ICS 139W Spring 2014, Emily Navarro
(adapted with permission from David Kay)
Changing the System: Peer Editing Guidelines for the Promotion Piece
Because this assignment is very short, you should have at least two of your classmates edit it (and you should edit two of your classmates' papers). Try to work with people you haven't worked with before.
Here are two criteria for this assignment:
Any change in an existing system is likely to disrupt the system's current users. If your change were implemented, you would want to reassure the current users that the new system will be better for them—to "sell them," in other words, on your changes.
Finally, you will prepare a one-page flyer, brochure, memo, or web page announcing, describing, and promoting your change to the current users of the system. This "promotion piece" may be one- or two-sided and may be relatively informal in tone—just so that it gets the message across without its readers dismissing it as a joke.
Great flexibility is possible in the form and content of these pieces, but (a) they must do the job (in this case, make the users of the current system want to use the changed system), (b) use clear, correct, grammatical English, and (c) follow the principles of good design and typography.
- Talk to the author. Does the author expect the users to be eager to use the changes, or resistant to change, or hard to convince in some other way? What problems of persuasion does the author anticipate?
- Read your classmate's paper once through without making any comments. Then, write down briefly your first impressions:
- Do mechanical errors get in the way of reading it?
- Is it well organized and easy to follow?
- Does it do the job? If you were a user of the current system, would this piece make you more likely to try out the changed system?
- Read it again, more carefully, making specific comments in the margins. Focus your comments on the organization and content; don't spend much time proofreading for spelling or grammatical errors. (But mention it to the author if you do find many mechanical errors.) What changes would help the author get the message across?
- Can you list three ways in which the typography and design actually help the piece to do its job? Can you list ways in which they interfere, and suggest improvements?
- Review your comments with the author (and vice versa). Be sure to include your name as editor with your written comments and return those comments to the author, who must include them with the turned-in version. Likewise, be sure to get the written comments of your editor(s).