Technical Writing, September 12th, 2013


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Technical Writing, September 12th, 2013

  1. 1. TODAY 1) Icebreaker 2) Talking Type 3) Shifting Gears: writing instructions 4) Activity: Songs about Jane Fly Like Paper 5) Homework
  2. 2. Icebreaker Another quick Icebreaker: give us your name your favorite breakfast food, since it’s breakfast time.
  3. 3. Type I had you read that piece on typefaces today to give you a little bit of the deeper scholarship on document design. I don’t want to push too hard on it, but I do want you to take a moment, right now, to think about the font you chose to use for your resume and cover letter. My guess is you went fairly basic.
  4. 4. Basically… … the idea is to use the best font to capture, rhetorically, what you’re trying to say. But never use Comic Sans. Seriously. I’ll cry if you do. Comic Sans is evil.
  5. 5. Major Assignment 2 At this point, I’m going to pull up assignment 2 so we can talk about it. Please join me on the course website. Alt-tab time!
  6. 6. Activity If any of you went to convocation, you got to see Jane McGonigal’s version of a massive paper airplane advice giving game happen out on “the quad.” 4000 paper airplanes was pretty impressive, I’ll admit. But we’re going to co-opt her idea for the sake of learning a little bit about writing instructions.
  7. 7. Take two sheets of paper You will receive two sheets of unlined, blank paper. Now it gets fun. On one sheet – without doing any folding or any consulting of any other sources– write EXHAUSTIVE directions for folding a paper airplane. Yes, I do mean exhaustive. Every single step needs to be there. Then… fold the paper you wrote your directions on into a paper airplane. You don’t have to follow your own directions.
  8. 8. Prepare for insanity This might go really poorly, so… be ready. Spread out as much as you can within the room. Lift your plane. Hurl. Catch a plane– it can’t be yours. Hurl again, as needed, until we all have a new plane.
  9. 9. Now Unfold your plane. Using the directions, and making NO logic leaps at all (meaning you must be literal, even if you KNOW that will mean failure), follow the directions using your fresh sheet of paper. When you finish, hold your new plane high.
  10. 10. Throw it. 1. Does it fly? 2. Is it better than your first plane? 3. Is it better than the plane the directions were written on? 4. What did we just learn?
  11. 11. We’re going to do much more… …with instructions as we go through this assignment. But you’ve just watched the core of what we need to do to write good directions. We need a task, a clear way to execute it, a user test, and then to refine and revise. Also you just got to make a paper airplane and chuck it in a college class. That’s worth something, right?
  12. 12. Homework For next Tuesday: Read for class: Anderson, Chapter 10, the instructions assignment, and watch this. Remember your Resume and Cover letter are due on the 19th as emails to me in PDF format.