Peer Review for Project 1

Today is peer review day for the first project. You’ll pair up with another student in the classroom, share your Google Docs with each other, and add comments. At the end of the session, be sure to log into Scholar and post the required information to receive your points for today’s in-class writing.

  1. To begin, I’ll demonstrate how to share, comment, and reply in Google Docs. If you get lost or come in late, use the step-by-step instructions on How to Use Google Drive for Peer Review. (It’s under the Resources menu if you need to find it later.)
  2. You will have the rest of the class session to read your partner’s project, comment on it, and then read and respond to the comments that your partner left on your project.
  3. 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. Add positive comments on anything your partner is doing effectively, and add suggestions on anything your partner could improve.
    • Check the title of the document, and add a comment to tell your partner if it is clear and effective.
    • Read the first paragraph, and add a comment on its effectiveness. Does it include the full details on the document your partner is analyzing? Does it provide everything the reader needs to know what the document is about? If anything is missing, make suggestions for improvement in your comment.
    • Read through the rest of the document and add comments on at least three things your partner does well, and at least three things that your partner could improve on. It’s fine (excellent, even) to include more than the minimum number of comments.
    • Check that your partner has addressed all six characteristics of technical communication and the eight measures of excellence (included in the project assignment, if you need to double-check them). If anything is missing, add a comment that lets your partner know.
    • 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.
  4. 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. For instance, you might thank your partner for catching an error, ask your partner for more detail on feedback you don’t understand, or share a revision and ask your partner if it is an improvement.
  5. After you have read the comments on your project and replied, go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete today’s in-class writing, “02/07 Peer Review.” The post is short and easy, but you need to do it to get credit for your work today.


Read Chapter 9 of Markel, “Writing Correspondence.” Pay particular attention to the sections on writing letters, writing memos, and writing e-mails. I will ask you to write one of those three kinds of documents for your in class writing on Monday.

Designing Documents

Today we will talk about document design, focusing on the four principles of design as outlined in Markel, Chapter 7. The basis for every good design is a mixture of these principles: Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, and Contrast.

  1. Go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete today’s in-class writing, “02/05 Doc Design.” Your work will be graded for effort and completeness, but minor issues in spelling, grammar, and punctuation won’t matter in today’s writing. (If you paste it into your Project 1 draft too, obviously you need to make sure you proofread it).
  2. We’ll quickly look at the examples in the book for the 4 principles, and I’ll share the easy way to remember them. I’ll also touch on the value of chunking information in technical documents.
  3. I’ll ask a few of you to volunteer the documents you’re using for Project 1 for class discussion. We’ll scan the document and look for evidence that the author(s) have applied the design principles.
  4. I’ll talk briefly about the peer review process we’ll use in class on Friday.


Friday have a rough draft of Project 1 in your Google Docs folder to share with another student in class. If you don’t have a full draft, you can share whatever you do have.

You’ll do your in-class writing credit for Friday at the end of the session. I will ask you to post the sharing link to your draft in Tests & Quizzes, and I’ll ask you to give me the name of the person whose draft you read. You get 1/2 your points for having a draft and 1/2 your points for providing feedback for another student in class.

Feedback on Project 1 Documents Posted

I’ve graded all of the documents submitted in Scholar for the first project. Note that if you didn’t submit your work in Scholar by the deadline, you aren’t going to find any feedback there.

I can tell you all that everyone who turned in a document chose something that would work for the first assignment, so everyone is good to continue working on drafts to share in class on Friday.

To see the feedback, use these instructions:

  1. Go to Scholar and log into the class.
  2. Go to the Tests & Quizzes tab.
  3. Choose the Feedback link for the relevant writing. It looks something like this: Feedback Link in Scholar
  4. On the next screen, find the feedback information at the top of the page (above the question and your answer), as shown in the following image:comment on quiz

Effective Titles and Headers

The titles for the documents you write can make all the difference in whether they are effective (and even whether they get read). Just as important, the headers that you use within a document can help make sure that your readers find the key information in the document. Today, we’ll look at examples of both titles and headers and talk about what makes them effective.

  1. Go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete today’s in-class writing, “02/03 Writing Titles.” Your work will be graded for effort and completeness, but minor issues in spelling, grammar, and punctuation won’t matter.
  2. We’ll go over the tips on writing titles and headers from Markel, Chapter 6: Writing for Your Readers.
  3. We’ll look at the headers in some of the sample documents for Project 1 to see how effective they are.


  • I am still going through the documents you submitted last week. I hope to have feedback to you by Tuesday. I’ll send out an email announcement when they are posted. Be sure you check to make sure that your document will work for the first project.
  • Read Markel, Chapter 7: Designing Documents and Web Sites, and think about how the ideas in the chapter apply to the document you are analyzing for Project 1. We’ll come back to this chapter periodically during the semester as we talk about the design for the different projects you work on.

Analyzing Audience and Purpose

Today we’ll talk about how to analyze a writing task to determine the audience and purpose.

We’ll do the class discussion first and the in-class writing last today because I want to be sure that you understand the kind of information I’m looking for as you write your answers.

I’ll highlight some passages from Chapter 4 of Markel. The most valuable part of the chapter is the Writer’s Checklist on pp. 76–77. If you think through the answers to those questions for the writing you do, you’ll have a stronger piece of writing.

After we go over the basics, I’ll ask you to answer three questions (Who is the audience? What is the purpose? How can you tell?) for these webpages:

In-Class Writing

Go to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and complete today’s in-class writing, “01/31 Audience & Purpose.” You’ll have the remainder of the class period to get your thoughts written down. Your work will be graded for effort and completeness, but minor issues in spelling, grammar, and punctuation won’t matter. NOTE: What you write today can go ultimately go into your project.


Read Markel, Chapter 6: Writing for Your Readers, and be ready to apply the information in your in-class writing. There’s lots of information in this chapter on how to write effectively and correctly. When I grade your work for issues like grammar, organization, and style, I will often point you to details from this chapter.

Ethical and Legal Concerns

Ethical and legal concerns can be complicated by the company and industry, the specifics of the situation, and even where and who they will effect. Today we will discuss the documents that explain one company’s ethical policies and then talk about your ethical obligations as a technical writer.

  1. Get started by going to “Tests & Quizzes” in Scholar and completing today’s in-class writing, “01/29 Ethics Analysis.” You’ll have about 15 minutes to get your thoughts written down. Your work will be graded for effort and completeness, but minor issues in spelling, grammar, and punctuation won’t matter.
  2. Once everyone finishes the writing, we’ll talk about what you found on the Disney website’s citizenship section.
  3. We’ll go over details from Chapter 2, primarily on fair use and documentation, and talk about how the issue relates to assignment for Project 1 .


Read Chapter 4 of Markel (“Analyzing Your Audience and Purpose”). Choose the document you will analyze for your first project, and have a digital copy ready to turn in. You’ll submit it and some related information for your in-class writing.