This assignment is designed to encourage you to reflect on the visual design, layout, readability, and organization of a document. It’s also designed to help you think about the rhetorical situation: how documents respond to the needs and goals of both writers and readers in specific contexts.
- Find a syllabus online (preferably one that seems to be hard to use: too long, not well organized, not well designed, etc.).
- Analyze how/whether it meets the needs and goals of readers (students). Also reflect on the goals of the writer (professor) in the syllabus as you perceive them. Some topics to consider: design principles, page design, typography, white space, brevity/clutter/concision, clarity/simplicity, scannability, headings/hierarchy (use Styles), flow/coherence, genre expectations (how should a syllabus look? What are the major sections? What do readers want/need/expect?). We will have course lectures and readings on many of these topics.
- Redesign the syllabus as a one-page (single sided) fact sheet that includes the crucial information that readers (students) need and can find at a glance. To do this, you’ll need to determine the most important information to convey to readers in a way that maintains a high level of readability and scannability. You’ll redesign the layout and rewrite some of the language in the syllabus. Consider a range of readers and a range of contexts (including online readers viewing the syllabus on their phones as well as readers who are taking online classes during the pandemic). Your goal is to make the syllabus more readable, scannable, and accessible to its audience in a highly condensed.