SPRING | 2018
I’ll be developing this soon according to the group discussions we’re having in class. For now, I’ll keep the last prompt up on the understanding that I’ll be modifying it substantially.
THE SEMESTER PROJECT
We’ve talked for the past few weeks about different messages and kinds of divergent voices, and how they are seen and heard through convergent media. As you get into your work for your research paper it will be time to start finding and expressing your own divergent voice, or at least one of them.
We’ve spent some time in the weeks so far reading, listening to, and discussing Kevin Young’s Bunk and On the Media while discussing events as they’ve happened and been shaped into narratives in our media. All of this has hopefully 1) given you some ideas for some projects you may wish to develop, while 2) thinking of how your own voices fit within the collective of our class and the larger media landscape. Our semester projects will hopefully reflect these two directives.
The first part of the semester project will focus on developing one individual project that expresses your own divergent voice in at least one medium (text, audio, video, etc). Here is a loose collection of guidelines for your individual semester project:
- You should choose which media you’ll work within for your project (podcast, blog, video, mixed media) based on your own strengths and predilections. Remember, this is a seminar, not a technical writing or production course, so don’t choose a medium that you will need technical instruction on. (You may choose a medium you are not totally familiar with, but only if you foresee achieving proficiency through this project.) If you choose anything which needs equipment, you are responsible for stating your equipment needs in your project proposal. You might be able to check out equipment from the CAM department, but equipment is limited.
- This is may be an individual project, but I also encourage you to consider doing it with a partner. If you choose to do the project with a partner, both of you must show me the scope of the work and each of your tasks within that scope. I am much more likely to approve a team project in which each person works in a different technical medium (e.g., one person does the writing, one does the video production), as this would be right in line with the convergent element of the media.
- BE UNIQUE! Try to do something you’re interested in, something you feel needs to be said or done in the media that has not already been done in the way you want to do it. Think if an issue you’d like to address, a point of view you’d like to represent, a cause you’d like to take up, a thing you’d like to create. Look for examples of like-minded voices and projects online and ask yourself how your project might dovetail with these.
- Like the Research Paper, if you’re having trouble generating ideas for your Semester Project you might want to go back in the blog and research some past students’ work on theirs.
- Submit a written proposal for your project to me anytime before Thursday, 3/29 either in class or via email, including a summary of the project and the steps you’ll take in doing it from 3/29-4/30.
- Every week after March 22 I expect a weekly update on your progress on your project, including what you’ve done that week, what the next steps are, and any questions you may have as you go along. You should do this via the blog, and we’ll also use Thursdays as workshops.
Keep in mind that while the guidelines are loose, the attention and direction you put to the project should be rigorous. Also keep in mind that your project might end up something different than it started, which is completely in line with the purpose of the project. You are expanding your knowledge and boundaries as you go.
The second part of the Semester Project, focusing on the collective, collaborative nature of new media, will revolve around our class blog.
Monday, 3/19 & Thursday, 3/22 – We’ll devote a good portion of this week to 1) working out ideas for the individual part of the Semester Projects before submitting them to me as proposals, and 2) making plans and delineating duties for upgrading and running the class blog.
Thursday, 3/29 – Have your semester project proposal approved by me. This means you should send your proposal to me well before this date, so you can begin work on the project upon approval.
Monday, 4/2-Thursday, 4/19 – Critical Background Presentations – for these you’ll present, in roughly 10-15 minutes, the background research you’re doing for your Research Paper and Semester Project. This should include examples of similar voices you’ve found, academic or popular analysis of the type of work you’re doing, and correspondence you’ve had with other people about the type of work you’re doing. We’ll talk more about this in class over the next few weeks, as you develop your respective Research Papers and Semester Projects.
Monday, 4/30 & Thursday, 5/3 – Finishing up with the blog
Monday, 5/7 & Thursday, 5/10 – INDIVIDUAL SEMESTER PROJECT SHOWCASE
Blog Post Assignments
Here are the guidelines for each student’s required contributions to the class blog:
- 10 responses to class reading, listening, and discussion – these can come from Bunk,On the Media, or other tangents we go on together
- One on a podcast of your choosing, sometime from 2/5-2/22
- 2 posts documenting your research/semester project work
- First during the week of 3/19-3/23
- Second during the week of 4/16-4/20
- 2 wild cards – These can come from your own independent research, extra responses to class discussions, or any class-related topic you get approved by me
- 20 responses/discussions w/other blog entries
Word counts should run roughly 250-300, but this isn’t a hard number. I’m looking for substantial interaction with the material. I encourage you to make posts as multimedia and interactive as possible, with links, sound/video, photos, or other media you see as relevant.
SPRING | 2018
THE RESEARCH PAPER
For this semester’s research, we’ll focus on issues related to issues covered in the subtitle to Kevin Young’s Bunk: hoaxes, humbug, plagiarists, phonies, post-facts, and fake news in our current digital media environment.
For this paper you should do the following things:
- Try to relate your topic in some way to any of the things we’ve talked about so far in class, especially something you don’t feel is covered sufficiently by mainstream media. Think especially about what has connected most strongly to you personally. I strongly encourage you to go through Young’s Bunk and On the Media and look at the class’s posts for ideas, thinking specifically about, from Young’s subtitle, media hoaxes, plagiarists, phonies, post-facts, and fake news.
- Explore through extensive research how your topic has been revealed or displayed through both mainstream and non-mainstream convergent media, making sure to thoroughly cover as many of the media forms as possible, i.e., print, audio, video, digital, and as many combinations thereof you can find.
- Document all of your sources, including all links, in either MLA or Chicago Style.
- Turn in your final draft in Print (paper) form, but have a digital copy prepared for possible archiving (I’ll explain this further in class).
Everyone in class will be responsible for both their individual research projects, which should be approximately 1,500-2,000 words, and a group assignment based on class discussions in April that finds some commonalities in the research each of you have done.
Thursday, 3/8 – Have your research topic approved by me.
Thursday, 3/29 – Have a working bibliography for your research paper prepared for class. You will sign up for a date in the three weeks afterward to give your critical background presentations for your research papers.
Monday, 4/2-Monday, 4/16 – Critical Background Presentations – for these you’ll present, in roughly 10-15 minutes, the background research you’re doing for your Research Paper and Semester Project. This should include examples of similar voices you’ve found, academic or popular analysis of the type of work you’re doing, and correspondence you’ve had with other people about the type of work you’re doing. We’ll talk more about this in class over the next few weeks, as you develop your respective Research Papers and Semester Projects.
Thursday, 4/26 – INDIVIDUAL RESEARCH PAPERS DUE
Monday, 4/30 & Thursday, 5/3 – Class conversation and conceptualization of the collective element.