Friday, February 27, 2009

HW Assignment #5 (Due March 4)

HW Assignment #5


Your assignment for this week is to make a list with brief notes about all of your classmates' blogs. That means you should have a total of 16 entries with brief comments about the design of your each blog. You should use the list on this site to go to each of the blogs, and visit them in the order you find on the list (alphabetized by first name).

In this case, I want you to concentrate on the presentation of information, not the content of what they submitted as previous assignments. Your comments don't have to be whole sentences, but I'd like you to tell me what you notice. Comments can be positive and can also be critical -- but always be polite in how you phrase your notes.

You should email a copy of these comments to me as homework, but also bring a copy (digital is fine, as long as you can access it) to class. We're going to discuss your findings.

Also, be prepared to introduce your own blog and talk about the choices that you made. You don't have to prepare comments about your own blog in writing, but be ready to talk about it.

ONE IMPORTANT NOTE: PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THE FORMAT OF YOUR BLOG UNTIL AFTER WEDNESDAY. You may get ideas from looking at your classmates blogs (this is good), but please don't change things until after we talk about your first attempt.

You can and should, however, also add two new posts to your blog: another article and five more terms with definitions and citations.


For this homework assignment, I'd like you to use the following layout convention in your document:

[Number]. [Name of Classmate] ([Blog URL])
[Notes about Blog]

This means that if I started a list, the first two entries would look like this:

1. Anna (

Interesting use of ... ; I also like ...; I wonder why the blog ...; etc.

2. Aziza (

Interesting use of ... ; I also like ...; I wonder why the blog ...; etc.

Otherwise, usual standards apply: typed, double-spaced Word, PDF, or text document with 12 pt font size. (I strongly prefer .doc files to .docx files.)

Submission Guidelines:
Email as an attachment to or with "HW Assignment #5" as the subject line.

Please include your name and assignment number in the body of the document.

Due Date:
6 p.m., Wednesday, March 4

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Online-Only Class: The Shortest Lecture You'll Ever Attend


Welcome. I am about to invite you to the shortest class that you'll probably ever attend. I have been working to produce an interesting interactive experience, or at least an unconventional one based heavily in Web 2.0 tools. I've encountered a few challenges that have been educational for me and I'll discuss those with you in class.

I'll begin by mentioning that I produced about 45 minutes of video content to deliver to you as an online lecture. Doesn't sound short, does it?

In fact, though, it will be very short, because I'm going to deliver less than ten minutes of this information due to encoding limits. I'd like to propose that you download the original 700MB file, but I'm really not so cruel.


So, I'm going to ask you to watch two short videos that were reduced to very low quality to facilitate speedy upload.

The first short upload.

The second short upload.

Once you've watched these videos, I'd like you to register your attendance at class by adding a comment to this blog post. Please include your first name in the comment, so that I know you've been here, and also include the link to your blog (the link that you should have emailed to me by now).


The next thing that I'd like you to do is watch the following tutorial video. It contains instructions for how to create a spreadsheet that you'll use to keep track of your list of terminology. Essentially, you are taking the first steps toward building a small relational database. The very first steps. Don't worry, it's not so bad.


Finally, I'd like you to read the following two news articles about the New York Times website. After reading them, I'd like you to give them some thought and make some short comments about them -- by phone. Yes, I'd like you to call a phone number that I'll be sending you by email and follow the instructions it gives you to leave a short voicemail message.

Times 'Updates' Make Clark Hoyt Want to URL

At Times 'Hack Day,' Geeks Are Invited to Make a Newspaper Work on the Web

In the message, please start by stating your name, then leave a short comment -- no longer than two minutes -- offering a brief response about the articles, or asking any questions that come to mind after reading them. I know this is wide open and unusual, but part of the point is to create some multimedia content.


Now, just as after a normal class, all you have to do is wait for your homework assignment to come on Friday. If you want to get a jump on other work, know that I will expect you to collect five new words for your terminology list, as well as to add one new article to your blog.

Class dismissed!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

HW Assignment #4 (Due February 25)

Assignment #4


For this assignment, you are going to create a new blog and add at least two posts to it.

1. Go to and create a blog using the Blogger platform.

You can create a new email address just for this account, or if you want to tie it to an existing address or Blogger account, that's fine, too. Just make sure that this is a completely new, dedicated blog for use in class (at least until the semester's over...).

2. Select a format that you think will suit the purpose of the blog.
There are no restrictions on your choices, but you should make them for a reason. These reasons should relate to the context of your site (an Info Design class), the primary users who will visit the blog (i.e., me and your fellow students), and the content that you'll post (for now, that will be news clips and terminology definition lists).

Without needing to know how to write any code, you have the ability to change background designs and colors, add or remove page elements, and format text and hyperlinks in individual posts. When you make decisions about how to format your posts, please think about why you're making choices and how they'll perform over time. You don't need to write this down now, but this thought process may be part of a later assignment.

Some elements not to overlook in your consideration:
A. Post names
B. How you'll use dates to organize information
C. Whether or not you'll use tags to identify your posts
D. Font color(s) and size

3. Use Assignments #2 and #3 to create your first two posts.
Use the list of terms that you submitted for Assignment #2 as the prototype for one type of post. Use the article summary and review as the prototype for a second type of post. You'll be adding posts of this kind at least once every week.

4. Email me the URL of your new blog.
That's it. Once you've created the blog and added your first two posts, please send me the URL and I'll add it to our class site.

Email body text only.

Submission Guidelines:
Send your blog's URL in the body of an email to or with "HW Assignment #4" as the subject line.

Due Date:
6 p.m., Wednesday, February 25

Updated Naming Convention

As we discussed in class on Wednesday, the naming convention that we originally chose for homework files had a few shortcomings. This new version should address the things we missed the first time.

Please follow this updated file-naming convention when submitting assignments as attachments.

hw[assignment number]-[file number]_adv3560_[first 3 characters of last name].[file suffix]

If I were submitting Assignment #3 and I needed just one attached file, I would name it:


If I were submitting Assignment #3 and I needed to include three attached files, I would name them:


[post updated with correction (explanation in comments) on 3/4/09, 5:02 p.m.]

Friday, February 13, 2009

HW Assignment #3 (Due February 18)

Assignment #3

Your assignment this week is a short one. I'd like you to find one article published online within the last two weeks that pertains to the Web or information technology in a way that you think is significant (or just interesting).

First, I'd like you to write a very short summary of the article (think two to three sentences at most). Then I'd like you to explain briefly what it is about the article that you think would be of interest to the class.

Be sure to include a link to the original article. It could be a blog post, but if so, it should not be a post that merely recapitulates an article from another source. If it is, then just go to the source article and note that you discovered it through a blog.

Please follow our new file-naming convention when submitting the assignment. For anyone who didn't note it:

hw[number]_adv3560_[first initial][first 3 characters of last name].[file suffix]

So, if I were the one submitting this assignment as a Word document, I'd send a file that was named:


Typed, double-spaced Word, PDF, or text document with 12 pt font size. (I strongly prefer .doc files to .docx files.)

Submission Guidelines:
Email as an attachment to or with "HW Assignment #3" as the subject line.

Please include your name and assignment number in the body of the document.

Due Date:
6 p.m., Wednesday, February 18

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Class Location Change

N-1101 to N-1102

You should have received an email today letting you know that we'll be changing locations for the remainder of the semester. Starting tomorrow, please come to N-1102, the computer lab next door to our old meeting place, for class.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

HW Assignment #2 (Due February 11)


For next week's class, you'll be reading the following two articles, both published in 2005. They address two topics still very relevant to Web development in 2009: Web 2.0 and Ajax.

What Is Web 2.0
Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software
by Tim O'Reilly

Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications
by Jesse James Garrett


Assignment #2


The written part of your assignment is to make a list of at least 10 key terms from the two articles that you think are important to understanding them. Provide short definitions for each of the 10 terms (these can include company names or products), citing any sources you use to help you define them.

After you've written the terms and definitions, write a short description of how you researched these terms. You can use one term as an example, or you can explain your research process in general. I'm curious to know if you go to a particular search engine first, or if there are other resources you use. Do you often use more than one source?

So, that means the written assignment has two sections:
A. Key terms with definitions
B. Short explanation of research process

Typed, double-spaced Word, PDF, or text document with 12 pt font size. (I strongly prefer .doc files to .docx files.)

Submission Guidelines:
Email as an attachment to or with "HW Assignment #2" as the subject line.

Please include your name and assignment number in the body of the document.

Due Date:
6 p.m., Wednesday, February 11