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Free Medical Technical Writing Courseware – From MIT

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MIT’s OpenCourseWare is an online catalog of course materials designed to help those who may never get a chance to enroll at school of MIT’s caliber. With free access to past class materials, students (and those who wish to become students again) gain access to past class syllabi, lectures, and more.

Technical communication in the medical and public health field is in high demand today, and in the Spring of 2007, MIT offered an undergraduate course for those who wanted to learn more – Introduction to Technical Communication: Perspectives on Medicine and Public Health. The courseware from that class is available for free through the MIT OpenCourseWare program (some textbooks require a purchase).

The course description reads:

“Over the course of the semester we will explore the full range of writings by physicians and other health practitioners. Some of the writer/physicians that we encounter will be Atul Gawande, Danielle Ofri, Richard Selzer, and William Carlos Williams. Students need have no special training, only a general interest in medicine or in public health issues such as AIDS, asthma, malaria control, and obesity. The writing assignments, like the readings, will invite students to consider the distinctive needs of different audiences.”

This introductory writing course offers interested parties the opportunity to work through assignments that are based on personal experience, and then move into topics that are more formal – just as the medical tech writing field requires.

By working through these assignments, projects and suggested readings, those new to the technical writing field can gain experience in taking difficult topics and turning them into documents that can be used by a variety of medical and clinical audiences. Such work could also conceivably be used as writing samples in a student’s portfolio.

Sample student work is also available for review, allowing you the chance to see what other students have done and how writing differs, depending on its intention.

Another course of possible interest to technical writers is Science Writing and New Media, which was offered in the Fall of 2010.

MIT OpenCourseWare is a free publication of MIT course materials that reflects almost all the undergraduate and graduate subjects taught at MIT. There is no registration or enrollment process, you won’t earn credits for your work and you won’t have access to MIT faculty. But access to free course materials from a well-respected educational institution like MIT? It doesn’t sound like something you can pass up. And, of course, MIT welcomes donations, should you feel so inclined.

10 Comments

  1. By Marilyn Greenbergon 22nd, December 2012 at 3:56 am

    How do I access this course?

  2. By editoron 27th, December 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Marilyn:
    You’ll find a list of all of the available Writing and Humanistic Studies courses here:

    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/writing-and-humanistic-studies/

    Select a course, then click View Course in the pop-up window, then click the Download Course Materials button on the left.

  3. By Raniaon 16th, November 2014 at 6:55 am

    Please is there scientific and medical writing course available in PDF for example?

    Thank you

  4. By WAI_editoron 19th, November 2014 at 11:25 am

    Our suggestion is to do the course online and create PDFs of whatever you want to save.

  5. By Vaishalion 9th, February 2015 at 9:37 am

    Hi,
    I want to know is attending workshop, oral presentation mandatory for the online course. What if, I am not able to…any other alternative. Thanks!

  6. By WAI_editoron 9th, February 2015 at 1:37 pm

    We suggest you check with the course provide for answers to your questions.

  7. By Audry Stephensonon 27th, December 2017 at 3:40 pm

    Is this free MIT opportunity still available?

  8. By WAI_editoron 28th, December 2017 at 10:26 am

    Answered on your next comment.

  9. By Audry Stephensonon 27th, December 2017 at 3:43 pm

    Hello! Firstly, thank you kindly for this forum and opportunity! Secondly, I’m a new nurse (MSN) with ten years experience in tech writing and editing for a Fortune 100 company. My questions are:
    1. Do the MIT free courses teach or recommend the latest in industry technology.
    2. How do I break into the Medical Writing field? (I have one year of nursing experience and 3 years volunteering in a cancer facility and NGO.)
    I look forward to your response, and many thanks in advance.

    Sincerely,

    Audry

  10. By WAI_editoron 28th, December 2017 at 10:24 am

    Not really sure, Audrey. This is a very old post. The URL is no longer valid, but it looks like you can still download the course materials for free at: http://mit.espe.edu.ec/courses/writing-and-humanistic-studies/21w-732-1-introduction-to-technical-communication-perspectives-on-medicine-and-public-health-spring-2007/download-course-materials/. As far as breaking into the field, you might find this helpful: https://biotechinkspots.com/mw-career-issues/in-a-nutshell-how-to-get-into-medical-writing/. Good luck!

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