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DECEMBER 7, 2016
David FLOREN finished the course successfully with his final assignment “Casa Colina Home User Guide”
Bryan HESHIKI finished the course successfully with his final assignment “SONY Playstation 3 Unofficial User Guide”
Congratulations to both David and Bryan!
OCTOBER 31, 2016
WEEKLY UPDATE: “Freelance vs. Corporate Employment for Writers”
OCTOBER 28, 2016
OCTOBER 26, 2016
Weekly Educational Update: "LIE or LAY?"
OCTOBER 21, 2016
CONGRATS to CHARLES JAMES who finished the course successfully with his final assignment “Keyword Researcher 9.07”!
OCTOBER 17, 2016
NEW VIDEO: "3 Types of Readers/Audience" [in the BONUS SECTION - AUDIENCE ANALYSIS]
There are 3 types of readers or audience whether you are writing a technical document, drafting a research paper, or delivering a public speech: 1) The enthusiasts, the fans; 2) Those looking for practical solutions for their real problems; and 3) The experts who are seeking conceptual answers to their still unanswered research questions. If you deliver the right content to the right audience you'll be a much more effective writer.
NEW EXERCISE, SOLUTION and TRANSCRIPT sheets for "3 Types of Readers/Audience" [in the BONUS SECTION - AUDIENCE ANALYSIS]
UPDATED VIDEO for TABLES, Lecture 43. The missing audio clip between 4:25 and 4:40 is replaced. Thanks to our students Heather BROWN, Timothy LEAHY, and David FLOREN for catching the missing seconds. Appreciate all your input. If you see anything else missing or wrong please let me know and I'll be happy to take care of them right away.
NEW UPDATE LOG SHEET is added to the UPDATES section. This log shows the recent updates to this course.
++++++++++ WITH THIS COURSE YOU WILL GET
++++++++++ TAKE THIS COURSE AND...
Learn the principles of technical writing and editing to build for yourself a great writing career that pays well.
Learn it from a professional Fortune 100 technical writer who has been writing technical documents since 1998.
Technical writing has consistently been selected over the years as one of the "100 Best Jobs" in America. It performs an irreplaceable support function in many sectors and provides a stable and consistent way for writers to earn a good living.
++++++++++ THIS COURSE IS IDEAL FOR
++++++++++ THE COURSE COVERS
The course takes you from the basic principles of good technical writing and covers dozens of other topics including:
++++++++++ TECHNICAL WRITING PAYS WELL
Technical writers in the USA made an average of $71,950 a year, according to the latest available STC (Society for Technical Communication) Salary Data (2014). See Section 17 for 2014 selected salary highlights.
According to glassdoor-dot-com, top-earning tech writers at companies like Google make as much as $165,000 a year.
Obviously this course alone cannot guarantee that you will find a lucrative job right away but you will learn how to create your first technical document which you can use in applying for a technical writing position.
SELECTED STUDENT REVIEWS
"Best course I've taken through Udemy"
"Dr. Akinci shares his extensive knowledge of technical writing in a clear and easy to understand format. From learning about a document's structure to useful hints in Word, there's something for anyone looking to expand their writing skills. The final assignment allows students to put their learning to work right away. Receiving prompt feedback from Dr. Akinci is extremely helpful. He praises where you excel and highlights ways to further improve future documents. He's super encouraging! I've learned an amazing amount. Best course I've taken through Udemy."
-- Laurie Trowbridge
"One of the best courses for beginners who want to be Technical Writers"
"One of the best courses for beginners those who want to be "Technical Writers". Best teaching with lots of videos, assignments and explanation. It has helped me personally for developing my writing skills and learning the technical concepts for writing. Thank you for this course and I am glad that I was part of this course".
-- Jitendra Dahare
"One of the best in the technical writing field..."
"Ugur Akinci does an excellent presentation and through delivery with notes and references. One of the best in the technical writing field. His past experience is certainly evident in the videos and supporting material."
-- Ronald Nats
"... helped me recently get a full-time technical writing job"
"Ugur's course was very helpful. It helped me recently get a full-time technical writing job."
-- Loren Robinson
"Thorough, Useful, and Easy to Follow"
"Dr. Akinci is an excellent instructor, in addition to being an accomplished technical writer. He guides the student through the very detailed, step-by-step process of producing user guides and technical manuals, and he does so with a friendly humour. Each lecture is an easily digested, bite-sized morsel. Aside from making the bits easy to learn, this also makes it easier to go back and find things later, if you need to check on something. I'd recommend this course to anyone with any interest in technical writing."
-- Tamatha Campbell
"A must course for anyone who writes technical documents!"
"I currently work as a BA, and decided to take this course to concentrate on the logistics of writing. This course has superseded my expectations! Technical writing isn’t simply writing well, but designing a professional document for the end user. For this, you need to know how to create the components of a technical document, indexing, graphs and tables, just to name a few (all of which are covered in this course).
I considered myself a strong writer, but during the course, I realized that I was making common mistakes, changing from active to passive voice in my documents, assuming the end reader would understand my abbreviations, or acronyms, or writing noun trains…In this course you will learn everything you need to know (and in great detail) to write a technical document.
This course is by far, the best course I have completed through Udemy."
-- Jennifer Somerville
"A Worthwhile Investment..."
This is a comprehensive, well-organised and well-considered course. Chapter-by-chapter, you learn the wide range of skills required by a successful technical writer. The lectures are very informative and come with a huge amount of extra resources and materials which are available for download. It’s also a plus that course is constantly updated and the instructor is also available and highly responsive to his students.
I’d highly recommend this course but it shouldn't be aimed at just those interested in pursuing a career in technical writing. Academics, students, business people – anyone who writes reports - will reap benefits from this course. I found it well worthwhile investing both my time and money in this course."
-- Kathryn H.
"High Quality as Expected"
"This course and professor's learning structure both serve as strengths to Udemy's catalog. I am satisfied by how much content that the professor provided, for the professional feedback that he directed toward our individual projects, and for the feeling of satisfaction to achieve a certificate and to potentially share our work with others. Thank you for piecing together a valuable educational experience!"
-- Phill Keck
"Great Technical Writing Course!"
"Great course with great material! Ugur's insight and how he can relate real life scenarios to help teach the information in a way that makes it easier to learn and retain. Thanks Ugur!"
-- Lee Dinkins
"Great!!!! Great course for beginners or even experts!"
-- Nicholas Nelson
"Great course! The course is very helpful!"
"The content is informative and comprehensive. Thank you!"
-- Mariia Zlatkova
"I haven't finished my work yet, but I have found his course very helpful."
– Michelle Daley
"You course help me lot in my Daily Job. I am not a technical writer nor in the business of writing. But as a Project Engineer who prepared lots of technical reports and letters to client and contractors this course help me a lot. Most of the technical writing fundamentals given here are also applicable to my kind of Business writing. I could not make any product manual as I don't have any Product. Highly recommended to all those who wants to improve their Business Writing even though course is on technical writing."
– Varun Patel
“A very fine course!"
"The course was very well delivered and lectures divided into sections and all sections contained important information and tips. Quizzes were just right for the task. Dr. Akinci presented the material clearly and competently. Moreover, he corrected the assignments promptly while providing a very thorough feed back."
– Shaheda Rizvi
“Take this Course!"
"My name is, Justin Berg, I am a Product Manager for a web based EHR called MediTouch. I took this course to help with job responsibilities, but I wish I took this course in High School. I could have used the material from then and into the Future! The course was easy to complete and the material is to the point. The teacher will give great feedback for your final project and even offered to help assist with technical writing questions into the future."
– Justin Berg
"Possibly the most useful course I have ever taken"
“Practical and useful… Possibly the most useful course I have ever taken."
– Joaquin Roman
“The grammar refresher at the beginning is incredibly helpful, and what I liked best was the introduction to vector graphics and flowcharts. Love it!"
“Finally a Technical Writing and Editing course that I can recommend to my colleagues and students."
– Hakki Ocal
++++++++++ "Do I need to buy anything else?"
No. The course has all the materials you'll ever need, including 15 hours of video, PDF documents, and complimentary ebooks.
++++++++++ "How long will it take to finish the course?"
It will take about six to eight weeks from start to finish if you spend 15-20 min a day.
++++++++++ "What does the course cover?"
The course takes you from the basic principles of good technical writing and covers dozens of other topics including:
++++++++++ "In addition to 15 hours of video, do I also get any supplementary materials?"
Yes. TONS OF THEM actually! Here is a list:
Most lectures have downloadable PDFs related to the videos. Click the second-from-left button (with down arrow on it) on the upper-right corner of the lecture screen to access these PDF document. Go ahead and start your journey to job stability and higher earnings today!
++++++++++ 30-DAYS NO QUESTIONS ASKED MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE !!!
Yes! IMPORTANT! This course comes with my PERSONAL NO-QUESTIONS-ASKED 30 Day FULL REFUND GUARANTEE! Try my course for 30 days and if you still don't like it Udemy will refund you 100%. You've got nothing to lose but everything to gain.
Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.
Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.
Certificate of completion.
|Section 1: Introduction to Technical Writing|
Welcome to Technical Writing and Editing! In this course we have a lot to cover, ranging from techniques of technical writing to template development and the proper way to use images and graphics. You'll be guided along with videos, exercises, and supporting materials. We'll help you develop your own technical document (say, a User Guide). Those who complete that assignment successfully will receive a handsome "Completion Certificate". We have a lot to cover together.
Technical Writing is Ideal for...
|Technical writing is usually confused with "office correspondence" or "business writing." Even though business writing is a part of it, technical writing is a lot more than that. Foremost, technical writing brings solutions to problems by describing how to operate a gadget, how to troubleshoot a system, how to set up a service, etc.|
Technical and Business Writing
|Technical writers -- would you rather write screenplays, poetry, fiction or do newspaper reporting to put good food on the table? Decide for yourself after watching this informative and comparative video.|
|In this course we teach both technical writing and technical editing because the difference between writing and editing is mostly academic and artificial. All good writing require rewriting, that is, editing.|
|Section 2: Components of Technical Documents|
|A printed technical document is like a well-oiled machine with many parts. Not every part is present in every document but most are. And some are indispensable, depending on the nature and length of the document, as explained in this video.|
|We continue with the description of the components of a technical document.|
|Quiz 3||1 question|
|You should always keep in mind the important difference between a TOC (Table of Contents) and an Index.|
Documentation Plan is a very crucial part of any document-writing project. Prepare a Doc Plan (for short) and get it approved in WRITING before you start writing the technical document itself. It is important to get the approval of your manager or client on such specifics like how many chapters the document should have, what will be contents of the individual chapters, who will review the document, what will be the delivery schedule etc. If you don't do that you can get into trouble. Why? Because when the managers or the client challenge your understanding of the project with an unpleasant question like "Why did you include this information and deleted the others? I did not tell you to do this!", you can comfortably fall back on the SIGNED and APPROVED Documentation Plan and cover yourself when things get a bit uncomfortable (and they do once in a great while). This video introduces and explains a sample Documentation Plan template which you can download, modify, and use for your own documentation project. Good luck!
|If you wish you can shop around and pick your own gadget or system to document with a User Guide. You'll continue to work on that assignment step-by-step and apply the things you learn to your guide throughout this course.
In this video we are offering a good source to inspire you and help you decide what kind of a user guide you want to create.
Or you can see the next lesson and follow the outline we have created to write a User Guide for publishing on Amazon Kindle. The choice is yours.
|Lecture 9||1 page|
|Start thinking about your personal assignment... It's never too early to do that :-)|
|Section 3: Technical Writing Techniques (1)|
|Eliminating variance is important in technical writing. You must use the same paragraph styles, terms and labels, fonts, page design, color palette, etc. throughout your document. Such consistency builds confidence and trust in the reader. Documents that show a lot of variance in terminology or styling create doubts about the authority and credibility of the document.
|Lecture 11||18 pages|
|Writing in active voice is one of the fundamental principles of both technical writing and plain writing. Here we provide for free a great workbook with 100 Q&A-style exercises for you to sharpen your active voice skills.|
|Quiz 4||1 question|
Sometimes it is okay to write with passive voice. HINT: See page 3 of the "100 Active Passive Exercises" Workbook.
|Anthropomorphism is attributing human-like qualities to non-human subjects. Here we explain how to avoid this unfortunate error in technical writing.|
|Lecture 13||25 pages|
Dangling participles is a common problem in English. Here we offer you a great workbook prepared in the Q&A-style for you to master proper sentence construction and avoid dangling participles.
|Lecture 14||3 pages|
|Bracketing identical sentence components, clauses, and/or phrases is a good skill to have since it increases the readability of your technical documents and increases both comprehension and retention of information.|
|Lecture 15||17 pages|
|Correct punctuation is a must in technical writing. If different writers mean different things by the way they punctuate units and measurements, the results can range from a simple misunderstanding to accidents and even disaster.|
|There are a lot of "noun trains" in technical writing that crate ambiguity. Ambiguous writing is not only bad and inefficient but it can be dangerous as well when the user is performing a critical procedure or dealing with hi-tech systems. Therefore you should learn how to simplify such noun trains by using the technique explained in this lecture.|
|Quiz 6||1 question|
|You'll encounter a lot of "noun trains" in technical writing since unfortunately most of the engineers and scientists have a habit of generating them without any difficulty. Remember the best way to simplify a noun train?|
|Eliminate these simple but common grammar errors from your writing since, for a professional writer, there is no excuse to commit them.|
Assignment STEP 2 (of 6)
|Section 4: Technical Writing Techniques (2)|
Knowing how to write a procedural task properly is a key skill for a technical writer because we write procedural tasks on a daily basis. That’s the heart of any technical document. Once you learn the basic principles, it’ll become a second nature and you'll write such tasks easily, almost on automatic drive.
Write a Chapter
Developing a style, or adopting an existing Style Guideline, has two important advantages in technical writing:
1) A document with consistent terminology, headings, and style in general builds confidence and trust in the reader. If your document has a lot of “variance” (please see the lecture about the importance of eliminating variance), the users become suspicious about the truth value of the content as well. You must avoid that by sticking to a consistent style and writing guideline. As someone quipped, “good techncial writing is boring” since it is consistent without any “creative” flourishes and variations. It is “boring” by design.
2) Writing a document according to a pre-planned style and content guideline is much easier than the other alternative. When you have a style guideline you don’t need to reinvent the wheel every time you need to start a procedural task or write a figure caption, etc. We’ll explain what we mean by that down below. A guideline is a major productivity tool. It’s your best friend.
|Section 5: Technical Editing Techniques (1)|
Eliminating what is not necessary is an important and core editing principles. Ninety nine percent of the time a sentence is not easy to understand because it has too much stuff in it. Such sentences have unnecessary verbs, nouns, clichés, phrases. Once you cut them out, the sentence starts to breathe.
Continuing with our elimination method… "Less is more" as the famous minimalist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe once said.
|Quiz 8||1 question|
|Finding the core idea in a complicated sentence or paragraph is a skill that will serve you well in your technical writing career. Watch this video to learn the elimination technique with which you can isolate the core idea of any text.
|Quiz 9||1 question|
One interesting way to learn how to write clean and lean sentences is to do the reverse: to start with a lean sentence and create a “monster” out of it by adding all kinds of unnecessary nouns, verbs and clichés. The end result may look like some of the technical statements we unfortunately encounter daily. Enjoy the “demolition derby”!
|Lecture 26||2 pages|
|Good technical writing is not very different than plain writing. Here we explain some of the basic principles of good plain writing.|
Assignment STEP 3 (of 6)
|Section 6: Technical Editing Techniques (2)|
Whenever possible avoid negative writing.
Negative writing creates an unpleasant state of mind in the reader and triggers a needless defensive reflex even when what you are saying is true and beneficial for the audience.
Medicine does not need to taste bitter. Try expressing the same idea in a positive manner.
Do not introduce ambiguity where there is none by using the word “should.”
A great technical editing method to untangle a run-on sentence that reads like a ball of tangled up wires is to identify the agent of each action mentioned in the sentence.
|Section 7: How to Create a Template|
Creating templates is what professional technical writers do on a regular basis. In this introduction, we explain the basics of creating a MS Word template. Setting the margins, columns, page orientation, and main paragraph styles is crucial to configuring a correct page layout for a MS Word document. Here we demonstrate how you can do that.
|Knowing how to assign and modify paragraph styles is a must when you are creating a MS Word document template. Here we demonstrate how to master this simple but important skill...|
|Creating headers and footers is one of the most basic operations when you are creating a template for a printed MS Word document. Here is how...|
|We continue with our description of how to create headers and footers for a MS Word template...|
Templates - ".dotm" Extension
|Once you save a MS Word document as a template you can use it to change the paragraph styles of other documents. You can accomplish that by attaching (or assigning) an existing template to a new Word document. This lecture explains and shows how you can do that.|
MS Word does an excellent job of assigning multilevel numbering to indented headings that use the paragraph tags listed in the HOME tab. However, there are two important points that you need to pay attention to, as explained in this video.
|MS Word has a powerful way to number document components (lists, paragraphs, etc.) independently of all other numbering systems. This reliable method uses the "SEQ" field code as explained in this video. Components numbered this way run an independent numbering sequence that threads its way through different chapters and sections without altering any other numbering sequence. You can run as many numbered threads as you like within the same document; that's why we call it "multi-thread numbering" system.|
MS Word 2010 File Name Extensions
|Quiz 14||1 question|
Where does the copyright information typically get published in a technical document?
SUMMARY - How to Create a Template (PDF)
Assignment STEP 4 (of 6)
|Section 8: Indexing|
Here is a short introduction to creating an index with MS Word 2010. Every long technical document (say a document over 50 pages) should have an Index. Consumers and end-users ask for it regularly. and they get frustrated if they cannot find it at the end of the document.
|Quiz 15||1 question|
|Beyond a certain level of complexity, the human mind starts expericing difficulty keeping track of the relationship between the "parent" and "children" index entries.|
|Section 9: Variables|
|Lecture 41||8 pages|
|Without knowing what dependent and independent variables are, you cannot have a healthy understanding of what graphs and tables really mean and how they work. Spend some time with this important PDF document to build a sound foundation for your future studies of tables and graphs.|
|Section 10: Graphs|
There are many types of graphs used to summarize, express and interpret data in technical documentation. Do you know which ones to use, where, and why?
|Section 11: Tables|
|Tables are used frequently in technical documents. In this lesson we explain the main principles of constructing a good data table. In the accompanying PDF document, three main types of tables are introduced.|
|Lecture 44||3 pages|
|Reformatting text as a table is yet another basic technique to cut down on the number of unnecessary words and convoluted and confusing paragraphs.|
|Quiz 16||1 question|
|Quiz 17||1 question|
|Quiz 18||1 question|
|Quiz 19||1 question|
|It's important to organize your data properly in tabular format whether you’re dealing with a MS Word or MS Excel table since such preparation is essential to derive the most out of your data.|
|Section 12: Images|
|If you do not know anything else about images, you should know the important difference between a RASTER and a VECTOR image. That difference is very elementary and crucial in technical writing.|
|Quiz 20||1 question|
There is no single image that is appropriate for your technical documents. It all depends the purpose for which you are creating or selecting the image.
|Quiz 21||1 question|
Let's remember: there is no single image format that is appropriate for your technical documents. It all depends the purpose for which you are creating or selecting the image.
Organizing and naming images can mean a lot in terms of your productivity and sanity. When you have just a few images this may not seem like a big deal at all. But when you start to deal with hundreds and thousands of images, the experience shows that how you name your images can really make a difference in the ease with which you browse, find and use them.
|Lecture 49||6 pages|
There is no reason to use words if you can express the same idea with images at the same level of precision. A picture is truly worth a thousand words but the difficulty is to find the right image to do justice to the words it is replacing. This PDF document explains how you can express your ideas with diagrams.
|Lecture 50||3 pages|
A decision tree is a marvelous way to cut down the number of words necessary to explain a process or a system. Once you master this technique, you can express your technical ideas visually with increased power and precision.
|If an image is not annotated correctly, it could be a waste of space. Moreover, it could be confusing. It could create more questions than it answers. This lecture explains how to annotate and caption images correctly for your technical document.|
Assignment STEP 5 (of 6)
|Section 13: Flowcharts|
|Knowing the correct way to flowchart a process will save you tons of words and your readers will thank you for it. Here are the basic principles of correct flow-charting, with exercises.|
|Section 14: CONCLUSION|
Assignment STEP 6 (of 6)
Two future trends in technical writing are 1) Structural Writing (SW) (a.k.a. Structural Authoring), and 2) Localization.
Structural writing requires an understanding of XML (Extended Markup Language) and has a steep learning curve. Probably the softest approach to SW is to learn the built-in XML-authoring tools that FrameMaker comes with.
Localization, that is, the translation of documents web-sites and other deliverables from English to other languages, is the other strong trend that will create many opportunities for tech writers in the future and will force us to adhere to the principles of Plain Writing that we have covered earlier in this course. It's a good and exciting time to be a technical writer!
|Quiz 22||1 question|
Localization is becoming an increasingly important niche of specialization for techncial writrers in an age where all products and services are marketed across the traditional national and cultural boundaries.
Congratulations and Thank You!
|Section 15: GALLERY OF EXCELLENCE - Student Final Assignments (Read Only - No Downloads)|
|Lecture 57||21 pages|
|Here is Joaquin Roman's User Guide assignment and my review notes, shared for the benefit of the whole class, with Joaquin's kind permission. Thank you Joaquin!|
|Lecture 58||17 pages|
Our student Lilla Sutera's final assignment: "iOS 7 - A User’s Guide".
Eilynn Charm M. QuirosPreview
Fortune 100 technical communicator and educator since 1998. The hi-tech companies he worked for include ADP, Fannie Mae, and Honeywell.
Ugur started his professional career as a senior translator for NATO Hqs. LSE. He has worked as a writer, translator, editor and publisher since the mid-80s.
For his copy writing clients, Ugur created all kinds of marketing materials and press releases while honing his skills as a Desk Top Publisher and even publishing a biweekly magazine for a number of years by using DTP techniques.
In mid-90s we see Ugur as a full-time accredited journalist, covering the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Congress for a daily publication.
In 1998, Ugur has discovered the joy of technical writing, marrying his love of science and technology to his artistic sensibilities and design skills.
Working for Fortune 100 hi-tech corporations like Fannie Mae, ADP, and Honeywell, Ugur created many user guides, system admin guides, reference sheets, release notes, quick start guides, and all kinds of similar software, hardware and networking documents, sometimes as a part of an international documentation team.
Ugur enjoys teaching a wide variety of writing, software tools, content development, and document design skills both online and also in person.
He is a Toastmaster (CC), an active senior member and Associate Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication (STC) and a Past President of his award-winning local chapter, STC Washington D.C. -- Baltimore.
With decades of writing and technical communication experience under his belt, Ugur teaches not only the general principles of good writing and content development but also the insider tips that will save you a lot of grief and headaches. Learn software documentation and different kinds of writing from an industry professional who is still working in this exciting field.
Udemy Industry Insights is a podcast in which we chat with industry leaders and experts in the fields of our most popular courses. We ask about career advice, skill development, and try to answer the question: what exactly do you do?
In this episode, we speak with Tom Johnson, a San Jose-based technical writer who runs the popular blog idratherbewriting.com. Below, you'll find the full conversation as well as an infographic summary of the conversation. Enjoy!