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WRITING

FOR ELECTRONIC MEDIA

PROJECT REQUIREMENTS

Project 1: Asynchronous Electronic Writing (Email, Newsgroups, Listservs, Groupware).

Objective: To learn to effectively communicate and collaborate in directly interactive, asynchronous settings.

Points: 200

Time Frame: Ongoing, all semester.

Audience: One to One, One to Many.

Requirements:

As Participant-Observers, lurk on at least two contrasting asynchronous electronic forums. Write a 1-2 page report (single-spaced, double space between paragraphs) and post it to our class list.

As Class Collaborators on our electronic discussion list, each group member should offer at least two possible criteria statements, one each of good and bad email discussion writing styles. The group will then discuss the various criteria and vote on the ten best and ten worst features. These two lists will be put up on the class web and revised and polished as a class all semester.

As Electronic Authors, you should strive to be an active participant in our class discussion list all semester, experimenting with and applying the writing and communication skills you learn as you go along. You will be evaluated at the end of the semester according to the criteria created by the class in the two lists of good and bad asynchronous electronic writing strategies.

Project 2: Synchronous Electronic Writing in text-based virtual environments.

Objective: To learn to negotiate ideas, debate, attempt rhetorical persuasion, and establish a persona in a MOO.

Points: 200

Time Frame: February 6 through February 29.

Audience: One to One, One to Many.

Requirements:

As Participant-Observers, lurk on at least two contrasting synchronous electronic forums (one of which should be a professional or educational MOO). Write a 1-2 page report (single-spaced, double space between paragraphs) and post it to our class list.

As Class Collaborators on our electronic discussion list, each group member should offer at least two possible criteria statements, one each of good and bad synchronous discussion writing styles. The group will then discuss the various criteria and vote on the ten best and ten worst features. These two lists will be put up on the class web and revised and polished as a class all semester.

As Electronic Authors in our class MOO space, learn all commands for an introductory character class, present yourself well, write interesting descriptions of yourself and any objects you create, and participate effectively in our class debate presentation session. Debate well and attempt to persuade others to your way of thinking on the debate topic. You may earn additional points for advancing a character class and creating an imaginative object or personal room. You may also think of a clever way to set up some objects or visual aids or actions during the debate in order to advance your point of view metaphorically. You will be evaluated according to the criteria created by the class in the two lists of good and bad synchronous electronic writing strategies.

Project 3: Design and write a comprehensive Web Site.

Objective: To understand the rhetorical effects of nonlinear navigation, web design structure, and the development of online ethos or character.

Points: 300

Time Frame: March 5 through April 2.

Audience: One to One, One to Many, Many to Many.

Requirements:

As Participant-Observers, surf the Web and report on at least two contrasting, comprehensive Web Sites (one effective, one dismal and embarrassing). Write a 1-2 page report (single-spaced, double space between paragraphs) and post it to our class list. Your report should clearly distinguish what you see as the key differences between the two sites.

As Class Collaborators on our electronic discussion list, each group member should offer at least two possible criteria statements, one each of good and bad Web Site design and writing styles. The group will then discuss the various criteria and vote on the ten best and ten worst features. These two lists will be put up on the class web and revised and polished as a class all semester.

As Electronic Authors working with approved REAL WORLD CLIENTS (I will provide a starter list of non-profit agencies and other organizations you may contact, or you may find a client on your own), you will design and write a moderately comprehensive Web Site. By moderately comprehensive, I mean the site structure must be deliberate and complex, far more than a simple home page. It will be your job to meet with the client, propose the project, and conduct informational interviews and research. This project will also entail a one-page audience analysis paper deliverable to me and possibly to the client. As a class, we will review and critique each member's initial rough presentations, before it goes to the client for approval. When the concept and design has been cleared with the client, you will revise and polish your work for an updated presentation. You will also be required to post a 1-2 page final self-evaluation paper to the class list, discussing the modifications you made in response to audience and client feedback. You will be evaluated according to the criteria created by the class in the two lists of good and bad Web Site design and writing strategies.

Also, with this assignment you may find yourself corresponding electronically with your client. You could even arrange client meetings in MOOspace. Remember to use the skills you have learned from Projects 1 and 2 as you conduct yourself in a professional situation.

Project 4: Writing Yourself on CD-ROM--You ARE the Text.

Objective: To explore approaches to creative hypertextual structuring within a complex, multi-layered, collaborative electronic document.

Points: 300

Time Frame: Ongoing, all semester, through comprehensive final presentation.

Audience: Many to One, Many to Many.

Requirements:

As Participant-Observers, we will bring various CD-ROMs to class (I have a bunch). If you have any CD-ROMs at home, bring them in for "Show and Tell" presentations. We will work in class as audience testers, taking notes on user responses. From your classroom observations, you will write a 1-2 page report (single-spaced, double space between paragraphs) and post it to our class list. Your report should focus on issues of structure, creativity, and usablity.

As Class Collaborators on our electronic discussion list, each group member should offer at least two possible criteria statements, one each of good and bad CD-ROM design and writing styles. The group will then discuss the various criteria and vote on the ten best and ten worst features. These two lists will be put up on the class web and revised and polished as a class all semester.

As Electronic Authors our mission will be to work collaboratively as a multimedia authoring team and compile all material and research and discussion threads from our entire semester's work into a comprehensive CD-ROM collaborative research project on Writing for Electronic Media. We will use Authorware and possibly Director in the MacLab. The class will organize and plan the project democratically, using the instructor for technical and theoretical support. We also may be able to schedule time in a room set up for computer-supported collaborative work, the Design Conference Room, for one or two of our planning meetings. Material will have to be structured, an interface designed and agreed upon, and project sections delegated. The instructor will keep backup archives after each class session so no material will be lost. We should especially pay attention to how this document contrasts, expands and improves upon the interface and structure of our class web site.

After the final presentation, the instructor will take the project to be made into a CD-ROM, which will be available for class members to purchase for approximately $10 each.


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Site maintained by Christine Boese. Last Modified 1/15/96.