Outlining Goes Electronic

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 177 pages
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This book examines a writing activity that has recently fallen into disrepute. Outlining has a bad reputation among students, even though many teachers and textbooks still recommend the process. In part, the author argues, the medium is to blame. Paper and ink make the revision difficult. But if one uses an electronic outliner, the activity can be very helpful in developing a thoughtful and effective document, particularly one that spans many pages and deals with a complicated subject.

Outlining Goes Electronic takes an historical approach, examining the way people developed the idea of outlining, from the classical period to the present. We see that the medium in which people worked strongly shaped their assumptions, ideas, and use of outlines. In developing a theoretical model of outlining as an activity, the author argues that a relatively new electronic tool-software that accelerates and performs the process of outlining-can give us a new perspective from which to engage previous classroom models of writing, recent writing theory, and current practice in the technical writing field.

 

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Contents

A Little Context
3
How Going Electronic Deepens our Understanding of Outlining
5
Situating the Outline in Theory
6
Situating Electronic Outlining in the Spectrum of Collaborative Work
10
How Electronic Outlining Helps Writers Turn Structuring into a Continuous Process
15
What Outlining Software Does
16
Expanding the Organizing Process
20
How Electronic Outlining Helps Technical Writers
31
How Notes Appeared on Cards
76
Moving from Notecards to Outlines
79
The Advent of the Typewriter
96
Why Outline?
115
Emphasizing the Logic of an Outline
116
Reassuring Students that an Outline Can Be a Practical Timesaver
125
Using Metaphor to Express the Benefits of Outlining
128
Conclusion
135

Extending the Collaborative Conversation
41
Using the Electronic Outliner to Further Conversations at Work
42
Using the Electronic Outliner in a Classroom
50
The Paper Model
63
How Outlines First Appeared on Paper
68
Toward a New Model of Outlining
139
References
151
Author Index
169
Subject Index
175
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

JONATHAN PRICE consults with major high-tech firms on improving their manuals, help systems, and web pages. He writes regularly for the Web. His popular workshops at UCSC focus on internet prose, organizing information for the Web, designing online help, and technical writing as a career.