Writing Well: Plain Language

This course is part of the UBC Micro-certificate in Writing and Communication Skills for the Workplace.

Do you ever start reading a report, email, website, set of instructions or other publication and give up because you can’t follow it? Or read a document twice, even three times, to figure out what it means? 

Plain language, also known as plain writing or plain English, is an approach to writing that starts with readers. A plain language document is clear, concise and well organized. It gives readers the content they need, in words they can easily understand and act on. 

In this workshop, learn how to analyze your readers’ needs and to plan and draft documents that meet those needs. Practise seven techniques for clear, memorable writing. Understand how page layout helps get your message across, and discover how to evaluate the readability of your documents. 

Bring a sample or two of your own writing (around three to five pages) to work on in class, and discover how plain language can help get your message across every time. 

Workshop Outline 

Day 1: Why plain language? 

  • What it is, what it isn’t 
  • What makes material hard to read 

Audience analysis and document structure 

  • Identify your purpose and readers 
  • Decide on your content and organization 
  • Develop an outline 
  • Decide on levels of language 
  • Keep the document reader-centred 

Day 2: Drafting your document 

  • Choose your words 
  • Structure your sentences 
  • Make your ideas flow 

Day 3: Design  

  • Hierarchy 
  • Layout 
  • Fonts 
  • Graphics 

Evaluation 

  • Readability formulas 
  • Reader assessments 

Application 

  • Revisit your own writing 
  • Create your personal to-do list 

How am I Assessed?
This course is graded as complete/incomplete based on participation.  

Technology Requirements
To take this course, you’ll need access to:

  • an email account
  • a computer, laptop or tablet under five years old using Windows or macOS
  • the latest version of a web browser (or previous major version release)
  • a reliable internet connection
  • a video camera and microphone.

One day before the start of your course, we’ll email you step-by-step instructions for accessing your course.

Textbooks
There are no textbooks for this course.

Course Format

This course is 100% online and instructor supported with real-time classes. Log in to your class at scheduled times and participate by video conferencing.

Available Sessions

Open all | Close all

Feb 6, 2024-Feb 20, 2024 | Online | $405.00

Format: Online, Instructor Supported with Real-time Classes
Code: WG204W24O
Offered: On Tue
Feb 6, 2024-Feb 20, 2024
3 sessions
6:00 PM-9:00 PM Pacific Time

1nstructor: Iva Cheung


Fees / Tuition

Type Fee Tax Total
$405.00 $0.00 $405.00
We are sorry, but this course is currently full.
Apr 30, 2024-May 14, 2024 | Online | $415.00

Format: Online, Instructor Supported with Real-time Classes
Code: WG204W24P
Offered: On Tue
Apr 30, 2024-May 14, 2024
3 sessions
6:00 PM-9:00 PM Pacific Time

1nstructor: Iva Cheung


Fees / Tuition

Type Fee Tax Total
$415.00 $0.00 $415.00