Writing (and Reading) for the Internet
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Writing (and Reading) for the Internet. Larry Press [email protected] 13th CSU Symposium on University Teaching CSU, San Bernadino. Context – part of an IT literacy course Module design and user interface Examples from the writing modules. Two-minute history of computer/IT literacy.

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Writing (and Reading) for the Internet

Larry Press

[email protected]

13th CSU Symposium on University Teaching

CSU, San Bernadino


Context – part of an IT literacy course

Module design and user interface

Examples from the writing modules


Two-minute history of computer/IT literacy


John Kemeney and Thomas Kurtz were first to teach computer (IT) literacy

Kurtz studied under John Tukey at Princeton, has been professor of math, computer science and Computer Information Systems and computer center director at Dartmouth.

Kemeney worked on the Manhattan Project, was Einstein’s mathematics assistant as a student, and was Professor of mathematics and President of Dartmouth College.


Dartmouth public terminal room


IT Literacy

The skills and concepts needed for success as a student and after graduation as a professional and a citizen.

Many of the relevant concepts and most of the skills have changed as IT platforms have changed.


IT literacy course for the Internet era

  • Internet concepts

    • Applications

    • Implications

    • Technology

  • Internet skills

    • Application development

    • Content creation


Where do the writing modules fit?

  • Internet concepts

    • Applications

    • Implications

    • Technology

  • Internet skills

    • Application development

    • Content creation


Application development

Personal computer

Batch processing and time sharing

Internet platform


Services used for writing assignments

Google docs

Wikispaces

Twitter

Blogger


Content creation data types


Modules


Writing module status today


Prototype user interface

Link to writing modules


When hiring, Jason Fried, founder of 37 Signals, a leading Internet software company looks for good writers:

“Probably the most important thing, and probably one of the surprises, is you have to work with people who are good writers.”

“Everybody has to be a good writer.”

Jason Fried

(34 seconds)


Undergrads write more and better

  • Students are writing more than ever

  • Some of their “life writing” is profound

  • Their writing is done to achieve some purpose or goal

Stanford five year study on undergraduate writing, more information


Is this is your brain on …

MTV

Multi-tasking

Hypertext

Video games


Know your reader

Question: How do people read short documents on the Internet?

Answer: quickly and superficially, focusing on the top and left sides of the screen.


Screen displayed at the end of the survey


Internet writing is different

  • Writing short documents

  • Conversational writing

  • Collaborative writing

Three types of writing are common on the Internet:

Some blog posts on writing for the Internet:

http://computerliteracy3.blogspot.com/search/label/writing


Being concise takes time

“I would not have made this so long except that I do not have the leisure to make it shorter,” Pascal, letter, 1656.

Question every sentence in a short document – why did you include it? Is it necessary? Can you shorten it? How does it sound when read aloud? Did you let it cool off? Have someone else read it?


An effective email conversation

Would you like to have lunch today?

> Would you like to have lunch today?

Yes, what time and where?

> Yes, what time and where?

How about noon at Felippe’s?

Noon is great --- where is Felippe’s?

> Noon is great --- where is Felippe’s?

Near Union station --- here is a link:

http:// …

Great -- I will meet you there at noon.

OK


Effective because

  • The conversation was focused and stayed on the topic.

  • The conversation came to a shared agreement.

  • Both parties felt the conversation was ended, and there were no loose ends.

  • They quoted each other in replies to stay focused and to let the other person know they were being responsive.


In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face.

What will on-line interactive communities be like? ... They will be communities not of common location, but of common interest.

Licklider and Taylor, The Computer as a Communication Device, 1968


A synchronous, collaborative writing example

Google Docs: A love letter (1m 36s)


Crowdsourcing, strangers collaborate on a video

The video

How it was made


Can one communicate emotion across a network?

Hole in space


Always on

Vadim Anatov

Video, Russian coup attempt, 1991


Same time, same place

Doug Englebart, computer augmented meeting


MySQL -- a distributed organization

MySQL CEO Marten Mickos:

70% of employees work from home

110 locations

29 countries

This calls for a different management style than a pre-Internet company, but Mickos is clearly pleased with the increased productivity and flexibility.

Complete talk at the 2007 Ubuntu Conference


Wiki page functions


Revision of a wiki document

Wikipedia article on the heavy metal umlaut

The umlaut:


April 15 2003 – one anonymous sentence

  • The "heavy metal umlaut" over the ö in the names of Motörhead, and the Blue Öyster Cult has led to the term "spandex and umlaut circuit" being used to describe the heavy metal band touring scene.


March 2010

2,800 words

1,574 edits

976 contributors


Jon Udell’s video on the evolution of the page

  • Original version (some x-rated footage)

  • Edited version (x-rated material blocked)

  • Presentation on the evolution of the page


Writing (and Reading) for the Internet

Larry Press

[email protected]

13th CSU Symposium on University Teaching

CSU, San Bernadino


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