Course description

WRT 351 emphasizes learning rhetorical structures best suited for writing for the web. Students practice professional writing as they learn to build web documents for community and commercial internet audiences, while covering topics such as designing with HTML/CSS, building websites with content management systems, user experience design, and search engine optimization.

After successful completion of the course, students will be able to…

  • describe the nature of readers’ interaction with typical website content and how that changes the way effective writers compose content for websites. 
  • evaluate the effectiveness of good writing in a website environment.
  • identify basic features of development platforms or content management systems (e.g., Drupal, WordPress, etc.)
  • assess the effectiveness of an existing website and its navigation according to website design and content principles.
  • compose webpages in a content management system using basic HTML tags.
  • compose effective content and navigation options in a content management system.
  • prepare a basic usability study of a website.

University policies

This course is subject to the university policies listed on the Course Policies page of the GVSU website. This includes sections on academic integrity/plagiarism. You should also familiarize yourself with the specific Rules of Using Generative AI (such as Chat GPT) in my Writing courses. GVSU Course Policies also discuss inclusion and equity, and disability/accessibility; all of these sections apply to this course, and student behavior in the course is expected to align with the university policies in these areas.

Class policies

In addition to the university policies, the classroom policies described below also apply to our course.

Classroom Conduct: During our class meetings, be prepared to participate actively, as we will have many discussions and group activities. When you are in class, devote your time and attention entirely to the class in order to receive maximum learning benefits from the short time that we will meet.  In the lab, use the computers to work on class-related activities only

Attendance: Attend all class meetings. Missing class will result in not being able to fully follow course content. However, I do realize that life happens. For this reason, you may miss up to three (3) class meetings. In case of absence due to medical reasons, please notify me as soon as possible. All absences related to medical/emergency reasons  will be excused. If you have more than three unexcused absences, this will negatively affect your final grade and you may be advised to withdraw from the course. Try to keep your unexcused absences for special cases. If you have to miss class, and know this ahead of time, make sure to turn in assignments ahead of time and notify me about your absence. I take a roll call at the beginning of each class meeting. If you have missed the roll call but are less than 15 minutes late, make sure to check with me so I can mark you as present. In any case, if you have to miss a class, please let me know as soon as possible.

Engagement: Your engagement with the course topics and projects is a crucial part of your success in this course. In order to be fully engaged with the class, you will complete your readings ahead of time and will be ready to discuss these during class. You will also participate in the team project equally. Team members who are not responsive or do not contribute equally to the team project will need to complete the project individually (which is more work).

Due Dates  are specified on each Weekly Unit page. Late assignments will not be accepted; however, if you run into an emergency/unexpected situation, contact me as soon as possible so we can work out an alternative arrangement.

Class Meetings

Tuesdays and Thursdays in HRY 117
from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm

Required textbook

Redish, J. (2012). Letting go of the words: Writing web content that works. Second Edition. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann. – Available free through the GVSU library website (Additional assigned readings will be available online.)


Your grade in this class will include the points you receive for your individual projects and as a member of a team.  Each major project is described in detail on the Projects page.

Point Breakdown:
Blog post and commenting: 200 points
Guest blog post: 100 points
Website usability report: 200 points
Team website project: 380 points
HTML assignment: 40 points
CSS assignment: 40 points
Accessibility assignment: 40 points

TOTAL: 1000 points

Grading Scale:


Additional Resources

Each weekly unit will contain additional links to resources about that specific week’s topic. Another valuable resource is a book available online through the GVSU library. It is: Lynch, P. J., Horton, S., Marcotte, E. (2016). Web style guide. 4th Edition. Yale University Press. You can view the book after logging in to the library’s page using a link to ProQuest books.

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