Greetings From a Previous Student

When I found this in my in box it made my day. It’s a report from a former student who is now a techical writer: “Recently, one of your articles came up in my department at Unisys. Each month, my colleagues across the country and I receive a departmental ‘e-zine’ that includes links to technical communication Web sites of interest. This month, the e-zine included a link to the article…

Eerily Similar Case [Missing Pregnant Woman] Languishes in Obscurity

“It is rare for a pregnant woman to vanish. But Peterson’s case likely received extra media attention from the start because she was from the same town as another well-known missing person and homicide victim — Chandra Levy, the Washington, D.C., intern who had an affair with then-Rep. Gary Condit.” –Eerily Similar Case [Missing Pregnant Woman] Languishes in ObscuritySF Chronicle) The victim of the story making headlines was a white…

Helping Gillmor: Making the News

I’m a little behind in blogging Elwyn Jenkins’ response to Dan Gillmor’s Making the News. Here’s what Elwyn says: “Writing, that you see here in this [Elwyn's] weblog, is not journalism. This is more about pedagogy than it is about journalism. This is about organizing information — some bloggers do that by simply amassing a list of links and a little comment to cause others to look and think. I…

Women Need Widescreen for Virtual Navigation

“It may sound like sexual prejudice, but it seems that men’s much-debated ability to navigate slightly better than women applies in virtual environments as well as the real world. And on average, says Microsoft computer scientist Mary Czerwinski, men are quicker to create a mental map of an environment and orient themselves within it.” –Women Need Widescreen for Virtual NavigationNew Scientist) I think that title should be “Women need wide…

Embarrassing lesson: Duped reporter learns the hard way

“Unfortunately, I never actually heard the protester’s name pronounced, just caught him spelling it out for others and jotted it down in my notepad. | I wrote the story for Sunday’s paper, tucked the quote down near the bottom, filed it to my editors in Charleston and blithely went about my life, unaware that this one name was about to make my own name known around the country. | On…

Low-End Media for User Empowerment

“Fancy media on websites typically fails user testing. Simple text and clear photos not only communicate better with users, they also enhance users’ feeling of control and thus support the Web’s mission as an instant gratification environment.” Jakob Nielsen –Low-End Media for User EmpowermentAlertBox) There’s nothing stunning in this post, but it’s presented in the matter-of-fact, straightforward way that infuriates the “wow them with cool design” crowd. Nielsen also notes…

Desperately Seeking Hrabanus Maurus: WebCT and the Web

WebCT, like Blackboard and Jenzabar, is a content-management tool for online education. It sets up a password-protected space where students and teachers can present their materials. Laura Gibbs writes: “[O]ne of the major themes of the WebCT presentation was that ‘you don’t need a website anymore – not like you used to!’. Hmmmmm….. since when is it a good thing to give up your website? I understand wanting better tools…

Grammar Valued More in College than High School

“The writing skills college instructors most want from incoming freshmen–proper grammar and usage–are considered least important by high school English teachers….Among six writing skills, grammar and usage were taught the least by more than 700 high school English teachers surveyed during a national curriculum survey ACT conducts every three years.” Rosalind Rossi –Grammar Valued More in College than High School Sun Times) File this under “This Explains a Lot.” Via…