Exercise your Mind!

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After completing the five exercises offered in Crawford Kilian's Writing for the Web 3.0, I've learned a little bit about myself and about my writing styles in general.

Exercise 1: Converting Prose to Bullets

I didn't learn a ton of new information from this exercise. Having said that, I realized that I went into more depth than Kilian did with his *correct* answers. For example, Kilian said that one bullet point should be:

·        Isolated society (island, lost valley, planet)

Although I used a similar approach, I used more bullet points:

·        Isolated society

·        island

·        lost valley

·        planet

Also, in this exercise, I did not introduce my exercise in the same way that Kilian did it. While I used the entire first sentence to lead into the bulleted list, Kilian wrote a new sentence completely to lead to his bulleted list.

Although, I understand the way in which Kilian approached his responses, I am not entirely positive that either of us are wrong in doing the exercise as we did.

Exercise 2: Activating the Passive

This exercise was basically a review for me as well. My AP English class and Journalism 1 class during my junior year taught me the importance of active voice rather than passive. I answered all of the questions either completely correct, or partially. For example, I said "Xerox researchers" rather than "Researchers at Xerox." I guess I just wanted to eliminate some wordiness. I also answered number four a little bit difference:

My response: A local physician removed a neighborhood water pump's handle, stopping a cholera outbreak in 19th-century London.

Kilian's response: A local physician stopped a 19-th century outbreak of cholera in London by removing the handle from a neighborhood water pump.

Again, I don't think I'm entirely wrong with my answer, but I do understand why Kilian's response is more appropriate.

Exercise 3: Using Anglo-Saxon Vocabulary

This was the most challenging section for me. For one, I had never heard of most of these words. Some of the words were familiar, but for the most part, I did not know what they meant even when I did recognize them. This section was very useful for me, because while I was a copy editor, I learned to "dumb down" the articles so that even our not-so-intelligent audiences could enjoy our paper (not that they read our paper anyway).

Exercise 4: Editing Text for Websites

I learned a ton from this section. Although, while doing the activities, I didn't think to create bulleted lists to shorten the word length, looking back, I don't know how I missed that. In example 1, my *shortened* version didn't include any lists, but I feel that I did an adequate job in removing some of the "fluff" from the text.

   On your first day at work, your boss gives you the job of ripping up a $735,800 check.

   According to Statistics Canada, high school graduates in British Columbia made an average income of $25,671 in 2001.

   With a college degree, that income will increase by $735,800 by retirement. You will be able to make better decisions about your future career.

   If you choose not to attend college, you will lose money as well as better job opportunities. More education leads to more choices.

   After graduation, make plans for higher education. You have three choices: get a college degree, switch to a career program, or find a job, while planning to return to college later.

Keep in mind that most career programs require some coursework, and remember that you can transfer credits from a community college to a university, which will save you money.

   StatsCan says your average income will be about $33,000 if you settle for a career field college diploma. That's less than you'd get with a degree, but decent. Many career programs now offer degrees as well.

   You even have the choice of working and studying for a degree at the same time.

   Sometimes we don't get everything we want. We're not rich enough, we're not interested in college, we're living in the wrong place, we've got a family. But, you do have at least some options. You have to choose between one that reduces your future choices, or one that increases them?

   It's your choice.


What I could have done for further improvement:


A college degree will give you:

·        a lifetime income increase of $735,800

·        better job opportunities


After graduation, you have three options:

·        get a college degree

·        switch to a career program

·        find a job, while planning for college later


The point is, if I'd taken more time, and reviewed the section before completing this exercise, I probably would have lowered the readability even more, although I did manage to lower the readability level by one whole grade level and I shortened the text to half. Unfortunately, in shortening this text, I think I deleted a lot of information.


Exercise 5: Analyzing Corporate Websites


I couldn't find the websites provided for us, so I chose to review Astorino, a corporate website for an architecture firm that I interned at during the summer prior to my senior year of high school.


My review:

               Astorino does an excellent job in addressing its audience, who is clearly aspiring builders and architects. The navigation on this website is well-designed as well. On the front page, surfers can click on an array of project examples, ranging from schools to residential to hospitals. From healthcare , for example, a new page appears with the same navigational bar on the right, but with a new one also on the left of a diagram representing Astorino's work on the new Children's Hospital. This new nav.bar features an about section, people, and project list, which adequately serves an inquirer's needs. From the about section, the reader isn't overwhelmed with huge words or long paragraphs. The designer of this text kept listing in mind, and used most of the space to make a bulleted point list of all the jobs they've completed in the field of healthcare. Overall, Kilian would be pleased with Astorino's website. They don't destract readers from the important aspects of their company with an overabundance of pictures or words. Instead, Astorino addresses their audience in a professional manner.


In short, Although I moaned and groaned all through this book, I admit that I did learn a lot of new information...sorry for my earlier rants...

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