wra 360 • section 001 • spring 2014 • 317 BesseyDànielle Nicole DeVoss
office, phone: 276 Bessey Hall
office hours: by appointment
syllabus in PDF: pdfs/WRA_360_SYLLABUS.pdf
Professional writers not only compose a range of documents—including memos, letters, reports, slideshow presentations, web pages, brochures, flyers, forms, instruction sets, documentation and help files, and many others—we also design these documents. Document design requires that we think about how the structure and elements help readers understand and use the texts we create.
Thus, in this writing-, analysis-, and production-intensive course, we will:
- explore how design elements work within different types of documents;
- examine the effects document design elements have on different readers/viewers/users; and
- describe, analyze, articulate, and justify our design decisions.
We will also create documents using different tools (e.g., software applications like Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop; using online image databases and materials we gather during the semester) so that we leave the class familiar with:
- navigating audience, purpose, and context;
- negotiating the cultural and ethical implications of our document design work;
- selecting among different typographical elements;
- understanding how color works in particular documents;
- working with images (for instance, knowing when to select a graphic, stock art, photograph, diagram, etc.); and
- knowing when to use different data displays (e.g., table, bar chart, flow chart).
All of our course readings are available on our class D2L site (http://d2l.msu.edu). In the “Content” tab in our D2L course, you will find a folder for each week; inside the folder will be two subfolders (one for each day the class meets that week); inside each day’s folder, you will find two subfolders: one contains the readings due that day, and the other contains the notes and materials from class that day.
The other important class space is this web site, where all of our class modules (and related links and materials) will be posted (in the "modules" area), along with the class schedule and guiding questions for the class readings (in the "schedule" area).
Participation is ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. Come to class prepared to discuss the readings due that day. Plan on expressing your ideas, frustrations, questions, confusions, etc., even if you’re not able to articulate them without some hesitation—sometimes ambivalent or ambiguous remarks spark the liveliest discussions.
If you are absent, you miss valuable class time with your peers and will have difficulty keeping up with the pace of the class. If you miss class, you are still responsible for obtaining class notes and completing work you missed.
A third absence will make a difference in your final grade; for every absence after two, your final grade will go down .25.
TOTAL POINTS: 1800 points percentage grade document design presentation > 150
reading discussion >150
modules 1–9 > 900 (100 points each)
final project presentation > 100
final project > 500
1800–1710 = A
1709–1620 = A/B
1619–1530 = B
1529–1440 = B/C
1439–1350 = C
1349–1260 = C/D
1259–1170 = D
100–96 = A
95–91 = A/B
90–86 = B
80–76 = C
75–71 = C/D
70–66 = D
4.0–3.7 = A
3.6–3.1 = A/B
3.0–2.7 = B
2.6–2.1 = B/C
2.0–1.7 = C
1.6–1.1 = C/D
1.0–.7 = D
Note that these are just brief overviews—full-length assignments and examples will be provided in class; complete assignments will be linked below after they are introduced in class.
document design collection
This is an optional assignment, but one I much very recommend that you engage in. Every week, add a document (or two or three or four or more) to your collection. You might look for interesting letterhead, flyers, photographs, announcements, invitations, newsletters, images from the web, brochures, wrappers or labels, magazine ads, etc.
Save these materials in a folder (print and/or digital) and bring the folder to class. We will use the materials you collect as discussion points in class, and you should find the folder valuable as a visual and document design examples resource collection.
document design presentation
100 points; due dates assigned in class
document design assignment and schedule: pdfs/PRESENTATION_document_design.pdf
Once during the semester, you will be responsible for bringing in at least one document that you want to share with the class. You may choose the examples you present from your document design collection. You can bring in either a “bad” example or a “good” example.
100 points; due dates assigned in class
reading discussion assignment and schedule: pdfs/PRESENTATION_reading_discussion/pdf
Once during the semester, you will be responsible for bringing in a question or two or three linked to the day’s readings. The goal of this activity is to start a discussion about the day’s readings with the rest of the class.
100 points each; due dates on schedule
Modules provide a space for you to explore, experiment, and gain some hands-on writing and design practice. Each module will relate to that week’s readings and discussions. Modules must be completed in the order in which they appear on the course schedule; the modules are (or will be) available on our class web site.
Class activities and discussions will help you prepare for the modules, but it is your responsibility to read the modules and to prepare and submit your work in its entirety, so read the modules carefully.
final project (portfolio materials and class reflection)
presentation (100 points) > due week 15
project product itself (500 points) > due Wednesday, April 30 by 5pm
full assignment: pdfs/final_project.pdf
To receive any accommodation for any disability, students must first register with the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities. The RCPD will request appropriate documentation and make a determination regarding the nature of the accommodation to which a students is entitled. The RCPD will then give the student a “visa” that specifies the kind of accommodation that may be provided. It is then the responsibility of the student seeking accommodation to present the visa to his/her instructor.
dànielle nicole devoss | firstname.lastname@example.org