Technical Writing and the Internet
Professor Evergreen Keefer

(This is a web syllabus, published online, that will be constantly updated throughout the semester)

This is a workshop in writing and designing pages for the World Wide Web. Students examine the elements of efffective World Wide Web page authorship and design, including concept development, copy development, information hierarchy, navigation design, user interface design, logos and graphics development. This is also a writing course to develop verbal fluency and expression in cyber rhetoric, constantly analyzing the ever-changing demands, promises and pitfalls of the internet. The class text is Frontpage for Dummies but more advanced work is expected for the creativity presentations and final projects. Each student must also choose a text of their own, related to their final project.

Course Objectives Requirements Grading
How to conceptualize a web site, according to your imaginary client's needs, the market, and their information hierarchy Weekly writing/design assignments
in-class writing and discussion

To get an A: You must come to every class on time with the appropriate weekly assignment, and do excellent presentations, midterm and final projects.
How to target and involve your audience with an integration of appropriate navigation and interface design Presentations: Technical presentation with your buddy, and a Creativity presentation before your final in the last half of the semester To get a B: You must not miss more than 2 classes, and do very good assignments, presentations and projects on time.
How to develop creative ideas to make your site stand out Midterm: Upload your technical presentation, one web site review, a book review, and a concept paper to your personal web site To get a C: You must not miss more than 3 classes and must complete the presentations and projects satisfactorily on time.
How to present and sell your ideas to clients Final project: an 8-10 page original web site, based on one of your concept papers, the bio, demo, book reviews and the creativity presentation. TThere will be NO INCOMPLETES!


How to Create Links by Jose Mendigorin and Eli Nitskansky

Course Breakdown

Jan.20: Introduction to the course, concepts, tools and programs.The class will be divided into two groups, those with the most computer expertise and those with the most traditional American linguistic expertise. A buddy system will be formed for the first half of the semester and the technical presentations. In-class writing on the difference between traditional rhetoric and cyber rhetoric. Students are encouraged to click on to the course How the Internet Changes the Way We Think for concept ideas, reading lists and interactivity.A technical presentation is a lecture demo on a chosen topic including the worst and best examples from the WWW, and how this tool changes the way we perceive information. Topics for technical presentations: text size and color, formatting and paragraphs, headings, lists and lines, hyperlinks, navigation, Adobe Photoshop beginners and advanced, image maps, tables, frames, etc. Java, applets, movies etc. dependent on class interest and expertise. Each topic will involve a discussion of appropriate aesthetics, efficiency, clarity and creativity. For next week eight students prepare presentations and the others write web reviews of sites of their choice.

Jan. 27: Technical presentations: Gordon and Daniel (Photoshop and Links), Jason and Benjamin (Banners, Buttons, Logos), Marianna and Michelle (Basic Htiml), Lecture and discussion. In-class design on chosen topics and in-class writing. Same assignment-- six more students. Everyone else write a web review of a site related to your project.

Feb. 3: Technical presentations:FTP by Dimitri, Asya and Yana, 3D Studio and Java special by Constantin, Message Board by Serge, Creative Displays of Text by Kevin and Yan, Frames by Joshua, Julia and Daniel, and web reviews. Lecture and discussion. In-class design on chosen topics and in-class writing. Same assignment-- six more students.

Feb. 10: Technical presentations: Cascading Style Sheets by Anton and Tatyana, Quark by Ludlow and Colis, Active Server Pages by Alex and Stanislav, How to start your own online business by Serge and Natali,. Lecture and discussion. In-class design on chosen topics and in-class writing. Choose, read and write about a book related to your field of interest. Begin work on concept papers. Hand-outs for web development assessment.

Feb. 17: Finish Technical Presentations: Image Map by Cheung, Chin and Mai, and Website Reviews. Acting exercises on concept pitches. Discussion of what makes a great web site and what it does for a company, institution or individual. Finish concept papers for midterm. Lecture on the difference between educational and commercial sites, American and global audiences. Prepare bios.
N.B. From now on, all work is directed toward your final project. You can be working for a real or imaginary client, educational or commercial institution, or you can develop your own online busienss, real or imaginary. The bio would then be a description of an investor or prominent user, instead of employer. The objective is to listen to and assess someone else's needs. The concept paper would be similar to a business proposal or strategy, for those of you working in E Commerce.

Feb. 24:No Class.

March 2: Web site reviews. Presentation of concept papers with sample home pages. Discussion of bios. Individual conferences on final project. Prepare midterm which should give a preview, home page, some links of your final project.

March 9: Completed midterm should be uploaded. CHECK OUT FORMER STUDENTS' PROJECTS: Allah Amchislavskaya, Claire Annan,George Chabensky, Jennifer Donato,Rosie Fife, Michael Gofman,Minwoo Lee, Gina Mautschke,Jose Mendigorin, Eli Nitskansky, Vilma Perusina,Liz Rafailova,Samuel Shin, Stacy Somerville, Paul Vdovets, Leonid Yanovsky. These projects were from the 99 Cyberperformance: Educational versus Commercial Web Development. Finish book reviews for next week.

March 16:Presentation and analysis of book reviews. Present revised bios of company, institution or individual and their needs and objectives. Midterms: Joshua, Maryann, Michelle, Natalie, Jason, Chan,Colis,Julia,Jiang,Serge, Anton, Tatyana, Alex, Konstantin, Stanislav, Yana, Dimitri, Daniel, Wai Leung, Asya, Alvaro, Kevin.. Write an argumentative paper on your position vis a vis the patent controversy, using the New York Times article as a thesis to refute, develop, or support your thesis.

March 23:View home pages.Discuss and analyze plans.Open lab and discussion for integrating efficiency with creativity, and expanding the web site, involving the viewer. Interactivity. Audience. Prepare creativity projects. How does your site differ from the norm? Don't be afraid to experiment, go over the top, go wild, because in truth, you are paying now, not the client. Prepare information/graphics design and layout of entire site. Lecture on e-commerce, review argumentative strategies for patent paper.

March 30: Creativity projects.(You should have at least 10 pages of your final site designed.) Everyone is responsible for some element of publicity, direction, back-up, food etc for the cyberperformance.Discuss argumentative papers.In-class writing on communication strategies for recalcitrant users.

April 6:Creativity projects. Display sites so far. In-class writing for how to develop a "stickier" site.


April 20:NO CLASS.

April 28: Final projects due. CYBERPERFORMANCE VI: E-COMMERCE: CONSUMERS VERSUS COMMUNITARIANS. No late projects or incompletes.

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