Revising an Essay for the Web

Advanced Composition, O'Donnell, ETSU, Summer 2011


Last update:  July 5, 2011


I.  The Assignment


Revise one of your first three essays for the web.  Worth 15% of the final grade. 


You will submit the revision as an html data file by Thursday, July 7.  Email it to me as an attachment by class time: 


Note:  The internet is a powerful tool.  You are not required to actually allow your essay to be posted on the internet.  I will ask students who earn As to voluntarily allow me to post their work.  However, I will absolutely not post your work on the web, unless I have your (clearly uncoerced) permission, and only after long and thoughtful consideration, including a careful reading, in class, of an official, legal release form, which is written to protect your interests and legal rights. 


II.  Choosing Which Essay to Revise


In choosing which essay to revise, consider which of the three would most likely find a real audience if it were posted on the web.  That's not necessarily the "best writing."  Sometimes narrow or specialized topics are more likely to find real audiences on the world wide web.  When we discuss this in class, we'll consider the following NPR story about "how to" videos on youtube:



III.  Considerations, in Writing Specifically for the Web


A.  Search Terms/ Searchability


    Include key search terms in the title field.  These will include specific people, places, times.  Specific = proper nouns and numbers. 


    Question for discussion:  What is SEO? 


B.  Consider Your Audience:  International Strangers 


    A reader from absolutely anywhere can find your writing if it's posted on the internet.  What would a stranger from, say, South Africa, need to know about your writing, if they encountered it on the web?  Implications:


            1. Clear, self-explanatory title. 

            2. Clear, complete, specific author's note. 

C.  Readability / Skimmability


    Reading a text off of a screen is different than reading a hard copy.  Consider adapting the following elements: 


            1. Summary blurb.

            2. Table of contents. 

            3. Section headings. 

            4. Links to other web sites. 


D.  Electronic formatting


    What are advantages/ disadvantages of html, pdf? 


    What is an html editor?