Week 5: Graphs, Charts, and Images

It was inspiring to watch you put together your visual instructions so quickly on Thursday. I read through all of them today, and given your time constraints (and my intentionally vague instructions), I was very impressed with what you produced. We’ll conduct a short debriefing exercise about this activity on Tuesday, and I would love to hear more about your successes (and your frustrations) with this activity.

By now, all of you should have received my feedback on your Instructables proposals. If you haven’t, please let me know as soon as possible. Many of your proposals intrigued me, and I’m excited to see what you come up with as this assignment moves along. During Week 5, we’ll continue our exploration of visual instructions and turn our attention more squarely to producing (not just analyzing) visual instructions.

On Tuesday, we’ll talk about the importance of data in technical communication and practice turning raw data into charts and graphs. Please read Chapter 6 in the textbook before you come to class.

On Thursday, we’ll focus on editing images for use in printed and online documents. By this point, you should have taken the photographs for your Instructable. Please bring these files to class, where we will spend most of the day in workshop mode.

Finally, a note about taking photos for your Instructable: In order to avoid re-shooting all of your photographs, be very careful about setting up your photo shoot. Use the best camera you can find (translation: don’t use your cell phone) and set the camera at the highest possible resolution. Make sure your lighting is good. Eliminate background “noise” (dirty counters, unsupervised roommates, etc.) before you start. Shoot double or triple the number of images you think you’ll need. Take shots from multiple angles. Before you begin in earnest, take one or two shots and import them onto your computer to see how they look. In short, I don’t expect you to be professional photographers, but I can’t stress enough how important it is to have clear, bright photographs for this assignment.

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