Sunday, January 08, 2006

Retired blog

This blog is now retired.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

For the final class

Now that you have developed some sophisticated ways of evaluating web site design and content, you should be ready to show classmates a few examples of excellence that you have discovered in your research for the final project. For Thursday, bring the URL of a web site that contains at least two traits of excellence that you can show the class. Be ready to talk about the traits, to point them out on the screen, and to explain why they are special.

Please choose two examples that rise beyond things that should be obvious at this point in the semester. For example, a good site should obviously have a consistent house style, and showing us a site that has a house style won't reveal much to us. If a site has a subtle and distinctive house style, that would be a different matter. Similarly, it is obvious that a site should be dynamic, and showing us a dynamic site would be old news. If a site has a new approach to dynamic content that we haven't already discussed, that would be very useful to share.

Our goal is to show two of the best traits that you've discovered in your research for the final project in order to help people make sure they are thinking ambitiously about how their state of the art site might work. Show classmates two traits that they might want to consider for their state of the art site. If the session goes well, some of these ideas will help classmates strengthen the final drafts of their projects.

Each person will call up the site on the main screen, explain the two traits, and take questions from the class, for about three minutes.

Revisions of the final projects will be due to my office or email account by 5:00 p.m. Monday.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Feedback on drafts

Just a reminder of the announcement from last class: the email feedback messages to two classmates on their drafts are due by midnight on Monday evening. Copies of the emails should go to the writer and the instructor.

Useful feedback should help the writer see what is already strong in the draft, what parts might need to be clarified, what parts might benefit from further discussion, and what parts of the checklist on state of the art sites still need to be addressed. Work hard on these feedback messages -- at the end of the semester you should be able to give detailed feedback on state of the art site construction.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Reviewing the Live site

Reminder -- bring to class today a typed sheet with the ideas you plan to contribute to the class discussion about the Live site. Since the semester has not been enough time to fully develop the site, we will discuss its strengths and weaknesses as a prototype.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Possible elements of a state of the art site

Based on our class discussion:

Strong focus
Good title / logo / choice of images
Mission statement
Articles all about the focus
Link of focus to choice of categories

Serves a particular audience or particular audiences
Serve the audience with a generous amount of information
Make the site easy for the actual audience to use
Use images of the audience on the site
Responding to the input of the audience
Forum / comments / survey / poll or other reader participation option

Organization
Inverted pyramid as a way of informing people of the broad content, then moving to the particular
Categories that make the site convenient
Use a "as few clicks as possible" model for reaching information
Organizing by audience or use via republishing

Page design / easy and pleasing layout
Not too many things to look at, not too many pyrotechnics
Use current software and design tools for an up to date feel
Try to avoid scrolling
Using borders or other graphical devices to help the reader see the organization
Good color scheme
House style: for page layout, titles, etc.

Dynamic content
Standing searches
RSS feeds
Technology allows for easy updating
Shiny happy people writing content - strong staff
New content / recycling it / republishing it
Digesting new developments in
Delay posting: articles appear on schedule to repay repeat visits: strategic about timing the posts

Use of new but commonly available visual technologies like Flash / pictures that move
Watch the upload time for images

Sidebar
Relevent links in articles and on the sidebar: organized in some way
Search function
Multiple-language versions of the site, well-translated

Good writing and grammar, proofreading, cohesion and coherence, etc.
Language appropriate for the audience
Spellcheck the darn thing

Editorial: a person or group and a policy for moderating the content and instilling a professional tone, etc.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Sites used in class discussion today

Today we looked at the writing and site design for portions of the Anhueser-Busch and Monsanto web sites, as a way of continuing to ask about the elements of a state of the art site for a particular field. We saw many strong traits on these sites and made a few suggestions about ways they could be improved.

Syllabus update

11/22 Discussion of sample sites for research project.
24 Consume large quantities of traditional foods.

29 Annotated bibliography for research project due, listing all sources for the project in standard MLA style. Annotations should indicate the role each source will play in the final version of the project. Discussion of Live site as time permits.
12/1 Discussion of Live site. Draft of research project due, at least 4 full pages of writing, plus corrected bibliography. Bring 3 print copies and an electronic copy to class. Feedback begins.

6 Discussion and feedback on project drafts. Blog portfolio due.
8 Final versions of project sites due. Proofreading and formatting in lab.

13 Exam period, if needed to conclude any activity.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Intelligent design site, continued

For Thursday, come to class with a typed sheet listing 3-5 ways to improve the Intelligent Design Network of Ohio site we examined in class today. We'll use these lists to conclude our conversation of this site's strengths and weaknesses as a web site.

Revised draft rubric

How to evaluate an individual's blog (revised draft)

A: All the *C and **B traits plus:

Well-developed and organized sidebar with updated, especially well-focused links.
Well-focused on a specific element of its topic or topics.
Frequently offering in-depth comments that further discussion.

B: All the C* traits plus:

**Commenting widely on blogs by many classmates.
**All posts are relevant to the needs of the audience.
**All links are relevant to the blog and make it stronger.
**Standing searches and news aggregator regularly produce relevant content from standing seaches.
**Posts frequently and regularly in ways that are relevant to the site's subject.
**Writes concisely.
**Development of a clear house style.
**Responding regularly in a specific, engaged manner to other people's sites and their comments on your site.
Well-developed sidebar with pertinent links.
Post develop toward a specific audience and well-focused topics are emerging.
Commenting regularly in a way that engages the topic thoughtfully.

C (satisfactory):

*Frequently makes clear sentence to sentence cohesion
*Correct grammar and punctuation use. (In special cases, informal grammar and punctuation, as planned to be appropriate for a particular audience -- arranged ahead of time with the instructor.)
*Does the assignments that have been given over the semester.
*Making sure your in-post links work when posting them -- permalink strategy.
Broad or general collection of topics or focus
Sidebar with a collection of relevent links.
Responding occasionally to other people's sites.
Responding occasionally to those who comment on your site.
Some wordiness remains.
Posts frequently and regularly.
Commenting occasionally in a way that shows the piece was read and that has relevance to the posting.
Commenting on only a portion of the class's blogs.
Standing searches and news aggregator occasionally producing relevant content from standing searches
Links have relevance to the site
Many posts are related to the needs of the audience

Checklist we were working from:

coherence and cohesion/ sentence-linking / wordiness
frequency of posting / number of posts
hypertext links to other sites in your posts
focus and consistency and substance in the topic
responding to people who comment on your site
commenting on other people's sites
use of news aggregator and standing searches to find good content
engaging commenting readers and other web writers directly
a clear sense of serving a particular audience

Blog rubric draft

Today we'll continue our work on a rubric for evaluating the individual blogs. Last time we created this set of working materials:

How to evaluate an individual's blog (working draft)

coherence and cohesion/ sentence-linking / wordiness
frequency of posting / number of posts
hypertext links to other sites in your posts
focus and consistency and substance in the topic
responding to people who comment on your site
commenting on other people's sites
use of news aggregator and standing searches to find good content
engaging commenting readers and other web writers directly
a clear sense of serving a particular audience

A: All the *C and **B traits plus:

Well-developed and organized sidebar with updated, especially well-focused links.

B: All the C* traits plus:

**Development of a clear house style.
**Responding regularly in a specific, engaged manner to other people's sites.
Well-developed sidebar with pertinent links.

C (satisfactory):

*Correct grammar and punctuation use. (In special cases, informal grammar and punctuation, as planned to be appropriate for a particular audience -- arranged ahead of time with the instructor.)
*Does the assignments that have been given over the semester.
*Making sure your in-post links work when posting them -- permalink strategy.
Sidebar with a collection of relevent links.
Responding occasionally to other people's sites.
Responding occasionally to those who comment on your site.