Computer scientist Leslie Lamport to [Brandeis] grads: If you can’t write, it won’t compute

I like introducing my English majors to coding. Here’s a computer scientist who’s returning the favor, advocating the importance of writing skills. “If you succeed in attaining a position that allows you to do something great, if you do something that really is great, and if you realize that it’s great, there’s still one more hurdle: You have to convince others that it’s great,” he told the graduates. “This will…

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…

The future is in interactive storytelling

An interesting piece. Easy-to-learn hypertext authoring tools like Twine and TextureWriter have encouraged many of my students to give this kind of storytelling a try. As longtime experimenters and scholars in interactive narrative who are now building a new academic discipline we call “computational media,” we are working to create new forms of interactive storytelling, strongly shaped by the choices of the audience. People want to explore, through play, themes…

Dozens of Colleges’ Upward Bound Applications Are Denied for Failing to Dot Every I

I’m not saying that the Upward Bound kids deserved to be punished because application writers didn’t follow formatting instructions. I am saying that formatting matters. When your professors put “formatting” on the rubric, they aren’t simply trying to make your life difficult. For the want of double spacing in a small section of a 65-page grant application, 109 low-income high-school students will be cut off from a program at Wittenberg…