Critical Skills for Communication in the Technical Sector


The ability to communicate information accurately, succinctly and unambiguously is an essential skill required by employers in a breadth of technical industries. This non-credit UBC micro-credential in technical communication consists of eight modules covering skills essential for employment and career advancement in the science and engineering sectors.

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Credential Awarded

Participants who successfully complete all eight modules receive a UBC Okanagan Letter of Proficiency for Critical Skills for Communication in the Technical Sector, a non-credit credential.

Upon successful completion of a module, participants are issued a digital verifiable badge, which may be displayed on social media platforms (e.g., LinkedIn) and personal online e-portfolios, resumes, and CVs. Each badge contains metadata that encapsulates the learning outcomes achieved.

Program Structure, Delivery and Schedule

This non-credit learning opportunity is delivered fully online through Canvas Catalog. The micro-credential comprises eight modules, and each module consists of five to six hours of asynchronous readings, video lectures, exercises, and assignments.

Modules are released weekly starting February 15, 2021. A new module is released each subsequent Monday until April 5, 2021 as shown in Table 1 (below).

Table 1. Module Release Dates

Release Date
CSCTSC 1. Technical Reporting Monday, February 15, 2021
CSCTSC 2. Technical Writing Basics & Styles Monday, February 22, 2021
CSCTSC 3. Grammar & Clarity in Technical Writing Monday, March 1, 2021
CSCTSC 4. Reviewing Technical Documents Monday, March 8, 2021
CSCTSC 5. Team & Client Communications Monday, March 15, 2021
CSCTSC 6. Technical Training Documents Monday, March 22, 2021
CSCTSC 7. Engaging Technical Presentations Monday, March 29, 2021
CSCTSC 8. Winning Technical Proposals Monday, April 5, 2021

Enrolment in the micro-credential does not automatically open any of the modules. Courses will be listed under the student dashboard in Canvas Catalog. Participants may begin a module at any time after it has been released. Prior to the module release date, the course will appear with a lock symbol over the course card. Once released, the course will have a “Begin Course” link. A module must be completed within two weeks of being opened. Modules do not need to be completed in order. Only one module can be activated at a time.

Coursework is assessed as ‘Pass’ or ‘Fail’.

Program participants have access to two optional weekly help sessions hosted in Zoom by the course facilitator (Tuesdays, 11:00 to 12:00 PST and Thursdays, 12:00 to 13:00 PST). Weekly help sessions begin February 16, 2021 and conclude April 15, 2021.

Admission requirements

This credential has no pre-requisites nor does it require a prior or existing affiliation with UBC. Language of instruction is English. This learning opportunity is designed for adult learners; participants must be 18 years or older. This course is designed for professionals who will have typically earned a university degree or college diploma in a science or engineering discipline and are engaged in continuing professional development (e.g., for a professional association/society such as Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, BC Institute of Agrologists, Association of BC Forest Professionals, College of Applied Biology).


The program fee can be paid in one of two ways:

(i) Single modules are accessed individually and completed over a flexible time period. Fees for the single modules are $150 and are non-refundable. Fees include access to all instructional content required to complete the single module. There are no additional fees for textbooks. Participants may elect to complete fewer than eight modules in this pathway if they do not wish to earn the full micro-credential.

(ii) The eight modules are purchased as a package.  Fees for the full program are $1,200 and are non-refundable. Fees include access to all instructional content required to complete the micro-credential. There are no additional fees for textbooks. Enrolment in the program provides access to the eight modules, which are accessed individually through the Student Dashboard on the Catalog system.


Program enrolment opens on January 27, 2021 and is administered through the UBC Canvas Catalog learning management system.

Technical Requirements

This program is delivered fully online using the UBC Canvas Catalog learning management system. It is expected that participants have access to a personal computer connected to the internet with speakers, web-camera and a microphone and that the computer is installed with web browser, word processor, spreadsheet and presentation software. Weekly help sessions use Zoom (see here for technical requirements).

Course Materials

Course content, submission of coursework, and assessment are conducted in Canvas Catalog. Canvas Catalog software is accessed via a web browser. Links to optional and extended learning materials also are provided but are not required to complete the micro-credential. Course notes are provided in a pdf format that can be downloaded for future use. Video content is available only through Canvas Catalog. Participants have access to the course environment for four weeks after completion of the micro-credential. All materials required for completion of the micro-credential are provided within Canvas Catalog. Participants do not have online access to the UBC Library system.

Course Facilitator

Christa Bedwin, B.Ed., B.Sc. is a Senior Technical Editor, who has 20 years’ experience coaching scientific and engineering writers, and editing for industry, government, academia, and educational and trade publishers, with specialties in engineering and the environment. She has taught technical writing to professional engineers and scientists in Canada and internationally; has published three textbooks about writing for scientific reporting consultants; and among other projects has contributed chapters to Editors Canada’s two most recent publications, Editing Canadian English and its companion volume, Editorial Niches.

Additional Information

This credential is offered as part of the Career and Personal Development (CPD) program administered by the Department of Earth, Environmental and Geographic Sciences at UBC Okanagan. Queries about the credential, or the EEGS Department CPD program more generally, should be submitted to: eegs.cpd@ubc.ca. The CPD Program coordinator is Ms. Marni Turek.

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Module Descriptions

Module 1. Technical Reporting

Well-written reports are essential to any scientific, engineering, or business work. High quality reports communicate effectively with clients and other parties on the project, and keep a solid accurate record of activities on a project over time. This module explores the pieces of a well-written report, with interviews from experts on executive summaries, and the importance of carefully considering your audience.

Module 2. Technical Writing Basics & Styles

The minutiae of scientific writing styles are important to have right to communicate well, but they also help to stay on the right side of any legal issues when things go wrong. Consistency, correctness, and accuracy are important in spelling, data presentation, community portrayal, and more. Learn the tools and refinements to turn out polished and professional papers.

Module 3. Grammar & Clarity in Technical Writing

Correct grammar and language are essential for any professional who wishes to advance in their field. This module covers common errors, correct English grammar, and ways to make your written words clearer, faster, and more pleasing to read. Plain language and readability are covered.

Module 4. Reviewing Technical Documents

Peer review can improve the quality of technical documents, but the process of working well with colleagues and their writing can be a learning curve. This module offers a step-by-step method to maximize efficiency, collaborate effectively, and catch as many errors as possible to be a team that turns out top-quality papers and communications.

Module 5. Team & Client Communications

Sometimes teams of good people end up stuck in ineffective patterns, though each person individually might have good skills and attributes. This module covers practices to help avoid these ruts, and to make the most of your team and client relationships through effective communications.

Module 6. Technical Training Documents

Good training can save time and money and ensure that workers and workplaces are kept safe. Poor training documents waste time, cause mistakes, and can even be deadly. Learn strategies to ensure that essential information is actually received by the trainees so that crucial knowledge is top-of-mind when it needs to be.

Module 7. Engaging Technical Presentations

Oral presentation of the results of your research or findings on a contract can be an essential way to relay information. Many people do not present information well, which can limit the reach of their ideas and the formation of professional connections. Learn tips and techniques to engage your audiences and keep them with you from beginning to end, and asking for more.

Module 8. Winning Technical Proposals

Winning someone to your way of thinking depends of course upon your technical excellence and your reputation, but using the right persuasive words and learning the elements of winning style can give you an advantage over your competitors.

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