The Department of Computing at Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) has announced new online Masters degree in Information Design & Development for 2016-17, together with a certificate and a postgraduate diploma. There aren’t any undergraduate or postgraduate university courses in the UK for technical communication, so online courses in other countries can be an alternative solution.
In comparison to the technical writing training courses companies such as Cherryleaf offers, a Masters course should offer a considerable amount of academic rigour. Our courses are focused on the functional skills of doing the work of a Technical Communicator, whereas a university course should make you think about the theories and assumptions that underpin technical writing theory and best practices.
The course outlines for the three courses that CIT offers look quite good. The certificate covers Information Strategy, Information Design & Development, Multimedia Production, and XML in Technical Communication. The postgraduate diploma adds Human Information Interaction, Document Project Management and Emerging Technological Trends, plus an elective module (Information Analytics, Scripting for System Admins, or a free choice of other modules). The elective modules aren’t directly relevant to technical communication (particularly the one on scripting), but sometimes there can be value in looking outside a field for ideas. For the MSc, you conduct a research project.
Surprisingly, there doesn’t seem to be much on e-learning, the Write the Docs movement, API documentation or localisation. I also wonder if there’s much investigation into the sturdiness of the long-standing theories of technical communication.
The four semester, 18 month, Masters course costs €6,300; the postgraduate diploma course costs €4,200; and the certificate course costs €2,100.