Technical Writing and Editing

Subject PUBL90005 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

On campus

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 2
Total Time Commitment: 120
Prerequisites: Admission to the postgraduate certificate or diploma in Publishing and Communications, Master of Publishing and Communications, Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Communications
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website:


Ms Bryony Cosgrove


Geoffrey Marnell

Subject Overview:

This subject teaches the writing and editing skills needed in the technical writing profession. The emphasis is on preparing instructional materials (also known as user documentation), both for printed and online delivery. Students will learn how to plan a documentation project, how to tailor writing for various audiences (local and international), how to write effective procedures, how to build subject-specific thesauri, and how to index and design documents.

  • instruct students about, and prepare students for, the profession of technical writing (also known as technical communication);
  • provide an opportunity for students to write and edit technical documents;
  • provide an awareness of the global reach of technical writing and of the need to be sensitive to cultural, legal and language differences;
  • emphasise the various moral dimensions in instructional and informational writing so that students gain an appreciation of the importance of minimising information denial, time theft and potential injury; and
  • provide a framework for appreciating the importance of extending the role of editor to that of collaborative author in the preparation of technical documents.
Assessment: Class participation 10%; edited technical documentation (500 words, due in August) 15%; essay (2000 words, due October) 25%; fully featured user manual (2500 words, due in the examination period) 50%. Students must attend at least 80% of classes to be eligible for assessment. Assessment submitted after the due date without an extension will be penalised 2% per day. Assessment submitted after two weeks of the assessment due date without a formally approved application for special consideration or an extension will only be marked on a pass/fail basis if accepted.
Prescribed Texts:

A subject reader will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • finely honed skills in writing, and editing, plain, utilitarian, audience-centric instructional materials;
  • document design and structuring skills that enhance usability and readability;
  • an appreciation of the moral and legal imperatives that drive effective communication in an information-hungry, time-poor and culturally diverse world; and
  • skills in template-creation, indexing and thesaurus-building.
Notes: Students enrolled in a cognate postgraduate program may seek approval from the course coordinator.
Related Course(s): Master of Publishing and Communications
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Editing and Communications)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Editing and Communications)

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