Jerz: Writing for the Internet (EL236)


13 September 2004

Discussion of Kilian (Writing for the Web)

It's a short book, so I'm asking you to read it all.

In discussion: A basic principle of writing is "Know Your Audience." What does Kilian's book teach us about the readers of online documents?

On a piece of paper: How are you personally adjusting your own academic writing style in order to write for this class? Give an example of a sentence that you would have written for a traditional (printed) form, or in an informal online environment; then, revise it so that it will be acceptable for a college course in writing for the internet.

Small group exercises: A few short selections from the textbook (bulleted lists; .

Suggested blog topics:

Kilian introduces "semantics" and "register" as part of a discussion that distinguishes between informing, persuading, and marketing. Examine the Seton Hill University website, and evaluate it in terms of semantics and register, as well as its ability to inform, persuade, and market. (I'd prefer that you not start a blog entry with a list of terms and then just write a few sentences on each in the order which they are listed on this page. Come up with a point that you want to make, and use the terms Kilian provides in order to help you make that point.)

Compare the online syllabus for EL 236 with a syllabus you received in a different class. Is your other syllabus mostly designed for print, or is it also an online document? If it is designed for print, how does it differ from EL 236's syllabus? If it is also an online document, how does your other professor handle the needs of online writers?

Due: Ex 1-4 ('About' Page)

The assignment is to use what you've learned from reading Kilian's Writing for the Web to create an "about" page that introduces your readers to yourself and your weblog. We'll start this in class on Sept 13 -- it will be due Sept 15. I'm not posting full, step-by-step instructions here; this is just a road map we'll use during class.

  1. Check weblog config to ensure category archiving is turned on.
  2. Create "about" category.
  3. Optional (on your own time): create cateogries to sort your existing postings. Follow the instructions for adding more category features to your blog.
  4. Templates -> "Create new template index". Call the template "About", name the ouptut file "about.html" and link it to a file named "about.tmpl".
  5. Updated: Download (right-click, "Save Target As") the about.tmpl file. An item titled "Save as type" will be set to "HTML Document". Change that to "All Files." (You won't need to keep a copy of this file for long, but you will need to know where you put it so you can upload it in the next step.)
  6. Use "Upload File" to put a copy of this file in "blogs.setonhill.edu/YourName". (That's the default place where uploaded files will go, so you shouldn't need to change any settings.) If you see two versions of "about" on your computer, upload the one that does not have the blue "e" icon attached to it.
  7. Create a test blog entry with a link to "http://blogs.setonhill.edu/YourName/about.html". Click the link to check it.
  8. Now create a few separate blog entries under the category "about". Give each "chunk" a separate title, and publish each as a separate blog entry. Remember to rebuild each time.
  9. Change the date on each of your "about" entries to change the order in which they appear on your "about" page. Use a date far in the future to make the "about" entry "stick" to the front of your blog. Use a date in the past to hide the "about" entry from your front page.
  10. Edit the "links" sidebar to put a permanent link to your "About" page on your blogroll.

Your "About" page does not need to follow the same style you use elsewhere on your blog. If you feel brave, you can paste over the content of the "About" template you have created, and use an HTML editor to post anything at all in that space. My intention is to get you to start thinking of the various sections on your website as components.