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An update to the schedule, and starting to think about the Instructions Assignment

by Steve Krause on October 7th, 2014

I just made some slight updates to the course schedule. There are no changes about when things are due, but I did replace the “TBA” items under the instructions and informal report assignments. Check it out to see the details.

And while you’re all working on/thinking about the complaint/adjustment letter assignment, we need to get started on the next project, the Instructions Assignment. For now, take a look at that assignment and also try to mull over these questions (which we’ll start talking about on Wednesday): what makes for “good instructions?” What are some good examples of good instructions you’ve seen/used in the not so distant past?

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2 Comments
  1. Jessica Kane permalink

    Years ago, I was part of a team-building exercise where we had to write instructions on how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Another team would have to follow our instructions to the letter and attempt to complete the sandwich. It was great for some laughs (some people ended up with peanut butter spread on the plastic bag on the top of the loaf) but also provide some great insight into how important it is not to assume that your reader has any prior knowledge of the thing in which you are attempting to instruct them to do.

    This past weekend, I created a no-sew fleece blanket with two lengths of fleece, some scissors, and an online “how-to” blog. I am not a person you would call crafty and, other than dinner, don’t usually do things from scratch so finding the right sort of instructions took more than one click. One reason I went with the site I eventually chose was that each individual instruction was only a sentence or two. Another was the graphics. There were .gifs that would show the movements. This was nice but I think photos, in this case, would have worked equally as well. Since I was able to complete the blanket with little trouble, I would say these instructions were pretty good.

    • Steve Krause permalink

      The peanut butter and jelly sandwich instructions is a classic! I haven’t done it before, but I know a lot of other people who teach classes like this one do this same thing in class.

      Stay tuned for the “good instructions” discussion, btw. I just wanted to first give people a chance to think about it.

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