Technical Writing and Editing

Subject PUBL90005 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 24 hours: a 2 hour seminar per week throughout semester.
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


Admission to fourth-year honours in media and communication, Graduate Certificate or Diploma in Publishing and Communications (Advanced), Master of Publishing and Communications, Master of Creative Writing, Publishing and Editing, Master of Global Media Communication, or Master of Journalism.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


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:


Dr Mark Davis


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.

Learning Outcomes:
  • 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.

Edited technical documentation of 500 words 15% (due in August), 2000 word essay 25% (due in October), 2500 word fully featured user manual 50% (due in the examination period), class participation 10%.

Students are required to attend a minimum of 80% of classes in order to pass this subject.

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.

Students enrolled in a cognate postgraduate program may seek approval from the course coordinator.

Related Course(s): Graduate Certificate in Publishing and Communications (Advanced)
Graduate Diploma in Publishing and Communications (Advanced)
Postgraduate Certificate in Arts (Editing and Communications)
Postgraduate Diploma in Arts (Editing and Communications)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: 100 Point Master of Journalism
100 Point Master of Publishing and Communications
150 Point Master of Journalism
150 Point Master of Publishing and Communications
200 Point Master of Journalism
200 Point Master of Publishing and Communications

Download PDF version.