Career Development Courses

Technical Communicators: Careers and Professionalism

Credit Number: ETWR 1379
CE Number: ETWR 1079
Course Description: In this course, students prepare for careers as technical communicators (or information specialists) by developing resumes and portfolios, searching for jobs in the profession, practicing interview skills, attending meetings and joining a professional society, “shadowing” a professional technical communicator on the job, reading about the key issues in the profession, learning about the history of the profession, and exploring the future of the profession. Contact the instructor prior to enrollment.
For more information, see the master syllabus.

Special Topics in Technical and Business Writing

Course Number: 1391
Course Description: Topics address recently identified current events, skills, knowledge, and/or attitudes and behaviors pertinent to the technology or occupation and relevant to the professional development of the student, including portfolio development. May be taken a second time for credit when topics vary. Project requirement: Course topic, schedule, and requirements negotiated by individual instructor and student. Students engage in writing projects involving tutorials, user guides, and researched reports covering such areas as special techniques with FrameMaker, Word, Dreamweaver, RoboHelp, Author-IT; entry-level tutorials for mainstream software in demand by area employers; and research topics such as corporate implementation of usability review, inclusion of formal editing in the documentation process, and other such topics.
For more information, see the master syllabus.

Practicum/Field Experience

Course Number: ETWR 2364
CE Number: ETWR 1075
Course Description: Practical general training and experiences in the workplace. The college with the employer develops and documents an individualized plan for the student. The plan relates the workplace training and experiences to the student’s general and technical course of study. The guided external experiences may be for pay or no pay. This course may be repeated if topics and learning outcomes vary.
For more information, see the master syllabus.

Capstone Portfolio Review

Course Description: The Capstone Portfolio Examination is a summary of your studies and a portfolio of your work through the Austin Community College Business & Technical Communications Program. It is not a course for which you pay tuition or get formal academic credit. It is instead a project you complete under the supervision of the Program Coordinator or an appointed faculty member.

For this examination, you can put together a portfolio—in the form of a three-ring binder or, preferably, in the form of an online media. For the latter, use WordPress or LinkedIn or create your own website. Design your portfolio in such a way that you could use it in your search for professional employment, in particular, in interviews for technical writing jobs.When you’ve finished, send the department chair the link so we can show you off on the departmental website! See student portfolios for examples. Also, see Miles Kimball’s The Web Portfolio Guide: Creating Electronic Portfolios for the Web (Longman) for ideas and strategies.

Here are some suggestions for contents and format (primarily relevant to the print version of a portfolio):

  • Nicely designed cover, in color, with your name and an identifying title.
  • Introductory cover letter that identifies the purpose of the following materials and provides an overview of its content.
  • A table of contents
  • Your resume: including a “Publications” section in which you briefly describe your documentation projects (including those from ACC and work), the tools you used to develop them, the title, the organization you did the work for, dates you did the work, and other such details.
  • Narrative or listing of your studies and projects through the TBCM program, including related courses such as those from the Visual Communication program, the Engineering Design Graphics program, and the Computer Information Science programs.
  • Plenty of samples, excerpts, and screen shots of your work—both print and online—of your work in academic courses as well as workplace projects.
  • Pocket page with CDs and diskettes of your work.

A nice touch would be to use tab dividers between the major sections of your of your portfolio.

As you develop this portfolio, remember that it must be approved by the Program Coordinator or an appointed faculty member. When you have your portfolio reviewed, you are likely to be asked to revise some of the documents or redesign the portfolio. In this process, keep in mind that the deadline for graduation is typically about mid-semester.

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