Assignments

1. Blog (35%)

Students will create a blog (on WordPress.com) where they will reflect (not summarize!) on each week’s readings and, beginning week three, make at least one post per week about the topics covered in class.

(a) Reading Reflection Posts

Students are asked to write about the readings and their ideas in the class to help gain understanding of material as well as to hone analytical skills. Weekly reading reflections are not graded, except for completeness. Be sure to check your spelling and grammar.

These are medium length (five-seven paragraphs) reflections on assigned readings.

  • Length: 500-600 words.
  • Due: Monday at 9 am. Late posts are not accepted unless the student asks for an extension in advance, has a reasonable explanation of need, and gets an OK before the deadline passes; late posts will not receive full credit, however. Exceptions include truly unforeseen events, such as being in the hospital emergency room.
  • Points: Reading posts are due weeks 2-10 (nine possible posts); each post is worth 25 points. We will do the first post in class, together.
  • Categories: Each regular weekly reading should be categorized “reading”. This practice allows the blog to conform to genre and makes it easier for fellow classmates and the instructor to find posts on the blog.

Points are assigned as follows:

  • Reflection within minimum-maximum word count and no significant errors – 25 points
  • Reflection significantly over-or-under word count or with significant grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors – 15 points
  • Reading summary (summary instead of reflection) with no significant grammatical, spelling or punctuation errors – 5 points

In addition, students are to make a blog post containing two or three open-ended questions once during the first half of the quarter and once during the second half. The questions should relate to the readings and be connected to life outside of class. Total points – 5 each.

Finally, students must comment on one another’s work (on your own, this is in addition to comments generated in-class) at least five times; each comment is worth three (3) points.

There are nine (9) opportunities to submit reading posts (one post per week, not one post per reading). Students must complete five posts; everyone must complete the reading post for week 2. 

Total points for this assignment: 125 (five reading posts at 25 points each) + 10 + 15 = 150

Note: students who wish to experiment with video or audio may create a 2-4 minute video reflection posted to YouTube (embed in blog post) or 2-4 minute podcast reflection (talk to me about hosting your audio on your UW server space) linked in a blog post.

Examples from 2009:

(b) Assigned Posts

Beginning with week three, students will have both in-class and out-of-class assignments that will require reflection and, possibly, some quick research. Students who are absent are encouraged to complete any in-class assignment but point accrue only when the assignment is completed in real time.

Assessment criteria:

  • Posts must be substantive (thoroughly developed) and well-written (organization, grammar, spelling)

Total points for this assignment: 100

(c) Blog Design

Students will customize their WordPress blog themes and ensure that they conform to blogging genre; the blog must include an “about” page. Posts must be categorized and tagged. The design must be readable and professional; students will create a Creative Commons License for their content.

  • Readable, aesthetic design : 25 points
  • All posts categorized properly with at least half of the posts also having tags : 25 points
  • About page has been customized: 20 points
  • Creative Commons license : 15 points
  • Theme customization (widgets): 15 points

Total points for this assignment: 100

To obtain credit for posts and comments students must record them on a Google form in a timely manner. Late recording = no credit.

2. Project (30%)

Option A: Student creates an online project using WordPress as a content management system. These projects may be individually-focused (such as a personal portfolio site) or they may be group efforts (design a site for a club, organization, band, etc.). Each project site must contain a minimum of five complete pages; one of them must be an “about” page that identifies the student (at least by first name). Social media integration is important as is visual design.

Option B: Student researches a digital communication technology (tool) and writes a “paper” that will be published as a page on this blog. The “paper” must include a tutorial guide and examples of how organizations are using the tool. Papers will be 1200-1500 words and may include photos, charts, YouTube clips. Bibliography does not count towards word count.

Option C: Student produces an 8-10 minute podcast on an issue pertaining to this class.

Option D: Student produces a 3-4 minute video on an issue pertaining to this class or a social issue for which you wish to raise awareness.

Option E: Student may petition for an alternative project.

Note: this is not a class in video or audio production. Students who select Options C or D should either already have production experience or be self-directed in learning those skills.

There will be several milestones (delivered via the student’s blog) throughout the quarter.

Project types/deliverables/deadlines (schedule may change)

  • Week 4
  • Week 5
  • Week 6
  • Week 7
  • Week 11

Monday 23 January at 9.20 pm (week 4):
Post a preliminary project idea to your blog (categorize as project).

Monday 30 January at 7.00 pm (week 5):
Post a refined project idea to your blog (categorize as project). Provide details and a refined thesis statement/purpose statement.

Projects summary – 1 February

Wednesday 8 February at 9.20 pm (week 6):
(1) Post to your blog (categorize as project)

  • For blogs/websites/portfolios/a/v: at least three examples/competitor sites; write a critique of each (what have you learned by checking out these resources).
  • For research papers: find at least three sources (prefer APA style) you can use in your paper; one must be “scholarly” (talk to me if you don’t know what this means). Provide an annotation that explains how you think the source might be used in your paper.

(2) Post to your blog (categorize as project)
(2.a.) Specific details about your project (thesis statement, goal, purpose: concrete and concise)
(2.b.) Your proposed timeline for project completion. Break the project down into steps, as you see them.

  • For example, for blogs/websites there’s name – purpose – audience – design ideas – content plan – setting up the WP account (among others!).
  • For research papers – refine/finalize thesis statement – abstract – sources – draft/revision schedule.
  • For portfolios – see blog plus identify your existing content and your “wish list” content.

(2.c.) In addition, tell me what your measures of success are – what will it take for you to feel like the project has been a success?

Note: these are two separate posts.

Projects summary – 12 February

By Monday 20 February , 9 am (week 8)
Post to your blog (categorize as project)
** all projects: update on where you are re your timeline; everyone should have set up their external site – link to it in the blog post using a properly formed hyperlink
** all papers: annotated bibliography (a blog post); prefer APA style; at least two scholarly sources, minimum six total. Short statement on how each source might contribute to your paper.

Wednesday 14 March, 7 pm (finals week)

  1. Post to your blog (categorize as project): A short post promoting your project, with a properly formed hyperlink and good use of keywords.
  2. Post to catalyst: An essay that reflects on the project: now that you have completed it, what would you d0 differently if you could start over? How well did you meet  your goals for success? What have you learned in the course of the project?  You must give examples (evidence, such as references to readings or other material covered in class). How will you apply these learnings outside the classroom? Length: 850-1000 words

Total points for this assignment: 300

  • Reflection: 75
  • Promotion post: 25
  • Staged assignments: 100
  • Final Project: 100
    Assessed on technological implementation and quality of writing/research as well as creativity.

Examples from 2009; examples from 2010; student portfolios from 2011

To obtain credit for these posts students must record them on a Google form in a timely manner. Late recording = no credit.

3. Class Participation (10%)

Students are expected to attend all classes and are responsible for completing all course material on deadline. Discussion about readings and other class material will be conducted seminar-style, that is with an exchange of questions, explanations and viewpoints about readings and key ideas. There will also be in-class assignments. To participate, you must be present.

Students are also encouraged to comment on one another’s postings (banter is OK!) to continue digital discussion outside of class. If you are not comfortable speaking up in class, commenting on the course blog or a fellow classmate’s blog are two other ways participate.

Total points for this assignment: 100

4. Discussion Leader (15%)

Each member of a given week’s group (group members listed on the students page of this site) will lead a discussion based on the week’s readings. The discussion leader will tie the readings to “real life” by linking them with examples (such as how a company is promoting its products on Facebook) and/or other research (journal articles). Think of this as a mini-case study. You will then actively engage fellow class members in a small group discussion of the topic you have identified. Be sure to elicit class member participation through questions or activities. (That’s one reason why we practice generating open-ended discussion questions.)

Each member of the discussion group will have about 15 minutes to share learnings; there will be additional time to engage your classmates in discussion. Note: part of your participation grade is determined by how much you, as a class member, participate in these discussions.

Be as creative as you’d like to be when presenting your information. You must create a Powerpoint presentation, upload it to Slideshare.net, and embed it in a blog post. There are two posts required; no late posts accepted.

  1. Before class, you must post an overview of your presentation. The post should also link to your Powerpoint presentation on Slideshare.net and any outside source material (such as YouTube files) that you use in the presentation. Please include direct links to your multimedia in your blog post.
  2. By 5 pm on Friday the week that your group is responsible for leading discussion, you must also post a reflection on the experience to your blog. You should categorize both posts as “Discussion Leader.”
  3. Total deliverables: two blog posts and a Slideshare posting

Assessment:

  • Relevant: Topic and contribution is meaningful and relevant to class; helps us make connections; we learn from it.
  • Organization: good pace, flow, coherent, appropriate transitions.
  • Creative/Interesting: audience engaged; discussion leaders showcase creative ideas.
  • Completeness: thorough without going beyond time limits

Examples from 2009

Total points for this assignment: 150

5. Quizzes (10%)

There will be two short quizzes based on class readings and lecture/discussions. Each will count towards 5% of your grade. There is no final exam.

Total points : 100

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