Welcome to Developing Online Content!

Welcome to ENGL 4814: Developing Online Content. This website will function as the online headquarters for our class this semester. Each week, I will post an update to the website with details about coming week, deadline reminders, links to helpful resources, etc… I plan to use Virginia Tech’s Scholar site to record your grades, but otherwise, everything related to this course will be posted here. And given that this class is about developing content for the web, it seems appropriate that you should help me build this website as the semester progresses. (We’ll talk more about that goal soon.)

A bit about me: I’m starting my second year at Virginia Tech, and I love it here. My research focuses on how people use rhetoric in online environments, and all of the classes I teach have something to do with technology. I have been building websites since 1999, and I do some web consulting for small businesses and nonprofit groups that need help getting (or getting up to date) online. When I’m not staring at a computer screen, I love to cook, read, and spend time with my wife, a brilliant freelance writer, and our two daughters.

Each week (typically no later than Thursday evening), I will add a post to this website that explains what we will be doing in class the following week, and what you need to do to prepare for those class sessions. I’ll show you the Week 2 post next time we meet, but here are a few things you need to do to before class on Wednesday:

Finally, a quick note about this website. Throughout the semester, we’ll be holding class discussions online. To help you get comfortable with that process, please add a comment to this post that introduces yourself, links to your Twitter profile, and answers the following question: What is one specific thing you want to learn to do in ENGL 4814?

Before you post, a couple of warnings: (1) Your classmates will see what you write, so don’t include anything intended just for me. (2) This website is public, so we will stick to using first names only. Also, please be sure to use your vt.edu email address every time you post to the class website. Once I “approve” your first comment on the site, you will be able to post comments for the rest of the semester without waiting for me to approve them.

16 thoughts on “Welcome to Developing Online Content!

  1. Hello,

    My name is Nadia and I am a junior pre-law and professional writing english major. One thing I hope to get out of this class is to develop technical web skills that I can put down on my resume and use for a potential future job, because being web savvy is so important in the job market these days.

  2. Ryan here. Let’s see, I am a super-duper senior from a small town in Maryland (now) studying English with a concentration in Professional Writing, not unlike most of you I suppose. I don’t know what else to put into here, so moving on…

    The one thing I would like to learn in 4814 this semester is actually kind of broad. I have some very basic coding experience from my time spent in the dreaded School of Engineering, and I would really like to expand on that little bit of knowledge. Granted, the coding we were doing wasn’t really all that related to web site design, I still really enjoyed (but secretly despised, yet really, really deep down actually loved) the challenge of getting a piece of code to work as intended. It really is a love/hate relationship, but I’m hoping to turn things more toward the love side of the yin-yang in this class!

  3. Hi Everyone! My name is Alex. I am currently a senior graduating in May. I am a communication major with a focus in public relations and I have a minor in professional writing. I am from New Jersey. I have a brother and a sister and pet fish named Fred that I bring to and from school with me. During the summer I had an internship at a public relations firm in New York City. I also traveled to Italy for two weeks with my family. I look forward to getting to know all of you and learning a lot in this class!

  4. Hello! My name is Tim and I’m a senior English major from West Deptford, NJ.

    One thing that I am looking forward to learning about in this class is how to increase traffic to your website. What good is a website if no one ever visits it and reads the material?

  5. Hello everyone,

    My name is Nicole and I’m a junior double majoring in Communication (PR) and English (Professional Writing). I’ve had previous classes involving web design, but I’m looking forward to learning more about different techniques and ways to manipulate the appearance of web pages. Prior to this class, I have mainly used DreamWeaver as my platform for creating websites; however, there is still so much more I’d like to learn about both Dreamweaver and other website-building platforms. After this course, I hope to be much more comfortable with coding and designing websites, regardless of the platform.

    See you all in class!


  6. Hi everyone!

    My name is Susan and I am a senior majoring in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. I also have a minor in Psychology. I don’t know too much about coding and creating websites (outside of WordPress), but I’m excited to learn these things in ENGL 4814 because I know that these are highly marketable and sought after skills.

    My Twitter: https://twitter.com/suzy_writes

  7. Hi. My name is Emily and I am a junior English major(creative and professional writing focus). The specific thing I would like to learn from this course would be how to effectively use (and present information with) the websites and tools the internet provides us with. Currently, I don’t think I use the internet effectively, and I am hoping this class (along with providing a basic understanding of the languages that construct websites) will teach me how to effectively utilize the internet as a tool.

  8. I’m Beth. I’m a senior English major on the Professional Writing track. I want to learn the basics of coding HTML, because I feel like I should have learned how to do that a while ago.

  9. Hi!

    I’m Emma. I’m a junior majoring in Political Science, focusing in Legal Studies, and minoring in Professional Writing. I’m taking this class because I think online development is a really valuable skill to have and because I think it’s really interesting. To that end, I want to learn to create basic but effective websites by the end of the semester.

  10. I’m Mike, a senior in English with a focus in professional writing and pre-education. My Twitter page is @EmNol22

    During this class, I want to learn how to maintain a blog and how to create and design websites. Learning how to use HTML is something that I am specifically interested in as well.

  11. Hey everyone,

    My name is Jonathan. I’m a senior English major in the Professional Writing track. One of the many things I’d like to learn in this class is coding. I have a very, very limited knowledge of coding right now. I’ve told myself for a while that I should develop at least basic coding abilities. I’m excited that this class will help me do that.

    Here’s a link to my twitter (which I’ve almost never used):

  12. I’m Patty, number in your hearts and mind. I’m an English major with a focus in Professional Writing . You can follow me on twitter @PatrickHackley.

    I originally came to Tech to play football, but seeing as that I am currently a classmate of yours, my NFL dreams never materialized.

    My interests include dogs, Olympic weightlifting, gardening, and learning-about anything.

    By taking this class, I hope to expand skill set in all areas related to the internet, and thus, improving my ability to make money.

  13. Hello class,

    I’m Charles and I’m starting my last year in mechanical engineering. Through this course I hope to learn how to use open resources to assist in the website development process and gain experience and professionalism in writing, coding, and website design aesthetics.

    I set up a twitter account yesterday and made my username: MyName1sCharles .

    See you in class,


  14. Hello class! My name is Jonathan; I am a senior professional writing student expected to graduate in the spring. I am both excited and scared about the prospect of being a senior! I want to apply to graduate programs in technical communication as well as job-hunt in the next year because I’m not sure which path I want to take post-graduation. I work in the Virginia Tech Writing Center and, over the summer, became involved with the VPI Cave Club, where I am learning all about caving now. I’m very excited for this class!

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