Now available in the UW Flexible Option format, the Business and Technical Communications Certificate offered through the UW-Milwaukee College of Letters & Science provides a curriculum that will enable students to develop exceptionally strong writing and communication skills. In today’s uncertain economy, it is more important than ever for workers to be multi-skilled and flexible in their professional areas. The Business and Technical Communications Certificate combines an innovative approach with practical skills in writing, research, communication, and technologies that will enable students to improve their skills for working in a broad range of contexts.
The UW Flexible Option is especially designed for self-motivated nontraditional students who want their previous schooling, work skills, and prior knowledge to apply toward degrees or certificates. The competency-based and self-paced format of the UW Flexible Option fits the schedules of students who must balance work and family responsibilities with educational goals. Because most UW Flexible Option competencies and assessments are delivered online, students have the opportunity to learn when and where they choose.
Who Should Apply
This program is ideally suited for:
- Individuals who wish to develop strong written communication skills
- Students who seek professional training and education to advance their careers
- Motivated, disciplined self-starters who can work independently
- Anyone who desires the prestige and value of a University of Wisconsin education
The Business & Technical Communications Certificate is subject to gainful employment regulations. Go to https://flex.wisconsin.edu/BusinessandTechnicalCommunicationsCertificate/Gedt for Gainful Employment Certificate Disclosure Information related to this program.
About the UW-Milwaukee English Department
The competencies and assessments for this certificate were developed by the English department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) which offers programs emphasizing outstanding research scholarship and innovative pedagogy in Literature and Cultural Theory; Rhetoric and Composition; Creative Writing; Professional Writing; and Media, Cinema and Digital Studies.
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges & Schools.
Students will develop competencies in communication that are critical to a wide range of contemporary jobs and organizations:
- Business and technical communication
- Strategic writing skills
- Organizational leadership skills
- Information design
- Project management
ENGLISH 206X—INTRO TO BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION
Assess and address rhetorical situations
- Research and assess audience, purpose, and context, using local, organizational, national, cross-cultural, and global perspectives
- Select appropriate communication channels and media
- Select appropriate logical and rhetorical strategies (e.g., arguments of fact, policy, worth, expediency)
Write clearly for audience, purpose, and context
- Write with effective style, demonstrating knowledge of plain, passive, and persuasive approaches and good use of tone, word choice, vocabulary, and level of information
- Maintain mechanical and grammatical correctness
- Demonstrate ability to write effectively for international audiences, ESL audiences, and translation
Demonstrate effective self-presentation skills
- Understand the role, possibilities and norms of speech, including examples of digital orality (e.g., IM, SMS, social media) in public face to face and online interactions
- Able to take an ethically defensible, dialogic stance
- Able to deliver an effective presentation online and F2F
Master professional and technical genres
- Demonstrate understanding of genres (e.g., letters, memos, social media posts, technical descriptions, instructions, proposals, multiple kinds of reports), including rhetorical purpose, common traits, and organization
- Format and effectively structure documents using appropriate professional tools
- Conduct effective research and make effective and ethical use of sources and documentation (APA, MLA, etc.)
ENGLISH 428X—STRATEGIC WRITING FOR ORGANIZATIONS
Understanding crisis communication
- Demonstrate understanding of systems perspective on communication
- Analyze crisis situations in terms of pre-crisis, crisis event and post-crisis
- Evaluate responses to crisis situations, by organizations and individuals
Apply theories of strategic communication planning
- Identify and explain theories of strategic communication
- Analyze possible applications of relevant communication theories
- Compare and contrast various communication theories for their usefulness in message development
Manage stakeholders and organizational issues
- Understanding stakeholder groups relative to specific organizations and issues
- Analyze relationship between specific crises and stakeholders
- Create responses to specific crises relative to relevant and appropriate stakeholders (for organizations, issues and individuals)
Develop communications plans for organizations
- Identify the components of an organizational communication plan
- Analyze and evaluate examples of organizational communication plans
- Creating functional organizational communication plans for organizations
ENGLISH 429X—TECHNICAL COMMUNICATIONS AND ORGANIZATIONAL LEADERSHIP
Analyze group processes from the perspective of a member and a leader
- Assess a given situation and determine appropriate leadership strategies, taking into consideration the charge and the modality (ex. FTF, Skype, e-mail)
- Understand the functions of different group member roles and how they enhance group process
- Justify choices about role-taking and communication strategies in the group setting
Demonstrate understanding of specific audiences and message design choices
- Apply knowledge of communication norms to a variety of professional situations
- Make reasoned decisions about communication choices
- Demonstrate knowledge about the importance of communicating appropriately, effectively, and ethically
Describe effective and efficient collaboration relative to writing projects
- Effectively and efficiently delegate responsibilities to other group members in a computer-mediated context and face-to-face when assigned a leadership role
- Manage others in the process of revising and editing group work
- Effectively use online collaborative tools (e.g., Google Docs)
Explain how conflict resolution strategies apply to the technical communication process
- Analyze conflict situations in workplace projects and identify possible management strategies
- Identify potential strategies for de-escalating conflict among members of a group working on a project
- Analyze how feedback is used in order to respond productively to conflict that arises in task groups
ENGLISH 435X—ADVANCED BUSINESS AND TECHNICAL COMMUNICATION
Master all phases of document life cycles
- Self-reflectively manage drafting and revising
- Conduct and manage multiple levels and types of editing
- Manage documents, including cycling, tagging, storing, and retrieving
Demonstrate skill in researching business cases
- Define research subjects and formulate questions/hypotheses
- Develop research methodology and triangulate data collection
- Evaluate, synthesize, and compile information from multiple text and online sources
Master document testing
- Define metrics that will indicate the success of documents
- Design and conduct evaluations that will test documents against those metrics
- Synthesize, analyze, present, and implement test results
Demonstrate advanced writing and presenting skills
- Articulate and apply knowledge and importance of copyright, trademarks, patents, privacy, and proprietary information
- Employ rhetorical strategies for effective visual and document design
- Reflect on and justify composing processes and rhetorical decisions
ENGLISH 437X—PROJECT MANAGEMENT
Master project definition and analysis
- Define project phases and project manager roles
- Identify project audiences, purposes, and goals
- Plan for project requirements and constraints
Master project scheduling
- Determine tasks and time frames
- Delegate work
- Create planning charts
Master strategies for project control
- Monitor project quality and progress
- Manage project risk and change
- Resolve project difficulties
Master leadership and team management
- Develop skill in project leadership
- Learn effective strategies for team management
- Monitor team communication and collaboration
ENGLISH 439X—INFORMATION DESIGN
Analyze and critique information designs
- Analyze design situations, relying on research from rhetoric, cognitive psychology, and graphic design
- Employ framework of principles (such as Williams’s contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity) to evaluate paper and electronic designs
- Use common design terminology related to layout, typography, information architecture, and graphic elements
Design effective graphics, tables, and other visuals
- Identify and appropriately utilize tools and methods for design and publishing
- Plan and implement usable design solutions to information problems
- Test and evaluate design effectiveness
Design effective interfaces and documents
- Identify and use appropriate tools and methods for design and publishing
- Research and develop solutions for design problem
- Design layouts, typography, and graphic elements needed for implementation
Design effective information architectures
- Identify and use appropriate tools and methods for design and publishing
- Research and develop solution for structure/architectural problem
- Design layout, architecture, metadata, and other elements required for implementation
The UW Flexible Option offers working adults a more affordable way to earn a UW education. Instead of paying by course or by credit, you pay a flat rate for a three-month subscription period. You won’t spend valuable time or money sitting through courses you don’t need. If you already know the material, you may be able to pass assessments more quickly, and potentially accelerate your time to graduation.
During your subscription period, you are able to access learning materials, complete assessments, and receive academic support. Subscription periods begin on the second day of every month. You can choose from two subscription options, each with a different tuition, depending on the number of competency sets you wish to attempt during the subscription period. Not sure what a competency set is? Check out our sample competency set to see one for yourself.
- All-You-Can-Learn Option: Choosing this option allows you to enroll in two or more competency (skill) sets. You may enroll in as many competency sets as you can successfully master within a three-month period for a flat tuition rate of $2,250. This option is ideal for motivated learners who would like to earn their degrees or certificates more quickly.
- Single Competency Set Option: If you would like to study at a slower pace during a three-month subscription period, you may enroll in a single competency set. As with the All-You-Can-Learn Option, you must successfully demonstrate mastery of each competency in the set through a series of assessments. The tuition for this “one-set-per-subscription-period” model is $900. Note: After the tenth day of the subscription period, students who are enrolled in the Single Competency Set level are not eligible to add additional competency sets during their subscription period. Such students must wait until a subsequent subscription period to add additional competency sets.
|Subscription options||Term length||Tuition||Competency sets you can complete|
|All-You-Can-Learn||3 months||$2,250||2 or more|
|Single Competency Set||3 months||$900||1|
Additional Fees: Tuition covers assessments and mentoring, but excludes the cost of books and other special materials that may be required for your program.
Ready to flex your potential and fulfill your goals and dreams? You’ve come to the right place!
If you haven’t already read our Frequently Asked Questions, please do so now to gain a better understanding of the UW Flexible Option before you apply for admission. You may apply for a start date five months in advance, but no later than one month in advance. All of your application materials must be received by us a full month in advance of your desired start date.
Guidelines and Applying for Admission
Our admission review process considers many factors when assessing your application for admission to a UW Flexible Option program. Your high school records, strength of prior college coursework, rigor of curriculum and academic readiness, test scores, grade point average, academic goals, relevant work experience, and your potential for success will all be considered. If you have not connected with one of our helpful UW Flexible Option Enrollment Advisers yet, please contact us at 1-877-895-3276 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your readiness for this program.
This academic program also requires specific preparation before you will be considered for admission. To pursue this certificate program, you must have successfully completed a second-level college English composition course or satisfy this through placement exam following admission, or CLEP (College-Level Examination Program)—equivalent to English 102 or College Writing II.
International students are not accepted into UW Flexible Option programs at this time.
Students New to UW Flexible Option
Once you have spoken with a UW Flexible Option Enrollment Adviser (1-877-895-3276) to determine whether this innovative education option is right for you, your next step is to formally apply. Keep in mind that when you apply to a UW Flexible Option Business and Technical Communications Certificate, you are applying to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The requirements for admission and graduation are the same as if you were applying to a traditional on-campus or online program.
To apply for admission to a UW Flexible Option program:
- Complete the online University of Wisconsin System Application for Undergraduate Admission, found at apply.wisconsin.edu.
- Send transcripts. We require official transcripts, sent directly from your high school of graduation (beginning with grade 9) and all post-secondary institutions you have attended. If you did not graduate from high school, completion of a GED and an official copy of your scores are required. Please have your official transcripts sent either electronically via a secure credentialing service such as Parchment or Credentials or have your official transcripts mailed to:
UW Flexible Option Enrollment Team
UW-Extension – Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning
5602 Research Park Blvd., Suite 303
Madison, WI 53719
- Complete the Holistic Student Profile. Each student enrolling in UW Flexible Option is provided with academic guidance and coaching that is tailored to meet individual needs. To assist our team in preparing the best path for you, you are asked to complete our Holistic Student Profile. A link to this brief online survey will be provided when we receive your application.
- Complete Orientation, Part 1. After you have submitted your application, you will be sent a link to Orientation, Part 1. This required online orientation session will explain the key features of competency-based education, UW Flexible Option, what makes us different from other programs, tuition and financial aid opportunities, and next steps in the admission process.
- Be sure to review important dates to remember.
Students Returning to the UW Flexible Option
If you were previously enrolled in the UW Flexible Option and now wish to return after a period of time away, discover your next steps.
Most University of Wisconsin System campuses require students to complete a specific number of credits “in residence” to earn a degree or certificate. (“Resident credits” are credits earned with the campus granting the degree or certificate.) Transfer students are responsible for fulfilling these residency requirements.
For the UW-Milwaukee Business and Technical Communications program offered through UW Flexible Option, students must meet College of Letters and Science residency requirements, which means that at least nine of their Certificate upper-level (numbered 300 and above) credits must be earned at UW-Milwaukee.
Placement tests are designed to measure prerequisite skills that help us place you into the correct college-level English competency sets.
You will be asked to take a placement test if:
- You are a new freshman student who has not previously attended college
- You are a transfer student who has not completed a transferable college-level English composition course
If you fit one of these categories but previously took placement tests for another UW campus within the last 2 years, you will not be asked to take the tests again.
During the application process for UW Flexible Option, you will be notified if a placement test is required. If you are required to take a test, an Admissions Specialist will explain the process and provide you with instructions to make arrangements. A variety of testing options are available to meet your needs.
It is important that you complete your placement tests in a timely manner—preferably as soon as possible after you learn they are required. Test results must be received by no later than the first day of the month prior to your subscription period start date. This allows your Academic Success Coach time to talk with you about the appropriate English or math level at which you should begin your studies, and ensures that you have enough time to enroll in your required competency set(s).
Still have questions about the admission process? Check out our Admission FAQ page.