So I did mention last time about how I tended to have bad streaks of procrastination when it comes to online courses? Well, funny story about how this second assignment turned out that turns that statement over it’s head and still makes me look a little silly in the process.
It turned out that the ‘textbook’ for this class: Technical Communication by Mike Markel isn’t as much of a gargantuan textbook as one would expect from a class about writing things. It is actually comparatively light as opposed to other textbooks and readings I’ve had done so in the past. Feeling more like a very benevolent high school book as opposed to a weighty college textbook. So I found it relatively easy to work in required readings for the class. The book gets straight to the point much of the time and had loads of examples. Loads of examples, meaning pages of straight text are balanced with example documents with meaningful commentary, as well as tables here and there. Plus, I’ve found that some of the things written in the book speak to me in my improvement in writing. Which had felt stagnant since High School (I followed the ‘if it sounds right’ ideology of writing which was enough to label me as explanatory in writing during high school some four years ago now).
This assignment had us make an ‘Instructional Presentation’. Big words for: ‘a how to using your desired media’. The type of media the presentation could’ve been on could’ve been something as nice as a video, down to a voiced over power-point presentation. Considering the amount of immediate capital at my disposal, I made full use of my resources and opted for a power-point presentation. Students also had a choice of what sort of topic their presentation would be about. I was rather surprised that my most humble proposal of making Microwave Boneless Chicken Wings with Ranch and Cheese on top managed to get through – so thus I had my topic.
Markel gave a few pointers relating to instructions that I took to heart. The biggest ones probably were to make good use of white space, and to give the instructions the sense of being ‘small.’ That means cutting down big instructions into parts and to make your wording clear and succinct.
So what exactly made me betray my self declaration that I was going to heavily procrastinate, but still managed to cause me to folly? Well, it started out harmless enough. As soon as my topic was given clearance I went ahead and started taking pictures of my microwave concoction at every step, from ingredient gathering, to plate arrangement, as well as the addition of the garnishes. I soon had the set of pictures that I deemed necessary to get things working. It was then that I went ahead and made the instructional presentation, which itself was nary 9 steps by the time I had distilled it down to the most clear and essential of instructions. Formatting and wording was on the same lines as Merkel had prescribed of being short and succinct, and having plenty of white-space.
So before I get to the punchline, it is worth noting that the instructor gives us weekly communications that relay what our progress should be.
1) Things That Should’ve Been Done Last Week
2) Things That Should Be Done This Week
3)Things That Should Be Done Next Week
Each section of these include readings, and assignment due dates.
What happened to me was that on a late Sunday night I was browsing due dates, and found that it suddenly seemed like the ‘Instructional Presentation’ was going to be do in the next hour or so. In a panic, I haphazardly threw together the Voice-over of the power-point, and immediately submitted it. I was horrified to find out later that the ‘due date’ was under the ‘next week’ tab. On top of that, I couldn’t submit any new submission after the initial one. So my submission for that lab is essentially complete at the base, though I feel like I probably could’ve used that extra time to figure out whether or not my voice over was done right. Today’s lesson learned: Pay attention to details.
The video about voicing over powerpoints that the instructor provided was rather helpful. You can find it Here
Source of Face-palming Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3b/Paris_Tuileries_Garden_Facepalm_statue.jpg