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August 27th: Introduction to
Information Design


Announcements

Overall Plan for the Evening

Below is the overview we're going to try to stick with tonight:

Accessing Your 'H' Drive Off Campus

UNC Charlotte has a great way for you to store class files and other stuff. Whenever you log into the UNCC system on campus, your 'H' drive is with you because it is a remotely stored section of the server. You can also access this storage space when you're off campus!

Do you want to learn how?

Vocabulary from the Reading

Before we get too far into the specific reading, let's talk about the difference between "technical writing" and "technical communication." Is there really a difference? Let's focus on "writing" and "communication."

This course is not necessarily an introduction to document design because, presumably, you've already had that in English 2116 and other Technical Communication courses/situations, or you're a quick learner. Instead, this course is an intermediate (or advanced) step in your becoming effective technical communicators. Whether or not you actually become an employee with the title "Technical Writer," is irrelevant: ALL OF YOU WILL HAVE TO COMMUNICATE TECHNICAL INFORMATION TO AUDIENCES.

Make sure you're reading the assigned material. Your Midterm and Final (which is cumulative) will be based nearly entirely on the reading. I'm going to try my best to make sure we use the vocabulary from the book because I think the concepts are very useful. In different contexts the terms might be different, but the ideas and strategies the terms describe are practically universal. Let's check out the highlights from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

Maintain a Webpage all Semester

The ins and outs of Dreamweaver are up to you--you decide if you need the book or not--but I want to make sure all of you have a webpage. Open up Internet Explorer and check out your webpage:

http://webpages.uncc.edu/~userID/
-or-
http://webpages.uncc.edu/~userID/4182/
-or-
http://webpages.uncc.edu/~userID/engl4182/

If you don't have your page saved as index.htm or index.html, you'll have to provide the filename for your homepage as well. For instance, the filename for this page is "august27.html".

In order to let the world have access to the changes you make to your website, you must save all files and file folders associated with the page in your "public_html" file folder, which you access by going to the 'H:' drive.

This Web site is supposed to be an ongoing project. If you're not sure or confused how to do something, that's ok--you're here to explore the software. Be creative with this website. Come up with what you'd like to showcase, and then do it over the course of the semester. Please don't make this facebook-ish; instead, make it professional. What does that mean?

Make sure you're links work. Also, fix the titles of your webpages...don't know how? Let me show you.

I used to ask students to create a weekly updates webpage, but that's lost its value. Instead, consider adding personal links or professional links that you want:

  • Add a link to your favorite website

  • Add a link to pictures of your babies

Adobe's Product Suite...An Intro

I think the computers have been upgraded/updated, so you should all have the Adobe CS6 Suite. Remember, the following Adobe products are available to complete your assignments:

  • Dreamweaver (webpages)
  • InDesign (multi and single page layouts)
  • Photoshop (bitmap graphics)
  • Illustrator (vector graphics)

What's the difference between bitmap graphics and vector graphics? Chapter 7 in your book covers that, so I'm going to hold off on that for now.

Regardless of which products you use, don't forget that each assignment has a memo explaining your document's creation. More detail is given on the Assignments Page for these memos. Don't blow off that step! Reflection is a way to get you to be conscious of the design choices you make.

Adobe InDesign CS5

The first time I taught this class I had InDesign CS2 in my office (the computer lab had CS3...). I'm no expert at these products, but I continue to learn new things. There might be slight differences in my tutorials...Oh wait a minute...I don't do tutorials, so there's no problem. Let me go over your first assignment and set you loose.

Remember, I expect you to work the entire time. If you're "finished," let me know...I'll fix that. Additionally, I'm not going to be on facebook or ESPN.com , so you shouldn't either. Your participation grade can go negative, so use your time wisely.

At a minimum, I want you to have a sketch of your business card and letterhead--at least images--by the time you leave. Keep everything for your portfolio.

And don't downplay these business cards...they're serious business as these guys will show you...

Next Week's Readings

Make sure you read Chapters 1, 2, and 8 in The Non-Designer's Design Book before coming to class next week (9/03). These chapters serve as an introduction to visual design, and they're short. The assignments are what you'll create to show that you understand the material from the book. Remember, while the material may seem like "common sense," don't think that you can dismiss the reading. The theories the textbooks offer are important.

Please have something (an idea, a rough sketch, a draft) to work with next week for your Document #1 Workshop. You'll have one or two classmates look over your designs as well (Business Card and Letterhead).

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