STC offers multiple online courses where participants can earn a certificate of attendance. The courses are generally divided into 90-minute sessions and presented live online over several weeks. Participants must log in for all sessions to earn the certificate.

STC online courses let you explore a subject in-depth over the course of several weeks. In addition to the practical work skills that you will develop, participating in a certificate program provides you with a unique live opportunity to learn directly from an instructor and to also exchange ideas and tools virtually with the other participants in the program.

Teaching the courses will be some of STC's finest and best-known instructors.

TechComm Manager

Presented by Saul Carliner

15 July–31 July
Tuesdays and Thursdays
10:30 AM–Noon EDT (GMT-4) 

Effectively managing a technical communication group involves a unique set of skills: clearly communicating expectations regarding a job, effectively evaluating performance, developing and communicating a strategic vision for your group, making a business case for proposed projects, and selling the services of your group. Technical Communication Manager helps you develop these skills.

This online course develops these skills through a combination of discovery exercises (which leverage your existing knowledge), formal presentations (which describe the "must knows"), and action planning segments, which give you a chance to consider how you'll apply what you learned back on the job.

  • Session 1—15 July: Managing for Effective Performance Part 1
  • Session 2—17 July: Managing for Effective Performance Part 2
  • Session 3—22 July: Preparing and Presenting a Strategic Plan
  • Session 4—24 July: Preparing and Presenting a Business Case Part 1
  • Session 5—29 July: Preparing and Presenting a Business Case Part 2
  • Session 6—31 July: Marketing Your Group Internally

Producing Effective Video Documentation

Presented by Matt Sullivan

5 August-9 September
7:00-8:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

What does it mean to produce video documentation, anyway? What makes it effective? There are a number of tools, methods, and production techniques that make up the answer to that question. Depending on who has requested the video documentation, how will it be used, and the timeframe and expense to accomplish the project, you might be "asked" to produce the video using a video or webcam with QuickTime or other software; a tool for enhancing PowerPoint presentations like Adobe/Articulate Presenter products; screencasts or webinar recording software like Connect, WebEx, or GoToMeeting; interactive simulation software like Captivate; or working with interactive 3D.

  • Session 1: 5 August—Discussion of video documentation styles and optimizing audio setup
  • Session 2: 12 August—Video lighting, video blogs using popular webcam recording options
  • Session 3: 19 August—Enhanced PowerPoint and scenario-based training with audio and video
  • Session 4: 26 August—Screencasting and webinars
  • Session 5: 2 September—Demonstrations and simulations
  • Session 6: 9 September—3D and wrap-up/review of topics and projects

Minimalist Writing

Bernard Aschwanden

In progress.

This course is developed for people who need to reduce the volume and complexity of content. Learn best practices to help reduce the cost to develop, produce, and maintain materials. Cut the time and effort needed to work with content and improve the quality of deliverables. Learn why good design reduces the need for documentation and learn to work with developers to set and meet shared goals.

  • Session 1—7 July: What Is Minimalism?
  • Session 2—9 July: Know Your Audience, Write Accordingly
  • Session 3—11 July: Content Organization
  • Session 4—14 July: Information Models: Task, Concept, Reference, and More
  • Session 5—16 July: Migrate and Create Minimalist Content
  • Session 6—18 July: Hands-on Document Edits and Reviews

Project Management and the Technical Communicator

Presented by Liz Herman

In progress.

There is a strong connection between the project manager and the technical communicator. The skills that we refine over time as technical communicators have a critical place in project management: communicating content, identifying audience needs, extracting knowledge from subject matter experts, and ensuring quality deliverables. Many technical communicators can step into a project manager role using these highly transferable, existing skills.

What are the transferable skills? How can you work toward a broader role in your organization? What is project management? Why is project management important to the technical communicator? Project Management and the Technical Communicator helps you explore your existing skill set, shows you the applicability to project management, and provides you with best practices that complement both roles.

Session 1: 11 June—What Is Project Management and What Does It Have to Do with Technical Communicators?
Session 2: 18 June—Building the Project Management Framework: Communication
Session 3: 25 June—Building the Project Management Framework: Organization
BREAK: No class on 2 July
Session 4: 9 July—Building the Project Management Framework: Implementation
Session 5: 16 July—Building the Project Management Framework: Evaluation
Session 6: 23 July—Building the Project Management Framework: A Sample Project 

TechComm 101

Presented by Leah Guren

In progress.

Technical communication is an exciting and challenging career that offers unlimited opportunity for professional development. But to succeed, it's not enough to learn a desktop publishing or Help authoring tool—you need to master the analysis process. This is a thinking person's dream career!

TechComm 101 is the fastest, most efficient way to jump-start your career in technical communication. It covers key theory that you can immediately apply to your work, as well as giving you the skills you need to continue to learn and grow.

Each element of theory is presented with hands-on exercises, real-world examples, and plenty of discussion. The course is sure to leave you feeling enthusiastic and well-prepared to get started in the field.

  • Session 1: 10 July—Introduction and Grammar Review
  • Session 2: 17 July—Four Key TC Concepts (Theory and Application)
  • Session 3: 24 July—Five Key TC Concepts (Theory and Application)
  • Session 4: 31 July—TC Deliverables and Writing Defintions
  • Session 5: 7 August—Writing Procedures
  • Session 6: 14 August—Design and Layout
  • Session 7: 21 August—Editing and Moving On

TechComm 201

Presented by Leah Guren

In progress.

This is a more advanced course that moves beyond the basic theory in TechComm 101. The focus is on soft skills, such as estimating and managing technical communication projects and working with SMEs; and technical skills, such as advanced editing, professional tool concepts, and Help Authoring concepts.

Participants must have successfully completed TechComm 101 or have at least three years of experience as a prerequisite for this course.

  • Session 1: 9 July—Project Planning and Management
  • Session 2: 16 July—Tool Usage
  • Session 3: 23 July—Style Guides
  • Session 4: 30 July—Global Issues
  • Session 5: 6 August—Online Help
  • Session 6: 13 August—Advanced Editing

Creating a Personal/Corporate Brand

Presented by Matt Sullivan

Next course TBD.

Not everyone looks favorably on social media. Objections to social media usually fall into two categories:

  • I don't care what you had for lunch
  • I don't have time to tell the world what I had for lunch

And if that's what you think, then you're absolutely right. There is, however, a different way to approach Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (the big three). By establishing a solid social media plan, with a well-crafted social media ID and brand, you can make social media work for you.

Join Matt Sullivan for this six-session course to learn how to let social media increase your free time and connections with others, rather than the inverse.

  • Session 1—Evaluating your social media needs and key networks to target
  • Session 2—Creating and protecting your brand
  • Session 3—Creating brand content and re-use
  • Session 4—Setting up filters for producing and consuming social media content
  • Session 5—Metrics and analytics of your effort
  • Session 6—Analysis of progress and blueprint for moving forward

Creating Mobile Apps without Coding

Presented by Neil Perlin

Next course TBD.

After a decade of false starts, mobile is taking off in the mass market. Thousands of apps are now available for iPhones, Android phones, and other mobile devices; is there room for more in this seemingly saturated market?

Surprisingly, yes. Many of those thousands of existing apps are simply variations on a few themes and often don't address the needs of internal markets—think Internet vs. intranets. Who’ll create these new apps to address these internal markets? More to the point, can technical communicators create them?

Until recently, the answer was usually no. Creating apps required a programmer. Today, however, new GUI mobile app development tools are emerging. These tools hide most or all of the coding and let the authors focus on the app's content, functionality, and appearance. (Think of creating online help using GUI tools like RoboHelp, Flare, or Doc-to-Help, as opposed to working directly in code and you’ve got the idea.) In this workshop, you’ll try one of these tools.

  • Session 1: TBD
  • Session 2: TBD
  • Session 3: TBD
  • Session 4: TBD
  • Session 5: TBD
  • Session 6: TBD

Developing Effective User Documentation

Presented by Sharon Burton

Next course TBD.

Developing user documentation is not simply documenting everything on the interface, nor is it documenting every task the user can possibly do with the product. And whatever we develop must ship on time and fit in the budget for the project.

Our users need content that supports them in their tasks and helps them understand, regardless of their level of experience with this product. Our management needs something that meets the deadlines, is within budget, and reduces customer support calls. Our customer experience team needs content that delights our customers so they'll purchase from us again.

This six-session online class with Sharon Burton provides specific ways to meet all these needs and not make you crazy in the process. Learn what "delightful" user documentation is and how to create it, how to plan meeting deadlines and deliverables, and how to meet the cost requirements of your company.

  • Session 1—Good Writing Guidelines
  • Session 2—Identifying Our Audience
  • Session 3—Planning
  • Session 4—Writing for Multiple Audiences
  • Session 5—Reviewing and Delivering Content
  • Session 6—Additional Topics

DITA from Legacy to the Future

Presented by Bernard Aschwanden

Next course TBD.

This course is developed for people who need to learn about Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) and want the basics of the software tools that work with it. Get comfortable with the concepts and rules of DITA. Explore the standard and how it is used to plan and create maps and topics. Acquire hands-on experience to guide your understanding of the tools that work with DITA from planning and prototyping, through to publishing and managing content.

  • Session 1—What is Structure?
  • Session 2—Core Elements of DITA
  • Session 3—Manage Legacy Documentation
  • Session 4—A Practical Application of DITA
  • Session 5—Migrate and Create Content
  • Session 6—Best Practices
  • Session 7—Content Management

Don't Write—THINK!

Presented by Leah Guren

Next course TBD.

STC presents a new online education offering, the "online short course"! STC online short courses are more detailed than a one-hour webinar, but not as in-depth as our multi-week online courses. They're focused on the skills you need as a technical communicator.

Good writing is more than knowing where to put the commas. In fact, the best way to improve documentation quality is to stop and think before writing. This short course shifts the focus from just writing to discovering creative solutions through correct analysis.

Each session includes theory, introduction of best practices, plenty of examples, interactive drills, and home exercises.

  • Session 1—Analyzing the content purpose and looking at four classifications of information needs
  • Session 2—Filtering information to distinguish between true and necessary, while prioritizing information based on user work flow
  • Session 3—Thinking outside the box to find creative solutions, including minimalism, wordless documentation, and offloading

TechComm 101 International

Presented by Leah Guren

Next course TBD.

This edition of STC's popular TechComm 101 certificate course is scheduled at a time specifically geared to members internationally, especially Asia and the Pacific!

Technical communication is an exciting and challenging career that offers unlimited opportunity for professional development. But to succeed, it's not enough to learn a desktop publishing or Help authoring tool—you need to master the analysis process. This is a thinking person's dream career!

TechComm 101 is the fastest, most efficient way to jump-start your career in technical communication. It covers key theory that you can immediately apply to your work, as well as giving you the skills you need to continue to learn and grow.

Each element of theory is presented with hands-on exercises, real-world examples, and plenty of discussion. The course is sure to leave you feeling enthusiastic and well-prepared to get started in the field.

  • Session 1—Introduction and Grammar Review
  • Session 2—Four Key TC Concepts (Theory and Application)
  • Session 3—Five Key TC Concepts (Theory and Application)
  • Session 4—TC Deliverables and Writing Defintions
  • Session 5—Writing Procedures
  • Session 6—Design and Layout
  • Session 7—Editing and Moving On

Technical Editing Fundamentals

Presented by Michelle Corbin and Linda Oestreich

In progress.

This is a course in technical editing designed for beginning through advanced technical editing practitioners. It is a solid introduction for beginning technical editors and a great refresher for advanced technical editors. The course presents material on a different topic in each session and concludes with discussions and materials on a career in technical editing. It is interactive and includes exercises within the sessions and homework between sessions.

Prerequisites include a working knowledge of English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style. This course does not teach those skills, but it helps you learn how to apply your knowledge responsibly as an editor. In addition, you need the desire to improve your technical editing and learn about the many skills it requires. The below topics will all be covered in the four sessions.

  • Session 1—21 February: Definitions and Tools of the Trade
  • Session 2—28 February: Types of Edits and Editing Techniques
  • One-week break
  • Session 3—14 March: Providing Effective Editing Comments
  • Session 4—21 March: Editing More Than Text, and Your Career As a Technical Editor

Topic-Based Authoring

Presented by Sharon Burton

Next course TBD.

Topic-based authoring is the next new thing in technical communication. It lets you create and reuse content, reduces project schedules, and improves your workflow. If you are looking to move to a structured writing environment such as DITA, it's the first set of steps towards that goal.

But how to get started? What's a topic? What to do with your legacy content? How exactly do you plan this new way of developing content? How long will it take to see reduced project schedules? What skills do you need to make this move? And how will this help your users?

This six-week course will cover all this and more. You'll end the course fully armed to make this move as painlessly as possible in your workplace, armed with best practices regardless of the tools you use.

  • Session 1—What is Topic-Based Authoring?
  • Session 2—Audience Analysis
  • Session 3—Analyzing the Old and the New
  • Session 4—How to Create Project Plans
  • Session 5—How to Convert Legacy Information
  • Session 6Looking Forward

Undiscovered Country: Master Writer

Presented by Sharon Burton

Next course TBD.

Even the most experienced technical communicators don’t always think about information design until they lay the words out in a paper or online document. By then, it’s too late. Information design is much more than using headings and white space in your documents. Real information design starts before you write a word.

This five-session online course in information design first covers how people learn, think, and structure information in their minds, as well as the nature of reality, and perception. Then, we examine taxonomies, schemas, and shared feature analyses. This course uses group activities and hands-on exercises to help participants apply the theories and ideas presented.

Each session includes at least an hour lecture and as well as assignments and readings to do in your own time that support the lecture for that week. You’ll finish the course with a deeper understanding of why we do some of what we do and how to better help your users.

  • Session 1—Structuring Information
  • Session 2—Audience Analysis, Part 1
  • Session 3—Audience Analysis, Part 2
  • Session 4—Cognition Overview
  • Session 5In-depth Cognitive Science

Usability Testing Essentials: Hands-on Workshop and Best Practices

Carol Barnum

Next course TBD.

Whatever job you hold, user experience is—or should be—a part of it. That’s why usability testing is such a good fit for technical communicators. We are the voice of the user, so why not also be able to share what we learn from users by observing how they work with our products? We educate ourselves and other product stakeholders about who our users are and how they interact with our products, which helps make our products better as user experience improves.

Whether you are self-taught, unschooled in the topic, or looking to upgrade your skills, this online course will take you step by step through the process of planning and conducting a test, analyzing the results, and reporting them—with the goal of building your skills as a user experience researcher and user advocate.

  • Session 1—Establish the essentials
  • Session 2—Kick off the sponsored project—meet the sponsor
  • Session 3—Determine users, tasks, and goals; draft test plan
  • Session 4—No class meeting; complete test plan; conduct walkthrough
  • Session 5—Conduct pilot test (teams schedule this session with instructor; flexible schedule)
  • Session 6—No class meeting; Teams conduct testing
  • Session 7—Analyze findings; class meeting to discuss preliminary findings
  • Session 8—Present results


Writing for Localization: Hands-on Workshop and Best Practices

Presented by Lisa Pietrangeli

Next course TBD.

Decisions made during content development impact the quality and consistency of the translated versions of the content.  In this online course, you will learn the difference between Translation, Localization, and Internationalization; learn best practices with writing methods and content management; and learn about the tools of the translation industry. Through best practices, tools, and building a dynamic knowledge base, participants will learn how to make their companies’ localization process more efficient and achieve consistently higher quality translations.

  • Session 1: TBD
  • Session 2: TBD
  • Session 3: TBD
  • Session 4: TBD
  • Session 5: TBD
  • Session 6: TBD