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Overview
Technical communication is a fast-growing discipline worldwide, as communication media become more pervasive and technology more complex. The University of Limerick pioneered a full-time programme in technical communication in 1995. Since September 2001, UL has offered a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing by distance learning.

Introduction
Technical communication is a fast-growing discipline worldwide, as communication media become more pervasive and technology more complex. The University of Limerick pioneered a full-time programme in technical communication in 1995. Since September 2001, UL has offered a Graduate Certificate in Technical Writing by distance learning.

Objectives
The aim of this distance learning programme is to offer flexible access to certification through distance learning for people who lack qualifications in Technical Communication. The programme emphasises that the job of a technical writer entails more than writing – graphics, cultural issues, layout, and design all play a part, and students receive tuition on all of these areas.

The specific objectives are: 
- To provide distance learning students with a thorough grounding in the theory and practice of technical communication. 

- To prepare students for productive employment as effective technical writers in industry. 

- To provide people who lack qualifications in technical communication with access to certification via distance learning.

On successful completion of the programme, graduates will be able to: 
- Design and deliver instructional materials. 
- Use a number of multimedia applications. 
- Manage complex writing and design projects. 
- Write clear, correct, precise content.

Entry requirements

Normally, a primary degree in any discipline is required for admission to the course. Prior experience working as a technical writer or instructional designer will also be an advantage. Applicants lacking a formal degree can apply to be considered through RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) using the standard application form, but they must provide evidence of relevant prior learning and experience.

Applicants must have a high standard of written English.

Applicants must be proficient computer users. Whilst an ECDL qualification is not compulsory, applicants should have a similar level of computer experience i.e. a very good working knowledge of Microsoft Office applications and the Internet.

Applicants must have access to the Internet (Broadband ideally), as the course is delivered online.

During September or October, and again in February or March, students will be invited to attend software workshops at the University of Limerick campus. These workshops will be held on Saturdays. In addition to receiving tuition on how to use the software, students will have the opportunity to visit the campus and meet their lecturers and classmates. Students are not obliged to attend these workshops, however, and the workshop materials will be posted online for all students.

Duration

The programme comprises four modules. Students can complete the programme in two semesters (one academic year), taking two modules in the autumn, and two in the spring. Alternatively, they can spread the course over four semesters (two academic years), taking one module each semester. The programme follows the same term structure as on-campus programmes at UL, so module assignments must be completed within that timeframe. Each module is intensive as there is continuous coursework (no end-of-semester examinations) and students are expected to log-in to the Web portal several times a week (although they are not obliged to log-in at specific times).

Careers or further progression

Graduate Profile
Graduates will be unique in Ireland, qualified to work as technical writers and in a variety of related roles such as editing, web design, and technology journalism. In addition, graduates may be eligible to gain employment in the areas of instructional design and e-learning as they also receive tuition in these areas. Typically, our graduates gain employment in Ireland but as the programme is University accredited, it is also possible to gain employment abroad.

Further enquiries

Course Director
Dr Ann Marcus-Quinn
Tel: +353 (0) 61 202292
Email: ann.marcus.quinn@ul.ie

Subjects taught

The programme comprises four modules. Students can complete the programme in two semesters (one academic year), taking two modules in the autumn, and two in the spring. Alternatively, they can spread the course over four semesters (two academic years), taking one module each semester.

Note: Feedback from learners over the past few years indicates that one module per semester is more manageable for people working full-time.

Autumn Semester
• Principles of Professional & Technical Communication & Information Design
• Theory of Technical Communication

Spring Semester
• Workplace Issues in Technical & Professional Communication
• Content Development & Information Management

Comment

The aim of this distance learning programme is to offer flexible access to certification through distance learning for people who lack qualifications in Technical Communication. This programme emphasises that the job of a technical writer entails more than writing - graphics, cultural issues, layout and design all play a part and students receive tuition on all of these areas.

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