Speech Communication 454
Communication and Technology
This page is for overall portfolio comments and reminders from your instructor for 454. Ben will update this page periodically to answer questions that come up during the semester as well as to address problems that he notices in the portfolios as they are turned in and evaluated.
| Portfolio Due Dates |
"Practice" Assignments |
Overall Portfolio Comments |
Frequently Asked Questions |
Portfolio Due Dates:
"Practice" Assignments (so far).
(Last updated 26 Sept. 1996)
- Find an join an electronic mailing list
- Find a USENET newsgroup that is appropriate for your operating system and ask a question that you need help with. Report any useful responses to hypernews.
- Get on IRC and explore. (hint: try "irc lrc.csun.edu")
Overall Portfolio Comments
(Last updated 26 Sept. 1996)
That's all for now -- stay tuned for further comments before the next portfolio is due!
- First off, you've all done an admirable job of getting your first portfolios in and trying to make them substantive. Given the difficulties of first-time experiences with the internet, you can all pat yourselves on the back for mastering hypernews and coming this far with the other material. I will try to have evaluations of each portfolio back to you by class on Wednesday.
- Those of you having trouble with computer stuff, please rush out today and buy a computer book. I have emphasized RTFM and the online help available, but there is no question that for some of you having helpful information in a textbook rather than on your computer screen will make your lives in the online world much easier. I suggested one good resource in the syllabus, but there are many others available. Most of these books (Internet for Dummies, The Internet Unleashed, The Internet Starter Kit, etc.) have the same information in them. The best thing to do is browse the computer section of a bookstore and find the book you find easiest to use. The main difference between these manuals is the format, not the information provided.
- A couple of portfolios were turned in without grades. Remember to assign yourself a grade for each of the categories in your cover sheet. Additionally, try to be realistic in your grade assignments. As I have emphasized, "A" or "B" work involves more than simply "doing what you're told" -- it requires active participation as a producer of your internet personality (whether through the creation of web pages, active contributions to listservers, or other such participation).
- Please don't include "excuses" in your portfolio. Remember that the portfolio is a place to emphasize what you have accomplished rather than explaining why you couldn't accomplish something. Everyone is encountering problems with learning how to use computers. If you have questions about how to do something, ask them in email or hypernews rather than putting them in your portfolio. As I have said before, your portfolio is like a resume or cover letter. You would never start a cover letter for a job application by saying "Dear Employer, I'm sorry but I haven't been able to acquire the experience necessary for the job because I hurt my foot and my cat ate my resume and I was caught in a drive-by shooting, but I think I'm the best person for the job anyway." Try not to do something similar in your portfolios.
- Very few people attached any addenda to your portfolios. Remember that adding materials such as journal entries, position statements, posts to newsgroups, etc. will greatly enhance your overall portfolio.
- Finally, I accepted hardcopies of portfolios this time, but I want electronic copies next time, in ASCII or HTML format. If you are unsure of your ability to email this to me you can physically turn in a disk on the day the portfolio is due, but either way the portfolio must be turned in electronically.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes this is still very much under construction; for now email me if you have a question you would like to see up here.
- What should I put under "scholarship"?
- The scholarship section of the portfolio is eventually going to be
your final project. In the meantime you should use this section to take a stance on some of the issues discussed in the course materials. I am interested here in your making an argument, taking a position on the substantive issues brought up in lectures, readings, and class discussions. For some this may take the form of a brief essay which cites the course materials and takes a position on them; for others this may include a collection of postings or comments developed in a reading journal.
- What kinds of things should I include as an addendum?
- bla (To be filled in soon).
- Should I attach every post to hypernews I've done?
- No. I can easily find these myself online. You may wish to include the URL if you feel your post was particularly insightful. In general only put in the appendix your contributions outside of hypernews -- material that I would not see otherwise.
- Does it have to be in ASCII?
- Not necessarily. You may turn your portfolio in using the HyperText Markup Language (HTML). To get an idea of how to use HTML, use "View Source" in Netscape to look at the actual source of this document. There are many tools available on the web for coding documents in HTML that make the process easy -- check here for software for your platform. But if you do not want to learn HTML, you do need to turn the paper in using ASCII. This is easier than it sounds. Most word processors include an option to save a document as ASCII or "text-only," and some will even automatically format your document as HTML if you like. Additionally, if you use cut-and-paste (or the "clipboard") to move text into your email program, your clipboard usually converts the information to ASCII automatically. If you type directly into your email program using your keyboard, the chances are you are using ASCII.
- What the #$&@##% is ASCII?
- ASCII is an acronym for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange"; it is sometimes called "text-only" because the only thing included in an ASCII document is plain text. Basically, when something is done in ASCII, that means that it consists of simple letters, numbers, and other characters without hidden codes, like codes that tell when to make characters bold, or whatever. If you're viewing a file as ASCII, you should be able to see everything that is in the file. (As an example, select "View Source" in netscape and try to read this document. You will see a number of HTML Codes that do not appear when you read the document in netscape. These codes tell Netscape how to display the text that you do see. All word processors use codes to format text to your liking, although they are usually much more complicated than HTML). Basically ASCII has become an international standard character set for the display of information. Such a standard is important so that any two computers will display the information in the same manner.
ASCII is also sometimes called "ISO 8859-1 (Latin-1)," and has been called culturally imperialist by some because it internationalizes a local (American) standard. What is useful about ASCII is you can see exactly how the text will be displayed on other people's systems. ASCII text is usually displayed in a monospaced font (a font in which each character takes up the same amount of space, like Monaco, Courier, or Mishawaka). This makes creating "ASCII Art" a favorite pasttime for many ASCII users, because you can draw pictures using only the characters on your keyboard.
- What is a "text editor"?
- A text editor is a computer program for writing and manipulating ASCII text. Windows Notepad (or Notebook?) is one example of a simple text editor. Another one is the Macintosh editor Simpletext. There are many of these available free on the internet, and every operating system comes with one or two. (Macintosh, for example, includes three with its operating system: Simpletext, Notepad, and Stickies; DOS and Windows usually include Notepad, Edit, and Write; UNIX users usually have the obscurely named editors pico, vi, and emacs). More complex and feature-rich text editing environments are available on the internet. For Macintosh I recommend the programming editors BBEdit (which has a great HTML editor included with it) and Alpha. For Windows and DOS users, Don Hage writes:
For writing ASCII text directly, I found Windows' "Write" is
easier than DOS "Edit" because you can see the whole page of
text without scrolling. If it is saved as a .TXT file, it will
provide the 256 character line. "Write" is therefore easiest
to view an ASCII 236 character line as it wraps the line
around on a single page screen. Use "Open" file and "Under
list of files of type" choose "Text Files (*.txt)". These will
bring a list of .txt files from the directory of your choice.
It will ask you if you want to convert. Choose "no
conversion." While dot matrix printers will automatically wrap
the long line, lazer printers will not so that the use of
"Write" -Print is almost a necessity. Using "Edit" or
"Notepad" will not wrap the printing of an ASCII long line,
and therefore it prints only part of that long line.
An ASCII chart for Windows users can be found here; and various text editors include BBSEdit, Bedit, and Windows 95 users should useDana or QEditor. MS-DOS text editors can be found here.
| 454 Main Menu | Ben's Home Page |
Speech Communication Department |
This page maintained by Ben Attias
Last Update: 4:33:03 PM on Thursday, September 26, 1996.
Please Send Comments, Suggestions, etc. to