Due Sunday Feb. 2: A Trick and Your Use of It

You may either produce your own blog post for Sunday or produce one with a partner. Your job is to:

(1) Find a cool infographic online that includes an element that you might realistically be able replicate and share a link to it. OR select one from BAI 2013 and refer your classmates to it. These links from your syllabus offer some places to look for infographics: GOODinformation is beautiful, & flowing data (you might also search for particular kinds of infographics using Pinterest or Google images).

(2) EITHER (a) Explain how you would create a similar effect in Photoshop using your own words and screenshots OR (b) find an existing photoshop tutorial that teaches a relevant trick and post a link to it. If you select option (b), you should take yourself through the tutorial before committing to sharing it. Begin work on something you might actually want to use. Let your classmates know about any snags you run into and share at least one screenshot of your work-in-progress–it doesn’t have to be beautiful, just a record of a test. 

* I am open to you sharing a trick for doing something cool and relevant in a program other than Photoshop, but it should be something open-source or available on lab computers—and your trick shouldn’t be something everyone already knows. 

* You’ll probably want to use your blog author privileges to create a new post rather than replying to this one. Images and other media are tough to manipulate in reply boxes. Make sure to add your post to the category “tutorials,” so it is easy for classmates to find. 

* No comments are required this week, but I expect you’ll look at all the posts and check out a few relevant tutorials. Either as part of this blog post or as you work, you may choose to explore Adobe’s set of video tutorials: http://tv.adobe.com/show/learn-photoshop-cs6/

Prepping for Week 3 – Evocative Object pieces

Each of you as an author has been asked (like the writers included in Turkle’s collection) to chose an object that is somehow related to your semester-long topic and to follow that object’s associations: where does it take you; what do you feel; what are you able to understand?

Please post one paragraph from your draft of proposal-part-one by 9PM on Sunday night. It need not be obvious what your topic is, but it should be apparent what your object is. Don’t worry about making a big social argument (yet)—instead, enthrall us, make us want to keep reading.  Before class on Tuesday, please read your peers’ paragraphs. Reply to at least two with: a specific question you have as a reader and/or a comment about something in the paragraph that makes you want to know more.  

*** If you’re having trouble selecting a topic and/or an object, I encourage you to email me. Tell me what you’re considering and/or a little bit about yourself. (What do you study? What kinds of things are you passionate about? What do you wish you knew more about?)

Prepping for Week 2 – Definitions, Descriptions, Means of Connection

Over the weekend, think about the question: is there a difference between writing publicly and writing for the public (or for a particular public or for multiple publics)? Of course, my asking suggests that I think there might be. But, really, I ask this because I suspect there’s enough diversity and ambiguity inherent in our intuitive definitions of “public writing” to start a useful conversation.

This week’s blog post(s) should:

[1] Offer some observations that help bring together the disparate examples of “writing for the public” that your classmates shared. Try to be specific rather than general in your observations. I encourage you to explore—in some detail—one example (or two) that excited or surprised you; and/or to explore a specific example in relation to your own outside knowledge.

You might use one of the following questions as a starting place: Did any of the examples change or challenge ideas you had about the scope of this course? About what “counts” as writing for the public? Were there formal features that many of the examples had in common? Which examples were most memorable in terms of form? In terms of content? Were there any examples that you found upsetting in a way that made you want to take action? Many people mentioned “getting the word out” as a goal of public writing—what does that mean to you? Is raising awareness always a good thing? Is it ever/always enough? Did the context in which you encountered these articles (in our class, given your peers’ introductions) cause you to react differently than you might have if you had encountered the samples elsewhere? 

[2] Begin or conclude with: a concise, specific phrase that describes one thing “writing for the public” does (or could do, or should do). Include an interesting verb. Consider this part of a communally constructed working definition.

[3] Be composed in response to some preliminary thinking about what makes a “good” blog post. Think about what visual cues make online text more readable—consider using catchy/descriptive headers or subheaders and breaking big blocks of text into several small paragraphs.

Think about what makes readers likely to engage—to read all the way through and then (perhaps) comment. Talk about your peers’ interests in a smart/respectful way. Ask questions that might generate responses. Consider including links or images (either your own images or images that have appropriate Creative Commons licenses, something you may be familiar with/something we’ll talk about later in the semester).

[4] Be posted by 9PM on Sunday (January 12). Take into account the information about blogging that’s included on your syllabus. Proofread and spellcheck (while informal, inquisitive writing is encouraged, carelessness is not). Two comments responding to peers’ posts are due before class begins on Tuesday.

* If you haven’t already done so, please take the time to post a link to/description of your example on the previous post.