Non-Fiction Revision

Writing for the Web


Purposes and Goals

This assignment explores the strengths and limitations of web writing practices. Web writing practices differ significantly from academic writing practices — and you are more than familiar with academic writing. A purpose of the assignment is to compare and to contrast web and academic writing norms and practices. Out of this comparison, you will learn to evaluate critically web writing norms and practices. As you develop your reasoning and judgments about web writing, you will both demonstrate and explain your thinking — in part at least — through this assignment.

Mechanics

Near the beginning of the semester please select a full piece, or selection from a larger piece, of non-fiction writing roughly 1500-1700 words in length. The piece can be authored by you or by someone else. If written by someone else, you need to check to see if the work is in the public domain and can be used for the purposes of this assignment. If not, you will need the author's permission to use it.

In your Filebox account, please create a folder named "nonfiction" (one word, lower case). Your work for both parts of this assignment will be posted in your "nonfiction" folder. In essence, you will create a small web site for this assignment.

Part I

For this part of the assignment, please post or link the following in the "nonfiction" folder in your Filebox account:

    • Post the original non-fiction piece, or selection, on your web site in (X)HTML (If the document is a PDF you may judge, given the assignment's purposes and goals, whether to keep the document as a PDF and provide a link);
    • Revise the original piece or selection to no more than 50% of its original length. In developing your revision consider web writing strategies as addressed in class and as provided by other reliable web writing sources (including Redish, and Krug);
    • Format your revision in (X)HTML for readability and usability on the web. Remember to make your pages easily navigable. You may use CSS — but CSS is not required in this assignment;
    • Provide an explanation — roughly 250 words — as to the principles, reasoning and choices that result in your first revision. In so doing, please address explicitly the strengths and limitations you see in revising this piece as "proper" web writing. Post your explanation in (X)HTML format.

Due by midnight on 7 October.
Please send the link to to your non-fiction revision assignment in an e-mail to me (jim.collier@vt.edu).

Part II

Please keep the elements you developed and revised for Part I of this assignment in place for this part of the assignment.

For Part II of the assignment, please post or link the following in the "nonfiction" folder in your Filebox account:

    • Revise further the piece you selected at the beginning of the semester, and revised on Ocotber 7, to no more than 10% to 15% of its original length. In developing your revision reconsider the strategies we have addressed in class and as provided by Redish, Krug, and other reliable web writing sources;
    • Format your new revision in (X)HTML for readability and usability on the web. You may use CSS — but CSS is not required in this assignment;
    • Provide a brief explanation — roughly 250 words — as to your principles, reasoning and choices that result in your final revision. In so doing, feel free to consult course lecture notes and other reliable web writing sources (including Price and Price, and Krug). In so doing, please address explicitly the strengths and limitations you see in revising radically this piece as "proper" web writing. Post your explanation in (X)HTML format.

Due by midnight on 28 October.
Please send the link to to your non-fiction revision assignment in an e-mail to me (jim.collier@vt.edu).

Web Writing