TWC5/421: Arizona State University, Polytechnic Campus, Spring 2010

Course projects & grading

Option #1: team-based projects related to Technical Communication and communication technologies.

Here are some initial ideas — jump in with your own — we’ll form project teams of 3-4 people each based on your interests:

U.S. Copyright Law and Fair Use Privileges

  • Reading and researching what professional communicators and designers need to know about U.S. Copyright Law and Fair Use Privileges, resulting in a report or guide for an audience of your choice

Technical Communication & Communication Technologies
Focusing on the questions,

  • What communication technologies have technical communicators used in the past?
  • What are they using now?
  • What might they be using in the future?

This project team could revise, remix, mashup, and update Selber’s  “Technical Writing in a Technological Age: Changes in the Classroom and the Workplace”

Content Management, Blogs, and Organizational Communication:

  • A review of current practices, and what might the future hold via report or blog.

Videogame culture & technical communication

  • Focusing on the timely question, how will videogame culture affect technical and professional communication?

Technology in the Service of Human Values

  • A report or blog that shows how technology be used to support life-affirming, community-based values and activities No background on this one: we’ll have to invent it, and that’s a good thing.

Develop a workshop or training module on some aspect of Technical Communication and make it publicly available on ASU’s iTunes

A creative and reflective project: can documentation be beautiful? Should it be?

Option #2: individual self-paced design software training modules:

For this option, you will choose a design software such as InDesign, Flash, or Photoshop from the training library and either design a new project from scratch or redesign existing materials you already have. These may be materials from your workplace, professional, academic, or creative contexts. Note the $25 monthly fee — or $37.50 for access to exercise files — which is well worth it. No course calendar is provided for this option; you’ll create one as part of your project proposal, due week 3.

Week #1: discuss possibilities on class forum, narrow or expand project scope
Week #2: sign up at, test-drive training modules
Week #3: present project proposal

You will need regular access to the software, such as Dreamweaver, Photoshop, InDesign — at home, work, or a campus computer lab — in order to make use of the tutorials and project files. If you don’t own the software, most of them are available in most campus computer labs.

Option #3: Design your individual professional portfolio

This is a good option for someone whose professional experience and/or goals include multimedia, writing, editing, or other work that requires a shareable showcase of your materials. No course calendar is provided for this option; you’ll create one as part of your project proposal, due week 3.

Week #1: discuss possibilities on class forum, narrow or expand scope (i.e., print or digital materials, what to include/exclude, etc.)
Week #2: present portfolio proposal, which includes preliminary reserach into career trends in your field and representative job qualifications drawn from ads.
Week #3: present initial mock-ups

Assignment Due Grade Percentage
Acceptance Memo
Week 1
Course Survey
Week 1
Weekly Discussion Forum Ongoing, as assigned
Project Reports / Logs
Weekly, as assigned
December 9th 50%

Grading and Evaluation Criteria

All of the writing and document design you do in this class is evaluated with this criteria in mind:

  • Your ability to articulate an intended effect, and the steps taken to achieve that effect
  • Your attention to the rhetorical situation and your ability to adapt to multiple audiences
  • Your effective and appropriate use of visuals
  • Your ability to incorporate relevant and compelling research
  • Your ability to edit and revise page (or screen) layout and design


The writing & design is exceptional. This is the kind of text that might lead to promotions in the workplace. It is professional and reflects the designer’s careful consideration of audience and purpose. It contains all necessary information, is written in an appropriate and engaging style, is memorable, and its delivery is visually appealing. It is free of mechanical errors.


The text is strong. It would be considered acceptable in the professional contexts. It too reflects consideration of the rhetorical situation. It is generally above average in terms of the criteria mentioned above, but falls short of excellent in one or more category. It is free of mechanical errors.


The text is competent. It would probably be returned for revision in professional contexts. It is generally average in terms of the major criteria listed above. It has few mechanical errors.


The text is weak. It would probably get the designer into a bad situation in professional contexts. It falls below average in terms of one or more of the major criteria.


Pink Slip

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