Attendance is mandatory at the on-campus orientation session
on 01 September 2007. We will meet as a class in a computer-equipped
classroom. The mandatory on-campus orientation session will include an
introduction to the course material, a discussion of the technology
that we'll use to pursue the coursework, and exercises to assess
students' writing abilities and familiarity with Internet technology.
Any student who does not attend the mandatory orientation session will
be dropped from the class. Any tuition refund for which such a student
might be eligible is the responsibility of the student.
There will be two types of reading assignments for this class:
readings in the textbook, readings of your
classmates' work, and reading research material online. The readings
from the textbook will help you understand the demands of a particular
type of writing. Reading your classmates' work will both help you
become a sensitive reader of your peers' writing and help you reflect
upon your own approaches to a writing situation. Reading online
materials will be part of the preparation process for class discussion
and part of the research process for certain projects.
There will be two primary types of writing assignments
in this course:
- Drafts and revisions of written projects
- Focused writings written as class preparation for
writing and for discussion, and that will include summaries and
responses to sample documents, and online discussions
- As you might expect with a writing class, the written
projects will be the focus of the class. Students in English 103 are
expected to produce documents that range from one to eight pages long.
Some of these projects will involve some research from outside sources.
Since this is an online course, I hope that we can use
both the technology and use of the Internet for technical communication
themselves as topics for some of the projects. Many of you, if not
most, use the Internet at work or use the Internet at home for
communication purposes. Examining those purposes and the types of
communication in which Internet users engage, particularly technical
writers, can be very useful for future activities in industry or even
in another online course.
Written and visual conventions are fundamental aspects
of technical documents. For instance, because of written as well as
visual conventions we can tell that a particular document is a
installation guide and not an informal report. And while most technical
communication students feel that they can recognize "technical writing
style and tone"--whatever that means--the visual aspects of a
document's design are just as readily apparent and definable once we
know what to look for.
So, the formatting and design of your documents will be
an important consideration in this class. Your work will be evaluated
according to both the writing and the visual presentation. This means
that you should be sure to save your work, especially your revised
projects, in Rich Text Format so that formatting will be preserved when
you e-mail it to me.
There are two types of online discussion, synchronous
and asynchronous. The former means discussing in real time. Examples of
synchronous discussion are chat rooms and MOOs. The latter means
discussing not in real time. Examples of asynchronous discussion are
e-mail, bulletin boards, and Usenet newsgroups. We will use mainly
asynchronous discussion during the semester.
We will use asynchronous discussion in the form of our
course web site's bulletin
board. We will set up discussion topics dealing with class
assignments, projects in progress, and the like. There will also be a
forum for more informal discussion. As a class we will discuss using
AOL's Instant Messenger (AIM) for synchronous discussion.
You should expect to spend nearly five hours online per
week. This is not all the time that you will spend doing your
classwork; much of the work, such as drafting and revising documents,
composing discussion responses, and the like can be done offline.
Online work will consist of using e-mail and the class web site. You
will spend time online posting discussion responses, researching,
sending e-mail to your classmates and your instructors, and
participating in asynchronous discussion.