learn the latest tools and technologies used in industry to create web-based documents. Through the use of assigned readings, projects, and computer-based instruction, they build and manage websites, create screencasts and design PDF communication used for online review. This course is organized as a lab-based workshop to allow students to receive guided practical training on various software applications.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2010
45.0
TWR2016 Students further develop their abilities to edit written work in a variety of media. Through the use of assigned readings, projects, exercises and online discussions, they act in the role of comprehensive editors and copyeditors while focusing on information architecture. Additional emphasis is placed on reviewing and applying advanced rules of grammar, mechanics, spelling, punctuation, style and usage to documents for improvements in clarity, conciseness, precision, correctness, accuracy and readability.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2015
Editing II Students further develop their abilities to edit written work in a variety of media. Through the use of assigned readings, projects, exercises and online discussions, they act in the role of comprehensive editors and copyeditors while focusing on information architecture. Additional emphasis is placed on reviewing and applying advanced rules of grammar, mechanics, spelling, punctuation, style and usage to documents for improvements in clarity, conciseness, precision, correctness, accuracy and readability.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2015
30.0
TWR2201 Students are further introduced to activities, emerging technologies, developments, options and careers in the field of technical communication, with a particular focus on work placement.

Prerequisites: TWR2009
Selected Topics II Students are further introduced to activities, emerging technologies, developments, options and careers in the field of technical communication, with a particular focus on work placement.

Prerequisites: TWR2009
30.0
Co-op: 01 Hours
WKT2200 Students complete a paid full-time work term with an employer off campus. The placement is monitored by the College and assignments, including a final report must be completed. The College provides assistance in finding a placement.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2002 and TWR2003 and TWR2004 and TWR2009 and TWR2010 and TWR2011 and TWR2012 and TWR2014 and TWR2015 and TWR2016 and TWR2100 and TWR2201
Work Term I Students complete a paid full-time work term with an employer off campus. The placement is monitored by the College and assignments, including a final report must be completed. The College provides assistance in finding a placement.

Prerequisites: TWR2000 and TWR2002 and TWR2003 and TWR2004 and TWR2009 and TWR2010 and TWR2011 and TWR2012 and TWR2014 and TWR2015 and TWR2016 and TWR2100 and TWR2201

Fees & Expenses

Tuition Fees: $3,200.01 per term in Levels 01 and 02.

Information Technology Fee: $86 per term in Levels 01 and 02. *

BYOD Fee: $150 per term in Levels 01 and 02. **

eTextbook Fees: see www3.algonquincollege.com/etextbooks.

Student Activity/Sports Fee: $240.50 per term in Levels 01 and 02.

Student Commons/Auditorium Fee: $22 per term in Levels 01 and 02.

Student Centre Building Fee: $17.50 per term in Levels 01 and 02.

Student Experience Fee: $17 per term in Level 01 and Level 02.

Health Services Fee: $20 per term in Levels 01 and 02.

Health Plan Fee: $123.96 paid once annually. ***

A $40 graduation fee is payable in level 02.

A $20 transcript fee is payable in the first term a student attends Algonquin College.

International Students pay all relevant Canadian fees plus an International Premium of $3,975 per term in Levels 01 and 02.

* Students paying the Information Technology fee are provided with a network account, an email address, and Internet access. For more information please visit our website at www.algonquincollege.com/its/services/it_fee.htm.

** The BYOD Fee covers the costs associated with providing verious services and software to students registered in a BYOD program.

*** Students who have coverage with another plan can request a refund by supplying the Students' Association with documentation supporting the request. This request will have to be made annually.

Books and supplies cost approximately $525 per term. Supplies can be purchased at the campus store. See www3.algonquincollege.com/etextbooks. for more information about books.

The software used in this program includes the Adobe Technical Communication Suite 4. This suite of applications can be purchased directly from Algonquin New Technology Store at educational rates.

Admission Requirements 

Program Eligibility

For the Technical Writer program, applicants should ideally satisfy one of the two following conditions:

  • Successful completion of a university degree, with a strong showing in the courses for which high standards of writing are demanded.
  • Successful completion of a three-year Ontario College Advanced Diploma, with a strong showing in the courses for which high standards of writing are demanded. However, applicants possessing the following background will also be considered: Successful completion of a two-year Ontario Community College Diploma, with a strong showing in the courses for which high standard of writing are demanded, paired with demonstration of significant experience in the workplace in the production of a variety of written communication products.
  • Applicants with International transcripts must provide proof of the subject specific requirements noted above along with proof of either: IELTS-International English Language Testing Service-Overall band of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each band; OR TOEFL-Internet-based (iBT)-overall 88, with the minimum of 22 in each component: Reading 22; Listening: 22; Speaking: 22, Writing: 22.

Application Information

Applications to full-time day programs must be submitted with official transcripts showing completion of the academic admission requirements through:
ontariocolleges.ca
60 Corporate Court
Guelph, Ontario N1G 5J3
1-888-892-2228

Applications are available online at www.ontariocolleges.ca A $95 fee applies.

Applications for Fall Term, Winter Term and Spring Term admission received by February 1 will be given equal consideration. Applications received after February 1 will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis as long as places are available.

International applicants applying from out-of-country can obtain the International Student Application Form at xweb.algonquincollege.com/FormIE/index.aspx

or by contacting the Registrar's Office.

For further information on the admissions process, contact:

Registrar's Office
Algonquin College
1385 Woodroffe Ave, Room C150
Ottawa, ON K2G 1V8
Telephone: 613-727-0002
Toll-free: 1-800-565-4723
TTY: 613-727-7766
Fax: 613-727-7632
Email: AskAlgonquin@algonquincollege.com

Additional Information

This program is also offered through the Centre for Continuing and Online Learning both on a part-time basis and full-time online.

For more information about the Technical Writer program, visit our website at algonquincollege.com/technicalwriter

For more information about the field of technical communication, visit our international professional association, the Society for Technical Communication (STC) at www.stc.org

Every attempt is made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this publication. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel any course, program, fee, timetable, or campus location at any time