| | | Technology Resources | Assignment Ideas | Links | Recommended Reading | Affordances and Constraints

Technology Resources

There are a number of free webhosting sites that make it easy to create a nice-looking site using established templates. I recommend **Yola**, http://www.yola.com, which has a good range of templates and an intuitive drag and drop design interface. Example: http://MMPlayground.yolasite.com

If you want more design control, try Frontpage, Dreamweaver, or a web editor of your choice. If you design your own page, you can load to a free hosting site, such as http://www.0catch.com or http://www.150m.com , or you can just submit the .html files. You do have server space through the university, but they make it rather hard to access.

Assignment Ideas

Research Remix - See the Research Remix Assignment on the Choose your Own Mode Page.
I had students create public presentations of their research content after completing more traditional academic content. Quite a few students made successful webpages using Yola or iWeb. They enjoyed the chance to add graphics and video, along with links to their sources, and to change the style of their writing for a popular audience.

Links

Creating Good Websites
Includes a good section on writing for the web
An older but useful overview of web design and web-writing writing considerations. Designed by Samuel Marshall to accompany a web design course he taught.

Writing for the Web
A list of articles by Jakob Nielsen. Includes research on how users read on the Web and how authors should write their Web pages. Mainly based on studies by usability experts John Morkes and Jakob Nielsen. [Articles by Jakob Nielsen, useit.com.] For example, the comparison "Writing Style for Print vs. Web" will help students attend to genre/media differences.

Web Style Guide>Page Design>Visual Design
A nice overview, with examples, of how to design your web page to create a clear visual hierarchy of contrast, define functional regions of the page, and group page elements that are related, so that you can see structure in the content.

Recommended Reading

Carter, Locke. "Argument in Hypertext: Writing Strategies and the Problem of Order in a Nonsequential World." Computers and Composition: An International Journal for Teachers of Writing 20:1 (2003): 3-23.
Hypertext is made from nodes that are linked to other nodes that guide the reader, but the reader chooses how much to read and the order in which is read. Thus, traditional argument structure doesn’t work in hypertext. Carter “present(s) concepts of informal logic, stasis theory, primacy/recency/repetition effects, spatial metaphors, and textual coherence as a starting point for building a rhetorical understanding of argumentation strategies in hypertext.”

Affordances and Constraints

Websites are a good way to share developed arguments and research projects, particularly those that combine text with audio or visual elements. Template-based websites are generally easy for students to build, while more advanced web editing in Frontpage or Dreamweaver can take a significant amount of time and instruction. Actual website creation isn't as popular for writing classes now as it was in the 90s because good web design is seen as a specialized skill and there are so many easier ways to share content online through blogs, wikis, and social networking.