Writing Resources: COMP 449

Writing Resources for Students in COMP 449: Human-Computer Interaction
Tips for writing with greater clarity.

Note: many of these practices can be done on screen, but at some point it is also worth printing a draft for editing and revision purposes. Errors that might not be obvious on the screen may be more apparent in print.

Read your draft out loud, slowly, word by word (or have someone read it to you). This is the number one strategy for catching typos, half-revised sentences, missing words, shifting verb tense. Even professional writers do this, and it works.

Reading your draft backwards,  from the last sentence to the first sentence. This isolates sentences and lets you see how they stand on their own. Our minds are really good at self-correcting what we read, so this makes sure that the text on the page/screen matches up with what you intended to communicate.

Visit the Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue for help with sentence clarity and other mechanical concerns. This Sentence Clarity Presentation offers hands on tips for editing your own writing.

Make an appointment at CI’s Writing and Multiliteracy Center. Appointments are held in person and online via Zoom. Tutors will not edit papers for you, but they will work with you on specific, sentence-level challenges in your writing. If you are struggling with content level issues in an assignment, you might also visit CI’s Learning Resource Center or the STEM Tutoring Center. The LRC’s More Tutoring Services page lists resources for other programs, including Computer Science.

Explore the CI Writing Guide (and suggest that the Computer Science Department work with the Composition Director to develop a guide tailored to Computer Science courses!).

Don’t procrastinate! It is a myth that students do their best work under pressure. Don’t confuse motivation or the satisfaction of simply getting an assignment behind you with excellence. Start working on an assignment when you receive it and return to it over several sessions. You convey respect for your professor and your own writing when you take the time to present your best possible work, not something dashed off hurriedly at the last minute. Remember, most writing is rewriting.

Read good science writing. Make a habit of reading one good article every day.Active reading is key to developing effective writing practices. We learn to write from what we read, so if all your reading takes place on iMessages and Snapchat, that’s not going to enhance your ability write effectively in a professional, academic setting.

Potential Sources of Good Reads:

Wall Street Journal Science

New York Times: Science Times

Huffington Post Science

Salon Science Section

Salon Innovation Section

The Economist Science and Technology Section

LA Times Science News

LA Times Technology News

Global Post: Science, Tech & Environment

NPR Science

NPR Technology

BBC iWonder

The Atlantic Science

The Atlantic Technology

Vox Science & Health

Science Daily