William Powers argues in his essay "Hamlet's Blackberry: Why Paper Is Eternal" that "the digital medium serves up content differently from paper, and we go to it for different kinds of reading experiences--'search and destroy' versus 'settle down.'....[T]he content that works best of the Web, for readers of all ages, has migrated there, while the 'long-form, in-depth' stuff clings tenaciously to paper (even when it's on the Web, people are less likely to read it there)" (55). What he doesn't emphasize, however, is that many people who post material in electronic form on the web are actually simply posting print documents as if the Web were some kind of giant bulletin board to which sheaves of print text can be electronically pinned. The result of such "pin and post" strategies, far too often, is a web document that is unreadable--or goes unread. (For some howlingly good examples of this, see my CRTW 201 syllabus, which embarrasses me every time I look at it, or "The Correct Use of Borrowed Information," which desperately needs attention.)
THE PURPOSES OF THIS ASSIGNMENT
WHAT TO DO
what you learned from Powers' cogent analysis of the relationship between
the purposes of reading and the technology we prefer for reading it, find a
page of information relevant to students of literature or rhetoric on the
web that is obviously a "print" document that has been published to the web.
I would strongly prefer that this NOT be an
Adobe .pdf file.
Certainly, the page you choose should be one that is more suited to the
affordances of paper than to digital publication in its current
form. (If you want to start looking at some of the different
affordances of print and pixel, compare pages in
The Victorian Web with
those in The Walt Whitman
On a site you link to your personal
Birdnest homepage, redesign the original content of the web
page you've chosen so that it is suited to web delivery. This may mean
changing the information architecture, structure, and navigation of the
original document so that it is better tailored to the kinds of affordances
the web offers. Use your reading in Lynch and Horton to create a document
that suits the affordances of electronic publication. I am aware that most
of you are not graphic designers or tremendously skilled in page design at
this point. That's okay. As long as the page is fairly close to how you want
it to look, it doesn't have to be "professional quality" design. (In the
so-called "real world," you as content provider would be working with a
digital information designer to deliver your content.)
Once you have redesigned the document, create and present (in whatever form you feel is most appropriate) an analysis of the changes you have made, justifying your choices and connecting those to the rhetorical principles that have guided your redesign. You may want to talk about a number of the canons of rhetoric--not only memory and delivery but also invention and style, and discuss your assumptions about your audience as you create this analysis. If your analysis is not a traditional, print-based analysis, then make sure you find a way to document the sources you're working with that is clear, accurate, and effective.
Post a link to your redesigned site with analysis from your central class webpage on our class Ning site
The student technology handbook has a guide to using Expression Web; you can look at it as a Flash file or download the .pdf file.
I have several good "how to" books about Expression Web in my office which you are welcome to check out on three-day loans.
Dr. Marshall Jones has offered us the use of the "ROLOs" (Reusable Learning Objects, or what I used to call "handouts" from EDUC 275, including cheat sheets for Expression Web, Front Page, and Web design.
Powers' bibliography is FULL of resources.
Our class resource page has a number of useful links.