Jerz: Writing for the Internet (EL 236)

Historical Context

We will take a brief look at some of the history that brought us where we are today in terms of writing technology.

Permalink | 28 Aug 2006 | Comments (0)

Introduction to SHU weblogs.

Everyone will receive a SHU weblog. See the online instructions.

Permalink | 30 Aug 2006 | Comments (0)

IM tournament telephone game

We will break up into teams and complete some text-messaging activities (working with the text of the First Amendment).

Permalink | 1 Sep 2006 | Comments (0)


What did we learn from the IM activities?

Permalink | 1 Sep 2006 | Comments (1)

Blogging Plug and Slug

In future classes when we have technical material to cover, we won't have so much time for in-class discussions.

In order to get into the swing of the RRRR sequence, I am asking that today, everyone spend class time catching up on their blogging. In the future, we won't spend nearly as much class time on blogging the assigned readings -- that should be happening before class.

If you're already caught up, feel free to start working on the blogging that will prepare you for Monday's class.

Reminder... for every class period where there are assigned readings:

  1. I'm asking for a single Agenda Item for each assigned reading that gets a separate entry on the blog. That means that about 24 hours before class started, I was looking for each student to post at least one brief quotation from each assigned reading. (There are four short articles assigned for today, so I'm looking for four agenda items. All I want is a meaningful title, a direct quote from the assigned reading, and a brief statement about what you would talk about if called on. Could be as brief as 2 or 3 sentences -- but feel free to embellish.)
  2. I am also asking that everyone read their peer entries, and post 2-4 comments on each reading. (These can be informal but should always be respectful. I'd like a little more than "Good job" or "I agree," but you can certainly feel free to agree with each other as well as disagree.)
  3. Write a single 100-200 word reflection, covering one or more of the assigned readings, and mentioning by name at least one student who's blogging has made you rethink your position or who otherwise helped you gain an insight. (You may post these reflections on your blog, but you are also welcome simply to bring them to class.)

Permalink | 8 Sep 2006 | Comments (0)

Group work.

Start working on section 1. Aim to get to page 25 by the 18th.

Permalink | 15 Sep 2006 | Comments (1)

Group work.

Continue working on section 1. Aim to get up to page 47 today.

Permalink | 18 Sep 2006 | Comments (0)

Group work.

Your group should aim to get to page 71 today.

Permalink | 27 Sep 2006 | Comments (1)

Group work.

We will upload the group websites. I'll focus on the students who feel they need more help. If you can do the work on your own, you don't need to show up.

Class today is optional for you if you

1) manage to upload your sample website (in the state Castro describes at the end of Chapter 2, with all links working, images and stylesheets loading properly, etc.).

2) test your website from a different computer (see the newbie tips document you read for Friday)

3) post a comment here giving me the URL of your test site

4) post on the project proposal web page a link to the blog entry in which you describe your project.

Steps for uploading your website

I hope that someone who's site is far along will try this procedure during our workshop on Friday, so that I'll be able to troubleshoot it and clarify any confusing points (and hopefully save a lot of stress Saturday night and early Monday morning).

1. Fill out the simple online form to get SHU web space. (Later, when you publish your first project, you will overwrite your test Castro website with a new home page, but don't worry about that now.)


Here is what caused the problems -- my instructions were wrong. I've revised this to correct the problem.
Use Internet Explorer to go to "". Note the beginning of the URL is "ftp" not the usual "html". You will have to log in with the information you just provided. (Do not add your login ID to the URL.)

3. Drag and drop the files you want to upload. Drag the icons from wherever you have been working on them, onto the blank screen that displays in Internet Explorer after you log on to your "ftp" web address. You should see the mouse icon change to a plus sign, indicating the computer knows it's supposed to add a copy of this file to the server. (If you change your local copy, you'll have to follow this procedure again in order to update the copy that's on the server.)

4. New detail:

In the window that opens when you log in successfully to, you will see a file named "index.htm". It's just a simple text file that announces your site is ready. Delete that file.
After you have uploaded all the files (including images and the stylesheet) that you created for this assignment, go to "[your id]" in order to make sure that they're there. If you've set up your site properly, you should see the contents of "index.html" loaded automatically. (You won't have to type out the "index.html" part.)

5. Click your links and make sure everything works. If something doesn't work, don't panic, we'll have time Monday to figure it out.

Permalink | 2 Oct 2006 | Comments (5)

You will be given a sample task and asked to "link" and "blurb" it in HTML.

After you have successfully uploaded your practice "ceramics" website, create another file called "practice.html," and follow these steps to create a single web page that offers blurbed links to five online resources that you think have important things to say about writing for the internet. Upload that new page to your web space, and post the URL in a comment on this page. (That URL should be[yourid]/practice.html"). You may choose to focus on coding, writing style, awareness of audience, or you may instead try to be more comprehensive. (in an earlier draft of the syllabus, I was planning to give you sample text to mark up, but I think we need extra practice on the HTML, so I'm going to shift the emphasis to structure today... we'll talk more about form later.) We will continue working on this project for Friday.

  1. To create the new file, you can just save a copy of ceramics.html, change the name to "practice.html," and strip out all the ceramics-specific content.
    1. Remember to change both the title and the h1 heading.
    2. Remember to attach a style sheet (you are welcome to resuse your ceramics styleshsheet)
    3. Upload it to your web space.
  2. Look over the following links. You may wish to use some of these, or other readings we looked at earlier in the course, or a completely different set. I'd suggest that, to get stated, you choose one of these links, and replace the ugly linked URL with an informative title and blurb.
  3. Upload your revised page to make sure the link works.
  4. Look at a few more URLs, and decide on your selection criteria. For instance, my Writing Electronic Text portal clearly states the focus of that page (content, not the coding). Rather than a half-page mission statement, think a one- or two-sentence, very basic, very important explanation of what your page offers to the busy web surfer.
  5. Once you have determined and expressed your evaluation criteria (for instance: "Pages that fill gaps in the EL236 reading list," which would have a small readership but might serve those readers well, or "Detailed reference resources for serious HTML coding"), go about the business of choosing 5 links to evaluate.
  6. Supply a link and an evaluative blurb for each. My list of URLs is random. Omit ones that you don't think go well together. Find new ones that you think are more helpful.
  7. End with a few links that point towards websites that feature more links, so a reader who hasn't found what he or she is looking for on your site can still benefit from your suggestion of where to look next.

Once Google finds your website, it will learn that somewhere, somebody (you) linked to these particular pages using these words, and Gogole will be more likely to steer web searchers to the pages that you recommend.

You may consider using some of these links, or finding your own.

Permalink | 4 Oct 2006 | Comments (5)

Preview Portfolio 1

Your portfolio is a collection of your best online work. I will give you some general categories; you will choose which entries fulfill each category. In addition, you will write a "richly linked blog entry" on one of the chapters in section III of Price & Price.

Permalink | 6 Oct 2006 | Comments (0)

Project 1 Workshop

You will have a brief workshop time, so that you can get your peers to check out your project website as you move it towards completion.

Permalink | 20 Oct 2006 | Comments (1)

Usability Lab

Watch your peers use your website, and learn from their reactions.

Permalink | 23 Oct 2006 | Comments (0)

IF Workshop

Pick up the Phone Booth and Die (play until you win), HHGG (this is a detailed, long, and cruel game, so just play until you get killed a few times), and 9:05.

Play 9:05 all the way until the end. There are two major endings. In one, the game just sort of stops. In another, things don't turn out to well for the player, but it's a more satisfying aesthetic experience. (Lori and Karissa already know the ending, but I'm sure they wouldn't dream of spoiling it for you!)

Permalink | 30 Oct 2006 | Comments (1)

Project 2 Practice

In small groups, use Inform 7 to create a simple game.

You are welcome to build off of any of the examples in the manual, but remember to give credit where credit is due..

Permalink | 3 Nov 2006 | Comments (1)

Collaborative play.

You and a partner talk about your reactions to the games you have played, and together pick one or two games that you are both interested in playing more. Spend the rest of the class period playing it.

Permalink | 6 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)

Project 2 Practice

In small groups, use Inform 7 to create a simple game according to certain parameters. For instance, I may ask you to create a toy to be included in a shared toyshop setting.

Permalink | 8 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)

Project 2 Development

In class, we will work on converting your transcript into a game. Note the difference between descriptions of one-time events and static objects.

Permalink | 10 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)

Beta-testing Workshop (Will be rescheduled soon)

With a printout of your source code in hand, watch *in complete silence* as a classmate tries to play through your game. (Don't let him or her look at the source code or try to cheat with "test me".)

[We're a little behind in Inform 7, but that's okay -- we'll catch up. This will be rescheduled soon. --DGJ, Nov 8]

Permalink | 13 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)

Publication Practice (Delayed)

{We will likely delay this, as I think it would be more productive to spend our time troubleshooting the code.}

Use Inform 7 to create a basic website for your IF game. Personalize it, and upload it to the SHU server.

Permalink | 13 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)

IF Arcade Day

We will spend the day playing each other's IF games.

Permalink | 20 Nov 2006 | Comments (0)