2) Talking Type
3) Shifting Gears: writing instructions
4) Activity: Songs about Jane Fly Like Paper
Another quick Icebreaker: give us your name your
favorite breakfast food, since it’s breakfast time.
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
… 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.
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.
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.
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
You don’t have to follow your own directions.
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.
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
When you finish, hold your new plane high.
1. Does it fly?
2. Is it better than your first plane?
3. Is it better than the plane the directions were
4. What did we just learn?
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?
For next Tuesday:
Read for class: Anderson, Chapter 10, the instructions
assignment, and watch this.
Remember your Resume and Cover letter are due on
as emails to me in PDF format.