English 362: Foundations of Technical Writing
Hybrid Course Lessons

Module 9: Building Websites

Module Contents:
    Textbook Readings
    Supplementary Readings
    Discussion
    Assignments
    Peer Review
    Checklist
    Back to Syllabus
    Back to Course Index Page

This module covers the following topics:

  • More HTML basics, tips, and tricks.
  • Cascading style sheets.
  • FTP and making websites go live.
  • Online help documentation.
  • HTML editing software.

Here's a video to walk you through the basics of creating a simple Web page:

In the next tutorial, we turn the simple Web page we just created in the HTML tutorial into something more interesting that uses a three-column layout. We'll also create a second page, then link them both to a cascading style sheet (CSS) that adds some flair. Hey, that's a real website! So on to part two:

Want to add music, movies, and so forth? Go crazy! YouTube, among other hosts, gladly store your files and provide the <embed> code for you to simply add to your HTML source wherever you want the movies and so forth to appear on your pages. For example, here's a neat tool for deciding on color schemes.

But you're not ready for that yet! In order for other people to view these files as a website, you'll need to upload them to your Web host. Now you have a bunch of pages and other files ready to upload to the internet. To do so, you will need a secure file-transfer program (SFTP) such as WinSCP (for PCs) or Transmit (for Macs). Here's the final part of the video tutorial:

I hope these help!

Textbook Readings

Finish the textbook readings before class begins on Wednesday.

Supplementary Readings

Finish going through the text-and-screenshot-based tutorial plus the three HTML and CSS video tutorials before the discussion begins on Monday. Link is here:

If you haven't already done so, download a secure FTP program and consider using something like Notepad++ to help with building your website. Even if you must use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, type the code yourself so you gain proficiency and confidence.

Here's a quick summary of useful links:

Sometimes it's really useful to examine bad examples of a thing you're trying to do. Check out these things to avoid:

This Week's Discussion

Topics to include in this week's Blackboard discussion:

  • More HTML basics, tips, and tricks.
  • Cascading style sheets.
  • FTP and making websites go live.
  • Online help documentation.
  • HTML editing software.

Discussion leaders: Start the conversations by Monday at noon. Everyone else: Get involved right away, but feel free to continue dropping in to read and respond to new posts throughout the week. Everyone is required to participate in these discussions by posting useful responses to the student leaders' prompts, or at least in response to other comments in the discussion forum. Your participation level - even when not leading discussions - strongly affects your semester grade, so get fully engaged every week!

Assignments

Continue HTML tutorial. We'll use this tutorial:
http://www.htmldog.com/guides/htmlbeginner

Begin CSS tutorial. We'll use this tutorial:
http://www.htmldog.com/guides/cssbeginner

These are due at the end of next week, so you can keep practicing as needed.

Bonus opportunity: To earn up to +25 extra credit, create a Specification document or proposal and turn it in to Blackboard by Sunday at 5:00pm. Include your self-analysis and points (up to 25) that you feel it deserves. Use this checklist.


Bonus opportunity coming up in week 11: Website (team or individual project). Build a team in class (or, if you have to miss, post to the Discussion Forum called "Website teams") for working on the Website assignment; this can be a team or individual project, whichever you prefer, though I expect more from a team, of course. Not required, but a great opportunity to earn up to +25 bonus points while applying all you've learned in the HTML and CSS tutorials.


After completing each assignment, make sure to back it up (I recommend using a low-cost USB flash device like this or a Web service like Dropbox) before you turn it in or send it to your peer-review partner. Even if you are late creating a project, you can often avoid getting zero points for that assignment by completing it and turning it in to Blackboard late. Be aware that turning in late projects could harm your peer-review partner's score, as well, so be thoughtful.

Upload to Blackboard only after you address your peer-review partner's suggestions.

Peer Review

Bonus opportunity: No required peer-review this week, but perform one and turn it in for bonus points! To earn up to +5 extra credit, provide your partner with a good peer-review of their Specification document or proposal before this Wednesday's class - earlier is better!

When you have completed your responses, turn in the peer-review that you wrote for your partner's project in the appropriate Blackboard assignment slot ("Specification or Proposal Peer Review").

  • Use the peer-review guide document (in .doc format) when critiquing your partners' work.
  • Use Revision Tracking to mark up the document (for example, when making inline edits) and to provide comments on larger issues.
  • When you're done marking it up, send your peer review of your partner's project back to the original author by Friday at 5:00pm - obviously, earlier is better! Also send the filled-in peer-review guide document to your partner. That gives you plenty of time to review, revise, and comment on your partner's document. Early is better than waiting until the last minute.
  • Submit the peer-review that you performed on your partner's project and the filled-in peer-review guide document to Blackboard under the appropriate peer-review assignment slot ("Specification or Proposal Peer Review") by Friday at 5:00pm. Note that Blackboard can accept multiple files attached to any assignment.

Checklist

  • Read the textbook and supplementary readings by Monday at noon.
  • Participate in this week's Blackboard forum discussion starting on Monday.
  • Perform a peer-review of the Specification document or proposal with a partner to get bonus points!
  • Work on the HTML and CSS tutorials all week, staying in good touch with your team-mates to help them along.
  • Turn in your peer-review of your partner's work and the peer-review guide document to the appropriate peer-review assignment slot on Blackboard at the same time you return it to your partner by Friday at 5:00pm - earlier is better.
  • Turn in a Specification document or proposal to Blackboard by Sunday at 5:00pm to earn bonus points! (Don't forget the self-analysis, including the points you feel it's worth.)
  • Turn in your Reading Response on this Module's required readings before class on Wednesday.
  • Earn a bonus point by uploading a second Reading Response to reflect your thoughts on more readings and reflections on the week's discussions. Due by Sunday at 5:00pm.

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Last updated 8/24/2015.