English 384:CDE
Writing for Electronic Media, Fall 2006

Michael J. Cripps, Ph.D.


Writing for Electronic Media is a lab-based course on writing for the web. It has "writing" in the title and is designated as a Writing Intensive (WI) course, so you won't be surprised to learn that we'll be doing some writing each week. This course will count as one of three WI courses required for graduation, and can meet your upper-division requirement since it is an upper-division course.

Don't worry if you have never created a webpage before, and have no idea how to edit images on the computer. If you've completed English 125, know how to use some basic features of a word processor like Microsoft Word, and can use a browser (Internet Explorer, Netscape, Mozilla, Opera, Safari, etc.) to surf the web you're ready for this course.

In this hands-on course, you'll develop a personal website that will become an electronic portfolio that you can continue to use after the course ends. And you'll take full responsibility for designing, planning, and executing all aspects of web development for a professional-style website of your own choosing. Of course, we'll work together on the project.

You'll also create a personal weblog (or blog), a very popular form of writing in the electronic age, and explore some of the ways people use blogs in their lives. I have created a personal blog to document my own experience with the course, and I'll update that regularly as the course unfolds. Additionally, we'll all contribute regularly to a collaborative course blog.

By the end of the term, you'll have a good sense of the issues involved in writing for electronic media, and the ability to weigh your options. Writing web content so people can and will read your site, understanding the audience, balancing the visual and the textual, and organizing a website so visitors can find their way around are all important elements of writing for the web. Of course, you're expected to do your own writing, and to reference sources for your ideas and information. If you don't, you risk failing the course, or worse.

Along the way, you'll get some real experience using a free blog site to set up and maintain a basic blog, a working grasp of basic HTML/XHTML and CSS, some graphics- and image-editing skills, the ability to define a website and maintain it by uploading files to a server, and a familiarity with some industry-leading software for image editing and website development.

Think about this course website as you read Chapter 1 in Johnson-Eilola. I am very much interested in your interpretations. My website contains many areas that would benefit from improvement.

Now, let's get started. Select the Course Blog link, scroll down a bit and Register for the blog (it's easy, really), login, read our Inaugural Post (including Derek Powazek's article, "Calling All Designers: Learn to Write," published at A List Apart), and post a comment. Bravo!

By the way, I have created three unique "skins" for our course website. My favorite is "Cloisonne" because it is very original and visually complex. This is our default skin. But you might prefer "The Blues" or "Negative" skins. Hey, you might even want to go "Skinless" here. Pick your skin (below). My site will remember which one you picked and serve it up for you, provided you haven't disabled cookies in your browser, or don't manually clear them out. Interested in how it's done? Read up on my CSS experiments by visiting my homepage and following the "CSS Experiments" link. Not that interested? I understand. But pick your skin anyway.



Pick Your Skin
Cloisonne | The Blues | Negative | Skinless

cripps@york.cuny.edu    |     ac-2a02     |     718.262.2496
meet me mondays at 1, or by app't.