English | Advanced Technical Writing
W321 | 12803 | Dana Anderson

Dana Anderson

10:20a-11:35a D (25 students) 3 cr.

TOPIC:  "Document Design:  Strategies of Visual Communication"

Professional documents are becoming increasingly visual in nature.
How do these visual aspects of a document’s design contribute to its
effectiveness in achieving its purposes? How do poor visual design
choices prevent otherwise “correct” or “readable” documents from
accomplishing their aims?  How are design elements such as page
layout, font, spacing, size, proximity, color, and contrast central
to our visual literacy—our ability to interpret, understand, and
make use of information based on how it is physically structured for
our reading?

These are the questions we’ll be exploring as we look at a range of
different documents, especially (but not limiting ourselves to)
those that we would call “professional writing”—reports, proposals,
process and procedure descriptions, brochures, announcements, online
documents such as web pages, and the like.  In the computer
classroom where we’ll be meeting, we will learn more than just
essential concepts and theories of document design:  we will learn
how design choices have very real, specific consequences, rhetorical
consequences, for how persuasive texts are in the purposes they seek
to accomplish.  The working knowledge of document design you’ll
develop is one that is increasingly expected of people who write in
their various workplaces. To that end, your work will provide you
with a portfolio of various texts that you’ve created to help you
demonstrate your abilities as both a writer and a designer of
professional documents.  Moreover, you’ll have the satisfaction of
knowing that the major documents you create in team assignments will
actually be put to use by different community organizations.

We’ll be completing various short writing and design assignments, as
well as a semester project--the writing and design of a longer
document needed by one of our many community service organizations.
Two of your major assignments will be group projects, including your
semester project and a class presentation about it.

There are no prerequisites other than interest in this important
subject matter.  If you have any questions, please feel free to
email Dana Anderson, the instructor.