Syllabus: UW Digital Publishing, Blogs & Online Magazines

This is a hands-on class that is part of the University of Washington digital publishing certificate program.

Fall 2014 at a glance

1. Course Description and Objectives

This course provides information and hands-on practice designing, planning, and launching online digital publications. Learn how to create and format content, how to optimize content for a variety of audiences and digital platforms, how digital publishing standards work, and how to organize digital publishing content to include interactivity. Gain hands-on experience as you contribute to a shared class blog and use digital publication software, including WordPress, Tumblr, text and photo editing tools. Identify and work on your own digital publishing project.

The course is structured like a workshop or seminar: each class member is responsible for formally and informally contributing to discussion of readings, activities and assignments. This is a project-based course.

Learning Objectives

  • Compare/recommend technologies that support communication goals for digital publications
  • Use WordPress as a content management system
  • Select appropriate graphics formats and understand issues related to color and typography
  • Use social media technologies to facilitate engaged audiences for digital content
  • Become familiar with copyright (your own as well as that of others)
  • Develop resources for writing, editing and sharing content

Student Responsibilities

  • Be prepared for class; have reading and assignments done on time
  • Participate in active learning inside and outside of class (in other words, both on-line and face-to-face). That means asking questions, helping classmates answer questions, and working with one another to solve problems.
  • Be in class. It’s the only time we’ll have to work face-to-face
  • Ask questions!
  • Regardless of your experience with design or web technologies at the start of the class, challenge yourself so that your skills are greater at the end of the quarter than at the start.

Expectations from UW:

(1) Students are expected to be prepared before class so that they can follow along with the in-class processes. It is understandable that students have other obligations and time is sometimes short, but it is each student’s responsibility to prepare in advance as well as s/he can.

(2) Faculty are unable to schedule individual sessions with students outside of class time. However, faculty are able to respond via e-mail if a student has questions. If time is available during class (when students are working on tasks), faculty can provide some assistance then, too.

Specifics on code of conduct expectations and policies and procedures for those enrolled in certificate programs can be found in the UW Student Code of Conduct and the Certificate Program Handbook.

2. Course Structure and Teaching Strategies

Teaching methods for this course will include lectures, video demonstrations, student presentations, reading, and writing assignments. Some classes may feature a guest lecturer who is a leading professional or scholar in digital publishing.

Instructor’s Educational Philosophy

My goal is to provide a stimulating environment for learning. Course material emphasizes application to real world problems and situations.

Communication with the Instructor

With advance planning, I may be able to meet with you briefly before or after class. However, I  strongly encourage you to send questions, comments, concerns to me via email. I check my campus email less frequently on F-Su; please do not expect an answer to email sent F-Su until Monday. Please use clear subject lines that include the course number (add “urgent” if the message is time-sensitive). Double your chances of a quick response by also sending the note to my gmail account: kegill at If you have not heard from me within 48 hours, please resend to both email accounts; it would also be a good idea to also change the subject line. [Note: emails without subject lines will not be read; they are automatically filtered into my spam folder.]

We will discuss having other means for students to interact during the course, such as a Facebook group or email mailing list.

3. Required and Recommended Books and Resources

Required books

Required hosting

Students must have access to the Internet during after-class hours via something other than a smartphone (laptop/desktop or tablet with software that permits web page editing).

Students will need to purchase a website hosting package (as little as $60 a year) as well as a personal domain name (the url for your project; prices vary based upon term of purchase but minimum is about $15 for one year and is often included in hosting package).





4. Schedule

Class Meets Wednesday evenings, 6.30-9.30 pm. The schedule is on the home page of the course website and each week’s session will link to a detailed post with that evening’s agenda, slides, guest speaker notes (if there was one):

5. Course Evaluation/Grading/Policies

The course is graded “successful completion (SC)” or “unsuccessful completion (USC).”  To earn a “successful completion,” you must:

  • Be on-time for class and participate in class activities
  • Attend at least 80% of the class sessions
  • Complete course readings and assignments, with a final grade of at least 70.


  • Class participation counts for 20% of your grade. Class participation includes engaging in class discussions, posting to the course blog and other in-class activities.
  • Writing and editing assignments count for 40% of your grade. This includes in-class and homework assignments. It does not include project-specific assignments.
  • Your final project counts for an additional 40% of your grade.
  • Reminder: UW specifies that you can not earn a passing grade in this class if you miss more than two class sessions.

Courses in this program are arranged sequentially and typically are only offered once per year. To advance to the next course in this program, students are required to earn a grade of SC in this course. Students must successfully complete all courses in the program to receive a certificate of completion.

UW Library Resources

Students enrolled in UW Certificate programs have access to the UW Library including accessing resources online. To use the library, you need to set up your UW Net ID using your Private Access Code (PAC), which is sent to you after you register.

Disability Accommodations

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation, contact the Disability Services Office at 206-543-6450 (voice), 206-543-6452 (TTY), 206-685-7264 (fax) or email at least 10 days prior to the start of your course or date of a UW event you plan to attend.

Class closures due to inclement weather or emergencies

The University is closed and class meetings are cancelled only under extreme weather conditions or emergencies. For information about the cancellation of classes, call 206-547-INFO or 206-897-8939; special notices may also be posted on the UW Professional & Continuing Education home page. In the event of inclement weather including snow storms, our satellite sites in downtown Seattle and Bellevue will follow the directives issued for the Seattle campus of the University of Washington.

2 thoughts on “Syllabus: UW Digital Publishing, Blogs & Online Magazines

  1. Nancy White

    Looks like a really useful course, Kathy. I”m glad you are on the “domain of one’s own” wagon. You might share one of Gardner Campbell or Jim Grooms talks on this (plenty online, there is a great TedX one of Jim’s talk this fall from someplace in Puerto Rico… or write to Jim or Gardener. ) Another great advocate is Alan Levine of — > he helps me with the technology stewardship of a course we co-teach to first year design engineering students at the Hague University where we “learn in public.” We have had the students use Tumblr and we aggregate into a WP blog. But I really hope the university allows us to push folks into the domain of one’s own – like Mary Washington Uni. does!

  2. Kathy E. Gill Post author

    Thanks, Nancy! I’ll do that. And yes, I’ve been on “domain of one’s own” wagon for a while. I resisted having students put all their digital eggs on the University server because of the challenge involved in getting it off after graduation.


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