Posted in Announcements, Assignments, Resources

You know you’re done with Intro to PW when:

This week is about wrapping up loose ends and finishing projects.

Monday and Wednesday are studio days. I will be available to read drafts, comment on processes, answer questions, and help you clarify deliverables. I highly recommend you take advantage of this time to get feedback and work alongside your peers.

If you will not be in class, please send me an email letting me know why and how your work is progressing outside of class. Remember our discussion about rhetorical choices and email. Learn how to talk to professors, managers and colleagues about how you’re balancing multiple demands without communicating that too common “I have something more important to do” vibe. It’s an important skill and one worth cultivating. Important note: This isn’t about lying to professors, managers, etc. It’s about being clear, ethical, and rhetorically effective. Tough, but doable, and the hallmark of a good professional writer.

Friday is our last day of class. It is important that you are in class. We will do some brief discussion of what your projects are, what you’ve learned, and what’s next for you. You will complete your participation self-evaluations in class. I’ll bring treats. 

Your professional profiles and your final portfolio projects are due no later than Wednesday, May 3rd at 5PM. Electronic copies in your google drive folder and an email letting me know the work is complete is sufficient. If you would prefer to hand in hard copies, please email me to make an appointment.

All the required elements of each project are listed on the End of Semester Assignment Sheet (which I have updated to include the letter of transmittal for your professional profiles. Consult these guidelines for a letter of transmittal to help you complete this element of the assignment.

Final Grading reminders:

These two final projects represent a significant portion of your grade. They should represent the culmination of what you have learned this semester, and they should show your serious engagement with the assignments and with your own professional development. While there isn’t a rubric I think my expectations have been clear.

Your work should have a specific audience and a specific use case for final deliverables. You can return to my comments on your proposal drafts to clarify what my expectations are for your professional profiles. If you’re still not sure, we should talk during studio time or office hours this week.

For your final portfolio pieces: The work you’re doing here varies widely. I’m happy with the project you’ve chosen and know there will value for you in following through with them. Some of you have chosen projects where my feedback will be valuable in moving work forward if you need or want specific feedback from me on this work, please be clear about what you’re looking for in your reflections. 

Remember with your portfolio projects, there are two pieces: 

  1. The thing you are making
  2. Your reflection on the process, the rhetorical choices you made, and the professional writing skills you are drawing upon to complete the work. The reflection is as important to me as the thing you are making. Take it seriously. If you’re not sure what to include or how to approach the reflective work, let’s talk about it in studio this week.

When everything is handed in, you’re done. Please don’t forget to fill out your instructor evaluations for this class. They are important to me. 

Posted in Resources

Transcription Help

I’ve talked to some of you one-on-one about transcription strategies, but I wanted to put some of what we’ll talk about today in a resources you can access later. Here’s a few tips and instructions.

First, a resource: This is a transcription program with a text editor tht you can use directly in Crome. It has a free 7 day trial period before it will ask you to buy a license. There are other apps, services, and players out there you can use. Find one that will help you slow down and replay audio easily.

Now some advice:

  • Think about the purpose of the interview you are transcribing as you make editorial decisions about, for example, editing out speech patterns, or excluding part of an answer that wasn’t useful to you (or that the participant asked you to exclude.) You will want to communicate these decisions as part of your research data.
  • Think about format. I’ve talked to several of you about using a two column approach to transcription that is similar to one I recommended for observations: One column for the data, and one for questions, impressions, comments, and thoughts you may want to return to. Given the exploratory nature of your interviews, this might be an effective strategy (It is not a required strategy.)
  • Please include with your interview transcript a header that communicates the meta-data about the interview (participants, time, date, transcription date, etc). Along with the identifying data listed above you should also include a short description of the purpose of the interview and any editorial choices you made. For example: “this transcription focused on the substance of the participant’s responses, rather than speech patterns and dialect. Text may be edited for clarity in the following ways:….”


Posted in Assignments, Resources

Memos: General Comments, Guidance and Resources

Some overall comments on your first memos:

  • Audience, context, and purpose are really important when you think about memo writing. It’s a flexible genre. Memos can be used for anything from routine internal communication to proposals and documentation. Think about why and to whom you are writing.
  • Writing good memos is about information design. Information design is concerned with both visual and content design.
    • Memos are designed to be read quickly, and key points should stand out. Think about visual hierarchy when you are writing.
    • Paragraphs should be about one thing at a time. Clear topic sentences, and transitions are important. Most of you would benefit by reverse outlining your memos. Can you identify a topic sentence in each paragraph. Are all the sentences that follow related to that topic? The Purdue OWL has some good resources on how to think about paragraph structure. Pay particular attention to the section titled “How do I know when to start a new paragraph?”
  • Make sure you are making transitions between paragraphs. Subheads can be used to aid transition, but your document should read effectively without them as well. We’ll spend more time on this in the coming weeks.
  • Concise and focused doesn’t mean “short.” Consistent comments on your memos were “tell me more” “give me an example” “explain how, why, or to what extent” or make this concrete and measurable: “how many, how much, how often.”
  • Start thinking about these memos as an opportunity to develop your personal branding. What do you look and sound like (on paper) as a professional writer?

Some general memo conventions to keep in mind:

  1. While memo headings may be double spaced, the body paragraphs of a memo are usually single spaced.
  2. Make sure subject headings are specific enough to serve as documentation. “Memo #1” is only useful to me, and maybe to other students who have read the same assignment, but wouldn’t be useful for archiving. “Summary of readings and progress in weeks 1-4 of 306” Explains clearly what the memo is for.
  3. Even short memos should include an introductory summary. Explain what the memo is for and what can be found in the body of a text. For the 2-page memos I’m asking you for, this should only take you a couple of sentences.