Classes in Advanced Technical Writing Starting Soon

Want to be a working writer or perhaps improve your writing for your job? The Advanced Technical writing class starts at California State University Dominguez Hills. The course is completely online and students learn advanced technical writing techniques along with improving their writing skills. The class is hands-on as we work on putting together a portfolio while we learn. Portfolio pieces are an important aspect of applying for technical writing jobs to show a prospective employer your capabilities.

For this class, students may take it even if they have not completed the Intro course if they have some writing experience. The certificate at California State University Dominguez Hills consists of three courses. Check out the schedule page if you want to see the other classes. The entire program for the certificate is taught online (and will continue to be taught online). Find out more information on the CSUDH website. Dr. Lu Kondor teaches The Advanced class. Check out the FAQ on this site if you have questions.

The Advanced Technical Communication course starts May 23, 2022. For questions, email learn@csudh.edu or call 310-243-2075. To register for Summer 2022 courses, call 310-243-3741 (option 1).

Technical communication encompasses a broad scope of organizations and businesses.

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Lu Kondor has worked as a technical writer for more than 20 years for major corporations. She has a Doctorate in Business Management and has worked in a large variety of organizations including entertainment, software, electric utility, manufacturing, oil and gas, chemical, and nuclear process industries. She is an adjunct lecturer in Advanced Technical Writing as well as Information Design for more than 14 years.

New Semester at CSUDH – Study Technical Writing!

Do you want to make a living as a writer? Then consider getting your certificate in technical writing and technical communication at California State University, Dominguez Hills. You can get your fully accredited certificate after only three intensive online courses, making this certificate program affordable. The program allows you to quickly polish your writing. Students get hands-on experience creating portfolio pieces they will need to apply for job positions.

The Advanced Technical Writing class starts March 14th, 2022. The course is completely online and I look forward to meeting all new students. For this class, I allow students to take it even if they have not completed the Intro course. We work on putting together a portfolio as well as learning advanced technical writing techniques. This program is approved for funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Find out more on the CSUDH link below. If you would like more info specifically on the classes I teach, check out the FAQ on this site. There’s also a link to a video you can watch as well that provides details on the program.

Check out details on cost and schedules at Technical Writing Courses & Schedule and the CSUDH Program Link

Learn Technical Writing at CSUDH

#csudh #technicalwriting #technical #documentation #writing

Lu Kondor has worked as a technical writer for more than 20 years for major corporations including Sony, and Southern Califonia Edison. She has a Doctorate in Business Management and has worked with a large variety of documentation for organizations including entertainment, software, electric utility, manufacturing, oil and gas, chemical, and nuclear process industries. She is an adjunct lecturer at California State University, Dominguez Hills in Advanced Technical Writing and Information Design for more than 15 years. Read more about me on my About page.

Active Voice and Technical Writing

“What’s so great about using active voice?”

This is a common question I’m asked by students. Active voice is a sentence with an action verb where the subject of the sentence performs the action expressed by the verb. Active voice is clear and concise and active voice sentences are less wordy. To understand active voice, we need to think about passive voice.

In passive voice, the subject receives the action expressed by the verb.  For example, the man was bitten by the dog. The dog is acting upon the sentence subject (the man) meaning it uses the passive voice. What would be the active counterpart to this sentence? The dog bit the man. In this active voice sentence, the subject (dog) performs the action (bit) to the individual being acted upon (man).


Figure 1. Passive voice example

Examine the passive and the active sentences in Figures 1 and 2. The wordiness of the passive sentence is noticeable (21 words vs. 19 for the active sentence). Most readers of technical documents read quickly, skimming over the material or scanning it to find exactly what they need. Longer sentences are more difficult to skim and scan. When a document user repeatedly rereads a technical document to understand its meaning, they will skip sections or potentially infer the wrong meaning. The result can lead to a negative and potentially dangerous misinterpretation of the information.

Figure 2. Active voice example

If you struggle with identifying passive voice, there are some quick tricks to look for passive voice. First, identify the subject of the sentence. Once you know the subject, determine if it is passive by asking yourself is the subject performing the action (of the verb)? Or is the subject the recipient of a verb’s action?

Are you looking for another way to recognize passive? Look for forms of to be (see figure 3). Check out this passive example: Action on the bill is being considered by the committee. A big clue in this sentence is the phrase is being.

Examine the passive example – Large chunks of asbestos-laden material will be removed from the facility on the second and third floors by asbestos abatement teams. The use of will be is a clue to look at that sentence further.

Figure 3. Writers tend to use to be verbs when writing with passive voice

There are instances where a tech writer may want to use passive voice. Use passive voice with care to be sure the writing is clear and concise. Try the following exercise. Find passive examples online. Then consider the answers to the following questions:

  • Did you understand what was said, or were things vague?
  • Was the use of passive voice understandable?
  • Should the writer reword the example(s)?

If you decide to use passive, test the document with several users to be sure your writing is clear, concise, and not misinterpreted. But remember, you should have a good reason for using passive voice in your writing.

Lu Kondor has worked as a technical writer for more than 20 years for major corporations. She has a Doctorate in Business Management and has worked in a large variety of organizations including entertainment, software, electric utility, manufacturing, oil and gas, chemical, and nuclear process industries. She is an adjunct lecturer in Advanced Technical Writing as well as Information Design for more than 14 years.