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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

CMNS 2291: Technical Communication

Students study a variety of technical communications used to document professional activity, including proposals, technical and formal reports, policies and procedures, technical descriptions and definitions, and instructions. Students learn the importance of documentation and accountability as part of professional due diligence, applicable across many fields including journalism, business, government, public service, consulting and research institutes. Students develop skills in assessing communication needs in a scenario, identifying communication goals, audience need and relevant media. Finally, students learn skills in research and synthesis to ensure professional engagement and presentation of research material.

Learning outcomes

  1. Write with grammar and style suitable to a professional context.
  2. Analyze communication scenarios and design appropriate technical communication documents that are responsive to goal, context, and audience need, and meet the requirements for due diligence.
  3. Choose and apply appropriate media and form for a given communication task.
  4. Find, summarize, and document appropriate research information accurately and clearly.
  5. Explain the purpose of a proposal, and produce one with effective structure and content.
  6. Explain the purpose of technical and formal reports, and produce one with effective structure and content.
  7. Explain the purpose of procedures, policy statements, technical descriptions and definitions, and technical instructions, and produce them with effective structure and content.

Course topics

  • Module 1: Overview of Technical Writing
  • Module 2: Technical Sentences
  • Module 3: Technical Paragraphs
  • Module 4: Formatting Documents, Headings, Parallelism
  • Module 5: Technical Definitions and Descriptions
  • Module 6: Instructions, Procedures, Manuals
  • Module 7: Technical Reports and Proposals
  • Module 8: Visual Communication
  • Module 9: Formal Industry Reports
  • Module 10: Researching and Documenting a Formal Report

Required text and materials

The following materials are required for this course:

  1. Ewald, T. (2020). Writing in the technical fields: A practical guide (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
    Type: Textbook. ISBN-13: 978-0-19-903685-1


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To successfully complete this course, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course, and 50% or higher on the final mandatory exam.

Assignment 1: Technical Sentences and Paragraphs 5%
Assignment 2: Formatting Documents and Lists 5%
Assignment 3: Technical Description / Process Description 15%
Assignment 4: Instructions / Procedures 15%
Assignment 5: Technical Proposal 10%
Assignment 6: Formal Report 25%
Final Exam (mandatory) 25%
Total 100%

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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