University of Colorado Denver
Technical Communication is one of nine core pathways available to undergraduate Communication majors. Technical Communication is the career field concerned with creating documents (online as well as on paper and packaging) that integrate words and visual images in ways that help people achieve their practical goals at home, school, work, and in their social communities. Technical communication is the act of bringing together text, graphics (including illustration, animation, photography, video and quantitative displays), typography, and page design for purposes of instruction, explanation, persuasion and decision making. Technical communications can be as short as the warning label on a small package of medicine or as long as a booklet for preparing a tax return or a multi-volume proposal for redesigning a train station. Because users of technical documents are often reading them to make important (and sometimes crucial) personal decisions involving their safety, health, work productivity or finances, developing them involves carefully researching end-users' needs, knowledge and behavior. It also requires testing prototype technical communications with actual end-users to determine how these communications can be made more usable, helpful, understandable, and effective.
The Technical Communication Pathway is designed to help meet the continuing need for technical document design experts across a broad range of industrial, medical, legal, financial, government, educational and nonprofit organizations. The pathway courses introduce students to the critical thinking and analytic skills necessary for informed technical document design. Students who pursue the pathway courses also acquire a foundation in basic communication modalities required for entry into the technical communication field, including oral technical presentation, instructional design, web page design and multimedia authoring, as well as technical writing and technical editing skills. The instruction provided in pathway courses strikes a balance among technical communication theory, research and hands-on practice. It also complements the instruction provided in several other pathways, including Health Communication, Public Relations & Advertising, Political Communication & Government, and Human Resources & Organizational Communication.
Students seeking education in the technical communication field but who only want instruction in "core" areas of technical communication also have the option of pursuing the shorter Undergraduate Certificate in Technical & Professional Communication (12 credits). Both professors and experienced technical communication professionals teach the certificate and pathway courses. Advising concerning the certificate and the technical communication pathway generally is provided by Associate Professor Jim Stratman.
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