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This course is a synthesis of what I know about technical communication,
document design, and rhetoric with what I am learning about on-line, hypermedia
presentations specifically, writing for the Web. What I hope we
will all learn more about concerns the design and composition
implications of interactive media. We will try to build this
knowledge through practice; thus, this course will emphasize effective
application of advanced communication concepts. Though we will discuss
many things besides computers, this course is directly centered on writing
for a particular technology.
| Hypertext or hypermedia can
mean many things, from industrial training videos to interactive movies,
from hypertext documentation systems to MUDs, MOOs, and virtual realities.
In a survey or theory course it's possible to touch on all of these, but
here we need to concentrate. In 2003, one branch of hypermedia still stands
out quite clearly: the World Wide Web. Though surrounded by a dense nebulae
of hype, the Web is certainly the first broadly popular hypermedia enterprise.
It is also a very significant venue for composition and design work.
| During this
semester, you will acquire or improve basic knowledge of Hypertext Markup
Language (HTML). You will also learn about advanced subjects like complex
layout with Netscape and Internet Explorer enhancements, dynamic documents,
tables, and frames. We will try to develop a rhetoric of hypermedia delivery
to assist us in making effective choices in our web writing. You can also
count on us dabbling in graphic design, using Adobe PhotoShop and other
graphics software. In addition, we may experiment a little with JAVA,
Common Gateway Interface, and other plug-in components. Most of all, we
will discuss writing for the Web. I am more and more convinced that effective
writing for the web requires a combination of technical skills, effective
writing skills, and restrained yet creative design skills.
I take the word "production" very seriouslyvery seriously. Our class is more a studio class than a lecture class. You will need to have Dreamweaver MX to complete your work for this class. This means that you can either purchase DW MX yourself, in which case you will do you "homework" online, or, if you don't have DW MX and a computer at home, plan to work at least five hours a week in the lab. You may use the Advanced Technical Writing Lab on the second floor of the Humanities Building or the General Access Lab in the Business Building. If you can't do this required lab work using Dreamweaver MX, then rethink the course.
You will create two hypermedia
projects during the semester: a personal page whose shape and scope
I will describe for you, and a project whose shape and scope are up
to you, within reason. You will also give one 10—15 minute presentations
to the class, an informative report on a specified topic (see signup
sheet), and finally you will critique a Web site you find significant.
All of these projects will be published on our course
web. These elements count toward your grade as follows:
is mandatory. You will likely fail or end up dropping if you habitually
miss class. I expect a professional attitude toward attendance, so
it will be a factor in my overall evaluation of your work.
To be of practical use, your work in this course should have real goals and outcomes. Please keep this requirement in mind as you outline your Course Project. Ideally, your Course Project will involve the design and production of a website that could actually be used. Students have created sites for businesses, lawyers, non-profit organizations or worked in teams to create the sites listed below.
|We will meet all classes in Humanities 209, the Foreign Language Multi-Media Lab. In addition, once the semester gets started you will be able to reserve time on computers reserved for advanced technical writing students in Humanities 210 (from 8—5). Software available in this lab includes Dreamweaver MX, Adobe Photoshop 6.0, Adobe Illustrator 10.0, and other handy goodies. << Back|
I will also assign readings on the World Wide Web. Printed texts will include:
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. (I would, however, prefer that you use our WebCT mail associated with our course Online site.)
My voice mail is (254) 968-9286.
Drop-in office visits for this class will be better by appointment.
Keep our email here inside our course. Try to read your WebCT email
and discussion posts regularly. Email and discussions are often rewarding,
but remember your netiquette.
AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT: If you have special needs due to a learning disability or other disability, please contact Dr. Dwayne Snyder, ADA Compliance Officer. Students who have special instructional needs because of a physical or learning disability should discuss them as soon as possible with Dr. Dwayne Snider in the Compliance Office for Individuals with Disabilities. (Admin. Rm. 237; Phone # 254-968-9103). No instructional accommodations can be made unless requested by that office.