Welcome to Technical Writing

TechnicalSpec by FearfulStills, on FlickrThis is the post for the July 8, 2014 class meeting.

Welcome to English 3764, Technical Writing. This site is the official home for our Summer II 2014 course (CRN #71571). All assignments, weekly and daily activities, and related resources will be posted here. Check this site each day for the details on what to do for the course.

How This Online Class Works

Every weekday, come to this site to find details on the day’s work. Usually, you will find instructions on the reading for the day and a link to related discussion questions. You will also find an outline of specific things you need to write or do for the course and a reminder of upcoming due dates.

I aim to have the post for each day available by midnight Eastern time, though there may be occasional delays. Since this is a blog, the posts for each day appear in reverse chronological order. The most recent post will be at the top of the page. You may need to scroll down to find the post you need. You can also use the All Posts by Title link the the menu bar at the top of the page to find the post for a specific day.

The Online Tools We Will Use

Since this is an online course, we will use a variety of free tools to get our work done for the class. I will provide instructions and help for all of the tools, so there’s nothing to worry about if you haven’t used them before. Here’s an overview of the tools we will use most often:

  • Scholar: You will use Scholar to turn in Assignments and keep track of your progress in the Gradebook. If I need to make sure you see something, I will use the Announcement tool in Scholar to send you an email message.

  • Google Drive: You will compose your major projects using your Virginia Tech Google Drive. We will use the commenting features in Google Drive for peer review and other feedback. You will need to share your work with me and with others in the class.

  • Forums: You will post your response to discussion questions, rough drafts, and other work in a phpBB forum I have set up for the class. It’s similar to the Forum tool in Scholar.

  • Mibbit: You will use Mibbit if you want to meet with me online, in real time, for online office hours. Mibbit is embedded in the course website, and it’s easy to use. If you’ve sent IMs, you can use this tool.

We may also use Google Hangouts, WebEx, and YouTube videos, but I haven’t scheduled anything using any of these tools so far.

Class Work for July 7

Today is about making sure you understand the course policies, getting access to the tools we will use set up, and generally touching base with one another. If you have technical difficulty with today’s class work, don’t panic! Send me an email at tengrrl at vt.edu and let me know what you need help with.

By 9 PM Eastern time, please complete these tasks:

  • Read the syllabus thoroughly and note any questions you have. All due dates and times are Eastern timezone. If the times are difficult for you (because you are in another timezone or because of your work schedule, for instance), let me know when you complete the survey (linked below). I’ll make adjustments once I know when everyone is available.

  • Complete the following in the Forums:

    1. Register on the forums. Please choose a professional, classroom-appropriate username.
    2. Go to the Syllabus board and add a reply to the “Syllabus Verification Thread” that confirms you have read the syllabus. Your post will serve as confirmation that you are enrolled in the course.
    3. If you have any questions about the syllabus, course policies, or anything related to the class, create a new topic and ask your question.
    4. If others have posted questions, you can browse those as you like.
  • Complete the online survey on office hours, and visit the online chatroom. Login and say hi. Let me know who you are. I will be there with the nickname tengrrl and/or bunny. If I’m at my desk, I’ll say hi. Otherwise, I’ll see your greeting in the log.

  • Get familiar with your Google Drive account, which is connected to your vt.edu email address. (If you have forgotten your password for your VT Google Apps account, follow these instructions.) If you have never used Google Drive before, you can learn more by watching relevant portions of Google Drive Essential Training with Jess Stratton. (Lynda.com resources are free to VT students.)

  • Obtain a copy of the textbook. An e-book is fine. You will begin reading and using the book on Thursday, so buy it today!