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#WeekendWatch: Writing Instructions

#WeekendWatch: Writing Instructions published on

At some point in your career, you will need to write instructions. Depending upon your career, you may write instructions all the time. These videos from the University of Minnesota Writing Studies program provide useful details on how to ensure your instructions are effective.

This first video provides an overview of the features and sections of instructions and how the documents are typically organized:


This second video explains how to write effective steps in your instructions:



#WeekendWatch: Good-News Messages

#WeekendWatch: Good-News Messages published on

Yesterday, I shared details on bad-news messages. Today’s #WeekendWatch looks at the opposite kind of correspondence: Writing An Effective Good-News Message (1m21s). Good-news messages are much easier to write. At worst, your reader may be neutral about the information that you are sharing. In many situations, your reader will be anything from pleased to overjoyed.

Even though they are easier, good-news messages do require a specific organization. Most importantly, you want to be sure that you don’t bury your good news. Put it right up front!

Watch this weekend’s video to learn about the organization of a good-news message, all in just a bit over one minute:


#WeekendWatch: Front and Back Matter

#WeekendWatch: Front and Back Matter published on

Last week’s #WednesdayWorkshop focused on What to Include in Your Proposal. For our #WeekendWatch, I’m returning to the discussion of sections of a report with this University of Minnesota video on Analytical Reports: Front and Back Matter.

The video explains in 4m35s the information you need to include in your Genre Analysis Report:


#WeekendWatch: Comma Splices

#WeekendWatch: Comma Splices published on

At one point or another, you are bound to make a comma splice. We all have. I make them most often when I’m texting and not paying attention to what I’m doing. It’s not the worst error you could make, but it is one you should avoid in professional writing.

So you know comma splices are a problem to avoid, but do you know what they are? Watch this tutorial video from Texas A&M to find out!



#WeekendWatch: Create Information-Rich Signposts

#WeekendWatch: Create Information-Rich Signposts published on Login Help videos are free to Virginia Tech students with your VT.EDU login. Start at the VT.EDU login page to access these resources.

Next week, you will begin working on your short proposals and thinking about your genre analysis reports. Both of these documents (and many other things that you write) will benefit from the document features that you include.

This week’s #WeekendWatch video discusses how including clear headings, subheadings, and links helps readers navigate your document by providing information-rich signposts. Listen for a reference in the video to the F-shaped reading pattern, which these document features support.

The video refers to online documents specifically, but most of these features are useful in printed documents as well. Obviously links are not very helpful in printed work. Headings and subheadings certainly are.

Learning to Write for the Web by Chris Nodder (video, 5m22s)

After you watch the video, you can discuss the ideas in the #WeekendWatch Discussion in Canvas.


#WeekendWatch: Peer Review Commenting Strategies

#WeekendWatch: Peer Review Commenting Strategies published on

As you begin the process of providing feedback to the members of your writing group, this video from the University of Minnesota Writing Studies program will help you figure out how to provide constructive and helpful feedback.

The MIT video on our Writing Groups page gives you some overarching suggestions for what peer review looks like. This University of Minnesota video gives you six very specific ways that you can give your writing group members feedback. If you are unsure how to make constructive comments, spend five minutes on this video. You’ll know exactly the kind of comments I’m looking for once it’s finished.

Peer Review: Commenting Strategies (video, 5m4s)


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