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Week-by-Week Suggested Activities


This is a teaching guide for professional writing instructors who are teaching their students to write usability reports. It includes teaching tips, suggested deliverables and class activities as well as a list of resources. Although this guide is created primarily for English 420 (Business Writing) and English 421 (Technical Writing) instructors at Purdue University who assign usability report as part of the OSDDP (Open Source Development and Documentation Project) initiated at Purdue, you may find many of the tips and resources useful and ready to be adapted to your own classroom context.

Contributors:Jingfang Ren, Dana Lynn Driscoll, Elizabeth Angeli
Last Edited: 2010-10-14 12:42:06

A 7-week time frame is used here, with each week typically consisting of two 75-minute class meetings or three 50-minute class meetings. Feel free to adapt it to your own class schedule in any way you deem necessary.

Week 1: Introduce Project and Form Usability Teams

If you happen to have someone in your class with a programming background and knows open source from the developer's view point, invite him or her to give a mini-speech on the developer's side of the story.

Week 2: Select and Propose Product to Be Tested, Set up and Conduct Mock Tests

A good product to use for the mock test would be SmartDraw, which is a software program that helps users to create Gantt chart and other types of charts. It's simple enough to be mastered in a short period of time. Further, since one of the deliverables students are expected to produce for this project is a Gantt chart, having students draw up a Gantt chart using this particular software allows students to accomplish two tasks at once.

Week 3: Analyze Mock Tests and Develop Testing Materials

Week 4: Conduct Usability Tests and Analyze Data

Week 5: Draft Usability Reports and Present Data Visually

Week 6: Peer Review Draft, Conference, and Revise Draft

Week 7: Present, Reflect, and Evaluate


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