Spring 2010

Course Information: WRIT 4220/5220
Section 001, Course # 53532 / 46106
We meet from 9:30 a.m. - 10:45 in KPLz 143 on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The course home page can be found at: <>

Professor Information:
Dr. Craig Stroupe,, 218-726-6249, Humanities 425, Office Hours Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to noon or by appointment.

Purpose | Expectations | Resources Needed | Grades


This class will explore how documents work in the physical and social world. You will learn hands-on skills and methods of document production and have opportunities to conceive and create documents for particular audiences, tasks, environments, and situations. You will also gain a larger perspective on the convergence of technology, language, and culture which documents represent. The goal of the course is thus to present "document design" is not simply as the study of software tips and techniques, but as an interdisciplinary area where the fields of design, writing, history, usability, and cultural studies meet.

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As described on the schedule, this course is organized as a set hands-on projects and exercises, combined with a series of critical readings. The midterm exam and final exam will give you opportunities to demonstrate your grasp of the readings and major course concepts.

. The projects are larger pieces that you'll complete individually over a period of two or three weeks using the skills you've learned from the exercises and insights from the readings and class activities.

The online schedule will be updated throughout the semester. Please note that often digital projects will be due on non-class days.

There is a three-point penalty per day for late projects.

Exercises will generally be assigned as homework--though we will trouble-shoot them, if needed, in class. Exercises will be due (that is, available on the Web, the URL posted to the correct forum) by midnight on the due dates. Sometimes we will do exercises together in class.

We will have readings assigned regularly, throughout the term, which will demonstrate the various cultural uses of writing and critically discuss New Media. In addition to the books to be purchased, some texts will be made available via the library's electronic reserve. I will provide URLs to these texts, and I will expect you to print them out, read and annotate them, and bring the printouts to class ready to discuss. Do not use online versions of the readings as your primary means of understanding them. Please be prepared for brief quizzes and other activities intended to encourage you to keep up with (and engaged with) the readings.

Exam and Essay
I will give you sample questions and conduct a review session to help you prepare for the exam. The exam will cover the readings and concepts elaborated in class discussions.

The final essay will give you the opportunity to apply these ideas from class to the analysis of a document of your own choosing.

Additional Expectations
In addition completing the exercises, designing and producing the projects, readings the assigned texts, and taking the exam, you will earn credit through:


Since this class will function as a community of writer-designers, your regular attendance is absolutely necessary.


A larger goal of this course is to establish a community of writer/designers—with a wide variety of backgrounds, expertise, and interests—to enhance your learning and enjoyment in the class. The class is designed to provide a number of avenues for this community building. Your sincere and regular contributions to maintaining this collaborative environment will count in your grade and of course will greatly benefit your final products in the course.

Because your work is the subject matter for this course, turning in all projects and writings precisely on time is critical; work turned in late will be assessed a 3% penalty per day.

Special Needs

If you have a disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect your performance in this class, please notify me at the beginning of the semester. Methods, material, or testing will be adapted as required for equitable participation.


Incompletes for the semester will be given only in the following very limited circumstances:

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Please see UMD's pages concerning these two issues:

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Resources Needed



Purpose | Expectations | Resources Needed | Grades | Top