Weekly outline

  • Course Documents
    Note: The policy document below contains an outline for this course, but any information on this website supercedes the information contained in this file. When in doubt, refer to this site to find the most current information.

  • 23 August - 29 August

    Week 1—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Introduction to course; review syllabus and policy document; discuss biographical sketch.

    Week 1—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Introduction to the computer lab and Moodle; the technical writing process; discuss Unit #1: Definitions and Descriptions. Read: Chapters 1 and 2. Assignment: Submit biographical sketch at the beginning of class.

  • 30 August - 5 September

    Week 2—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Understanding audiences; jargon exercise; define evaluation criteria for Unit #1. Read: Chapter 3. Assignment: Bring a list of specific criteria you would like Quinn to use when he grades Unit #1; bring a list of ten terms commonly used in your workplace/club/organization that outsiders may not be able to define.

    Week 2—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Technical definitions; narrowing your focus for Unit #1. Read: Chapter 18. Assignment: Submit your tentative list of glossary terms and a one-paragraph description of the product or process you will describe for Unit #1.

  • 6 September - 12 September

    Week 3—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Ethics in the technical workplace. Read: Chapter 5.

    Week 3—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Technical descriptions; Unit #1 peer review workshop. Read: Chapter 19. Assignment: Bring electronic copies of your glossary (with defined terms) and your information sheet to class.

  • 13 September - 19 September

    Week 4—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Organizing information; instructions and documentation; Unit #1 finishing touches. Read: Chapter 20. Assignment: Integrate your peers' suggestions from the Unit #1 peer review exercise into your Unit #1 documents. (You do not need to submit this.)

    Week 4—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: The evolution of instructions; discuss Unit #2: Instructions. Assignment: Unit #1 final draft (in print and electronic formats) due at the beginning of class. Also, bring a set of printed instructions to class.

  • 20 September - 26 September

    Week 5—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: The role of graphics in technical instructions; analyzing instructions; brainstorming workshop for Unit #2. Assignment: Come to class ready to share three different ideas for your Unit #2 project.

    Week 5—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Designing documents and interfaces; basic visual principles; style sheet exercise; instructional video exercise (if time allows). Read: Chapter 10. Assignment: Review several Lynda.com videos before you come to class; submit a one-paragraph description of the topic you have chosen for Unit #2 at the beginning of class.

  • 27 September - 3 October

    Week 6—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Graphics in technical instructions; analyzing and assessing instructions. Read: Chapter 11.

    Week 6—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Instructional video exercise; Unit #2 visual peer review workshop. Read: This page on Instructables.com, plus at least five Instructables linked in that article. Assignment: If you have not done so already, review several Lynda.com videos before you come to class; bring electronic copies of your visuals (images, videos, etc.) for your Instructables tutorial.

  • 4 October - 10 October

    Week 7—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Planning and persuasion; working with images. Read: Chapter 6. Assignment: Bring a copy of the policy document / syllabus from three different classes you are taking this semester or have taken in the past. (The English 314 policy document is not eligible for this assignment.)

    Week 7—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Researching and managing information; Instructables peer review workshop. Read: Chapter 7. Assignment: Complete the Teaming Inventory and submit the results page at the beginning of class; upload all of your images and a draft of your text to Instructables.com before class.

  • 11 October - 17 October

    Week 8—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Working in teams; midterm review; introduction to Unit #3 (Team Research Proposal). Read: Chapter 4. Assignment: Upload your Unit #2 documents (using the link below) before you come to class; bring a printed copy of your Unit #2 memo to class; post a link to your instructable in the Instructables Forum.

    Week 8—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Midterm exam. Assignment: Submit a copy of your team's memorandum of understanding; study for the exam!

  • 18 October - 24 October

    Week 9—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Analyzing websites; introduction to usability testing. Read: Chapter 14; the "Plan" and "Analyze" sections (and subsections) of the Usability.gov website. Assignment: Review the list of Fortune 100 Companies and, as a team, select your first and second choice of companies you would like to portray for Unit #3. (One member of your team should email your choices to Quinn before you come to class.)

    Week 9—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Activity reports; usability testing workshop; team meetings. Read: Chapter 22; the "Design" and "Test and Refine" sections (and subsections) of the Usability.gov website. Assignment: As a team, draft a one-page analysis of your company's current website.

  • 25 October - 31 October

    Week 10—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Analytical reports; preparing to conduct usability tests. Read: Chapter 23. Assignment: Bring electronic copies of two documents: 1) a file containing three personas, following the pattern on usability.gov, and 2) a file containing your team's usability test plan, following the pattern on usability.gov. (Note: Each team should bring a laptop to class so you can work on revising your test plan in class.)

    Week 10—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Turning data into a written report; team drafting workshop. Read: Chapter 8. Assignment: Begin conducting your usability tests; submit a one-page progress report, following the pattern described in Chapter 22, at the beginning of class.

  • 1 November - 7 November

    Week 11—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Oral presentations and presentation software. Read: Chapter 16; "PowerPoint Is Evil," by Edward Tufte; and "In Defense of PowerPoint," by Donald Norman. (You do not need to print these files; just read them before you come to class.) Assignment: Complete ALL usability tests before you come to class on Tuesday; bring the results of your tests to class to share with your teammates.

    Week 11—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Team workshop day. (Quinn will be at a conference today. However, the computer lab will be available for team meetings.) Assignment: Work as a team on your PowerPoint presentation.

  • 8 November - 14 November

    Week 12—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Unit #3 oral presentations, in this order:
    Section 12 (9:30 a.m.): Team 4, Team 5, Team 6
    Section 13 (11:00 a.m.): Team 2, Team 4, Team 5

    Week 12—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Unit #3 oral presentations, in this order:
    Section 12 (9:30 a.m.): Team 1, Team 2, Team 3
    Section 13 (11:00 a.m.): Team 1, Team 3

  • 15 November - 21 November

    Week 13—Tuesday (classroom)
    Topic: Job hunting, online identity, and electronic portfolios; introduction to Unit #4. Read: Chapter 15. Assignment: Submit a printed copy of your Unit #3 report at the beginning of class; in addition, one member of your team should upload an electronic copy of your Unit #3 report before you come to class.

    Week 13—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: HTML/CSS workshop. Read: Watch: XHTML and HTML Essential Training on Lynda.com. (Note: This training sequence is 4+ hours long, so pace yourself. If you are already familiar with XHTML/HTML, you may be able to skip or skim some of these videos. Also, make sure you're logged in to Lynda.com before watching the videos. Instructions for logging in to the site are linked below.) Assignment: Bring an electronic copy of your current resume to class.

  • 22 November - 28 November

    NO CLASSES—Thanksgiving Break
  • 29 November - 5 December

    Week 15—Tuesday (115 Ross Hall)
    Topic: HTML and CSS workshop #1: modifying styles; selecting artifacts for your eportfolio. Read: Over Thanksgiving break, either watch the Lynda.com tutorial videos or review the Opera Web Standards Curriculum (specifically, Lessons 15-24 and 27-37) until you are comfortable editing XHTML and CSS files. Assignment: Before you come to class, submit the URL for the template you plan to use for your eportfolio.

    Week 15—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: HTML and CSS workshop #2: linking files and adding images; independent eportfolio workshop. Assignment: Before you go to bed on Saturday night, submit the URL to the draft of your eportfolio homepage.

  • 6 December - 12 December

    Week 16—Monday/Tuesday (420 Ross Hall)
    Topic: Extended office hours and HTML/CSS workshop. IMPORTANT: We will not meet during our regular class time on Tuesday, but Quinn will be available in the 420 Ross Hall computer lab from 1:00–5:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday. You can attend none, part, or all of these sessions, depending on how much help you need with your eportfolio.

    Week 16—Thursday (computer lab)
    Topic: Eportfolio peer review workshop; course evaluations. Assignment: Before you come to class on Thursday, submit the URL for the complete draft of your eportfolio.

  • 13 December - 19 December

    Finals Week
    Assignment: Submit your Unit #4 eportfolio no later than 9:45 a.m. on Tuesday, December 15. (Note: Due to grading deadlines imposed by the university, I cannot grant exceptions to this deadline. Portfolios received after the deadline will not receive credit.)