Posting on the Help for Hokies Site

Because of the weather on Monday and because I will be at a convention in Indianapolis, class is working online this week. Office hours are canceled for this week.

There are two goals for Monday’s class: learning how to post on the Help for Hokies site, and share the links for our online classes for Wednesday and Friday.

Posting on the Help for Hokies website

You will post your second project on the Help for Hokies website, where any new or returning Virginia Tech student can benefit from the information. You will need to complete 4 different steps (linked below) to post your contribution.

  1. Download your second project from Google Drive as a PDF.
  2. Register on the Help for Hokies site to create a personal login.
  3. Upload the PDF for your second project, using the Add New Media page.
  4. Add a new post and embed your PDF media on that page.

You’ll post the PDF of your project on the Help for Hokies site when you are ready to turn in your project. For Monday’s class, skim through the instructions to make sure you understand the process. You’ll return to these instructions when you are ready to turn in your project.

“In-Class” Writing

For Monday’s class, Register on the Help for Hokies site by 5 PM on Tuesday, 5/18.

If you want to impress me, you can edit your profile to include an avatar image. Click on the upper right toolbar, where it says “Howdy,” and click on Profile and then Edit. The process is fairly simple and obvious.

Online Class Instructions for 3/19 and 3/21

Classes take place online for Wednesday and Friday of this week, since I will be at a convention. Everything you need is set up and explained in these two posts:

Getting Help with the Online Sessions

I may not be able to respond to your questions quickly this week. I will be traveling all day Tuesday and all day Sunday. On Wednesday to Saturday, I will be attending sessions and meetings as well as presenting.

Email me if you have a question, and I will respond when I can. Realize, however, that I may not see any questions you have until late in the evening. Do your best work, try to figure things out, and above all, don’t panic if you don’t hear from me immediately.

Reviewing and Revising Definitions

By popular demand, class for class on Friday, March 7, is an independent, online activity. You need to complete the following steps for credit for attendance and for the in-class writing:

  1. Review the information in the textbook on definitions (pp. 359–366).
  2. Go through the slideshow on Writing Definitions.
  3. Get some practice by using the Writer’s Checklist at the end of Chapter 14 to evaluate the Hokie Speak glossary of terms (use this version on the Wayback Machine if the file is 404). This glossary is shared with new employees during orientation. Focus on the terms, which appear at the top of the page, rather than the acronyms at the bottom. You will use the complete Writer’s Checklist on your own text after spring break.
  4. Go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete the day’s assignment, “03/07 Definition Rewrite.” By completing the writing, you will get credit for attendance as well as the credit for the in-class writing. You have until 5 PM on Wednesday, 3/12 to submit your work.


  • Review your draft before class on Monday, 3/17. Be ready with any questions you have.
  • Be sure you are in class on Monday, 3/17. We will go over how to post your project to the website, and I will explain the class plans for Wednesday, 3/19 and Friday, 3/21. Remember that class will not meet either day, as I will be presenting at the Convention of the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Indianapolis. Office hours will be cancelled for 3/19 and 3/21 as well.
  • Safe travels if you’re leaving town, and no matter what, enjoy your week off.

Peer Review for Project 2

We have two goals for today’s class: doing peer review on rough drafts, and going over the plans for our online class on Friday. Office hours for Friday, March 7 are cancelled.

Online Class Instructions for Friday, March 7

Instead of meeting for class on Friday, March 7, you will review the information about writing definitions and evaluate a glossary of terms that relate to Virginia Tech. You will complete an “in-class” writing that explains your assessment of the glossary and then rewrite the definitions for three of the terms in order to improve them.

By completing the writing, you will get credit for attendance as well as the credit for the in-class writing. The blog post with all the details will go up Wednesday afternoon, by 4 PM on 3/5/2014. You have until 5 PM on Wednesday, 3/12 to submit your work.

Peer Review Instructions for Today

We’re using the same basic set-up that we used for for the first project. You’ll pair up with another student in the classroom, share your Google Docs with each other, and add comments. Please use these instructions to guide the feedback you leave:

  • Imagine that you are your partner’s manager, and your job is to review the draft that your partner has given you and make suggestions to improve it.
  • Check that your partner has included all the required elements in the draft (e.g., technical description, a glossary, and instructions with five images). If anything is missing, add a comment that lets your partner know.
  • Read through the document and comment on at least three things your partner does well and at least three things that your partner could improve. You can comment on more than six things.
  • At the end of the document, add an overall comment that sums up what you thought of the paper and gives your partner some encouragement.
  • Once you have finished adding comments to your partner’s project, return to your own paper, read the comments that your partner gave you, and add replies as appropriate.

In-Class Writing

After you have read the comments on your project and replied, go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete today’s in-class writing, “03/05 Peer Review.” The post is short and easy, but you need to do it to get credit for your work today. You have until 5 PM tomorrow (3/6) to post your response.


Come back on Wednesday, 3/5/2014, after 4 PM for all the links and details on the activities to complete in place of attending class on Friday, 3/7.

Be sure to attend class on Monday, 3/17 (the Monday after Spring Break) for important details about Project 2 as well as information on the online work due for Wednesday, 3/19, and Friday, 3/21. Class will not meet in the classroom on the 19th or 21st, as I will be presenting at the Convention of the Conference on College Composition and Communication in Indianapolis. Office hours will be cancelled for 3/19 and 3/21 as well.

Finding, Creating, and Using Graphics

Note: Remember that today is the last day you can drop classes without grade penalty.

Today, we’re talking about graphics. You’ll find lots of useful information in Chapter 8 of Markel, including specifics on how to use different kinds of graphs. We’ll go over some important tips that are relevant for your second project.

Creating (and Choosing) Graphics

Create or choose images that meet these criteria:

  • The graphics need to be free of copyright restrictions (unless they fit the definition of fair use), or you must obtain permission to use them. [More on this topic in the next section.]
  • Photos and/or illustrations should accurately depict the information in the document. Avoid images that are simply decorative.
  • The images should be crisp and well-lit.
  • Garish, clashing, and overly colorful images are a poor choice. Think about the image and the rest of the design on the page as you make a choice.
  • Background noise should be eliminated. There should be nothing irrelevant or distracting in the image. Avoid photobombs!
  • The text should refer to the pictures, and the graphics should work in harmony with the written text.

Finding Graphics You Can Freely Use

Using Graphics

  • If necessary, be sure that your crop and resize your images before you add them to your document.
  • Use the insert tools in the word processor you prefer to place the images on the page. On your Google Drive, look under the Insert menu.
  • Be sure that cite the source for your graphics as well. See pp. 186–187 of the text book for details.

In-Class Writing

We’ll end with the in-class writing. Go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete today’s assignment, “03/03 Choosing Graphics.” As usual, you have until 5 PM tomorrow (3/4) to finish your work.


  • Have your rough draft available on your Google Drive for peer review on Wednesday, 3/5. You’ll use the instructions in Step One of Using Google Drive for Peer Review to upload your work with a classmate that day.
  • I will also explain the online class work for Friday, 3/7, so be sure you attend so that you know what you need to do!

Writing Instructions

The third part you need to include in Project 2 is a set of step-by-step instructions for how to complete a task. Your instructions will include a list of required materials, details on the steps to be completed, and any troubleshooting tips or advice. Today we’ll go over how to write this section of your paper.


Next time we will talk about finding, creating, and using graphics. Please read Markel, Chapter 8 (“Creating Graphics”).

Writing Descriptions

You will use technical description to introduce and provide background information on the topic you have chosen for Project 2. Your goal will be to provide the reader with enough information to tell if the document will help her by including background information, explanation, and visual resources. Today, we’ll go over the strategies for writing the description section of your project.


Next time we will talk about writing instructions so be sure that you have read the section in Markel on that topic (pp. 375-386).