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.
10 January - 16 JanuaryWeek 1—Tuesday (classroom)
Topic: Introduction to course; review syllabus and policy document; defining technical communication; 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.
17 January - 23 JanuaryWeek 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.
24 January - 30 JanuaryWeek 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.
31 January - 6 FebruaryWeek 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.
7 February - 13 FebruaryWeek 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. 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.
14 February - 20 FebruaryWeek 6—Tuesday (classroom)
Topic: Graphics in technical instructions; analyzing and assessing instructions. Read: Chapter 11.Week 6—Thursday (computer lab)
Topic: Finish style sheet 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.
21 February - 27 FebruaryWeek 7—Tuesday (classroom)
Topic: Planning and persuasion; crafting effective prose. 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 a printed copy of the results page at the beginning of class; upload all of your images and a draft of your text to Instructables.com before class.
28 February - 6 MarchWeek 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!
7 March - 13 MarchWeek 9—Tuesday (classroom)
Topic: Analyzing websites; introduction to usability testing. Read: Chapter 14; the "Planning the Project" and "Analyze Current Site" sections (and subsections) of the Usability.gov website; and "Super Easy Usability Testing." 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 New Site" and "Test & Refine the Site" sections (and subsections) of the Usability.gov website. Assignment: As a team, draft a one-page analysis of your company's current website; upload this document at the beginning of class.
14 March - 20 MarchNO CLASSES—Spring Break
21 March - 27 MarchWeek 11—Tuesday (classroom)
Topic: Analytical reports; collaborative tools; preparing to conduct usability tests. Read: Chapter 23. Assignment: Bring a printed and an electronic copy of a document that contains two sections: (1) three personas, following the pattern on usability.gov, and (2) at least five (preferably more) scenarios, following the pattern on usability.gov. (Note: Your scenarios don't need to be as long as the "Elaborated Scenario" on Usability.gov, but they should be longer than a single sentence.)Week 11—Thursday (computer lab)
Topic: Turning data into a written report; team drafting workshop. Read: Chapter 8. Assignment: Bring a printed and an electronic copy of your team's usability test protocol to the lab. (Note: Steve Krug's "Sample Usability Test Script" and Usability.gov's "Note Taker's Guide" may be useful as you draft your test protocol.)
28 March - 3 AprilWeek 12—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 12—Thursday (computer lab)
Topic: PowerPoint workshop day. Your team will have the entire class period to work on your oral presentation. Quinn will be available to meet with your team, as needed. Assignment: Bring compiled/aggregated data to class; be ready to incorporate the data into your presentation and written report.
4 April - 10 AprilWeek 13—Tuesday (classroom)
Topic: Unit #3 oral presentations, in this order:Week 13—Thursday (computer lab)
Section 10 (8:00 a.m.): Team 4, Team 2Assignment: If your team is presenting today, come to class ready to deliver your presentation. Make sure that your technology works, that your dress is appropriate, and that you have rehearsed your presentation with your team.
Section 11 (9:30 a.m.): Team 2, Team 1
Topic: Unit #3 oral presentations, in this order:
Section 10 (8:00 a.m.): Team 5, Team 3, Team 1Assignment: If your team is presenting today, come to class ready to deliver your presentation. Make sure that your technology works, that your dress is appropriate, and that you have rehearsed your presentation with your team.
Section 11 (9:30 a.m.): Team 5, Team 4, Team 3
11 April - 17 AprilWeek 14—Tuesday (Ross 15 computer lab)
Topic: Personal branding, online identity, and electronic portfolios; introduction to Unit #4. Assignment: Submit a printed copy of your Unit #3 report (and all related materials) 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. (NOTE: We will meet in Ross 15, the other basement computer lab in Ross Hall.)Week 14—Thursday (computer lab)
Topic: HTML/CSS resume workshop. Read: Chapter 15. Watch: XHTML and HTML Essential Training on Lynda.com. (Note: The full training series 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. Below, you will find a list of the most important videos to watch. Finally, make sure you're logged in to Lynda.com before watching the videos. Instructions for logging in to the site are also linked below.) Assignment: Bring an electronic copy of your current resume to class.
18 April - 24 AprilWeek 15—Tuesday (Ross 15 computer lab)
Topic: HTML and CSS workshop: modifying styles; selecting artifacts for your eportfolio. Read: If you have not done so already, 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: Come to class with three possible portfolio templates saved on your flash drive; be ready to discuss these with Quinn.Week 15—Thursday (computer lab)
Topic: Independent eportfolio workshop. (NOTE: This workshop is OPTIONAL. Quinn will not be here today, but the lab will be open and available for your use.) Assignment: Before you go to bed on Saturday night, submit the URL to the draft of your eportfolio homepage.
25 April - 1 MayWeek 16—Tuesday (Ross 15 computer lab)
Topic: HTML Errors Workshop. Assignment: Select the artifacts you plan to include in your eportfolio and bring electronic copies of these artifacts to class, along with all of your HTML and CSS files.Week 16—Thursday (computer lab)
Topic: Eportfolio peer review workshop; course evaluations. Assignment: Before you come to class on Thursday, upload the complete draft of your eportfolio to your public.iastate.edu website and submit the URL for your website.
2 May - 8 MayFinals Week
Assignment: Submit your Unit #4 eportfolio no later than 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5. (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.)