Writing in Digital Environments

Plan for Last Week of Classes (and Today)

Here is a reminder of our plan for the last three class sessions (including today).

  • This upcoming Tuesday (Dec. 6) is a required class sessions. Please show up–it will be a short class (but you can use the full time to work on your project if you wish).
  • On Tuesday, we will begin with course evaluations. After that, you are free to go if all your work  for this class is complete, but the whole 75 minutes is available if you need to complete your project. Plan on staying for a minimum of 15 minutes. As an extra incentive to come this class, I will give everyone present three bonus points to your Research Journals. (This should help those of you stressing about missed research journal entries.)
  • Today and the last day of classes (Thursday, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8) are optional work sessions. I will be in our classroom ready to assist with your projects if you need me. If no one shows up after the first ten minutes of class I reserve the right to go to my office to work.
  • I will be finalizing grades throughout this and next week so check Canvas often for updates.
  • From this point on, continue to work on your Long-Form Project and the accompanying Designer’s Statement. This should be placed on your website (or the equivalent: link, etc) by Thursday, Dec. 8 at midnight.

Long Form Project Workshop

Long-Form Project Workshop (for Thursday also):

Note: Thursday’s (Dec. 1) is optional attendance. You may complete the workshop from any computer but please complete step #4 below before midnight.

Tuesday, Dec. 6, is required attendance but the last day of class (Thursday, Dec. 8) is optional!

  1. Complete the author sheet (in Canvas) for your project (only take about 10 minutes or so if possible) and upload it as a file, word document, etc. on Canvas for your partner to review.
  2. Find your partner in the class and discuss your completed author sheet with him/her (if absent then contact by email). Chat about your project and any important information you want him/her to have about your draft.
  3. Make sure you have a way to share your project with your partner. Get your project online now. See the Sharing Video page for instructions on how to upload video to YouTube and Vimeo. Upload audio and print documents to your Discussion page in Canvas. If you have a website or other link for viewing your project, paste it in a Word document and upload that to your Canvas Discussion page.
  4. Fill out the peer-review sheet accordingly for your partner’s project and upload it to Canvas. The exchange of the response worksheet will be due Thursday, Dec. 1 by midnight.

Homework (Tuesday, Nov. 29):

Be sure to complete the and Research Journal #5 by midnight tonight

The Blog Reflection is due Thurs. by midnight

Tech Presentation Group #11: LinkedIn

Optional Blog Post (for missed blog or late-work make-up)

Homework (Thursday, Dec. 1):

Optional Blog Post (for missed blog or late-work make-up) and the Workshop Response Worksheet due by midnight tonight

From this point on, continue to work on your Long-Form Project and the accompanying Designer’s Statement. This should be placed on your website (or the equivalent: link, etc) by Thursday, Dec. 8 at midnight.

HTML and Longform Workshop

Today’s agenda:

  • Tech Presentation: Snapchat
  • HTML
  • Long-Form Workshop Overview (for next time)

HTML for Beginners

This site contains the best video overview of HTML I’ve found. Here is the best text site. Play with it!

Here are some basics:

<> = begin code (what goes between the carrots [the greater than/less than signs] is the modified code)

</> = end code

b = bold (sometimes it is also stated as ‘strong’)

i = italics (sometimes it is ’em’)

strike = strike through

ul = unordered list (like bullets)

ol = ordered list (like numbers or letters)

li = list item

p = paragraph

br = line break

a href=”website url”  text = website link (this one is not showing correctly b/c wordpress keeps reading it as a code–see the tutorials above for more info on links)
img src = image

Long-Form Project Workshop (overview–we will complete this in class next time):

  1. Complete the author sheetPreview the documentView in a new window (in Canvas) for your project (only take about 10 minutes or so if possible) and upload it as a file, word document, etc. on Canvas for your partner to review.
  2. Find your partner in the class and discuss your completed author sheet with him/her (if absent then contact by email). Chat about your project and any important information you want him/her to have about your draft.
  3. Make sure everyone has a way to share their project. Get your project online now. See the Sharing Video page for instructions on how to upload video to YouTube and Vimeo. Upload audio and print documents to your Discussion page in Canvas. If you have a website or other link for viewing your project, paste it in a Word document and upload that to your Canvas Discussion page.
  4. Fill out the response worksheet accordingly for your partner’s project and upload it to Canvas. The exchange of the response worksheet will be due Thursday, Dec. 1 by midnight.

Homework:

Complete and submit the author sheet (see step 1 in the Workshop directions above) before class next time

Complete the Research Journal #5 by midnight next time (Nov. 29)

 

Audio Review, eBooks, and the Return of CRAP!

Today is the day for those of you who want to work in formats that privilege words over images or that balances images and other media with text.

The order of the day

  1. Comment on a classmate’s (or two’s!) blog
  2. Check-in on audio homework
  3. Review of the CRAP principles and using styles
  4. I will review how to create a WordPress site that hides the blogging function for those of you who want to create a website for your final project. Read this for more information. If you are not seeing a drop-down menu when you hover over “My Sites” in the left-upper corner, click on “My Sites” and then click the three dots (menu) option next to your site name and then click “Edit Icon.” Now if you look under the “Settings” option on the new menu, you can click “Reading” and you can now see the option to make static front page.
  5. Review of due dates and other important items

 CRAP and other design principles

Professional document design privileges clarity and organization. Playful designs that make the user think about why the document is designed the way it is and ask him or her to do interpretive work to figure out how to read the document is discouraged. This is an ideology based on industrial efficiency, one that artists and scholars often critique, but one that is still dominant because it allows for quick and easy consumption of information. We will follow this current graphic design standard in our work for this class and only deviate from it if there is a rhetorical reason to do so. For example, if you are designing the layout for a poem or the liner notes for a punk album, you might want your audience to think critically about the layout of information and choose an aesthetic that deliberately goes against efficiency and readability. Generally, for our purposes Consistency and Simplicity are key:

  • As a general rule, use no more than two fonts (one for titles and headings and one for body text) and no more than three typefaces (e.g., normal, bold, italic) (repetition & contrast)
  • Create a standard page layout/design that you will use for the entire document that includes a consistent style for headers/footers, titles, headings, body text, bulleted/numbered lists (alignment), text boxes, links, spacing (proximity), etc.
  • Use the same navigation system (menu) for all pages of a website.
  • Avoid widow and orphan lines and make sure headings stay with the body text. (proximity)
  • Place images in the same way (repetition) and only change the placement if there is a rhetorical reason to do so.
  • Use page numbers on print documents!
  • Have a title page or home page

Examples Ebooks/Web Designs

  1. 5 Examples of Seriously Sexy Ebooks
  2. The City of Tallahassee website

Homework:

Group #10 Group Tech Presentation: Snapchat/Snap

Website 4th page of your choice due

Blog Post 10 due

Research Journal #5 is due the Tuesday we get back from break (Research Analysis Overview or for Optional Blog)

Audio Production pt. 2

audacity-logo

Class Agenda:

  1. Group Tech Presentation: Periscope
  2. Play with Audacity
  3. Review HW

Audio Workshop

Upload your homework audio to a class computer (or use your own computer if you prefer). Then open audacity (or your computer’s equivalent). Using the sounds from the resource links in the last post and/or the raw material you brought with you, practice splicing the audio by adding music, voice-overs, and sound effects, and attempt to polish the audio material into a more streamlined product. The goal of this exercise is for you to try new things and get comfortable with the software. See the previous blog post for more information on Audacity and resources for sound files.

Similar to last week, I want you to experiment with Audacity to see its affordances and constraints. You may use this time to play around with the technology or work toward your Long-Form Project. Attempt to make a commercial, podcast, narrative story, interview, etc. that is edited in a presentable form.

Homework:

Audio homework check and class discussion:

Finish your audio piece over the weekend. On Tuesday, I will walk around and check that your audio homework is complete. Please have it ready for me to hear (save it to the cloud or a flashdrive and upload it so it is ready to play).

Next time, I will ask for 2-3 volunteers to play their audio pieces to the class through the class speakers so we can discuss the audio-production process and the effectiveness of the rhetorical choices. Be sure that your piece is either saved to a flashdrive or have it in the cloud in order to share with the class. I’d like to hear some spectacular failures as well as successes because we can learn a lot from a project gone wrong, and the point of this homework was to learn about the audio production process, not to create a masterpiece (sound familiar?).

Complete your 4th Web Page assignment–Due Tuesday!!!

Continue working on your Long-Form Project (the rough draft is due Nov. 29!)

Audio Production pt. 1

Plan for today’s class

  1. Comment on a classmate’s blog while I check to see that your video homework is complete
  2. Discussion of your videos
  3. Learn the basics of Audacity and prepare for Thursday’s in-class activity in which you create a short audio project using Audacity

Video homework check and class discussion

While you are commenting on a classmate’s blog, I will walk around and check that your video homework is complete. Please have it ready for me to view.

Next I will ask for 2-3 volunteers to show their videos to the class on the big screen so we can discuss the video-making process. Unless you uploaded your video to YouTube or another video site, you will need to copy it to a thumb drive or have it in the cloud in order to share with the class. I’d like to see some spectacular failures as well as successes because we can learn a lot from a project gone wrong, and the point of this homework was to learn about the video production process, not to create a masterpiece.

Using Audacity

Today I will walk you through the basic steps of using the sound editing program Audacity. On Thursday you will use the following sound files as our starting point for making a one minute audio story—the content of the story is entirely up to you. On Thursday you will download the sound files to the computer you are using. These are the sounds you will remix in Audacity to create a story. You can also visit the websites FreesoundccMixter and/or Soundbible to get more audio clips if you like. You may also use your own music, sound effects, or voice overs, but be sure to have the correct equipment to access them on your computer. Your task between now and Thursday is to listen to the sound files, download more if you like and bring them to class, and script the story you want to tell. Please bring headphones and a mic if you have them!

To save these files, open the sound player by clicking the link, then right-click the player and hit ‘Save As’:

Door slamming

siren

wind and rain

thunder

whispering in Spanish

woman speaking in Dutch with answering machine beep

scary voice

children in a store

“angels”

To learn how to use the program, you can watch the following  video or search for others on the web. I will walk you through the basics and answer any questions. On Thursday I will help you create your audio stories and show you how to upload the file you create during class to Canvas so that I can hear what you have created.

Audacity Tips
Remember that your final audio file needs to be in the correct file format: “.mp3″ or “.wav”. Mp3 is the best file format for most online spaces because it creates a smaller file that loads faster. So, export your file from Audacity as an Mp3 and check the file size. If you think it’s too large after exporting, go to the “preferences” section of Audacity, choose the “file formats” tab and lower the “bit rate” under “MP3 Export Setup.” Now, export again; the file should be smaller this time. Continue to lower the bit rate and export until the file is the appropriate size. Lowering the bit rate also lowers the quality of the audio file, so only lower it as much as necessary for the file to load in less than a minute on your website.

When working in Audacity, exporting as an Mp3 will not affect your original Audacity file. However, if you make a “quick mix” before exporting (this collapses all your separate audio tracks into one track) and save it, you are changing the Audacity file itself in a way that will make it really difficult to do further editing. The best thing to do when you are ready to export is to open your Audacity project, choose “save as” and save it under a new name. This way, if you accidentally alter the Audacity file in a way you don’t want to during the exporting process, you can go back to the original. When you begin work on your formal audio project it is good practice to start each work session by doing a “save as.” This way, if something goes wrong you won’t have to start over from scratch—at worst you will lose only a few hours of work.

Also remember that Audacity saves your project in two parts: a “.aup” file and a “data folder.” You need both of these files/folders in order to open and work with your Audacity project. So, if you are working at home and then bringing your project to class to continue working, make sure to bring both with you. The two files will look something like this:

screen shot showing Audacity files with folder and .aup file

Finally, Audacity often creates a backup file with the extension “.bak”.Never, never open this file or use it in any way. Doing so could corrupt your project files making them impossible to open!

Downloading Audacity

You can download the latest version of Audacity for your computer, but I recommend using one of the portable versions below unless you will always be working on your project from the same computer.

Portable Applications
Here is Audacity for portable use on your USB flash drive on a Windows machine.

For the latest versions of the Audacity portable app for Mac and Windows:

Audacity Portable for Mac

Audacity Portable for Windows

Homework:

Group Project #10: Periscope

Blog Post #9

Bring the material listed above in the “Using Audacity” section to class on Thursday

Video Production pt. 2

Class Agenda

  1. Tech Presentation Group 8: Google Drive
  2. Review Long-Form Project and Fourth Web Page Assignments
  3. Video Production Workshop
  4. Long-Form/Blog/4th Page Workshop (Alternative)

Video Production Workshop

Upload your homework video to your own computer if you prefer (class computers lack video editing apps/software). Then open the MS Movie Maker (or your computer’s equivalent). Practice splicing video footage, adding music and voice-overs, and polishing the video footage into a more streamlined product. The goal of this exercise is for you to try new things and get comfortable with the software.

For true beginners, please review the video editing tutorials posted in the earlier blog posts for some basic ‘how-to’ help.

If you lack the proper equipment to edit your video or finish editing early, please work on your Long-Form project, your blog (including your Research Journal #4), or your Fourth Page during this time.

Homework:

Video homework check and class discussion:

Finish your video over the weekend. On Tuesday, I will walk around and check that your video homework is complete. Please have it ready for me to view (save it to the cloud or a flashdrive and upload it so it is ready for me to view).

Next I will ask for 2-3 volunteers to show their videos to the class on the big screen so we can discuss the video-making process. If you have a video from PowerPoint, Movie Maker, etc., you will need to copy it to a flashdrive or have it in the cloud in order to share with the class. I’d like to see some spectacular failures as well as successes because we can learn a lot from a project gone wrong, and the point of this homework was to learn about the video production process, not to create a masterpiece.

Research Journal #4

Continue working on your Fourth Page and Long-Form Project

Video Production pt. 1

Class Agenda

“The Rhetoric of Remix” Discussion

In one to two sentences, what do you think Virginia Kuhn’s overall thesis is? Write it out and be prepared to discuss your thoughts.

Homework:

Tech Presentation Group #8: TBD

Blog Post #8

Collect/take 5 to 10 minutes of raw video footage. Save it (flashdrive, Google Drive, etc.) so that it is accessible to you in class on Thursday. We are going to practice editing and producing polished videos so bring any music, microphones, etc. that will help you create a video. The class computers don’t have video editors built in so please bring your own computer as well.

Long-Form Proposal, Timeline, and Workshop

For the next two days we will utilize the class time to workshop your Long-Form project proposal. Much of this workshop and project proposal can later be revised into your designer’s statement.

Let’s start by reviewing the guidelines of the assignment.

After reviewing the assignment, begin by brainstorming ideas of what may work for your particular purpose, context, and audience. Open up a Word document and write down some of your ideas.

Keep in mind that your decision should also reflect and compliment the stated choices in your design plan from earlier this semester.

Once you are done brainstorming your ideas, please complete the below proposal questions and timeline. Complete it in a Word document and then copy and paste it into the associated Discussion section in Canvas.  Here is what you should cover in your proposal:

  • What is your purpose for the Long-Form project?
  • Who is your audience for the project?
  • What is the best way to reach the audience of your project? (mediums and modes)
  • Are there any special contextual concerns you may need to be aware of? If so, what:
    • timing/Kairos, place the audience will encounter the project, occasion, genre conventions, etc.
  • What rhetorical strategies will you attempt to use?
  • What design strategies will you use?
  • Draft a timeline for your final project.
    • Review your answers above and create a strategy to complete the project.Make a list of all the steps you think you will need to complete. Next to each step estimate how much time you will need for each. Finally, write down a date by which you will complete each step. Remember, Long-Form drafts are due Tuesday, Nov. 29 and final projects are due Thursday, Dec. 8.

Once your proposal and timeline are complete, review a partner’s proposal and timeline and provide any recommendations, advice, resources, and other ideas that will help your partner make this project a success. This peer-review can be submitted as a reply to the proposal in Canvas. Be sure to take into consideration your partner’s recommendations and comment on what you think will be helpful as a revision to your proposal (maybe as a reply to the reply–a threaded conversation reply).

Due Thursday, Oct. 27 by midnight in Canvas.

Homework (for Thursday):

Read: “The Rhetoric of Remix

Read and watch “Video Editing and Design Tips

Watch:

Tech Presentation #8: Virtual Reality (for Thursday, Oct. 27)

Continue to work on the Long-Form Proposal, Timeline, and Workshop (due Thursday by midnight)

Blog Post #7

Sound Matters and Audio Rhetoric Examples

 Agenda

  1. Tech Presentation: Instagram
  2. Discuss McKee’s article
  3. Audio Rhetoric
  4. Homework

“Sound Matters” by McKee

I hope you all had a fun and relaxing mini-break. The return to class is always difficult, but I hope today’s lesson on Heidi McKee’s Sound Matters: Notes toward the analysis and design of sound in multimodal webtexts, will be entertaining as well as informative to make up for the loss of your freedom. You have another break just ahead!

To start, read through this article (don’t listen to it yet) and take note of these questions:

  • What was the article about?
  • How did the author frame the article (what was the gimmick to deliver the message)?
  • What made the piece confusing (if at all)?

Now let’s listen to the article and take note of the same questions.

Then,we will get into four groups and each group will review McKee’s article, “Sound Matters” to find the answers to two of the following questions (about 10 minutes). I will take questions five and six, as they are review of the Manovich’s principles, which we discussed earlier in the semester. As we review our answers to the questions, we will use the videos below to discuss each of McKee’s four elements of sound.

  1. From what approaches does McKee draw to discuss her four-part schema?
  2. What are the four parts to McKee’s schema?
  3. Why does Helen Van Dongen think it is impossible to talk about a movie’s soundtrack separately from its visual elements?
  4. What do Kress and Van Leeuwen mean when they argue for “an integrated semiosis?”
  5. In order, what are Lev Manovich’s five principles of new media?
  6. What is modularity?
  7. What does McKee assert we must consider when analyzing webtexts?
  8. What does McKee identify as the qualities of vocal delivery?
  9. What are Copeland’s three planes?
  10. What main purposes does McKee suggest sound effects serve?

Vocal Quality

Music

Sound Effects

Silence

Audio Rhetoric

I will briefly lecture on audio rhetoric, especially on its use in cinema, to help show you the effects of sound choices. This article cleverly discusses one of the more overused sound effects in Hollywood.

Homework:

Blog Post #6 (Due tonight, Thursday, Oct. 20)

Listen: Radio Lab, Morality (optional but recommended, Serial Episode 1)

Read:The Rhetoric of Remix

Read and watchVideo Editing and Design Tips

Research Journal #3 (Due Tuesday, Oct. 25)

Course Information

what
CO302.002, Writing In Online Environments
Fall 2016

when and where
T/TR @ 9:30-10:45am
Eddy 4

instructor
Jeremy Proctor
Eddy 311
jeremy.proctor@colostate.edu or proctorj@rams.colostate.edu

office hours
1:00 to 2:15 TR
by appointment

Most English Department faculty no longer have office phones. This means that the only way to reach me outside of class is to physically come to office hours or to email. During the work week I check email several times a day between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 pm. Under normal circumstances I respond to email within 24 hours. If you email after 5:00 pm on a Friday (i.e., on the weekend) you might not receive a reply until Monday morning.

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