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Sharing Skills, Setting Goals (web edition)

Texts to have read:

Work to have done:

  • Come in ready to ask questions of your groupmates; push some draft website to github, albeit not necessarily your pitch just yet.

Group skills sharing (15 min)

Remember, every time you get in groups, to figure out who's the timekeeper; who's the historian, taking lead on taking notes; and who's the diplomat, making sure participation is balanced. (Hint: Usually, the first person to ask who wants which role is the diplomat.) Timekeepers, let's aim to move forward no later than 11:20 to save time for criteria-building. 11:15 might be even better, but I don't want to rush you too much.

What questions do you have so far about html and css? See if your groupmates can help.

ALT: If you don't have any questions right now, share one cool thing you learned about html and/or css this weekend.

EXT: If you finish before other groups, use the remaining time to think big picture with your groupmates. Update each other on your project pitch ideas, and on the parts and roles that might be involved in fulfilling it. What's the draw here? How might you draw attention to it, or literally draw it, e.g. in a design sketch?

EXT: If you haven't yet, check out the updates to our Resources page.

Quick review of the unit project assignment (3-5 min)

You already have my super-classy assignment prompt as web page, but let's review the essentials:

  • The content goal is to produce a project pitch for the collaborative unit to follow: some digital media project that will involve you and several classmates in composing something you could not achieve on your own.
  • The technical goal is to use lo-fi .html and .css files to build a functioning website; I've set some minimum requirements, but I'm open to negotiating.
  • Related genres include commercial websites (sales pitches); FAQs; Kickstarter campaigns (though I'm by no means requiring, or even suggesting, video); mobile-first informative apps; etc.
  • The first draft is due in two days (Th 10/26), when we'll have workshop. The final draft is due one week later (Th 11/2), when we'll have "lightning talk" style presentations of your pitches before voting on which projects will move forward.
  • Parachute prompts: If you can't think of anything of your own to use, even after brainstorming with me, try one of these options. But please chat with me first, as I may also be able to help you flesh out a nascent idea.
    • Work on WordPress administration and theming to redesign our course site, or build a new one.
    • Work on a mini-journal series of multimodal essays – whether journalistic or personal. Could include photo essays, video essays, interactive websites (perhaps using Atavist), etc, depending on the interests of group members.
    • Work on a hypertext narrative or game, perhaps using Twine

Building criteria (40 min total)

We'll start in groups here, then discuss as a full class.

Group brainstorm (10 min)

To bring all our notes together while allowing for real-time collaboration, use this google doc.

Given the goals of the assignment and what you've been able to figure out so far about your particular project goals, how will we know if you've succeeded? What constitutes a minimum set of criteria for this assignment?

Beyond that minimum, what would be some good goals to strive for, even if not everyone should expect to achieve them?

Take 10 minutes in groups to make some lists.

If you're at a loss, might I suggest again turning to some of the terms in W/D?

Let's talk! (30 min)

Quickly read through the other groups' notes, and as you see overlap, propose an official version for our list of shared criteria.

We'll refine as a group, and repeat.

This process could probably take as much time as we can give it, but let's stop with 5 minutes left in class to make sure there's time for announcements. We'll be able to revise these after testing them out in workshop on Thursday.

Before we end for the day

  • Can I get 3-4 volunteers for workshop on Thursday?
    • p.s. if you haven't yet had an opportunity for full-class workshop, I'll ask you to present your group's work-in-progress during the collaborative unit.
  • If you haven't yet, can you please quickly add me as a collaborator on your repository?

Homework for next time


  • Your goal is to share a draft of your own pitch website by Thursday.
    • Push your html and css files to a folder (repo) on github;
    • name the main landing page index.html; and
    • activate GitHub Pages as I demonstrated in a gif last class.


  • Review the assignment website at
  • Continue working with "html & css is hard", getting as far as you can reasonably get.
  • Have another look at the resources page of this website, where I've added links to reference sources, website templates and frameworks, and one of my favorite sources for useful CSS tricks.
  • Consult any other tutorials you need – possibly including Lynda videos, which you can access through my.pitt – to solve design problems as they come up.


  • If you haven't yet, sign up for a midterm conference with Ben over the next two weeks (absolute latest deadline: 11/9)