This specialization belongs to the master's programme Communication Studies.
What is Technical Communication?
Technical Communication prepares students for a range of professions which involve the relationships between people and technical systems, such as technical communication and information design.
It is almost impossible to imagine our society without technology. Every household is full of technical products designed to make our lives easier or more pleasant. In most jobs, computers or other electronic devices are central to the daily routine, while in the healthcare system, patients often find themselves confronted with the latest medical technology, some of which is intimidating to say the least. The creative industry is continuously working to develop new technical products, with new or improved functionality. In such a highly technologized society, communicating effectively about technology is more important than ever. For instance, the underuse of the functionality offered by technical products is a recognized problem. People are willing to pay (or have no choice but to pay) for the newest functionality, yet often hardly use it and may not want or even need it.
A communicator as intermediary
A technical communicator acts as an intermediary between the developers of technological products and their (potential) users. Technical communicators act as the user’s advocates in technological development processes and are responsible for user support in the shape of interface design, manuals, online help, user alerts, instruction videos, promotion strategies and help desks. They are specialized in anticipating the user’s perceptions of technology, the adoption and appropriation of new products, and the strategies users employ in learning how products work. Usability and user experience are keywords in the daily practice of technical communicators.
Technical communicators also need to demonstrate a mastery of written and visual communication strategies, and an ability to function in a highly technologized work environment, where document-management strategies such as single-sourcing and online collaboration have a prominent place. Given the global market for technical products, they are sensitive to the intercultural aspects of communication, as well as to localization and translation issues.
Technical communicators combine a thorough understanding of technology with knowledge of the user, and affinity with documents and other types of communication. They are experts in making complex matters simple, and as such also function in professional contexts such as medical and legal communication.
If you opt to specialize in Technical Communication, you will take the following core courses and specialization courses. Keep in mind that you have to choose one of the specialization courses. The course descriptions on this website will give you further details.
Core courses (compulsory, 25 credits)
- Essentials in Technical Communication, 201300226
- Research Topics in Technical Communication, 201300227
- User Support, 201400190
- Philosophy of Technology, 201200063
- Authoring and Collaboration Tools, 201300228
Specialization courses (one course of 5 credits):
- Designing Learning & Performance Support, 191970340
- Human Computer Interaction, 201100126
- User Centred Design of New Media, 201000113
Note: The range of specialization courses and the block in which the courses are offered may vary from one academic year to the next.