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Course Syllabi

April 25, 2006

Past Syllabi: JOUR 494 Pollner Seminar Syllabus

University of Montana, Missoula:

Who controls a free press? Blogging and the citizen journalists' challenge to Mainstream Media

Fall 2005 Syllabus

Instructor:  Dr. Christine Boese
Meetings:  11 am to 1 pm Mondays in 2nd Floor Journalism Library & Honors Computer Lab
Class Blog:  www.serendipit-e.com/494private 
Office Phone:  406-243-2934
Office:  208 Journalism Building
Office Hours:  1-3 pm Weds., Tues., Thurs. unless I'm meeting with other classes. I'll also be available M-F during the day most days

Texts and Electronic Tools:

Available in the campus bookstore. The Gillmor text can also be downloaded free online at http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wemedia/book/index.csp, but I want you to bring the book to class, so you'll need to print the whole thing out somewhere. Also, the two optional texts are usually available with two-for-one discount pricing as a package deal at Amazon.com.

Required:

We the Media: Grassroots Journalism by the People, For the People. Dan Gillmor. O'Reilly Media Books, 2004. See also http://www.oreilly.com/catalog/wemedia/book/index.csp.

Recommended:

The Weblog Handbook: Practical Advice on Creating and Maintaining Your Blog. Rebecca Blood. Perseus Publishing, 2002.

We've Got Blog: How Weblogs are Changing Our Culture. Perseus Publishers ed. Introduction by Rebecca Blood. Perseus Publishing, 2002.

Blog Software:

Each student will be setting up at least two (if not more) individual blogs as a course requirement. One will be a blog publishing forum and the other will be a professional journalism portfolio you can use to archive your clips and career achievements and show to potential employers (also part of your final grade). DO NOT jump ahead, as I will walk you through the process if you don't have a blog already. There are certain advantages to pre-planning and I want to make sure you understand the features and options before you plunge in.

The software I hope all will use (unless you are already a web-tech whiz-bang) can be found at Typepad.com. There is a low monthly fee, but I want to make sure you set up the account that will best fit your needs. I know that free blog accounts can be set up at places like Blogger.com (and even LiveJournal, egad!), but ultimately you will find future options limited at the free sites, and this is an investment in your professional credibility. Whiz-bangs may consider excellent products such as WordPress or Drupal, but prepare to be technically challenged by the installation and maintenance (and onerous comment spam, something Typepad has cured).

Finally, I'm hoping some adventurous students will take a stab at podcasting this semester, and Typepad just set up the easiest on-ramp to podcasting I've seen so far, to go along with its streamlined interface for photoblogging and mo-blogging. Typepad has also indicated that video-blogging will also be supported with the new podcast features.

Course Description

New Yorker press critic A.J. Liebling wrote in 1960, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." In this course we will examine and participate in one of the most radical restructurings of media ownership since moveable type displaced monks copying manuscripts by hand. Now the price of owning a "press" has fallen to nearly zero. In this time of great social change, the media landscape and its "powers that be" seem thrown into chaos. Some (like RIAA) are fighting the changes while others embrace them. The stress of change also releases great creative energy. These are exciting times for journalists! We will compare the social structures and technologies of broadcast and interactive media, and discuss the idea of a coming "convergence." We will also launch our own blogs and join the larger blogging "ecosystem." Along the way, we'll conduct online research into the bloggers' challenge to mainstream media (or MSM, as they call it), in an attempt to discover what is giving this grassroots journalism movement its power.

No specialized technical knowledge or web-building skills are required to take this course. We will learn to maintain web templates and style sheets with blog software. We will also learn practical writing strategies and media management skills for interactive journalism. By the end of the course, each student will have created a polished professional portfolio blog as well.

Objectives:

This course will look at the impact of blogging on journalism and journalists as bloggers from the standpoint of effective writing and micropublishing practices, basic technical skills, and in the context of the history and evolution of media and technology, particularly the idea of media convergence and the tensions between what is often called "old media" and "new media."

My goal for this course is not to turn you into technical experts, but rather to prepare you to confidently enter and succeed as content-generators and micropublishers in this new journalistic landscape. We will also critically study and analyze these latest trends in interactive journalism from the standpoint of your future employment in journalism, where you may find yourself managing a citizen journalism site or interactive element of a larger media enterprise. There are currently few "blog experts" in traditional newsrooms right now, but upon completing this course, you will be able to cite your specialized knowledge and experience as an additional asset on the job market.

In this class we will look at the world of blogging from three different perspectives: 1) as online readers or consumers; 2) as active bloggers; 3) and as reporters who work as online researchers covering this new "blog beat."

This class will involve active, hands-on learning, with interactive discussions (face-to-face and electronic) and student presentations rather than straight lectures.

I am waiting to set the course schedule until I learn more about you, your experience and interests, as well as your technical backgrounds. The course will look into a series of topics, with weekly research presentations by students or student teams as jumping off points for informal discussions. YOUR interests will also drive these topics, so feel free to suggest a topic for the class to pursue! I plan to explore the history of blogs, the power struggle between bloggers and mainstream media (MSM), the citizen journalism movement, blog ecosystems, gaming Google (or not), cliques and lynch mobs, flash and smart mobs, mo-blogging, podcasting, photoblogs, blog ethics and so on.

This course will help you improve your ability to adapt to fast-changing web cultures and trends, as well as to critically examine the social effects of those trends. It will not be organized around creating a list of "RULES" for blogs, because the web is in a constant state of change. Rather, we will learn to ride the chaos with critical tools to grow and thrive with the web as it continues to evolve as a force in our culture.

Technically, each student will create and maintain a blog in the course, and contribute to our class discussion blog (required weekly). While I do not lean toward "how-to" software courses, I will teach you to read CSS files and maintain and tweak your own templates.

Your professional portfolio blog will be part of your final project in the course, planned and developed in individual conferences with me. We will use it to put your best foot forward!

Grading

Coursework will be evaluated as follows:

Student/Team Topic Presentations:  20%

Participation:  20%
(attendance, private class discussion blog, individual blogs,
keeping up with RSS feeds of classmates, and face-to-face
classroom activities and discussions)

Mid-Term Exam:  15%
(short answer, based on concepts from readings and handouts)

Final Course and Professional Portfolio Blog:  45%

Tentative Class Calendar

This is subject to revision and modification as events in the blogosphere (or student suggestions) arise. Check the class blog from week to week to see if the assignments have changed. Handouts or links will be passed out in class.

Unit One: Looking at blogs as critical readers

Week One, August 29

Introductions, discussion of course software and policies. Getting on Bloglines. Assignment to listen to regular podcasts listed on the class blog.

Week Two, September 5, Labor Day

Virtual class. Assignment: cyberspace immersion. Read Bloglines and listen to Podcasts daily, and read and post to our class blog.

Week Three, September 12

Discussion: Blogs and Katrina, charting a story through the blogosphere. Assigning research teams.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor Introduction & pp. 1-43, History of Blogs.
Optional Readings: "We've Got Blog" Intro & Part 1, A Brief History, "Handbook" Chapter 3, Creating and Maintaining Your Weblog, Chapter 4, Finding Your Voice.
Lab: Setting up individual blogs!

Unit Two: Looking at Blogs as Journalist-Bloggers

Week Four, September 19

Discussion: History of Blogging, led by Research Team of Christina W and Trista S. Discussion continues on Class Blog.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor pp. 44-87
Optional Readings: "We've Got Blog" Part 2, Meet the Bloggers, "Handbook" Chapter 5, "Finding an Audience."
Lab: Building Typelists, Photo Albums, taking your blog public.

Week Five, September 26

Discussion: Mapping the Blogosphere: Ecosystems, Linklove, Blogrolling, gaming Google, and other publicity and promotion strategies, led by Research Team of Kristi and Peter C.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor pp. 88-109 & handouts
Optional Readings: "We've Got Blog" Part Four, "Handbook" Chapter 6
Lab: Assessing results, show and tell

Week Six, October 3

Discussion: Blog Mobs: Cliques, A-lists, lynch mobs, smart mobs, flash mobs, mo-blogging, photoblogs, v-logs, led by Research Team of Amanda D and Denny L.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor pp. 110-157 & handouts
Optional Readings: "We've Got Blog" Part 4
Lab: Making the turn to journalism: how to go about it?

Week Seven, October 10

Discussion: Warblogging and political blogs, a backgrounder on the Pollner Lecture, led by the instructor.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor pp. 158-190 & handouts
Optional Readings: "We've Got Blog" Part 5, "Handbook" Chapter 7
Lab: Pushing the limits of your blog: bells & whistles & podcasts oh my!

Week Eight, October 17

Midterm short-answer exam based on readings, and class discussions face-to-face and online.
Reading Assignment: Handouts & links.
Lab: Thinking about portfolios, usability, templates, and design.

Unit Three: Blogs as Your Beat: Cyberspace research and investigative journalism

Week Nine, October 24

Discussion: Citizen journalism and the rebellion against mainstream media (MSM) led by Research Team of Joe P and Tim K.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor pp. 191-235 & handouts.
Lab: Designing your portfolio and blog empire, maintaining your blogs

Week Ten, October 31

Discussion: Legal issues and challenges for blogs and bloggers, led by Research Team of Beth B and Sara L.
Reading Assignment: Gillmor pp. 236-end & handouts.
Lab: Building portfolios, expanding your blogs.

Week 11, November 7

Discussion: How to cover the "Blog beat:" A reporter's responsibilities, led by the Research Team of Dylan T, Nicole T, and Erin M.
Reading Assignment: Handouts & links.
Lab: Entreprenuers: how to launch blog-based micropublishing ventures.

Week 12, November 14

Discussion: Negotiating credibility and ethics for blogging and bloggers, led by the Research Team of Krissi and Jaime D.
Reading Assignment: Handouts & links.
Lab: Cascading Style Sheets and advanced templates.

Week 13, November 21, Thanksgiving week

Discussion: Implications of interactivity, collaboration, and community for both old and new media, led by the instructor.
Reading Assignment: Handouts.
Lab: Work on Final Projects.

Week 14, November 28

Discussion: Open class debate on Old or New Media: Convergence or Conflict? Reflecting on what we have learned.
Lab: Wrapping up final projects, begin class presentations of the finished work if necessary to give everyone enough time.

Week 15, December 5

Final Project Presentations in the Lab, with feedback for Finals revisions.

Week 16, Final

All contributions to class blog and revisions to individual and portfolio blogs must be complete by MIDNIGHT Sunday, December 11th for portfolio grading.

Research Team Topics & Presentation Dates

I've very nearly got the class readings schedule firmed up, and here is a key part of the seminar structure (and 20% of your grade).

Depending on which topic you choose, you will either be presenting some additional research in teams of two or with me assisting. What you are really doing is acting as seminar discussion leaders on that particular day, drawing the rest of the class into the topic as well. The class will be doing readings on the same topic, but you will have the job of digging a little deeper online and filling in some of the gaps.

We'll talk about this more in class, and assign topics Monday, but I wanted to give you a chance to scope out the schedule ahead of time.

  1. Sept 19: History of blogs and blogging as a web phenomenon and social movement: Christina & Trista S
  2. Sept 26: Mapping the Blogosphere: Blog ecosystems, linklove, blogrolling, gaming Google, and other publicity and promotion strategies: Kristi A & Peter C
  3. Oct 3: Blog Mobs: Cliques, A-lists, lynch mobs, "smart mobs," flash mobs, mo-blogging, photoblogs, v-logs: Amanda D & Denny L
  4. Oct 10: Pollner Lecture Backgrounder: Instructor leads discussion on warblogging and the effect of blogs on politics: Chris B
  5. Oct 17: Midterm
  6. Oct 24: Citizen journalism and the rebellion against Mainstream Media (MSM): Joe P & Tim K
  7. Oct 31: Legal issues and challenges for blogs and bloggers: Beth B & Sara L
  8. Nov 7: How to cover the "blog beat": A reporter's responsibilities: Dylan T, Nicole T & Erin M
  9. Nov 14: Negotiating credibility and ethics for blogging and bloggers: Krissi & Jaime D
  10. Nov 21 (Thanksgiving week): Implications of interactivity, collaboration, and community for old and new media: Chris B
  11. Nov 28: Open class debate on old vs. new media: Convergence, symbiosis, or conflict? Reflecting on what we have learned
  12. Dec 5: Final Project Presentations

Inventory and Criteria for Portfolio Final

Portfolio Inventory

These are the items that should be clearly linked and present in your final portfolio for my class (your professional portfolio may be different than your class version. You can use your third blog for the class-specific stuff, so long as all the links are there, working, and items can be easily found):

Portfolio/Semester Reflection Cover Letter

A Professional Journalist's Portfolio Blog Site:

  1. Introduction/Professional Cover Letter.
  2. Resume' and/or Vita.
  3. A Category/Listing of Publications with links to electronic versions of clips and published images (plain text version, link, and PDF if possible). If you have a lot, perhaps you will make categories for different things, like "Kaimin Clips," "Internship Clips," etc. to make a more logical and clear navigation.
  4. If you don't have many published clips, create a category of class project clips and sites you've worked on (plain text version, link, and PDF if possible).
  5. Links or a showcase of other professional projects you've worked on (freelance work in technical writing, business writing, web writing and design, layout and design, Flash, interactive media, photography, audio, video).
  6. Anything else that puts your best foot forward as a job candidate.
  7. Optional: a Typelist blogroll of other sites you've worked with professionally.

DO NOT INCLUDE:

  • References names or addresses. Say "References available upon request."
  • Your street address or phone number (identity thieves and fraudsters harvest this information online to rip you off). Use your email address and web URL as your primary form of contact


A Vital and Ongoing Personal/Individual Blog
with evidence of involvement in at least one blog community or ecosystem (our class's ecosystem and beyond).

Any Additional Blog Projects you have undertaken,
in this class or outside it (that you want to claim). This includes links to any streaming podcasts you've tried, or video clips or audio slide shows.

Any Additional Web Projects you've worked on, in this class or outside it (that you want to claim).

A Copy/Paste Capture of both the Technorati and Google search results for your most well-known blog, with the name of your site in QUOTATION MARKS. (You will want to configure Google Preferences to show 100 results)

Portfolio Grading Criteria

The best overall portfolios will be attractively designed and easy to navigate. All items in the inventory above should be easily accessable, and all links should work.

What to include in the Portfolio/Semester Cover Letter:

This is perhaps the second most important part of your portfolio, after its wholistic completeness. And this is the thing you should do last, and perhaps also revise through several drafts.

In this letter addressed to me, you should look back over your experience of the semester, from where you started to where you are now, reflecting on what you've learned about blogs, the blogosphere, and the citizen journalism movement. This letter serves an indirect PR function because it introduces and explains all the work that is in your portfolio, but lathering on flattery or overtly brown-nosing will be obvious and will serve you far less well than honestly talking about what you've learned and will take away from the class.

Parroting the teacher is not necessary to get a good grade! Rather, if you have a bold or contrarian-style opinion about blogs, it is not enough to just state it. You must back up your statements with REASONS and SUPPORT. You should do the same thing if you happen to agree with the teacher's POV as well. You can also provide links to representative sites that illustrate the points your are making.

In short, your Semester Cover Letter is a bit like a personal manifesto for you, for this point in time.

In addition, there are some other specific things I will be looking for in it:

At least one detailed paragraph introducing and discussing the first blog you made this semester, telling how you adjusted, revised, and refined it over the course of the semester, and why you did the things you did. You should also discuss feedback you got on your blog, from classmates, in class, and in the comments section of your blog. Talk about the audience for your blog, any themes you were striving to create, and how successful you feel your attempt was.

Note, you are not required in one semester to have created a famous and wildly successful blog. Failed attempts, false starts, etc. are also as much of a learning experience as successes, perhaps more so, if you  explain what you learned from what you did. Also, it would be nice if you talked about what it feels like to speak in your own voice, as opposed to the deliberately depersonalized voice of more traditional journalism.

You should also give some space to discussing your side menus and lists, your blogrolls, what you put on them, in what order, and why.

Another detailed paragraph introducing and discussing your professional portfolio blog, what your goals were in putting it together, what use you could possibly make of it, and how well it represents you. If you feel like your professional portfolio is still largely unfinished because your career development is still in progress, THAT'S OK! Talk about that. Discuss the depth of your clips, and what kind of clips or work you could show in the future that might help your professional viability.

Also note that creating this portfolio in no way commits you to a particular career path. Even if you change careers many times (as I have), your portfolio is valuable because it shows you did work at a professional level (even if it wasn't published), revealing a work ethic, a care about the product of your work, and a commitment to professionalism. That kind of thing impresses any employer. If you want to change your career focus in the future, reflecting on your portfolio here and now may help you see clearly what is needed to redirect your focus and get you where you want to go.

Another paragraph on your resume', talking about what it does for you, and what you feel it still needs.

Another paragraph introducing your clips, photos, graphic design or layout, the guts of your portfolio, reflecting on how well you think they represent you.

A final paragraph that again looks at the whole kit kaboodle and reflects on what you might have done differently, had you world enough and time. You can include here plans for the future. And if you are someone who plans to chuck the whole blog thing at the end of the semester, talk about it, and what you will gain from doing that, as well as what you may lose.


Portfolio Intro, Resume' and Clip File Criteria

The look and feel of your professional portfolio will vary widely from person to person. The most important thing to remember is that this is your PROFESSIONAL FACE that you show the world. Because it is in blog format, some personality should show through, but your Professional Resume' SHOULD NOT contain Hobbies or Personal Interests. Perhaps, if you feel a personal statement is required (far more common for artists and creative types), you might make a category for a short personal statement about who you are. I don't think I'd use the portfolio Introduction for too much personal material. Some personality can shine through there, but strictly within a professional context. Imagine in that Intro that you are speaking to some potential employer and trying to land an interview. That is all that Intro has to do. Grab an employer's interest, lead them to the resume' and clips, and motivate her or him to contact you right away for an interview.

Your resume' wording can always be polished, so get some feedback from me on formatting and wording. I used to revise people's resume's as a freelance service I offered, going back 20 years, so USE ME.

The most important thing about your clips is that they load quickly and easily. Whether you include a short paragraph with each telling about it, or not, is not important. That's your decision. Images should not be so big as to take forever to load. No audio or video files should play automatically. The user should have the option to click and load the larger files, but a low bandwidth description or text version is more important than the larger files. The larger files exist largely to provide proof that you were published where you say you were, or to provide proof that your work is your own in a world of widespread plagiarism. If they come from an online source with a live link, that provides further proof that you are legit.

If you have furthur questions about the portfolio requirements, ask me or post them here, in the comments section of this post.

NOTE: I intend to use the remaining class periods for oral presentations of completed or nearly complete portfolios, to celebrate the work you've done this semester and give you feedback so you can revise navigational problems or oversights before the official FINAL DEADLINE. Obviously, if your work isn't complete enough to show on the big screen in class, you will suffer from a lack of feedback, so try to get as much done as you can as soon as possible.

April 25, 2006 in Course Syllabi | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 24, 2006

Past Syllabus: The Rhetoric of Web Publishing

Fall 1999 Syllabus

Instructor: Dr. Christine Boese
Meetings:4:00 pm to 6:30 pm Weds. in 413 Daniel
Bulletin Board: WebPub
Class Web: Ginger
E-mail: cboese@clemson.edu
Phone: 656-5416
Office:605 Strode Tower Office Hours2-4 pm Weds., Tues., Thurs.
Department: English
ProgramMasters of Arts in Professional Communication
Institution: Clemson University

Table of Contents

Required Texts:

Available in the off-campus Student Bookstore, corner of College and Sloan, and at www.bigwords.com, access code B-UBR9. This is a new service, so if they give you any trouble, there is always AMAZON. You might also look into a new online college bookstore, www.varsitybooks.com, which is giving away $10 gift certificates to new users.

Creating Killer Web Sites: The Art of Third Generation Site Design. 2nd ed. David Siegel. Hayden Books, 1997. See also http://www.killersites.com.

The Secrets of Successful Web Sites: Project Management on the World Wide Web. David Siegel. Hayden Books, 1997. See also http://www.secretsites.com.

Other Readings provided on Electronic Reserve and in a box in the MATRF Lab.

Optional texts recommended but not required:

Deconstructing Web Graphics 2: Web Design Case Studies and Tutorials. Lynda Weinman, Jon Warren Lentz, 1998.

Snow Crash. Neal Stephenson. Bantam paperback.1993.

You will also be REQUIRED to subscribe to the World Wide Web Artists Coalition (WWWAC) listserv during the time that you are enrolled in this class. It is part of the weekly assigned course readings. I recommend you subscribe in digest form, and refrain from posting to the list itself. This is a very active professional listserv based in New York City, and its members work in the heart of Silicon Alley. Naive newbies are often flamed if they say the wrong thing. Instead, if you want to discuss topics from the WWWAC list, lets take them to our class listserv, WebPub, instead, where we don't have to worry about sophisticated web professionals flaming us.

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Course Description

This course is a graduate seminar in the theory and practice of communicating effectively on the World Wide Web.

Prerequisites: Visual Communication Seminar 860.

Objectives: This course examines the evolving cultures of the World Wide Web in a proactive fashion, taking a rhetorical approach to interactivity and hypertextual structuring. Students will also study methods of professional conduct in the burgeoning field of new media, preparing them to enter a workplace where their skills are in high demand. Students will learn to plan, produce, and launch comprehensive "third generation" Web sites with a high degree of sophistication. They will also develop (on their own) personal project sites that will serve as their online portfolios to show future employers and freelance clients. By using a rhetorical framework and considering the effects on online audiences and cultures, students will be able to apply what they have learned to other situations as new media evolve online.

We will be using the collaborative electronic learning forum on the CLE. I will also introduce you to other leading edge forms of electronic communication, as we explore what it may mean to communicate effectively in the future. The most important goal for me is that the computers do not obstruct human interactions, but rather, that they become a tool for accessing people, images, and ideas, and thinking and writing about them.

This course will take both a theoretical and hands-on approach to web publishing and will include topics such as "real" and "pseudo" interactivity, hypertext theory, privacy and ethics, the rhetorics of online social movements, as well as issues in technology and social theory. This course will help you improve your ability to adapt to fast-changing web cultures and design trends, as well as to critically examine the social effects of those trends. It will not be organized around creating a list of "RULES" for web design, because the web is in a constant state of flux. Rather, we will learn to ride the chaos as the fragmented and socially constructed subjects we are. My goal is to give you critical tools to grow and thrive with the web as it continues to evolve as a significant force in our culture.

Four types of activities will take place in this class, and you are expected to actively participate in all of them.

We will have active discussions of assigned scholarly and professional readings (both paper and electronic texts). You are expected to come to class prepared to contribute to the seminar discussions at a graduate level.

We will also have public viewing of our case study presentations and projects, called "Crit Sessions" or "Crits," in which everyone will contribute positive and constructive comments, articulating the principles we have developed and learned. As part of this activity, you are expected to collaboratively author a class "textbook" for the course, as we creatively archive our collective knowledge-making in a class web site, called "Ginger" (named for the movie star in Gilligan's Island).

We will have minimal lecture and instruction in various software packages, as needed. You are expected to follow along in any tutorials, and to come to the aid of any nearby classmates who might be struggling. This class operates under the principle that learning is a collaborative experience. We will cover a lot of ground very quickly. You will have to stay sharp and help each other in order to keep up. If we all work together, we will be able to move past html fundamentals in order to have sophisticated discussions and third generation projects by the end of the semester.

Finally, a good portion of this class will involve hands-on workshop time, as you work on your projects and get help in process. Even with this in-class workshop time, you are expected to put in considerable hours outside of class on your projects.

Academic honesty is expected. Due to the interactive nature of the class, there will be many opportunities for collaboration on projects. However, it is not acceptable to turn in pieces professionally designed by someone else as your own work. I will enforce this rule most strictly. 

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Grading

Coursework will be evaluated as follows:

Case Study Presentations: 10%
Participation in class listserv, chats, and face-to-face classroom activities and discussions: 10%
Audience Analyses: 15%
Storyboards and Site Planning Materials: 15%
Web Projects: 40%
Final Exam (Academic Research Paper): 10%

There will be three major web projects, one wild and crazy, existing as a site of experimental bleeding edge web design, one community-based and focused on evolving web cultures, and one more focused on pragmatic information delivery or e-commerce. There will also be

Twenty percent of your grade is based on Class Participation. This includes required reading response papers posted weekly to the WebPub class bulletin board, weekly case study presentations on the readings (archived and linked afterward on Ginger), and a final academic research paper that seeks to integrate what you have learned about hypertext theory, cyberculture, and e-commerce. Clearly attendance is mandatory, especially because this is an evening seminar where so much ground is covered. Please speak to me if you absolutely must miss class. More than one absence will adversely affect your grade.

I want to specifically request that you keep flaming to a minimum and treat all classmates with the honor and respect all human beings deserve.  I will be just another list member, posting along with you. You may also email me privately at any time during the semester.  Also, should you get carried away and accidentally write a response paper that you realize in hindsight is too personal or volatile for the public forum, you may send it to me privately, with a clear disclaimer explaining what happened.  I will give you credit and keep such correspondence private, but I expect it not to happen too often. Since this is a 15 week semester, there will be a required 15 minimum posts to WebPub, spaced out over the semester, on either assigned topics or open topics. If you do not meet this minimum number of posts, IT WILL adversely affect your grade. Please read that sentence again.

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Projects

Project #1: Collaborative Class Web Site. A no-holds-barred exercise in web creativity. Here is where we push on the envelope of web interface design. Ginger is YOUR site. It will evolve and grow over the course of the semester, linking our case study reports, archived discussions, and ongoing projects.

Project #2: Entering a Dialogic Web Community or Culture. Investigate and observe how cultures and communities sustain themselves on the Web. Individually or in groups, choose a sector of cyberspace that interests you and attempt to create a web site that both introduces and integrates your site into the ongoing conversations of that community. This is a study in rhetorical ethos and interactive communication. The biggest mistake web designers make is operating out of the model of an individualistic creator foisting her completed work out on an unsuspecting Internet, a shortsighted and one-way approach that doesn't really fit in a dialogic medium. During this project, we will be trying to develop a class definition of interactivity, as well as an attempt to hash out exactly what makes up an online culture or community.

Project #3 Developing a Professional Information Delivery or E-Commerce Site. Individually or in groups, find a real world client in need of a comprehensive and navigable web site. The selection of a client and site must be approved by the instructor. A simple storefront "hanging out a shingle" site will not be adequate for this project. Those kinds of pages are a dime a dozen, and the jury is still out on whether or not they will be effective. Rather, the proposed site design (and redesigns will only be considered if the work required is substantive) must adopt a comprehensive web marketing strategy, incorporating audience analysis and all that we will have learned about interactivity and user testing. There should be a clear navigational strategy as well, worked out in storyboards through various sectors of the site. The goal for this project is to take you beyond the status quo, beyond entry level, and turn you into sophisticated and web savvy site designers.

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Tentative Class Calendar

Note:  Please stay on top of class activities, since this is only a rough guide of what we will be doing and when.  I like to make adjustments as student needs and interests (or computer glitches) dictate.

Week 1
Wed. Aug 18

Introduction to Web publishing and third generation sites.
Project Assignment: Learn Dreamweaver features, particularly round-trip html, styles, behaviors, and rollovers. Create Ginger with links to each student's homepage.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap.&2.
First Case Study Presentation assigned, Secrets/Decon.

Handouts: Hypertext theory
 

Week 2 
Wed. Aug 25

First Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Learn Photoshop features to control image size and color cube on the web. Fill Ginger full of rollovers. Refine homepages. Get crazy.
Reading Assignment for next week: "Preparing images for the Web," Creating Chap 3&4, and Secrets Part II, pp. 151-192.
Handouts:

Week 3
Wed. Sept. 1
Professionalism, teams, and the client relationship.
Second Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Form teams to begin Project 2, Community/Cultural Web Site. Work on sites.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 5&6
Handouts:

Week 4 
Wed. Sept. 8
Interactive design, interface metaphors, invisible tables, and page layout.
Third Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Participant Observation Reports in an online culture. Structured Audience Analysis vs. Cultural Observation.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 7&8, Secrets Chap. 7&8
Handouts:
Week 5 
Wed. Sept. 15
Audience analysis, assessing client needs. "Storyboarding"
Fourth Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon. Project Assignment: Wrap up Project 2, Community/Cultural Web Sites, to get ready for site critiques next week.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 7&8, Secrets Chap. 6.
Handouts:
Week 6 
Wed. Sept. 22

"Page makeovers," "Project sites," "Personal sites."
Team Presentations of
Project 2, Community/Cultural Web Sites.
Project Assignment: Project 2 revision and makeover, with the linking all projects to a special area of Ginger.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 7&8, Secrets Chap. 7.
Handouts:

Week 7 
Wed. Sept. 22

"Phase One: Strategy and Tactics," Site structure, "Storefronts."
Fifth Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Begin finding clients for Project 3 Information Delivery or E-Commerce Site. Form teams and develop a production schedule. Arrange initial client meeting.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 9&10, Secrets Chap. 8.
Handouts:

Guest Speaker Betsy Book, Director of Production from flooz.com (formerly of iVillage.com) will be coming to class either in person or virtually sometime around here!! Think up lots of good questions to ask her.

Week 8 
Wed. Sept. 29
"Phase Two: Content Development and Design."
Sixth Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Work on Project 2.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 11&12, Secrets Chap. 9.
Handouts:
Week 9 
Wed. Oct. 6
"Phase Three: Production," "Galleries,"
Seventh Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Eighth Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Work on Project 2.
Reading Assignment for next week: Extra Credit: Read the novel Snow Crash.
Handouts:
Week 10 
Wed. Oct. 13
"Creative Design Solutions"
Instructor Presentation of two contrasting sites.
Project Assignment: Field Trip to two contrasting graphical chat rooms. Online Debate over issues in navigation and interactivity, to be archived on Ginger, along with a DEFINITION of REAL interactivity.
Reading Assignment for next week: Find sites for next week's Show and Tell, Cheers and Jeers. Prepare a list of URLs with summary analysis for Ginger.
Handouts:
Week 11 
Wed. Oct. 20
Hypertext theory redux, online surveillance, copyright, and ethics.
Show and Tell, Cheers and Jeers.

Project Assignment: Continue work on Project 2. Begin work on Final Research Project. Confer with instructor for topic approval. Update Ginger with Cheers and Jeers.
Reading Assignment for next week: Creating Chap. 13.
Handouts:

Week 12
Tues. Mar. 30
Shockwave, Java, and CGI-Perl, PDF, VRML, and the future of the Web.
Ninth Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Continue work on Project 2 and on Final Research Project. Informal Shockwave and Flash demos.
Reading Assignment for next week: Secrets Chap. 10.
Handouts:

Week 13
Tues. April 6
"Phase Four: Launch and Maintenance."
Tenth Case Study Team Presentation/Crit, Secrets/Decon.
Project Assignment: Group Peer Reviews of Project 2 works-in-progress. Research Project Peer Reviews. Comments archived on Ginger.
 
Week 14
Tues. April 13

Site Presentations and Evaluation
Reports on Client feedback and launch date.
Final version of Project 2 Due.

Week 15
Tues. April 20
Research Presentation Symposium
Research Presentations.
Final Draft of Research Projects due at time of Final.
December 8 Final Exam 6:30-9:30 pm

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The Rhetoric of Web Publishing, English 860, Clemson University.
© 1999
Christine Boese, cboese@clemson.edu All Rights Reserved
.

April 24, 2006 in Course Syllabi | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 25, 2005

Past Syllabi: Visual Communication Grad Seminar

Clemson University:

English 853 Visual Communication

Spring 1999 Syllabus

Important Information

Instructor:   Dr. Christine Boese
Meeting Times:  6:30 pm to 9 pm Tuesdays in 409 Daniel
Class Bulletin Board           VisCom                              
Class Web
                        Ginger                              
E-mail                              cboese@clemson.edu                              
Phone                              656-5416                              
Office
                              605 Strode Tower                              
Office Hours                     2:00-4:00 Monday and Weds, 4:30-6:30 Tuesday
Department                       English Department                              
Institution                         Clemson University            

Table of Contents

Required Texts:

(Available in the off-campus Student Bookstore, corner of College and Sloan)   

The Graphics of Communication: Methods, Media, and Technology. 6th ed. Russell N. Baird, Duncan McDonald, Ronald H. Pittman, and Arthur Turnbull. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1993.

Stop Stealing Sheep (& find out how type works). Erik Spiekermann, E. M. Ginger. Adobe Press, 1993.    

Interactivity by Design: Creating and Communicating with New Media. Ray Kristof, Amy Satran, Adobe Press, 1995.

Other Readings provided on Reserve and in a box in the MATRF Lab.   

Course Description

This seminar provides students with a thorough overview of the theory and practice of visual communication for both pre-press and electronic media. It is designed to help writers and information designers integrate both verbal and visual elements into effective communication artifacts. Students will learn principles of layout and typography, study the use of color and electronic image editing, practice desktop publishing skills, create video graphics, and explore interface design for interactivity. There will be two major projects, one print-based, and one electronic, plus reading response papers and a research paper.

We will be using the collaborative electronic learning forum on the CLE. I will also introduce you to other leading edge forms of electronic communication, as we explore what it may mean to communicate effectively in the future. Some assignments will proceed in a more traditional fashion, while others will integrate the equipment in our classroom. The most important goal for me is that the computers do not obstruct human interactions, but rather, that they become a tool for accessing people, images, and ideas, and thinking and writing about them.

This course will take a theoretical and hands-on approach to visual communication and will include topics such as visual perception, design theory, and creative design processes. This course will help you improve your ability to see and interpret visual information. My goal is to give you a basic understanding of the importance of design in the communication process.

Four types of activities will take place in this class, and you are expected to actively participate in all of them.

We will have active discussions of assigned scholarly and professional readings. You are expected to come to class prepared to contribute to the seminar discussions at a graduate level.

We will also have public viewing of our weekly exercises and projects, called "Crit Sessions" or "Crits," in which everyone will contribute positive and constructive comments applying design principles we have learned, thus becoming steeped in the vocabulary of visual communication.

We will have lecture and instruction in various software packages, as needed. You are expected to follow along in any tutorials, and to come to the aid of any nearby classmates who might be struggling. This class operates under the principle that learning is a collaborative experience. We will cover a lot of ground very quickly. You will have to stay sharp and help each other in order to keep up. If we all work together, we will be able to move past design fundamentals in order to move toward quite sophisticated discussions and design projects by the end of the semester.

Finally, a good portion of this class will involve hands-on workshop time, as you work on your projects   and get help in process. Even with this in-class workshop time, you are expected to put in considerable hours outside of class on your projects.    

Academic honesty is expected. Due to the interactive nature of the class, there will be many opportunities for collaboration on projects. However, it is not acceptable to turn in pieces     professionally designed by someone else as your own work.

Grading

There will be three major projects in this class. A brief description of each project is listed below; more details will be distributed later in the semester.

Project #1: Print-based Design Project. Design and execute a professional publication for a real world client. Examples: Manual, Booklet, Newsletter, Annual Report, Magazine Design Mockup, Book Design Mockup.

Project #2: Creating A Digital Portfolio. Design and execute an interactive professional portfolio, either low-band, Web-based, or high-band, CD-ROM-based.   

Project #3 (Optional): Research Paper in Visual Communication. Write a research paper on a topic in visual communciation, suitable for presenting at a professional conference. Present your paper orally at our class symposium at the end of the semester.

Thirty percent of your grade is based on Class Participation. This includes weekly reading response papers and discussions posted to the email-based class bulletin board, VisCom, as well as weekly  practice exercises and participation in face-to-face discussions. Clearly attendance is mandatory, especially because this is an evening seminar where so much ground is covered. Please speak     to me if you absolutely must miss class. More than one absence will adversely affect your grade.

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

  • Project #1: Print-based Design Project: 25%
  • Project #2: Creating A Digital Portfolio: 25% 
  • Project #3: Research Paper in Visual Communication: 20%
  • Class Participation: 30%

Our Class Web (Ginger) will make explicit the inter-relatedness of our work, and we will have opportunities to explore alternative ways of thinking and writing, in a nonlinear structure, informed and influenced by contextual ideas from our class, the language of different cultures, fields and disciplines, and the world of the Internet.

The VisCom email-based bulletin board space and the CLE bulletin board are yours to use as you please.  Remember that writing exists in a context, and your classmates are your audience. Practice     communicating with each other.  I will not intrude on your discussions as a Teacher-Authority-figure.  You will have to lure me in with lively topics. Although I will not give additional credit for each posting beyond one a week, I do want to encourage electronic discussions.  I believe that this type of informal dialogue will help your learning and comprehension in ways that may sneak up on you.

I want to specifically request that you keep flaming to a minimum and treat all classmates with the honor and respect all human beings deserve.  I will be just another list member, posting along with you. You may also email me privately at any time during the semester.  Also, should you get carried away and accidentally write a response paper that you realize in hindsight is too personal or volatile for the public forum, you may send it to me privately, with a clear disclaimer explaining what happened.  I will give you credit and keep such correspondence private, but I expect it not to happen too often. Since this is a 15 week semester, there will be a required 15 minimum posts to VisCom, spaced out over the semester, on either assigned topics or open topics.

Tentative Class Schedule

Note:  Please stay on top of class activities, since this is only a rough guide of what we will be doing and when.  I like to make adjustments as student needs and interests  (or computer glitches) dictate.
   

Unit 1:  Visual Tools for Print and Pre-Press

Week 1

Tues. Jan 12: Basic Design Principles
Project Assignment: Geometric Abstract Design and Logo Contest.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.1&2. Handouts:                              

Week 2

Tues. Jan 19: Design Sophistication and Layout
Crit: Logo Contest. Project Assignment: Form Redesign.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.3. Sheep, whole book. 

Week 3

Tues. Jan 26: Typographic Principles
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.4. Sheep, whole book. Handouts: Bring photos next week for scanning and editing.

Week 4

Tues. Feb. 2: Image Editing and Photoshop
Crit: Form Redesign. Project Assignment: Photo Montage Poster.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.5. Handouts: To next class bring a graphic illustration problem to be solved.

Week 5

Tues. Feb. 9: Color and Graphics
Crit: Photo Montage Poster. Project Assignment: Graphic Illustration Problem.
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.6-10. Handouts:

Week 6

Tues. Feb. 16: Printing Technologies for Publications
Crit: Graphic Illustration Problem.Project Assignment: Begin work on Project #1
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.6-10,12, 13, &15


Week 7

Tues. Feb. 23: Publication Genres and Processes
Project Assignment: Complete work on Project #1
Reading Assignment for next week: Graphics Chap.11, 14, 16.

Unit 2:  Visual Tools for Linear and Interactive Media

Week 8

Tues. Mar. 2: Contrasts Between Print and Electronic Output
Crit: Project #1. Project Assignment: Online Exercise
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 1. Handouts:

Week 9

Tues. Mar. 9: Digital Media Survival Kit
Project Assignment: Home Page and Online Résumé.
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 3. Handouts: To next class bring material for a Community/Special Interest Web Site (can work in teams).                              

Week 10

Tues. Mar. 16: Spring Break

Week 12

Tues. Mar. 23: Information Design Online Exercise Home Page and Online Résumé.
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 1. Handouts:

Week 13

Tues. Mar. 30: Interaction Design
Crit: Community/Special Interest Site. Project Assignment: Begin Project #2.
Reading Assignment for next week: Interactivity Part 2. Handouts:                              

Week 14

Tues. April 6: Research in Visual Communication
Project Assignment: Complete Project #2
Reading Assignment for next week: Handouts                              

Week 15

Tues. April 13: Visual Rhetoric: Ethics and Issues of Persuasion
Crit: Project 2. Project Assignment: Research Project Conferences. Prepare Presentations.
Reading Assignment for next week: Handouts.                              

Week 16

Tues. April 20: Research Presentation Symposium
Research Presentations.                              

April 27: Final Exam 6:30-9:30 pm

Visual Communication, English 853, Clemson University.
© 2000
Christine Boese, All Rights Reserved

English 853 Visual Communication

Projects

Spring Semester 1999

Dr. Christine Boese

Project One: Print-Based Design Project Due Date: March 2, 1999

Design and execute a professional publication for a real world client. Examples: Manual, Booklet, Series of     Forms, Posters, or Promotional Materials, Newsletter, Annual Report, Magazine or Tabloid Design Mockup, or Book Design Mockup.

This project is worth 25 percent of your grade. You may work alone or in teams of 2 or 3 with my approval.

You do not need to write a formal proposal for this project, but you will need to describe your project     orally and show supporting materials to the instructor to obtain project approval before beginning work.

This project will involve a number of elements, called deliverables. Some will be directly related to the professional completion of the job, and some will be strictly for delivery to the instructor.

Deliverables:

1. Weekly Progress Report Memos delivered to the Instructor by email. These are one-page summary reports on your project, what is working, what is not working, how relations are going with your client and your group members, if you have any. Each group member is responsible for filing  individual Progress Report Memos.

2. A Design Specifications Document, one per team. This is a document that details the specifications     of all of your design decisions, and in some cases, includes     justification for making those decisions. Like the specifications     for building a house, it will contain particulars on fonts selected,     sizes, leading, margins, colors and color processes, paper selection,     and if relevant, budgetary concerns and cost information. It     should also contain a statement, at least a paragraph or two,     on which design principles or philosophy you are attempting to     apply or drawn on or allude to for your overall "look and     feel." This document will be your project's "bible,"     and your grade will be based partially on how consistently you     follow your own design specs. The rest of your grade will be based on the strength of your overall design and your completed     delivery of all of the parts of the project.

3. Audience Analysis Document and Short     Usability Test, one per team. For this project, this element     need not be long and substantial. A single page Audience Analysis     Document should examine the potential audience's Attitudes, Background,     and Needs. Later, when you have completed a fairly polished version     of your project, test it on at least two potential audience members,     conducting short interviews with them afterward. Incorporate     the feedback into your project and summarize your findings in     a short one-page memo.

4. Print Proof of the Final Product,     one per team. This should be to size (you can tile and tape together     output that is larger than 8.5 by 11). If color is to be used,     your print proof should be color printed. For multiple pages,     you have the option of delivering flat proofs (such as the printer     would send back to you as "blues" for one final proof     before going to press) or a simulation of any types of binding     you have selected.

5. Electronic Deliverables prepared     in your CLE "Turnin" folder as if ready to be sent     to the printer for printing. This includes all resource files,     fonts (if you can get them), PageMaker docs, and a text document     created by selecting the pulldown menu Utilities/Pub Info and     saving the information on fonts and links. Each group member     should have a full copy of this file in her or his Turnin folder     and a personal copy as well, for your own portfolios.

Project Two: Creating a Digital Portfolio Due Date: April 27, 1999.

Design and execute a professional digital     portfolio for yourself or a real world client, either low band,     Web-based, or high-band, CD-ROM-based. This can take many different     forms depending on the media involved. I will show you a number     of models and examples. Alternately, you could adapt this project     toward the creation of a significantly complex community or special     interest web site.

 

This project is worth 25 percent of your     grade. You may work alone or in teams of 2 or 3 with my approval.

You do not need to write a formal proposal     for this project, but you will need to describe your project     orally and show supporting materials to the instructor to obtain     project approval before beginning work.

This project will involve a number of elements,     called deliverables. Some will be directly related to the professional completion of the job, and some will be strictly for delivery to the instructor.

Deliverables:

1. Weekly Progress Report Memos     delivered to the Instructor by email. These are one-page summary     reports on your project, what is working, what is not working,     how relations are going with your client and your group members,     if you have any. Each group member is responsible for filing     individual Progress Report Memos.

2. A Design Specifications Document,     one per team. This is a document that details the specifications     of all of your design decisions, and in some cases, includes     justification for making those decisions. Like the specifications     for building a house, it will contain particulars on fonts selected,     sizes, leading, margins, colors and color processes, paper selection,     and if relevant, budgetary concerns and cost information. It     should also contain a statement, at least a paragraph or two,     on which design principles or philosophy you are attempting to     apply or drawn on or allude to for your overall "look and     feel." This document will be your project's "bible,"     and your grade will be based partially on how consistently you     follow your own design specs. The rest of your grade will be     based on the strength of your overall design and your completed     delivery of all of the parts of the project. For this project,     your design specs should also include storyboards and a plan     for handling interactivity.

3. Audience Analysis Document and Short     Usability Test, one per team. For this project, this element     need not be long and substantial. A single page Audience Analysis     Document should examine the potential audience's Attitudes, Background,     and Needs. Later, when you have completed a fairly polished version     of your project, test it on at least four potential audience     members, conducting short interviews with them afterward. Incorporate     the feedback into your project and summarize your findings in     a short two-page memo.

4. Electronic Deliverables prepared     in your CLE "Turnin" folder. This includes all     resource files,  Each group member should have a full copy of     this file in her or his Turnin folder and a personal copy as     well, for your own portfolios. We will also be linking these     into the class public.www folder for public access in the future.

Project 3 (Optional: Research Paper in Visual Communication Due Date:     April 27, 1999. 

I have decided to make this project optional.     It had originally be set as 20 percent of your grade. If you     choose not to write it, that 20 percent will be divided between     Project One and Project Two equally.

For this project, you will write a research     paper on a topic in visual communciation, suitable for presenting     at a professional conference. It should be 8-9 pages long, and     be sufficiently narrowed in scope to adequately review the current     research and present a new finding drawing on that research and     your experience in this seminar as visual communicators.

A good place to start the research process     would be the outside readings you have been doing all semester.     Look at the readings that drew your attention. Follow up by reading     some of the works cited by those authors. Also check into the     journals and edited books cited by those authors. Of course,     you may also investigate online sources, such as the Journal     of Electronic Communication, CMC Magazine, and others, if they     have sufficient credibility.

You should use MLA or APA style of documentation     in these papers. If you would like my review of your rough drafts,     I will be happy to have a conference with you on them. I treat     writing as a process, and revision as essential, so don't be     afraid to come and see me with drafts of these papers. I can     also offer advice if you would like to write proposals to present     your research at professional conferences.

Visual Communication, English 853, Clemson University.
© 2000
Christine Boese, All Rights Reserved

January 25, 2005 in Course Syllabi | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 12, 2005

Past Syllabus: English 314 Technical Writing

Clemson Spring 2000

SECTION 100 T_TH 12:30-1:45 PM 302 Martin Laptop Classroom
SECTION 016 T-TH 3:30-4:45 PM Daniel 304 Computer Lab
Please wait 10 minutes if I am late to class.

Dr. Christine Boese
Office: 605 Strode Tower
Phone: 656-5416
Office Hours: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 2 PM to 3 PM or by appointment. (Wednesday Office Hours are held in P&A 82B, through the Communications Center)

Course Requirements and Policies

Please Note: This syllabus is subject to change and revision. Please stay on top of any modifications or changed reading assignments.

Required Texts:

(Available at Off Campus Student Bookstore, corner of Sloan and College)
Professional Writing Online, James Porter, Patricia Sullivan, Johndan Johnson-Eilola. Allyn & Bacon: 2000. (An E-Textbook. You purchase a slim Student Guide and an Access Code to the Online Text. DO NOT LOSE YOUR ACCESS CODE.)
Writing Handbook To Be Announced (I am waiting for a particular new electronic handbook to become available online).

Course Description

According to The Student’s Guide to First-Year English & Advanced Writing:

English 314 is designed primarily for students in engineering, computer science, textile chemistry, and forestry. This course helps prepare you for the kinds of writing tasks you will perform in careers such as systems programming, software development, water resources management, transportation, wood utilization, and health and safety inspection, among others. The technical writer must meet the following challenges:

  • Write more often to audiences within an organization than to audiences outside.
  • Often write for audiences with some technical background or with little or no familiarity with technical subjects.
  • Write more about the physical and technological environment than about people.
  • Observe, record, and use physical data.
  • Analyze and explain drawings and other graphic representations of physical reality.
  • Describe and define processes, mechanisms, concepts, trends, and issues.

This section of English 314 will be highly computer intensive, whether a laptop course in the smart classroom in 302 Martin or a non-laptop course in the Daniel 304 Computer Lab. You have very likely not encountered a class like this before. We will be simulating a real world industry situation the entire semester, and all of your writing will exist within that context. As such, you will be not merely completing assignments. You will be in professional workgroups, with project managers and designated tasks. In order to complete these tasks, you will have to communicate often and well, as professionals yourselves. Groups that collaborate or communicate poorly will find their projects suffering, not only in quality, but also in the grade. You will save all communication from the entire semester, from informal discussion boards to formal sets of documents created. Your final grade will be the cumulation of this body of work, a professional portfolio.

I like to start every semester with a grand experiment, to try something new and fresh, and possibly cutting edge. This semester we will rely primarily on an electronic textbook, an e-book that was written for the screen, not for the page. We will supplement this text with a quicksearchable electronic writing handbook and numerous World Wide Web resources. In a sense, the Internet will become our Textbook. You will leave this class so familiar with Internet-based tools and writing products that you will be able to list the skill on your résumé.

I also want to emphasize that this is a class in TECHNICAL writing based in specific fields and disciplines. You are expected at this stage in your university career to have some detailed familiarity with the language and culture of your major, an asset that your teams will do well to draw upon with real world or service learning projects. But as we study the language of our fields, please remember this is not a class in writing surface-skimming, fluffy marketing pieces. You will engage your topics in close detail, with attention to audience and clarity with difficult material. The electronic textbook I've chosen does a good job of keeping us focused on this task.

Participation and Attendance

Because this is a highly interactive class, attendance is essential. In keeping with the English department guidelines, three absences are allowed. Every absence after the third will deduct 30 points from the 300 points allotted to participation, quizzes and extra credit show and tell presentations.

Grading

Your performance in this class will be based on both the writing assignments you turn in and on your participation and helpfulness to your peers in collaborative projects. Assignments will be weighted with points for various elements, gradually becoming larger and more comprehensive as the semester progresses. Together they will accumulate into a 700-point Portfolio Total.

Specific requirements for each project will be discussed in class and in a separate handout. Requirements for each project will vary depending on the project’s emphasis. You will receive credit for rough drafts and for your written comments on classmates’ rough drafts, and you will have plenty of time to revise these projects before the polished drafts are due. Projects are due at the beginning of the hour unless otherwise noted. Late rough drafts will result in a 10-point deduction from your Portfolio Grade, and late polished drafts will result in a 25-point deduction.

The cumulative documents in your team and individual portfolios will include (but are not limited to) the following: Résumé, Memo, Letter, Effective listserv and Bulletin Board Communication, Effective Synchronous Chat Communication, Technical Specifications Document, Formal Report, Power Point Proposal, Instructional and/or Policy Manual/Web with Usability Testing.

Bean Counting                                                             Grades
Technical Writing Portfolio     700                                    900 and above     A
Participation                         300                                    800-899               B
                                                                                    700-799               C
                                                                                    600-699               D
Total Beans                         1000                                   599 and below     F

Reading Quizzes

Throughout the semester I reserve the right to give pop quizzes over the day’s reading assignment. I may not always give quizzes, unless I sense that the class isn’t doing the readings or participating fully in rigorous discussions. The quizzes will not be terribly difficult, if you have done the reading. Each quiz counts as 10 points in your Participation Point Total.

Electronic Bulletin Board: SSMinnow

Because we will be working in a computer-intensive classroom and using the class CLE Collaborative Spaces, we will also be having class discussions on the web-based class bulletin board, which I like to call SSMinnow. Students will be required to post to SSMinnow at least once a week. Each weekly informal SSMinnow Post will count as 10 points in your Participation Point Total. For collaborative projects, I will also be introducing the use of electronic real time chats. Participation in these forums is part of the class participation grade. There will also be opportunities for extra credit informal presentations, what I call Show and Tell. They will also count for 10 points each. I want to encourage active learning as we explore the writing and cultures of technology and specialized disciplines, and what you bring into the class for Show and Tell is important to me.

Academic Integrity

As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson's vision of this institution as a high seminary of learning. Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.

Tentative Class Schedule

Note: Please stay on top of class activities, since this is only a rough guide of what we will be doing and when. I like to make adjustments as student needs and interests (or computer glitches) dictate.

Unit 1: Resumés, Electing Project Managers, Team Building, Forming Companies.

Weeks 1-2:
E-Textbook Reading Assignment: Employment Documents, Job Search Resources. Create Personal Job Search Agent on www.careerbuilder.com. Upload Resumés.

Unit 2: Professional Document Management, HTML, XML, Design Specifications

Weeks 3-5:
E-Textbook Reading Assignment: Overview, Managing Projects, HTML and XML Handouts, Understanding Readers, Social Cultural Issues, Shaping Texts. Create a Personal Home Page with Résumé. Introduction to document management with XML. Each team will create a set of company templates for every assignment to be completed this semester. They will write up this set of document standards in a clear Specifications Document for easy reference throughout the semester. An electronic archive will be created. Create Newspapers on www.crayon.net, customize with field specific journals and read two cross-cultural newspapers or magazines.

Unit 3: Crossing Borders: Exploring Disciplinary Cultures in your Field

Weeks 6-9:
E-Textbook Reading Assignment: Review Social Cultural Issues. Read Analyzing Workplace Writing, Research, Writing Reports. Research and explore culture and language of your field. Write a Report of your Findings. Individual team member reports added to company archives. Find and join a professional listserv in your field. Remain on the list for the remainder of the semester, lurking and observing. You may subscribe on digest.

Unit 4: Oral Proposals: Team Power Point Presentations to Gain Approval of Comprehensive Final Project.

Weeks 10-11
E-Textbook Reading Assignment: Building Arguments, Arranging Information, Oral Presentations, Power Point. Visual Communication Handout. This Group Oral Proposal should exist in a simulated real world context. The Class is your funding agent, You must win approval to create a Web-based and/or Paper Manual Documenting a Difficult Technical Process or Instruction Set in your Field. Can be OSHA safety procedures, or Service Learning-based Technical Aid for constituents in the Community. Should fill a real world and/or community need.

Unit 5: Final Team Project: Web and/or Paper Manual Documenting a Difficult Technical Process or Instruction Set in your Field.

Weeks 12-15
E-Textbook Reading Assignment: Review Research and Managing Projects. Read Online Writing. Usability Testing. Style and Editing. Policies, Manuals, Handbooks. Instructional Writing. This is the most comprehensive and heavily weighted document in your portfolios.

Week 16: Portfolio Revision and Polishing.
Prepare Team Portfolios from your document archives. Develop individual portfolios of your best work according the requirements of your Final Exam.

Technical Writing, English 314, Clemson University.
© 2000
Christine Boese, All Rights Reserved
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