Unique Features
This textbook is unique in many ways. Most textbooks are text-only, but not this one. There are vibrant color pictures in the example articles. The pictures help break up the text and help show the reader what the article is talking about. Lee Odell also shows exactly what a paper or a website will look like, and then he gives tips on the sides. Under Chapter 4’s “Position Papers,” Odell shows what a position paper from the web looks like, and then gives tips by drawing lines to the pictures, captions, and text. Another highlight of “Writing in a Visual Age” is the type of questions Odell asks. In Chapter 5 under “Questions to Ask When Reading Visual Information in Evaluations”, Odell asks helpful questions such as “Does the layout (arrangement) of the page or screen make it easier for the intended readers…?” Under that question, there are sub questions to consider: “Are there headings, If so, do they give a clear idea of the information…?” His questions are clear, and they get the reader to think about the big picture of what they are working on. One other unique point of the textbook is that Odell gives helpful tips, and then there are examples to back up his point. For example, under Chapter 10’s “Interviews”, he gives examples of how to request an interview. One of his suggestions is to explain how the interviewer knows about the person in which they wish to speak to, and then he cites a specific example.

Not all books have a website, but this is one textbook that does. “Writing in a Visual Age” gives the overall view of the book. All of the chapters have a link, and there are many things accessible to the public. For example, a person could go to Chapter 5 and view examples and worksheets. However, the questions under worksheets (for instance, “Questions for analyzing context”) are exactly the same questions that can be found in the book under “Analyzing Context”. One other down side on the website is that not every chapter is listed. Also, the chapters that are listed do not have the three main categories (“visuals”, “examples”, and “worksheets”). For example, Chapter 10 only has the section “examples”. Another feature of the website that the book does not have is the “Exercise Central.” This is a great feature, because students can work on grammar and writing effective sentences. There are sections such as “Subject-verb Agreement” and “Sentence Variety”. However, the only downside is that one must be registered on the site to do so.

Lori Bell