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Media Lab Instruction Design Contest

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Spring 2018 - 2311 Design Contest

Call for submissions coming soon!

Spring 2017 Contest Winners

The Media Lab sponsored an Instruction Design Contest for students in English 2311: Technical Writing. This spring, we had many strong, successful submissions that ranged in medium and approach, including videos, websites, and recipes.

We are excited to announce our two winning submissions, both of which impressed the judges for their clarity, focus, accessibility, and professional design.

Softball 101: How to Field a Groundball

by Kiani Ramsey & Chelsea Gonzales

This video provides instructions for developing softball players on how to field a ground ball. The judges appreciated its clear purpose and focus on one manageable task. The video was designed for inclusivity, addressing both left- and right-handed players and providing captions in both English and Spanish. The video had many strong technical features, including the use of green screens in ways that made the video cohesive and the use of easily readable titles. The video also previewed and reviewed material well. The judges could image this video as part of a professional series on how to perform various techniques in softball.

How to Train Your Dog to Get a Drink from the Fridge

by Brittney Dean, Craig Childs, & Roemello Shavers

This video demonstrates how to train your pet dog to fetch a soda from the refrigerator. The judges appreciated the video's clear purpose statement and use of humor. The creators situated their instructions within a nice narrative frame that created a need for the instructions, and they used different camera cuts and angles that directed attention and made clear distinctions between moments of narration and moments of instruction or demonstration. The captions for the video were also well-designed: The creators broke up captions grammatically instead of relying on automation. Steps in the process were clearly articulated, and the video made use of graphics and text that reinforced those steps.

Information about the Contest

The Media Lab sponsors an Instruction Design Contest to highlight the best submissions for the "Documenting Procedures" unit in English 2311: Technical Communication. Winning entries are awarded a gourmet coffee gift card and are featured on the Media Lab's website. Entries are judged on design, clarity, suitability to the audience and task, and usability.

poster for instruction design contest

Each section of 2311 will submit one entry for the contest. Submissions can be individually or collaboratively produced.

Deadline for submissions is Monday, May 1, 2017. See the contest rules for more information. Please contact the Media Lab with questions. 

Students: Please complete the release form and submit it to your teacher to hand into the Media Lab if your project is selected for the competition.


Previous Winners

Fall 2016

First Place Overall

Dennis Gathunga, Orlando Ibarra, and Amber Ritz, "Stuff Shells with Pesto Chicken Recipe." This video provides instructions on cooking a stuffed pasta shells with chicken pesto dish. The judges thought that this video exemplified many of the qualities of strong technical communication. They were impressed by the attention to accessibility: The video includes a sign language interpreter, and the creators linked to a PDF if the video wasn't ideal for users. Steps in the video are clearly delineated, easy to follow, and concisely delivered. Text on the screen was also helpful and easy to read.

Best Webtext

Sara Brown, Teegan Duong, Scott English, Wesley Wheeler, and Marissa Wachter, "Spaghetti Squash Spaghetti Recipe." This webtext provides instructions on creating spaghetti from spaghetti squash. The site makes great use of multimedia—including GIFs that aid clarity. The organization of the text was helpful in differentiating between steps and explanatory information (using callout boxes). The introductory material was engaging and gave purpose to the instruction set.

Best Mobile App

Morgan Detrixhe, Arturo Mora, William Mouzon, and Joseph Rios, "Nissan Sentra 2013 Instructional Mobile App." This mobile app provides instructions for Nissan Sentra owners for changing a flat tire. The use of a mobile app is an innovation that the judges felt deserved praise. The app was consistently designed, the visuals added clarity, and the instructions were comprehensive and thorough, including cautions and safety notes.

Best Video

Ryan Askew, Luke Kershaw, Miles Milliorn, and James Palmer, "How to Study for a Math/Science Test." This entertaining video provides directions for how to study for a math or science test. The judges felt that the tone of this video was useful for incoming students at Texas Tech. Its personable style is engaging, and its production value was high quality. It is a clearly well-planned video with many professional and appealing features, like transitions and headings. The creators also made great use of textual contrast so that viewers can differentiate between texts' purpose throughout the video.

Spring 2016

First Place

Hannah Nguyen, Wade Axell, Rachael Sappington, and Tristan Hinton, "Business Etiquette and You." This video provides tips and advice to students who are invited to professional dinner settings. The judges thought that this video had a clear exigence that it was responding to, had an appropriate tone while still being light-hearted, and included interesting and effective cuts between scenes. The judges also appreciated the use of closed captioning on the video to make the video more accessible.

Second Place

Christine Myers, Hayley Jones, and Taylor Lord, "Camping 101." This video provides tips and advice for those new to camping. The judges liked the the transitions as video explained what to bring when camping in cold weather. This video is ambitious, but makes use of humor to keep viewers' attention.

Honorable Mention

Orion Koepke and Trevor Stroud, "How to Write a Professional Email."

Fall 2015


Alex Carpenter, Henry Garza, and Anastasia Schwartz for their instruction set "How to Make Magnetic Slime."

Honorable Mention

Taylor Donowho, Ellen Perron, Ajay Mattu, and Adam Carlton for their project "How to Repair Bent Plastic Frames"
Jake Laughlin, Destiny Thompson, and Melissa Palacios for their project "Get the Biggest Bang for Your TTU Dining Bucks."