Writing and Design for Multimedia syllabus

Designed to offer an introduction to HTML and CSS while focused on adapting content (particularly written content) to web and multimedia environments. The course is also designed as a service learning course, allowing us to work with a community
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  COM 328: WRITING AND DESIGN FOR MULTIMEDIA  Fall 2014 T/Th: 2:10-3:25 LIN 10 PROFESSOR RANDY NICHOLSOffice: G78 AdamianOffice Hours : T/Th: 12:30 - 1:30 pm, or by appointmentOffice Phone: (781) 891-2504E-mail: rnichols@bentley.eduCourse Blog: http://com328fa14.blogspot.comClient website: ABOUT THE COURSE According to the University catalog, Writing and Design for Multimedia focuses on the following: This course provides an introduction to media writing for digital environments, with specific emphasis on news stories, feature packages, web pages and blogs. Students learn about the history of the Internet, the impact of hypertext and multimedia on storytelling, the development of network digital information  production/retrieval environments, the forms and practices of writing for a web page, and how to work within pre-existing information structures. Activities occur in the classroom and in a web-based online lab. This course begins with the assumption that communications and mass media play a profound role on society and how we make sense of the world around us. Here “mass media” is understood to be a socially constituted system of technology, regulation, content and individual practice. As such, we must seek out new ways to understand both the effects of communication and the ways we conceive of communication and all the forces which shape it. In the world of media content production, one area that is growing in importance is that of online and multimedia communication. Increasing numbers of media consumers go to online and multimedia sources for their news and persuasive information, and they bring different patterns of information use. Further, new media forms are influencing the ways in which we tell stories — both fiction and non- and what we expect when we encounter them. Because of the growing importance of the multimedia environment to the world of news and information, understanding the keys to successful communication in that environment is crucial. This course addresses the tendencies of these emerging audience and teaches writing styles, including the inverted pyramid form, as well as basic design skills to help students understand how to best present information in dynamic environments for news, information, and storytelling purposes. It should be noted that this course fulfills both the Bentley University Communication Intensive (CI) requirement and the Service Learning (SL) requirement. This term we will be working with Watch CDC. Their website is COURSE OBJECTIVES Knowledge:1) understand and use the fundamentals of web design2) understand how information is presented differently online and off 3) understand the difference in on-line and off-line writing genresSkills1) apply appropriate writing formats to a variety of multimedia situations2) to apply appropriate design considerations in writing and presentation based on appropriate genre  Perspectives1) To recognize the importance of understanding the nature of the audience and the constraints of medium and genre when crafting multimedia messages TEXTBOOKS, REQUIRED READING, AND SUPPLEMENTS There is a single text required for this course:Carroll, Brian (2010). Writing for Digital Media . New York: Routledge. Additional readings will be made available through the library’s online reserve system and the course website. All readings are expected to be read by the class date. In addition, all students are required to turn in their work with citations and references in APA format, and so students should find a means to access the following: Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.). (2006). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.Finally, it is strongly recommended that students have access to the following: a good dictionary, a good thesaurus, and Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style . Students wishing to work on web design at home may also wish to purchase Macromedia Dreamweaver or Marcomedia Suite for their home computers. Discounted software is available through the campus bookstore. There are a variety of supplemental guides which may help with the use of the software programs. For more information, please see the instructor. ASSIGNMENTS AND EXPECTATIONS A total of 590-620 points are available for this course. •Weekly/In-class assignments ( 15 points): Weekly and in-class assignments are designed to hone specific skills in preparation for the major assignments. They may focus on specific design concerns, writing challenges, or combinations of both. As noted below, missed weekly or in-class assignments cannot be made up. •Website Assessment and Comparison (100 points): This assignment will serve as preparation to meet with your client. Each student should prepare their own, using their own research and unique examples. Its goal is to give you a baseline for discussion with them. It is designed to help you understand the issues your organization faces, the structure and content of their current website, and examples of similar websites for comparison in terms of content and basic design. •Content Adaptation (100 points): This assignment asks each student to adapt existing content your client has into web appropriate format. This may include adapting existing web content which doesn’t work according to the principles we’ve discussed in class or of other off-line content into an appropriate online format. •Content Creation (100 points): This assignment asks each student to create a new piece of content for their client that is appropriate to their needs but which they do not currently have in anything approaching an online format. Note that this assignment will require some discussion with your client to ensure that what you envision will indeed serve their needs. •Design Template and Synthesis (100 points): This template will be created and agreed upon by each group. Once this template is created, individual group members will adapt their content from the Adaptation and Creation assignments into this template format to provide a more fully fleshed out experience of the website. Students will write a brief reflection about how their challenges of adapting those two pieces of content into the group template. In addition, a prospectus will be drafted by the group explaining how their design decisions and content choices reflect the needs of the client and of the broader expectations of their audiences.  •Design Presentation (100 points): During the final class meeting, students will present their websites and content in groups, with discussion about the key audiences served, the needs of their client, and how the choices in terms of both content and design reflect the needs of those groups. Clients will be invited to attend this, as well. A synthesized website containing all content must be submitted 48 hours in advance of the presentation.In class assignments are unannounced and will cover key areas of research in preparation for upcoming assignments. Their primary purpose is designed to ensure students have sufficient understanding of key concepts in preparation for the major assignments. Missed in-class assignments cannot be made up unless prior arrangements have been made with the instructor. Details for all of the major assignments will be presented in class.All assignments are expected to be turned in by the beginning of class on the date assigned, using Dropbox. Submitted written assignments should be submitted in Adobe PDF format; HTML assignments should be saved in ZIP format. E-mailed assignments are not accepted unless specifically mentioned in class. Assignments will be docked ten percent per day for each 24 hours they are late, to a maximum of 30 percent. Exceptions can be made in case of a documented emergency. However, please be aware that computer problems are not considered sufficient cause for turning in late work. No late work will be taken for any reason after the start of class on November 25, 2014. Because this is a course in Communication, good writing is always a requirement. For this reason, students are expected to turn in clearly written, well-edited papers. Papers with more than four grammatical errors will be returned to students ungraded to be rewritten at a loss of ten percent. Should rewritten papers have more than four errors, they will be penalized 30 percent from the assigned grade. For more information on what counts as a grammatical error, see the explanation at the end of the syllabus.GRADING SCALETo determine your grade, divide the total number of points received by the total number of points possible in the course, described above and locate your percentage on this scale. 4.0: 95-1003.7: 90-953.3: 87-893.0: 83-862.7: 80-822.3: 77-792.0: 73-761.7: 70-721.3: 67-691.0: 63-660.7: 60-620.0: 59 and lower  STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES Bentley University abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 which stipulate no students shall be denied the benefits of an education solely by reason of a disability.   Disabilities covered by law include, but are not limited to, learning disabilities, visual, hearing, and mobility impairments, medical conditions, psychiatric disorders, and temporary disabilities.   If you have a documented disability that may have some impact on your work in this course and for which you may require academic accommodations, please call as soon as possible to make an appointment with Stephanie Brodeur, Coordinator of Disability Services, in LaCava 166 (Office of Counseling and Student Development, 781.891.2274) within the first four weeks of the semester so that such accommodations may be arranged. EXPECTATIONS AND ACADEMIC DISHONESTY The Bentley University Honor Code formally recognizes the responsibility of students to act in an ethical manner. It expects all students to maintain academic honesty in their own work, recognizing that most students will maintain academic honesty because of their own high standards. The honor code expects students to promote ethical behavior throughout the Bentley community and to take responsible action when there is a reason to suspect dishonesty. In addition, the honor code encourages faculty members to foster an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect in and out of the classroom. Faculty are also expected to share the responsibility of maintaining an academically honest environment. The honor code is not meant to be a cure for all occurrences of academic dishonesty. It does not seek to create a community of informers. Rather, the honor code depends upon the good will to care enough for a friend or a fellow student, even a stranger, to warn the individual to abandon dishonesty for the individual's own sake and that of the community. Thus, the honor code asks all students to share the responsibility of maintaining an honest environment.The students of Bentley University, in a spirit of mutual trust and fellowship, aware of the values of a true education and the challenge posed by the world, do hereby pledge to accept the responsibility for honorable conduct in all academic activities, to assist one another in maintaining and promoting personal integrity, to abide by the principles set forth in the honor code, and to follow the procedures and observe the policies set forth in the academic integrity system.This class will use the APA format when citing external sources. External sources include material in the form of text, graphics, audio, and video that are not your srcinal work. Work done by you for another class is considered an external resource and must be cited. This material might be verbatim or paraphrased. You will be expected to use in-text citations with an accurate bibliography. Padding a bibliography with sources that were not actually used is considered plagiarism. The plagiarism service,, will be used at the instructor’s discretion for any assignment in this course.In addition, this course defines collaboration as sharing strategies with fellow students, receiving help from lab assistants or anyone outside of class, and using notes or work done by students in another class or another semester. Collaboration is only allowed with the instructor’s permission on a per-assignment basis. You are responsible for seeking clarification from the professor for any of the criteria you do not understand. Any violation of the Honor Code, including incidences of plagiarism, will be pursued to the full extent outlined under the academic integrity system and may result in failure for the assignment or the course at the professor’s discretion. ACTIVE PARTICIPATION In order for students to get the most out of the course and the readings, active participation in classroom discussion  and activities is expected. You should come to class having read the readings for the week, prepared to discuss and ask questions.In order to facilitate this, students can expect to be called upon at any time during the course lecture to address questions about the readings, about the nature of the day’s discussion, etc. Student response and participation will be used as part of the in-class assignment portion of the grade. CLASSROOM COURTESY How you behave in class impacts not only your experience but that of hose around you. Students are expected to be on time for class, to listen to what others say, to refrain from distracting other students. Cell phones are to be turned off — no text messaging, no telephone calls — during class. Any calls which occur during class will be answered by the professor. Similarly, no computers are to be used in the classroom unless specifically indicated by the professor. Any student caught text messaging, IM’ing, or using the computer out of turn will be asked to leave and will receive a zero for one of the curations. TENTATIVE COURSE SCHEDULE The following is the planned schedule for this course. All dates and deadlines are subject to change. Any changes to the schedule will be announced in class. W EEK 1: Sept 2 & 4 •Course Introduction•Basics of Publishing on the Web•Hypertext  R  EADINGS  : Bush (19465 “As We May Think” in R. Packer & K. Jordan (eds)  Multimedia: from Wagner to Virtual Reality . New York: W.W. Norton & Company. W EEK 2: Sept 9 & 11 •Writing And Designs for Clients• Site Levels and Page Construction  R  EADINGS  : Selfe and Selfe (1994) “The Politics of Interface: Power and Its Exercise in Electronic Content Zones” College Composition and Communication 45(4). Landow and Delaney (1991) “Hypertext, Hypermedia, and Literary Studies: The State of the Art” in R. Packer & K. Jordan (eds)  Multimedia: from Wagner to Virtual Reality . New York: W.W. Norton & Company. Rivett, Miriam, (2000) “Approaches to Analysing the Web Text: A Consideration of the Web Site as an Emergent Cultural Form” Convergence: Journal of Research into New Media Technologies 6 (34). W EEK 3: Sept 16 & 18 •Editing and Writing Basics•The Inverted Pyramid
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