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anyone aware of or can recommend online training courses for technical writers to improve your technical writing skills? I'm looking for courses that provide video or audio lectures, and teachers that provide interactive training, review your work and provide feedback.

Thanks in advance!

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3 Answers

I see quite a few courses on iTunesU that look interesting in terms of writing in various genres. I might recommend you check some of those out.

In terms of teachers, I'd look at eCollege for remote working with university level classes.

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Rather than formal training, consider getting involved with the doc team of an open source project with a strong commitment to the quality of their technical writing.

  • You'll get not just one teacher's eyes on your work, but several to dozens of experienced technical writers.

  • You'll get feedback from consumers of your technical writing.

  • You'll have a portfolio of CC or other open-licensed work that you can show off.

  • Your work will be read by people with many different backgrounds, so you will get a feel for, e.g. when something that works well for a native English speaker may be hard to understand for non-native speakers.

  • Not only is it free, but people will thank you ang you get some geek cred.

  • The people who code, design, etc. for the project you work on will love you, want to support you, and teach you cool things.

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Do tech-writing classes help?

I have to read a lot of technical, low-level software description. Most of the writing is so poor it's frightening. I got so upset that I began to ask "how would I rewrite this paragraph to read as if a sane person wrote it?" And then, sometimes, I did rewrite it.

After only a few months of dabbling, I noticed that I'd started to write more clearly, more strongly, more succinctly. Reading bad writing made my writing better. It was all automatic and cheaper than a class.

Maybe the same sort of thing could work for you.

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great suggestion :) Any recommendations on bad technical writing manuals I can take a look at? :p –  KerxPhilo May 11 '11 at 8:23
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@KerxPhilo -- Heh! There are plenty of those :-) But today I stumbled across a very good piece of highly-technical writing: developers.sun.com/solaris/articles/cc_restrict.html You might want to take a look at that. –  Pete Wilson May 22 '11 at 14:06
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