MS-Word’s helpful “View -> Focus” mode delays stress-related breakdowns.

You won’t usually catch me saying anything nice about Microsoft. (Ok, Flight Simulator was good.) A few days ago when life was a little more stressful than usual, I found myself nearly overwhelmed by what should have been a routine editing task. Then I stumbled across MS-Words’s View->Focus mode, which hides most of the intrusive accretion of menus, buttons, and readouts. After changing the default black background to a nice…

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A new study shows that students learn way more effectively from print textbooks than screens

Saving this for next term’s “History and Future of the Book” course. Students said they preferred and performed better when reading on screens. But their actual performance tended to suffer. For example, from our review of research done since 1992, we found that students were able to better comprehend information in print for texts that were more than a page in length. This appears to be related to the disruptive effect that scrolling…

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10 questions to help you write better headlines

I already have some handouts on writing titles for web pages and writing titles for college papers. I don’t (at the moment) have a full handout on writing headlines for news stories. In this age of clickbait (“Clickbait Tactics Drive the Writing of Headlines on ABC News,” 2015), revisiting Poynter’s advice on writing traditional news headlines is worthwhile. Clickbait headlines generate visits, but they don’t generate shares or trust. If…

Prototypes in Technical Writing: What are They?

Many a high school student has muddled through a book report in a single caffeine-fueled sitting, but successful research term papers or quarterly progress reports require planning. In technical writing, a prototype might be a full table of contents (with summaries for each major section) and one or two complete chapters.   If conducting a survey is an important part of your project, your prototype might be a complete survey of a…

How to Make a Website: Guide to Web Creation, Design & Styling

I am a textual thinker, not a visual thinker. The resources I create for my own students focus on my own strengths and needs as a college English teacher:  the writing, basic conventions, and genres such as instructions and emails, and user-focused areas I’ve picked up out of necessity after watching my students learn to write for the web (there’s nothing in a typical composition class that will help them understand the…