Writing for Networked Environments
ENGL3379 Fall 2008

Dr. Susan Garza
susan.garza@tamucc.edu
Office FC267 or CCH126
361-825-2483
Contact Info and Office Hours

Course Description Designed for all majors, this course emphasizes practical concepts related to writing and communication on the Internet and the World Wide Web. Attention is given to finding and analyzing information; analyzing and designing WWW sites and other digital, hypertextual environments; and analyzing and composing hypertext/hypermedia materials for digital, networked environments.

Required Texts and Materials All of the texts we use in this course are available online.

Technology Skills Since this is a class about writing in online environments, we will employ several types of technology, such as

  • Upload/download
  • Attach files
  • Develop hypertext documents (links to other pages)
  • Create Wiki documents
  • Save files in different formats
  • Zip files

If you don't know how to do some of these the class may require more work on your part. I have no problem helping you learn how to do these things, or directing you to the appropriate place for help, but you will need to put in the extra time in order to learn these skills.

Course Objectives and Outcomes By becoming aware of the writing required to be successful in networked environment and analyzing the different types of communication that take place in such environments, you will gain an understanding of the following concepts and be able to apply them to multiple writing situations:

  • Audience - Who are your readers? What do you need to know about them? How can you meet their needs?
  • Purpose - What do you want to accomplish with your writing, network interfacing?
  • Format - How will you present the information? How does presentation affect readability/usability?
  • Role of collaboration in networked environments - How do writers collaborate in networked environments? How does peer review work in those environments?
  • Revision/Editing - How is revision different from editing? How does revision relate to audience and purpose?
  • Role of Others (including your teacher) in the Writing Process - How can we work together as collaborators to learn more about networked environments? How do writers make decisions when designing documents?
  • Design Elements - How do design elements, such as white space, paragraphing, headers & footers, document styles, typefaces, and visual aids, affect usability?

You will understand and use these elements by writing and working with numerous types of networked environment writing. Some of what you do will focus on web pages, but there are many other types of writing involved in these environments that we will learn more about as well. Some examples are

  • Online Reports
  • Web Sites
  • Instructions and Other Forms of Technical Writing
  • Webfolios

Grading

  • 30%Weekly Read and Respond assignments. These will be due no later than midnight on Sunday night.
  • 20%Respect and Responsibility, which equals active participation and a professional attitude.
  • 20% Project Plan due October 19
  • 20% First draft of completed Final Project due November 16
  • 10% Final draft of Final Project due December 11

Late Work: I will accept no late work without prior approval. Prior approval means that you have contacted me within an appropriate amount of time. Prior approval does not mean that you call or email at the last minute to tell me something else has come up. I also will not accept any work for major projects that I have not seen drafts of over the course of the semester. In other words, if you turn in a major project at the end of the semester on the day it is due and I have never seen any of the work prior to that time, I will not accept it. I will not accept any of the weekly assignments late. If you do not get the weekly work turned in by Sunday night at midnight you will not receive credit for that work. (Exceptions will be given if the network goes down, but not for individual student computer difficulties. You should plan for such circumstances and not wait until the last minute to complete the work.)

Attendance: Class attendance is required and expected. In this class attendance means that you have a presence in the online spaces that are a part of this class. You should get to know each other almost as well, or maybe even better than you would in a face-to-face class. This will only happen if you post often and participate in all activities and discussions.

Workshop This class is designed as a hands-on workshop class. You will have an active role as you work on the phases of each project and respond to the work of your classmates and receive feedback on your work. This class is designed to give you experiences that are similar to those you will experience in the workplace so you will also receive feedback from others outside the class. We will work on your assignments weekly. The work is on-going and hands-on. Writing in any environment is an active process and the more you actively participate, the better results you will see in your progress.

Resources for Students