Course Projects and Activities

1. Employment Project

You will be asked to locate a job for which you are qualified and apply for it. Step 1 of the project asks you to learn about and use various web-based resources for job seekers and ultimately to select one job or internship to pursue. Steps 2 and 3 ask you to prepare the all-important "Job Application Letter" and a resume specifically designed for the job or internship you've selected in Step 1. In Step 4, you will assess your experience in a "Project Assessment Document." In the process of completing each step, you will work closely with your peers and your instructor to shape your writing so that it represents you and your experience fully and effectively, given the rhetorical circumstances. You will also study and respond to examples from the textbook.

(Individual; 15% of course grade.)


2. White Paper Project

The focus of Project 2 is the white paper, a common report genre in the professional world. White papers are used in business, industrial, and governmental contexts to sum up the gist of what’s known about a subject. During this project you will learn about

  • The white paper genre through collaborative creation of a white paper.
  • New writing and communication technologies that support technical writing in college and industry, with attention to open source and other freely available software or writing spaces (online networks, blogging, etc.)
  • Collaboration, project management, and strategies for writing and revising.
  • Producing a text for the web in HTML that integrates visual content, such as screenshots, tables, and flowcharts

 All group members will keep a project log and submit Collaborative Project Evaluation forms.

(Collaborative: 25% of course grade.)


3. Usability Study and User Documentation in Multimedia

 For Project 3, you will work collaboratively in project teams on a client-based service-learning project that teaches you to manage complex writing challenges in real contexts that matter. You will learn principles of project management, collaboration, document cycling, usability testing and study, and client-based research. Because you will work with clients--either in the community, online, or theoretical--you will also learn important principles of professional and ethical communication. The goal will be to start with the White Paper Projects produced already this semester and then, after user-testing and usability study, produce a user-guide that teaches a critical and (perhaps) complex application of the technology to an interested client. You have the choice of thinking of and contacting clients who may benefit from having such your report, or accepting a theoretical client. The project will consist of several components, including a short multimedia, web-based presentation. (Collaborative; 40% of course grade.)


Exercises (both in-class and outside of class)

This portion of your grade will be based on

  •  How well you implement the guidelines and best practices for posting comments and creating reading responses, as presented on our course site and discussed in the textbook.
  • The degree to which your peer reviews and responses offer insightful feedback and suggestions on your classmates' drafts.
  • The degree to which your reading responses and comment posts demonstrate learning of the course content.
  • The degree to which your reading responses and comment posts engage with and contribute to the learning of others in the course.


Much of your writing for this class will be posted publicly on the Internet to your individual weblog or our community weblog home page. Weblog posting assignments will include drafts, project logs, and research notes, among other types of content. The calendar specifies what you should post to your weblog and by when, so let that be your guide.

Comments and Replies

All comments and replies to another's blog post should follow effective rhetorical strategies for networking with others on the Web. (Readings from the course text provide guidelines to follow.)

  • Keep threads alive and relevant.
  • Follow-up comments with further discussion.
  • Think of your comments and replies as part of a lively class discussion in which everyone participates.

(Individual; 10% of course grade)