Technical Communication 5045
Writing for the Web
|| Winter Term 2009
||Section 01: Tues./Thurs.
10:00 a.m. - 12:20 p.m.
ATLC 330 and ATLC 407
|| 3 credits (2 lecture, 3 lab)
|| Prerequisite: 6 credits of English Composition with minimum grade "C"
|| Instructor: Pam Ecker, Cincinnati State Technical & Community College|
|| Office: Main 226A|
(Mailbox in Main 210, Center for Innovative Technologies Office)
|| Phone: 513-569-1722
|| E-mail: email@example.com
|| Website: http://faculty.cincinnatistate.edu/eckerps - This is NOT a Blackboard site!
Course Goals & Methods for Student Learning:
This course is intended to provide these learning opportunities:
- Understand key concepts and techniques for preparing high quality content intended to be read on computer screens rather than on paper, to provide usable and useful information for designated audiences.
- Understand and practice the writing and document design techniques appropriate for informational websites, blogs, e-newsletters, wikis and social network spaces, and other cyberspaces.
- Gain knowledge and develop skills required to critically evaluate content for cyberspaces.
- Understand and apply (through writing, discussion, and demonstration) criteria for high-quality professional communication.
- Gain understanding of processes used to write and publish professional content for cyberspaces.
To achieve these learning goals, I'll expect learners to engage in these activities:
- Read assigned materials from textbooks and other sources.
- Review and evaluate (in writing and in discussion) various sample materials.
- Discuss thoughtfully issues raised in class.
- Participate in laboratory activities. (Some activities will require use of computers; some will require use of other tools and skills.)
- Demonstrate (through assigned writing and possibly through quizzes or exams) knowledge of principles, concepts, and techniques for effective writing with varied audiences.
- Prepare samples of various materials that incorporate effective, appropriate writing and design for screen-based products.
- Use a wiki (and possibly other cyber spaces) to demonstrate writing skills.
Textbook & Course Materials:
I expect each student to have ready access to the required books. If this is a problem for you, please let me know. However, telling me you don't have course materials will not exempt you from meeting course requirements.
- Required Textbooks:
Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works Janice (Ginny) Redish (Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann, 2007)
- Required Handbook:
The Concise Wadsworth Handbook, 2nd ed. Second Edition. Laurie Kirszner and Steve Mandell (Cengage Learning, 2008)
The Handbook will be your reference for all writing assignments in this course. It is the same text used in most of CState's composition courses, so you may already have this text.
In this course, the Handbook will be used to provide feedback to you about errors and weaknesses in your writing. I will use the ³correction codes² in the text to indicate a wide range of mechanical and construction errors and to provide other comments about your work. Explanations of the codes are listed on the inside back cover of the Handbook. The codes correspond to chapter and section numbers in the Handbook, so if you want more detailed explanation of the comments, simply look them up in the book using the appropriate chapter and section reference. For example:
24a = Chapter 24, section a, revising sentence fragments
36b = Chapter 36, section b, capitalizing proper nouns
While this method of instructor comment may be unfamiliar, you should quickly become accustomed to it. This method allows you to become responsible for recognizing any patterns of mechanical error. Rather than relying on the instructor to simply correct errors, students can gain independence in anticipating and correcting their own errors.
- Supplementary Resources:
Web Style Guide, Third Edition. Patrick J. Lynch and Sarah Horton (Yale University Press, 2008). Second edition available online at http://www.webstyleguide.com.
Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines. Robert W. Bailey, et al. (U.S. Government Printing Office, 2006). Available online at http://usability.gov/pdfs/guidelines.html.
- Other reading assignments will be provided as links to Web-distributed information. These links will appear on Assignment pages in the course Schedule. All reading assignments are equal in importance; therefore, I expect students to print, annotate, and study Web-distributed materials in the same way that you should annotate and study a conventional textbook.
- Additional course materials may be provided as handouts or may be placed on reserve in the Cincinnati State Library.
Guidelines and Expectations:
Read these guidelines carefully! Following these guidelines will contribute to your success in this course!
Attendance and Deportment
Arrive on time and remain for the entire scheduled session for all classes. Be aware that:
- In general, I will not provide opportunities for "make up" classes or activities. You are responsible for all material covered in class, whether you are present or not.
- The following deficiencies will lead to a final grade of "F":
- more than one unexcused absence during the term.
- chronic tardiness (either arriving late or leaving early repeatedly).
- chronic "wandering" (leaving and returning while class is in progress).
- chronic lack of preparation (including failure to turn in assignments on time).
- Emergencies resulting from weather, traffic, life crises, and other unpredictable events will be dealt with individually, as needed. If a College-wide emergency requires course cancellation, look for information on the Schedule page and check your Cincinnati State email for possible messages.
- If a personal emergency prevents you from attending class, please notify me by phone or e-mail as soon as possible (preferably before class). Be aware that the choices you make to arrange your work schedule and other obligations you must deal with are not "emergencies."
- Consume your meals or snacks outside of the classroom, not during class.
- Complete your electronic communication and entertainment needs before or after class, not during class. Disruptive electronic devices will be temporarily confiscated, if necessary. Repeated disruptions caused by your electronic devices will result in a reduction of your final grade.
- Requests to use laptop computers for notetaking will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Class participation includes these components:
- Allocate sufficient time to complete all coursework effectively. Assignments are based on the assumption that you will spend approximately 5 to 10 hours per week preparing for this class. Not completing assignments will result in course failure.
- Regularly check the course website for updated information about assignments and activities. Announcements related to the course will be posted on the Schedule page.
- Complete assignments on time. Late work will be penalized. Repeatedly late work will result in course failure.
- Contribute meaningful ideas, examples, opinions, observations, questions, and conclusions during class discussion every week. Continuous lack of contributions will affect your final grade.
- Comply with the Cincinnate State "Student Code of Conduct" and other policies and procedures included in the College Catalog. In particular, take note of the policies concerning plagiarism (using, in whole or in part, work created by others as if it were your own). A single incident of plagiarism can result in course failure and/or expulsion from the College.
- Demonstrate consideration and respect for the ideas and opinions of other course participants, including the instructor, even when you disagree (which you may).
- Take an active, responsible, and creative approach to carrying out course activities.
- Ask for clarification whenever you need it. Don't make assumptions about "what the instructor wants." Ask questions instead.
Specifications for Preparing Written Work
Apply these instructions to out-of-class writing
assignments, unless I provide specific modifications for a particular assignment:
For some course assignments, work may be submitted by e-mail. In these cases:
- Type or computer-generate your work on standard 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper, in 10, 11, or 12 point type, using reasonable margins.
- Double-space the text.
- Include, in a clearly visible place on the first page,
- your name
- the date the assignment is due
- the course number and the section number
- the assignment name and/or number (as given on the assignment page)
- Staple or paper clip multi-page documents. (Please don't annoy me by asking me "do you have a stapler?" or "do you have a paper clip?" at the moment that you turn in your document.)
- You may use a cover page for assignments if you want to (or whenever a cover page is an appropriate choice for professional document design). Except for the Final Project, don't put your work in binders, folders, or plastic covers. Don't ever use plastic page protectors for individual pages of documents.
- Use MS Word to prepare a document that meets all other course guidelines to attach to your e-mail message.
- Do not use other software for documents unless your choice has been approved in advance.
- DO NOT submit "zipped" files. The College's computer security system will prevent these files from being delivered.
- When sending files that include graphic components, condense the file size as much as possible.
- Use a clear and meaningful file name for your attached file.
- Use a clear and meaningful subject line for your e-mail message, formatted as "TC 5045 - (topic of message)."
- Apply professional writing standards to all text that appears in the body of your e-mail message.
- If your e-mail address does not include your name, make it easy for me to know who is sending the message by signing it, or by identifying yourself in the first sentence of your message.
- Note: if I cannot evaluate your work because of technical difficulties, your work will be graded as "Incomplete" until you provide files I can use. (My primary computer is a Macintosh, and my computer is not equipped with all of the software used in every MID computer lab.)
Maintenance of Portfolio
Keep all graded class assignments and exercises that I return to you during the term. At the end of the term, I will collect and review this set of materials. If you want to retrieve your materials, I'll return them to you next term.
Computer Lab Considerations
It is assumed that students enrolled in this course have computer proficiency that is beyond the novice level; however, it is not assumed that every student is equally proficient with all of the software applications and product development skills that potentially could be applied to a particular assignment.
It is assumed that all assignments will be completed using software that is available in Cincinnati State computer labs and/or available via public internet locations. Whether you actually complete your homework in Cincinnati State labs or at some other location is up to you.
Any student with a disability necessitating accommodations prescribed by the Americans with Disabilities Act or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act should schedule an appointment to meet with David Cover, Counselor/Special Needs, in Room 129, Main Bldg., or call 569-1613. Students seeking accommodations should meet with Mr. Cover prior to the second class meeting of the academic term.
Your work (and your attitude toward preparation and presentation of your work) should demonstrate appropriate attention to the professional standards of Multimedia Information Design fields. These standards include--but are not limited to--timeliness, accuracy, and attention to detail; excellence in all elements of design; and consistent use of professional writing standards (including, but not limited to) correctness in spelling, punctuation, grammar, and sentence syntax. Failure to demonstrate attention to all applicable standards will affect assignment grades and can lead to a lowered final grade.
Your grade for this course will be a measurement of your effectiveness in:
- Fulfilling the general guidelines and expectations described in this syllabus.
- Fulfilling all of the specific guidelines established for each assignment.
- Demonstrating effective and appropriate skills and techniques in preparing and presenting assignments.
- Demonstrating ongoing improvement (adaptation, experimentation) over the duration of the course.
- Taking professionally-appropriate scholarly and/or creative risks; that is, attempting to creatively and responsibly "push the boundaries" of possible ideas for projects and solutions to problems, rather than relying on simple and familiar concepts and answers.
- Demonstrating effective skills for interpersonal and presentational communication, when applicable.
- Completing quizzes and/or exams at an acceptable level of proficiency.
I will review your course portfolio before I assign a final grade. My evaluation system always includes the assumptions that learning is incremental (it takes time) and that learners ought to demonstrate greater proficiency as time goes by (so the work you do at the end of the term ought to be demonstrably better than the work you do at the beginning of the term, unless you're perfect already).
If, at any time, you need clarification of my evaluation criteria and standards, ask me to clarify! It's your right as a student to understand what's expected of you; it's my responsibility as your instructor to provide clear information and feedback.
- This is a new course; therefore, everything is subject to continuous review and improvement. Please be patient, please bring problems to my attention, and please don't expect all problems to be solved instantly.
- You are responsible for recognizing your own needs as a student, and making them known to me if necessary. If you aren't getting what you need or what you want from this course, you always have permission to ask questions and to give constructive suggestions in order to make the course a more satisfying learning experience for you.
Site contents copyright © 1999-2009, Pamela S Ecker. All rights reserved.
Created November 2008
Modified Feb. 2, 2009
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