Oct 04, 2023  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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TC 3320 - User Documentation

3 lecture hours 0 lab hours 3 credits

Course Description
This course gives the student practical experience in developing and preparing user documentation for software and hardware products. Discussions emphasize the importance of knowing your audience and writing efficient documentation that is clear, concise, and accurate. Students learn and experience first-hand the end-to-end documentation process, including the software tool, Adobe Acrobat Pro, to publish documentation in a professional PDF output. The major requirement for this course is researching and developing a form of user documentation, such as a user manual or tutorial. The user documentation completed as a PDF will be of a quality that it can be used as part of the student’s portfolio. In addition, the student is responsible for a number of assignments leading up to the completion of the user documentation; these include, but are not limited to, a user analysis, documentation plan, and style guide. (prereq: GS 1002  or GS 1020H )
Course Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  • Understand the process involved in the creation and production of user documentation
  • Structure and organize content based on analysis and persona creation to meet the needs of users 
  • Communicate content effectively for various media: print, online, and mobile
  • Work effectively with subject matter experts 
  • Edit documents for style and content to ensure the highest quality
  • Exhibit proficiency in Adobe Acrobat Pro software

Prerequisites by Topic
  • Proficiency in writing and grammar
  • Proficiency in Word or desktop publishing software tools and concepts
  • Fundamentals of page layout and design
  • Organizational skills


Course Topics
  • Definition and principles of technical user documentation
  • Characteristics of efficient user documentation
  • Ethics in technical communication and user documentation
  • The writing and publication process
  • Agile and waterfall work processes and their implications to user documentation
  • Understanding your audience
  • Conducting research and interviewing subject matter experts
  • Documentation planning
  • Style guides
  • Technical definition, description, and instructions
  • Safeties (notes, cautions, warnings, and dangers)
  • Legalities (citation, trademarks, copyrights, and service marks)
  • Technical illustration
  • Editing (managerial, substantive, copyediting, and proofreading)
  • Introduction to help authoring tools and desktop publishing software
  • Creating PDFs with bookmarks and links using Adobe Acrobat Pro
  • Performing documentation reviews with Adobe Acrobat Pro

Dianne Bender

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