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ATEC 3320: Introduction to Writing and Editing for the World Wide Web

Section 001 Dr. J.C. Gooch Office Number: JO 5.608F Office Hours: TR, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m. and by appointment Office Phone: (972) 883 – 2076 E-mail:

Course Description The World Wide Web is fast becoming the number one publishing medium of the 21st century. The industry trend seeks to digitize existing print books and magazines in search of good content, while the fast growing e-zines, blogs, non-profit sites, government sites, e-commerce sites, and corporate and personal homepages announce the arrival of a new kid on the block: web content. This course will introduce you to the different genres of web content. Writing well for the web requires the same amount of talent and practice that writing well for the print media demands but with additional critical differences. Web writing starts with targeting an audience (readers/users) and developing content that is interactive across multiple modalities such as text, images, and other media. Links are the power behind the internet and internal and external linking alters the manner in which we read online text and thus its design and content. While traditional web development models have favored graphical design principles, or the way a website “looks” over how it “reads”,” or its information architecture, current studies show that successful websites are those with loyal subscribers who come back again and again for good content. ATEC 3320 is a reading and writing intensive course, and I will ask you to write web log entries on the assigned readings. In addition to individual web logs, you have two individual projects and two team projects. You will practice creative hypertext writing and submit an analytical and evaluative essay on a web site. In teams you will design and write content for a commercial website for a product/service of your choice. You will also compile a team style guide for your web project. This course will also give you the primer on effective editing for the web with particular emphasis on fact checking and working with a style guide. We will also review copyright and legal issues of web writing. Objectives • To improve writing and editing skills as applied to hypertext • To understand the characteristics and nature of hypertext • To comprehend the World Wide Web as a multifaceted communication medium • To analyze proficiently the various audiences who may represent potential users • To apply effectively user-centered design approaches Skills and Other Requirements for the Course WebCT The course is taught using WebCT. All students must have UTD User IDs and passwords to access course materials—including the submission of assignments. Students have the responsibility to ensure that the course remains accessible to them for the duration of the semester. Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance It is the policy of UTD to provide reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals who are students with disabilities. This university will adhere to all applicable federal, state and local laws,


regulations and guidelines with respect to providing reasonable accommodations as required to afford equal educational opportunity. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the office of services for students with disabilities (Kerry Tate at (972) 883-2098 or in a timely manner to arrange for reasonable accommodations. Required Textbooks Gauntlett and Horsley (Eds), Web.Studies, Second Edition Kilian, Writing for the Web Snyder (Ed), Page to Screen: Taking Literacy into the Electronic Era Williams, Non-Designers Web Book IMPORTANT NOTE: This is NOT an introduction to HTML course. The reason is simple; there is so much web content to cover that we do not have time for HTML lessons. However, you are required to have internet connectivity and a web domain space to upload and publish your assignments. In order to complete your assignments you need to obtain personal web site space. There are several options for you to meet this requirement for the course. First, if you have dialup/modem or DSL you will/might have space available through your ISP provider. Ask your tech support to connect you with your web space. AOL, Comcast and Earthlink are examples of ISPs that provide web space along with their ISP packages. If you do not have a dialup provider, you would still need to obtain web space to publish your assignments. Please choose your low cost provider carefully to avoid sites with advertising banners and pop-ups. There are low cost providers such which is free and does not have pop-ups or spam features. I will not accept any assignments submitted on Angelfire, Geocities or Tripod; they are notoriously cluttered with pop-ups and ads. You'll need the following information to upload pages to your site: 1. 2. 3. 4. The user name and password you need to use. The server address to use in your FTP program. The name of your "home" directory (where you begin uploading your files) Any requirements for a default file name (ask if you must use an index.html file or something similar).

A word about transferring your files to the server: PC users can use CuteFTP, WS_FTP, SmartFTP (or any other FTP program you wish, provided that it is not attached to an authoring program, such as FrontPage or Netscape Composer or any other WYSIWYG program). Mac users can download Fetch or SmartFTP for Mac or use any other FTP program they wish with the same caveat regarding WYSIWYG editors. You might want to check the Internet for Free FTP clients. You should also know that UTD provides free domain space to all registered students. There will be a workshop on publishing your pages on the UTD server in the second week of class. Those who wish to practice uploading their pages to the UTD server should attend this workshop. I shall announce the details of this workshop later in class. Then there is always learning HTML and using a simple Text Editor to make your pages. If you wish to learn HTML [and I strongly recommend that you do], there are several excellent websites on the Internet that teach you introductory and advanced HTML, starting with the W3C consortium at


Please resolve your web space issue, should you have any, before the first assignment is due. As always, if you need to discuss any of these issues, please do so before the assignment is due. Policies General Policies and Course Expectations • At bare minimum, students must submit all major assignments (not including homework/class work) to pass the course. Students who fail to submit all major assignments will not pass the course, regardless of the number of points the student has earned. Cell phones and digital pagers must be powered off during formal class hours. I will not accept late homework/class work regardless of the excuse. Please do not bring meals to class. Students should eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at a time other than class time.

• • •

Room and Equipment Use • Tampering with or destroying any of the computers, printers, Smart Board, white boards, modems or wiring in the classroom is strictly prohibited. Violations will result in disciplinary action by the Dean of Students’ office. The room may be used only for ATEC 3320 related activities. You may not work on other class projects, check your e-mail, print, work for other classes, burn CDs that are not part of ATEC 3320 assignments, install software (games, music, executables, programming languages, or any other software that has not been approved by the IPC.) Any violation of the above restriction would refer a student to disciplinary action with the Dean of Students office. A second violation will result in the student receiving an “F” in the course regardless of the quality of class work.

Absence Policy I will allow you two (2) days as personal/free/sick leave for this semester. Students will receive grade reduction on the third absence; I will also penalize students for missing presentation days. Because successfully completing ATEC 3320 depends upon your attendance and participation, extended illness and otherwise legitimate circumstances can hinder your overall performance. If an extended illness and/or hospital stay causes you to miss four (4) or more class days (equivalent of two weeks of class), then you should drop this course. Punctuality It is important to attend class on time. Persistent and reoccurring tardiness is disrespectful to me and to your fellow peers. If you continually attend class late, it will affect your final grade in the course. Student may leave early with instructor permission; however, such occurrences should be very infrequent. Incompletes Policy As per UTD policy, an incomplete will not be given unless the student has completed 70% of the course work and/or the conditions for not being able to complete the course work can be documented through medical and/or emergency documentation. The decision to grant an incomplete will be made by both the instructor and the program director. Correspondence I will send all electronic correspondence only to a student’s UTD email address and require that all official electronic correspondence between a student and me be transmitted from the students’ UTD email account. UT Dallas furnishes each student a FREE Network ID (netid) linked


to an email account. To activate or maintain a UTD computer account and/or to set email forwarding options, go to NOTE: The UTD Department of Information Resources provides a method for students to forward their UTD email to other personal and business email to other personal or business emails accounts. Plagiarism Plagiarism is the intentional or unintentional use of other people’s ideas, words, phrases, entire paragraphs or single sentences without acknowledging the source in timely and appropriate citations. Plagiarism is a form of scholastic dishonesty that is punishable by failing the assignment, failing the course, being put on academic probation or in extreme cases dismissal from the university. If you borrow content or graphics from other books, course lectures, websites or other forms of print or electronic media, you must cite them according to specifications mandated for this course. Everything you submit for peer or instructor review for this class is bound by the academic honor code that requires it to be your unique work with borrowed content properly cited. In contrast to plagiarism’s inappropriate use of other sources’ information, cheating, or scholastic dishonesty, includes a wide range of behaviors. The UTD Scholastic Dishonesty page lists eighteen types of behaviors, including copying another student’s work, making work or information available for another student, accessing information at inappropriate times, and submitting an assignment that you did not prepare. This list is not exhaustive but does provide a sense of common ways cheating occurs. While you can (and in fact should) seek the help and advice of friends, classmates, and tutors, including the Writing Center in McDermott Library, be sure that your individual work is completely your own. Students should be familiar with UTD’s policies on scholastic dishonesty and conduct UTD's policies on student discipline and conduct, which includes a description and examples of scholastic dishonesty and misconduct. Students sanctioned by the Dean of Students Office for plagiarism will not pass this course. Non- Disclosure and Intellectual Property Students in this course share their ideas through collaborative work, projects, and oral presentations. Consequently, instructors cannot guarantee proprietary rights to an idea, document, program, etc. When selecting topics for projects, assignments, and presentations, consider whether you intend to pursue intellectual property rights such as patents or copyrights. If so, please be advised that everything discussed or produced in this course belongs to the public domain and as such will not give you any copyright or patent benefits. If that is a concern to you, I strongly recommend that you select another topic for the assignment. Additionally, students employed with local companies should review the employer’s non-disclosure agreements and avoid revealing proprietary information in the course. UTD and the faculty assume no responsibility when employees choose to disclose such proprietary information. Note: I reserve the right to modify this syllabus at any time during the course of the semester to suit the needs of the students and the course objectives. Any changes thus made shall be communicated to you in writing. Assignments Assignments Web Site Evaluation/Analysis Essay Hypertext Essay Web Style Guide Usability Design Report (Memo format) Collaborative Web Site Point Value 150 points 150 points 150 points 100 points 200 points % 15% 15% 15% 10% 20% Due Date September 9 September 30 October 20 November 18 December 2


Reading Responses (Web Log, 8 total) Participation/Homework/Class Work Grading Scale 930 – 1000 = A 900 – 929 = A 870 – 899 = B+ 830 – 869 = B 800 – 829 = B770 – 799 = C+

200 points [max] 50 points

20% 5%

Varies Varies

730 – 769 = C 700 – 729 = C670 – 699 = D+ 630 – 669 = D 600 – 629 = D599 and below = F

(Grading scale is consistent with the UTD Undergraduate Catalogue, 2004-06.) General Grading Criteria Analysis of Audience and Purpose When presenting technical information in oral or written form, it becomes critically important to analyze audience and also to identify the purpose of the document or presentation. When communicating using the World Wide Web, one should learn as much as he or she can about potential audiences and then make certain to effectively address those readers or listeners. Organization and Development (Overall Content) It is important to structure effectively the information and also provide adequate support for ideas and arguments through evidence and analysis. Effective writing also necessitates that you effectively structure each paragraph and each section. Thesis or Main Point Any piece of writing should support a main point, central claim, or thesis. Your web content or written essays should support a main point that you are communicating to an intended audience. Style Word choices, use of language, and sentence structure become very important for a piece of writing’s overall effectiveness. Writers should maintain an appropriate level of style for the audience and also for their intended purpose. Accessibility Making web sites “accessible” requires effective linking, appropriate use of headings and subheadings, and also clear designations of navigational icons. Web site accessibility refers to the ease at which users can locate information on your site. An inaccessible site may discourage users from returning to the home page. Accessible web content necessarily becomes more usercentered content.
Format (Delivery and Design Features) Formatting concerns relate to certain and specific visual features such as font size and type, font style, white space, and use of color. Web writers make a multitude of basic formatting decisions when preparing content. Making effective decisions along these lines can help make web content more accessible, and thus, more user-centered. Professionalism You will prepare work according to the same professional and ethical standards expected of you in the workplace. As future or current professionals and also as graduate students, I expect you to proofread and edit carefully all work you submit in this class. I also expect you to adhere to conventional English grammar


and mechanics on all assignments. Professionalism also means that you use appropriate source citation wherever and whenever necessary so that you avoid violations of copyright – even if those violations are inadvertent. Remember: your work reflects upon you as a future professional. NOTE: To earn an “A” grade for an assignment, it must meet and exceed these expectations.

ATEC 3320 Schedule, FALL 2005 Week of August 22, 24 Theme/Topic Introduction to Course Readings Killian, Chapter 1 Gauntlett, Chapter 1 (in Gauntlett) Gurak, Chapter 2 (in Gauntlett) Kress, Chapter 3 (in Snyder) Moran and Hawisher, Chapter 4 (in Snyder) Cheung Chapter 4 (in Guantlett) Kilian, Chapter 2 Wakeford, Chapter 3 (in Gauntlett) Burbules, Chapter 5 (in Snyder) Snyder, Chapter 6 and Douglas, Chapter 7 (in Snyder) Pullen, Chapter 6 (in Gauntlett) Smit, Chapter 13 (in Gauntlett) Joyce, Chapter 8 (in Snyder) Beavis, Chapter 11 (in Snyder) Kilian, Chapters 3-4 & 8

August 29, 31

Communicating with Hypertext

September 7

Evaluating Web Content

September 12, 14

The Culture of Hypertext

September 19, 21

Using Hypertext to Write Arguments The Politics and Economics of the Web

September 26, 28

Couldry, Chapter 15 (in Gauntlett) Lax, Chapter 18 (in Gauntlett) Taylor, Chapter 19 (in Gauntlett) Olson, Chapter 16 (in Gauntlett) Dobie, Chapter 17 (in Gauntlett) Knobel et al, Chapter 2 (in Snyder) Taylor, Chapter 19 (in

October 3, 5

Legal Issues and Web Communication

October 10, 12

Communicating across International Boundaries


Gauntlett) Arnold and Plymire, Chapter 21 (in Gauntett) October 17, 19 Constructing Web Sites October 20 - Last Day to Withdraw Kilian, Chapter 5

October 24, 26 October 31, November 2 November 7, 9 November 14, 16 November 21, 23 November 28