English 373: RoboHelp project

For this assignment, you'll construct an online manual using RoboHelp. You have two options. You may pick either, but I'd recommend strongly that Professional Writing majors and those interested in the computer field select option 2.

Option 1: Create an instruction manual

In the RoboHelp textbook, you have been creating various iterations of a policy and procedure manual. The "procedure" portion of such a manual provides instructions for workplace tasks. For your project, then, you may create a procedures manual. If you pick this option, your project must result in a document a person would reasonably access and use at a computer or on a tablet or on a phone. Some previous projects students have created include manuals for operating a phone system, operating a cash register, performing store opening and closing duties, and applying to graduate programs. Of course, you don't have to pick from this list; these examples are meant only to illustrate possible ideas.

Option 2: Create procedures for computer software

One of purposes a program such as RoboHelp is to document computer software or hardware. As such, for your project, you may want to write computer procedures. You could write how-to information about software you use on your computer, apps you use on the web, apps you use on your phone or tablet, and so on. Whatever you choose, pick a unified subject to write about, and then document several common "how-to" tasks users would complete that relate to the overall subject. Previous projects have included how to create a newsletter in Publisher, how to use Word to send out mailings, how to use LinkedIn to maintain a professional profile, how to work with Google Docs, and how to create a website using free programs such as Wix or WordPress.

To pick a subject, consider software, hardware, websites, or apps you routinely use, or choose a subject you'd like to learn to about. (Sometimes people who are learning something new do a better job of documenting because they're less likely to skip steps.) Perhaps you use a program at work, and colleagues often ask you how to use it. Maybe you create bulletins, update webpages, or construct newsletters for an organization. Consider using this project as an opportunity to help these individuals on a few essential tasks. If you don't have any ideas for this assignment, ask friends, family members, co-workers, or even computer-lab users what software tasks they struggle with routinely.

Project requirements

Regardless of which option you choose, you must write and be the sole author of the material you submit. Copying information from existing materials is plagiarism. If you want to revise an existing document significantly, I may allow you to do so, but you must get my approval first. In addition, you may not use a project you created for another class. You must create the material from scratch for this section of English 373.

Moreover, I must approve your subject before you begin working on the Help system. I won't accept unapproved projects. You should propose your project informally before or after class or in an email message. Be prepared to let me know the kinds of topics you will cover.

In addition, your Help project should do the following:

To give you a sense of scope, your Help system, if printed, should equal about five pages. Remember that this assignment is an outside-of-class project, so you'll need either to work in the Siceluff lab during open lab hours or to get a copy of the RoboHelp trial and Snagit trial so you can work at home. (The RoboHelp trial requires Windows 7, Windows 8.x, or Windows 10; the Snagit trial works on these same operating systems and on Mac OS X.)

On the due date, you'll turn in your entire project folder, which should include one generated output in the !SSL! folder.