Technical Writing: Portable Document Format (DL) 801-135
Fall 2009 August 31, 2010
Instructor: Dick Gage Office: Racine 222D Office M__________
Phone: 262.619.6410 (school) W__________
262.619-6227 (fax) T__________
E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (school)
Address: Gateway Technical College, Attention: Dick Gage, 1001 S. Main Street, Racine, WI
Text: Adobe Acrobat 8 for Windows and Macintosh by John Deubert (0-321-47079-6)
Equipment: Access to a PC or Mac computer system, electronic publishing software, Microsoft
PowerPoint program or reader, and Adobe Acrobat 8.
Course Description: Familiarization and practice in creating portable document files (PDF),
optimizing program settings, using the editing and annotation features,
and preparing files for the Web. Emphasis is on the use of PDF’s in the
technical communication workplace and for the employment search.
Credits: 1-credit program requirement
Course Objectives: Students need to master specific competencies in procedural writing in order
to be employable as a technical communicator and to succeed in that career.
As in any course, the student will learn many additional theories and skills
beyond the minimum requirements of the course as a result of the assigned
readings, research, and communications with the instructor and other
students. The following eight competencies are the minimum skills
promoted and assessed in this course.
1. Use appropriate PDF production terminology.
2. Apply the appropriate settings that optimize and maximize PDF’s.
3. Create PDF’s for print production.
4. Create PDF’s for Web production.
5. Create electronic portfolios using PDF’s.
6. Create links within PDF documents.
7. Use PDFs for document editing and annotation.
8. Apply the principles of unbiased, non-sexist, multicultural, and global communication.
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Core Abilities: Gateway believes students need both technical knowledge and skills and core
abilities in order to succeed in a career and in life. The following nine core
abilities are the general attitudes and skills promoted and assessed in all Gateway
programs; those followed by an asterisk are promoted and assessed in this course.
1. Act responsibly
2. Communicate clearly and effectively*
3. Demonstrate essential computer skills*
4. Demonstrate essential mathematical skills
5. Develop job-seeking skills
6. Respect self and others as members of a diverse society*
7. Think critically and creatively*
8. Work cooperatively*
9. Value learning*
Grading: A thorough understanding of the grading guidelines is critical to the successful
completion of this course. Please read carefully, and contact the instructor if there are
1. Since this is a distance-learning course offered through the Internet, there is no required
classroom attendance. For records purposes, final attendance is determined by multiplying the
percentage of assignments completed by the total potential hours of instruction. In addition, if a
student fails to submit 25 percent of consecutive assignments without approval by the
instructor, he/she will be dropped from the class with a NG or F final grade.
2. Adherence to deadlines counts about 15 percent of the final grade. Since deadlines are an
integral part of a technical communicator’s occupation, deadlines have been established for all
projects. In order to meet the deadline, all assignments must be in the instructor’s possession by
the assigned date and time. All projects handed in after the deadline will be marked late in day
increments. The first late assignment will be assessed 1 day for each day late; the second late
assignment will be assessed 2 days for each day late; the third late assignment will be assessed 3
days for each day late; the fourth late assignment will be assessed 4 days for each day late; and
so on. The final deadline grade will be determined by dividing the deadline days remaining at
the end of the course by the total calendar days the course is scheduled. If at the end of the
course any assignments have not been handed in, the final deadline grade will be a zero.
Paper portfolios and electronic portfolios will not be accepted late; if they are late, the grade
will be a zero for the portfolio. There also may be other assignments that the instructor will not
accept late; if not indicated as such on the syllabus, you will be notified of these assignments at
least 5 days before they are due; again if they are late, the grade will be a zero for the
3. PDF assignments count about 65 percent of the final grade.
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4. Using the Discussion Board weekly to respond to questions by the instructor and other
students and to post questions to the Discussion Board counts about 10 percent of the
5. E-Portfolio (assignment 6) counts about 10 percent of the final grade. You are required to
add this course to your paper portfolio before the next time you have your paper portfolio
6. Grading Scale:
Letter Numeric Letter Numeric
Grade Grade Grade Grade
A 95 – 100 C 79 – 82
A- 93 – 94 C- 77 – 78
B+ 91 – 92 D+ 75 – 76
B 87 – 90 D 72 – 74
B- 85 – 86 D- 70 – 71
C+ 83 – 84 F 69 – 0
7. If you have any special educational needs or concerns, please contact the course instructor or a
special needs instructor at one of the Gateway campuses.
Assignments: The following provide the specific details and due dates of all required assignments
for this course. Review course notes and do any personal research needed before
completing the projects. All projects must be done on the computer and received by
the instructor through first-class mail, Gateway intercampus mail, Digital Dropbox,
email (attached program or PDF file), or in person before 4 p.m. on or before the
due date. All assignments will be corrected and returned within seven days.
If you have questions, please contact your instructor.
Objective: To introduce yourself to the instructor and the other students in the course.
There are no additional course notes for assignment i-d. Do any personal research needed for the
assignment. In addition, this assignment is not corrected, but an “A” is earned for doing it and a “0”
is earned for not doing it.
Post to the Discussion Board an introduction to yourself. Include enough information so that the
instructor and the other students get to know more about you than just your name. The following is
information you might include: name, where you live, family details, educational history, work
history, why you are taking this class, community involvement, hobbies, travel, and any other
information that would be interesting to know.
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There is no set length for this assignment, but create a good profile of yourself so that we can get to
know you. This information may also prove helpful when looking for other students in the course to
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before September 15, 2009.
Objective: To collaborate with the other students in the course.
There are no additional course notes for assignment i-db. Do any personal research needed for
the assignment. In addition, this assignment is not corrected, but credit is given for the weekly
Post your comments and questions or responses to comments and questions to the Discussion
Board by clicking on the Communication button on the left. The Discussion Board allows you
to communicate and chat with the other students and the instructor of this course. This allows
you to ask questions to other students in the course and to have the responses shared with all
students. The instructor can also post helpful information on the Discussion Board, so it is
important that you check it regularly. There is no set length for this assignment.
Also, remember part of your final course grade will be based on your weekly Discussion Board
posting(s) that provide appropriate information, respond to questions by the instructor/other
students and post questions or comments for response by the instructor/other students. See the
syllabus for details on grading.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before September 22, 2009, and every Tuesday
the rest of the semester.
Objective: To demonstrate the use of appropriate PDF production terminology.
Read chapters 1 and 2 of the textbook. Review the course notes for assignment 1. Do any
personal research needed for the assignment.
1. Click on the PDF file at the top of the page to download “Assignment 1.”
2. Open the PDF document and describe each page of the document in one sentence for each
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3. Try the “Searching for Text” function of Acrobat and comment on the function’s
4. Try the “Reading Mode” function of Acrobat and comment on the function’s usefulness.
5. Try the “Measuring Sizes and Areas” function of Acrobat and comment on the function’s
6. Electronically publish your responses to steps one through five above and send to your
7. Save this file as a Microsoft Word Document with the following file name structure: your
last name+PDF+Asgn1 (example: GagePDFAsgn1).
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before September 22, 2009.
Objective: To create PDF's for print production and web production.
Read chapters 3 and 4 of the textbook. Review the course notes for assignment 2. Do any
personal research needed for the assignment.
1. Click on the Word files at the top of the page to download "Assignment 2A," "Assignment
2B," and "Assignment 2C."
2. Convert the three Word files to a single PDF file that is arranged in this page order:
Assignment 2A first, Assignment 2B second, and Assignment 2C last.
3. Reduce the file size (“Save as”) of this PDF file with the following file name structure: your
last name+PDF+Asgn2 (example: GagePDFAsgn2).
4. Click on the PDF file on the top of the page to download "Assignment 2D."
5. Save this file as a Microsoft Word Document with the following file name structure: your last
name+PDF+Asgn2D (example: GagePDFAsgn2D).
6. Send both these files (PDF and Word) to your instructor.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before September 29, 2009.
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Objective: To apply the skills of tracking PDF editing and annotation by multiple reviewers.
Read chapters 5, 6, and 7 of the textbook. Review the course notes for assignment 3. Do any
personal research needed for the assignment.
1. I will send you a PDF file for review (after you have finished assignment 2) using the
"Review & Comments>Send by Email for Review" function. You may want to send me a
reminder email when you are ready to begin assignment 3.
2. Open the email within your email program and follow directions given within the email.
3. Using the Text Box tool, place your name and Assignment 3 at the very top left corner of
page 1 of the PDF document.
4. Edit the PDF file to correct or indicate errors using the commenting tools (use the tools of
5. Save the PDF file: Do not change or modify the file name or the Review Tracker will not
6. When you have finished steps 3, 4, and 5 above, click the Send Comments button to send me
Note: If you are using a Web email package, step 6 above may not work with your email
service. In this case, just email me the file you saved in step 5 as you would any attachment.
If you did everything correctly, your file will still integrate within the Tracking function of
7. The second part of this assignment is for you to send me a PDF document for review using
the "Review & Comments>Send by Email for Review" function. I will not review the
document, but I will record that I got your document for review. In most cases, this function
does not work well with a Web email account.
8. You need to do both parts of this assignment to earn total credit for assignment 3.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before October 6, 2009.
Objective: To demonstrate the skills of creating links within PDF files and of editing/annotating
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Read chapters 8, 9, and 10 of the textbook. Review the course notes for assignment 4. Do any
personal research needed for the assignment.
1. Click on the Word file at the top of the page to download "Assignment 4."
2. Convert the Word file into a PDF file.
3. Save the PDF file with the following file name structure: your last name+PDF+Asgn4
4. Add a header to this PDF file: your name on the left, the date in the middle, and "Assignment
4" on the right.
5. Move page 6 of the PDF file so it becomes the first page in the file.
6. Renumber this first new page (the page you moved in step 5) in the Thumbnails pane to page
"i." The other pages should then be numbered page 1, 2, 3, and so on until the end of the
7. Click on the PDF file at the top of the page to download "Ranch House Assignment 4."
8. Replace page 5 with the PDF file named Ranch House.
9. Create Bookmarks for the following headings. Title the bookmarks the same as the headings:
Page 1 “Introduction”
Page 1 “How Do I Add Files to My Handheld”
Page 1 “On the Desktop”
Page 1 “On the Handheld”
Page 2 “Tips for Editing Documents”
Page 2 “Words ToGo editing features and tips”
Page 2 “Sheet ToGo editing features and tips”
10. Make the two sub heads ("On the Desktop" and "On the Handheld") bookmark Childs of
“How Do I Add Files to My Handheld.”
11. Make the two sub heads ("WordToGo editing features and tips" and "SheetToGo editing
features and tips") bookmark Childs of “Tips for Editing Documents.”
12. Using the TouchUp Text tool, click after the end of the period at the end of bold face
paragraph at the top of page 2 starting with “Use the up/down buttons on your device….”
Add one space and type this text: “Click here to go to the ranch house picture.” Link this text
to the ranch house photo on page 5. Use the invisible rectangle link type. Make the text for
the link red.
13. Make the ranch house picture link (using the invisible rectangle link) back to page 2 at actual
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14. Using the Text Box tool, place a comment on page 1of the pdf file (page number i) stating
that this page should be moved to the end of the document.
15. Using the Sticky Note tool, create a note for each of the below subheads on page 3 that tells
the writer that all major words in this head should have initial caps:
“Words ToGo editing features and tips”
“Sheet ToGo editing features and tips”
16. Using the Text Edit tool and the Add Note To Selected Text option, select step 2 under the
subhead “On the Desktop” on page 2 and add a note to the selected text that says that this and
all numbered steps must be aligned on the left edge with the first line.
17. Use the Pencil tool to mark the other instance of this same problem on page 2 indicated in
18. Use the Touchup Text tool to correct the commas in step 2 above so they are inside the
quotation marks as follows:
Use the Sticky Note tool to indicate that you made both of these corrections and why you
make the correction.
19. Create a custom stamp that reads “Reviewed by + your name” (Ex. Reviewed by Dick Gage).
Put a frame or graphic with it so it looks like a stamp. NOTE: You have to first create the
stamp in a program other than Acrobat and convert it to a PDF file.
Use this stamp to stamp the top of each page of the PDF document.
20. Reduce the file size of the PDF document with the following file name structure: your last
name+PDF+Asgn4 (example: GagePDFAsgn4).
21. Create a Summarize Comments PDF file for the edited document you created in steps 1
through 20 (use the "Document and comments with connectors on single page option from
the Choose a Layout list) and save the PDF file with the following file name structure: your
last name+PDF+Asgn4A (example: GagePDFAsgn4A).
22. Send both of these files to your instructor.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before October 13, 2009.
Objective: To create PDF’s for Web production.
TW: Portable Document Format 9 August 31, 2010
Read chapters 11 and 12 of the textbook. There are no new notes for assignment 5. Do any
personal research needed for the assignment
1. Create a four page Acrobat presentation from four original Word, Quark, etc. files that you
need to create for this presentation.
2. Add Acrobat transitions for each of the four pages.
3. Create “Next Page Buttons” on all four pages.
4. Add sound (music or voice) or a movie to one of the pages. If you want to add both a movie
and sound, that is also okay.
5. Save the PDF presentation file with the following file name structure: your last
name+PDF+Asgn5Presentation (example: GagePDFAsgn5Presentation).
6. Send the PDF file to your instructor.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before October 20, 2009.
Objective: To apply the appropriate settings that optimize and maximize PDF's and to
demonstrate the mastery of course competencies..
Read chapters 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the textbook. Review the course notes for assignment 6. Do
any personal research needed for the assignment.
1. Write a letter of application for a technical communication job of your choice.
2. Convert this file to a PDF file with the following file name structure: your last
name+PDF+Asgn6 (example: GagePDFAsgn6).
3. Create and sign your letter with a digital signature (create and include a graphic of your actual
signature using a program that lets you draw with the mouse, such as a paint program or
4. Save the file with the following file name structure: your last name+PDF+Asgn6 (example:
5. Create a PDF ePortfolio with the following minimum standards:
A home page containing a title for your portfolio, your name, and links (button or text) to a
current resume and at least two samples of your work.
A current resume.
At least two samples of your work (they can be from any class or professional work).
Links from the home page to the resume and samples.
Links from the resume and samples back to the home page.
Bookmarks for all pages in the PDF file.
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6. Set password security so that viewers of your ePortfolio can print it at high resolution but not
make any changes. Also, set security to enable access for screen reader devices for the
visually impaired. Use the password "test" so that I can make sure you set the
security settings correctly.
7. Save the PDF portfolio file with the following file name structure: your last
name+PDF+Asgn6EPortfolio (example: GagePDFAsgn6EPortfolio).
8. Send both files to your instructor.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before October 27, 2009.
In order to maintain quality education within distance learning courses, we need your feedback
on this course at the end of the semester. Please be honest in your evaluation, but try to be
objective, not letting personalities and personal prejudices affect your feedback. The information
you provide helps the instructor improve course delivery and course material for future sections
of this course.
Click on Take Survey under Course Evaluation Survey for Portable Document Format 801-
135(DL) on the bottom of the Course Documents folder.
Due to the instructor by 1 p.m. (central time) on or before November 3, 2009.
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Assessment Grade Earned
Areas A B C D F
Assignment All Most of the Basics of the Few of the Competencies
competency Competencies competencies competencies competencies and objectives
and objective and objectives and objectives and objectives and objectives not met.
met. met. met. met.
Assignment Assignment Assignment Assignment Assignment Assignment
publishable publishable publishable publishable publishable publishable
without with minor with several with major only with
changes. changes. changes and changes and complete
revisions. revisions. rework.
Logical Ideas Most of the Some of the Few of the Most of the
presentation of presented ideas presented ideas presented ideas presented ideas presented
ideas logically. logically. logically. logically. illogically.
Correct No mechanic Several Frequent Numerous Many mechanic
mechanics and or spelling mechanic mechanic mechanic and/or spelling
spelling errors. and/or spelling and/or spelling and/or spelling errors.
errors. errors. errors.
Correct No major and No major and Several major Few major and Many major
sentence, few if any few minor and a few minor many minor and minor
paragraph, and minor sentence, sentence, sentence, sentence,
transition sentence, paragraph, or paragraph, or paragraph, or paragraph, or
structure paragraph, or transition transition transition transition
transition errors. errors. errors. errors.
Unbiased, non- No instances No major Some minor Major instance Many instances
sexist, of biased, instances of instances of of biased, of biased,
multicultural sexist, or biased, sexist, biased, sexist, sexist, or sexist, or
awareness inappropriate or inappropriate or inappropriate inappropriate inappropriate
cultural cultural cultural cultural cultural
comments. comments. comments. comment. comments.