Course Syllabus

ENG 375 + 507: Web Authoring and Design


Garrett, Jessie James. (2010). Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond. 2nd Ed. New Riders. ISBN: 0321683684 AVAILABLE ONLINE via GMU Library

Recommended: Duckett, Jon. (2011). HTML & CSS: Design and build websites. Indianapolis: Wiley. ISBN 978-1-118-00818-8. Amazon:

Other readings listed in the schedule will be distributed online as PDFs or website links.


Bring a USB drive to each class to backup your work; we'll also be looking at open source software applications that we can install on our flash drives (so we can work on our websites anywhere!)


Web Design Project


In-Class Modules

Note that these are brief descriptions; full assignment descriptions and examples will be provided in class.

Class modules
The class modules are the hands-on work of the class. Modules must be completed in the order in which they appear on the course schedule. Each module is worth 10 points each; see each individual module for the grading criteria for that module. The modules will be available on our class web site. Class activities and discussions will help you prepare for the modules, but it is your responsibility to read the modules and to prepare and submit your work in its entirety, so read the module instructions and steps carefully.

Web Authoring Resource, Technique, or Web Theory Presentation
Everyone does it once; due dates assigned in class.
For this assignment, you will present on one of three topics: a web design example, a web authoring resource, or an approach or method that focuses on web theory. Details about the requirements for these presentations will be covered in class and posted on the presentations page.

Final Project

The final project includes several components:

  • Proposal
  • Presentation
  • Final Product
  • Project report/reflection
You will design your own final project. The design and content of the project (which must be web-based) is primarily up to you, but you must demonstrate a working knowledge of the principles discussed in class — rhetoric, design, and code. You will also produce a careful and thoughtful project report and reflection about how you engaged these principles in the production of your website/web project.


Punctuality and meeting deadlines are crucial to successful professional writing. If you are unable to turn in a project on time, you must make arrangements with me in advance of the class meeting in which the documents are due.

You are responsible for keeping track of your points in this class. Create an Excel spreadsheet and list the assignments, the total points, and the points you earn as the semester proceeds.

modules 1-7 (10 points each)
class participation
final project proposal
final project presentation
final project report
final project product
points possible


Because this is a class that requires collaboration and discussion, you are expected to attend class and be prepared. We will often work on projects and other exercises during class time, and there is no substitute for your presence during these workshops.

If you miss more than 2 classes, your grade will be lowered a letter grade for lack of participation and professionalism. Being late for class or leaving early is considered unprofessional and will count as an absence. As always, there are legitimate reasons to miss class; thus, you may miss a class because S[tuff] H[appens]. If you know in advance that you must miss class, you should contact me and any project groups with which you are working before your absence to coordinate future activities.


Class Date Topic/Reading/Module
1 1/22 1st Class: Introductions; Rhetoric, Design, Code
Set up mason web account; Histories and How Stuff Works
2 1/29 Module 1: Basic XHTML & HTML 5 – JJG chapters 1 & 2
3 2/5 Module 2: Working with CSS – JJG chapter 3
4 2/12 Module 3: Working with Graphics; JJG chapter 4;
Project Proposal Draft Due
5 2/19 Module 3 (con't); JJG chapter 5
Final Project Proposal Due
6 2/26 Module 4: Typography and Document Design; JJG chapter 6
7 3/5 Module 5: CSS Layouts & Templates – JJG chapter 7 & 8; presentations begin
3/12 Spring Break - work on mod 5 and projects
8 3/19 Advances in CSS and HTML5 5
9 3/26 Module 6: Findability, Usability, Accessibility
10 4/2 Module 7: Using Javascript and Exploring Advanced Techniques
11 4/9 no class - work on mod 7 and projects
12 4/16 Project Work
13 4/23 Project Work
14 4/30 Final Project Presentations
5/7 (Final Exam Day) Final Project Presentations finish; Project Report and all makeup work due

University Policies

Academic Integrity
GMU is an Honor Code university; please see the University Catalog for a full description of the code and the honor committee process. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else's work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form. Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.

Office of Disability Services
If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.

University Policies
The University Catalog,, is the central resource for university policies affecting student, faculty, and staff conduct in university affairs.

Other Useful Resources