Grades & Assignments

Due to others work flows, no late assignments can be accepted for assignments designated “Submission,” or “Provide Helpful Feedback,” (see schedule for assignment descriptions). All other late work must meet requirements, will not be commented on, and will receive a maximum grade of 60%.

GPA Percentage

98-100  A+ 88-89  B+ 78-79  C+ 68-69  D+
93-97   A 83-87   B 73-77   C 63-67   D
90-92   A- 80-82   B- 70-72   C- 60-62   D-

Assignments

Note that these are just brief overviews—full‐length assignments and examples will be provided in class. All written assignments, with the exception of peer feedback, can be revised and resubmitted with a revised cover letter that clearly outlines changes between drafts as well as strategic choices in the drafting process within two weeks for a new grade.

Participation | 100 points

The online nature of this course means that it will require active participation, including in-class discussions and assignments that involve intensive use of reading and group work. Discussion questions and informal pass/fail assignments will appear in Moodle. Percentage of completed work will appear as percentage points for participation e.g. if 14 of 20 participation activities are submitted you will receive 70 points.

Provide Helpful Feedback | 400 points

As part of your participation, you will share your writing and offer feedback to others that helps them improve their own thinking and their drafts. We’ll spend a good deal of time talking about how to improve in this area, as it is a key leadership skill needed to advance in any knowledge worker career path.

Testing: Test & Summary | 100 points

The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience executing and writing up a usability test report. Usability test materials will be provided for you. You will focus on acquiring participants, conducting the test, analyzing the results, and preparing a report.

Testing: Plan & Materials | 100 points

The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate the necessity for careful planning of a usability test, and for you to gain experience in producing a formal test plan as well as to emphasize the necessity for creating all test materials in advance of administering a usability test, so as to ensure that the materials will help yield the required results. The plan will explain the purpose of your test, the users you intend to test, the methods you will use, the evaluation measures you will use, and the planned test report contents while careful preparation of test materials makes administering the test, analyzing the data, and reporting on the results considerably easier.

Testing: Report | 100 points

The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate the importance of the final test report and to illustrate the complex rhetorical challenges of preparing such a report. Usability reports are often the only part of the process seen by other developers and other departments. They can also have implications for external bodies, including government agencies, licensing and safety boards, consumer groups, the media, and even the general public. The most difficult rhetorical challenge in a test report is that of offering areas for improvement to the developers who created the item you have tested.

Testing: Mobile Test Proposal | 100 points

Mobile usability presents special challenges to technical communicators, as we do not yet have the body of knowledge or literature that we do related to other types of hardware and software testing. The class will work together to tackle different approaches to the unique challenges presented for usability in the mobile space.

798 Assignments

Assignment A | Short Critique / Class Activity | 100 points

Doctoral students will be responsible for choosing an academic text for the class that will help the class understand an issue of accessibility or usability by presenting the relevant work to the class as a whole. In this assignment, 798 students will be responsible for choosing an academic text for the class as well as preparing a presentation that depicts the text’s main contribution to the subject of the class. Additionally, the student will provide the class with a handout or equivalent media that contains a complete reference, research questions/goals, methods used, findings, strengths and weaknesses and a recommendation for what sort of projects the text would be useful for tackling.

Assignment B | Annotated Bibliography | 100 points

Getting to know the literature of a particular field means more than reading the articles and book chapters, it also means learning to follow conversations and understand the controversies that have driven knowledge-making in that field over time. For this project 798 students will compile a comprehensive list of sources on computational rhetoric or information architecture that allows a reader to trace its development over time from inception to present-day. You should give a full citation and a brief but detailed annotation for each source that helps to explain the way it fits into the overall thread you are tracing.