Major Assignments

Course Journal (5% of final grade): You are required to create and maintain a course “journal” throughout the semester. This journal can be digital or non-digital, public or private, or some combination of the two, depending on your own preferences (my own course journal will take on two forms: a notebook and a blog that publicly reflects on the course’s pedagogical dimensions and readings). You might buy your own notebook, keep a running Google Doc, or do something else. I find that my own research, thinking, and writing benefits from a less formal record of ongoing ideas and readings (with an eye towards opportunities to formalize and more publicly share particular thoughts), and I hope you all find this requirement preferable to more formal and polished pieces of short writing on a discussion board or Slack. I’ll check in with your journaling progress at a few points throughout the semester, and I encourage you to bring your journals to class meetings. You won’t be required to submit this document by the end of the semester: it’s meant to be your own personal record of the course, in the format of your choosing. This journal isn’t worth a lot of course percentage points, but I imagine that the writing and drafting you complete here will impact the rest of the work you complete this semester.

Short Digital Storytelling Exercises (5% of final grade): Throughout the semester, we’ll experiment with different forms of digital storytelling, efforts designed to get you thinking about your larger project and to the various factors informing approaches to storytelling in digital contexts. These exercises will take place in class or as part of weekly homework assignments: you’ll find additional information on our course calendar and you’ll be updated via Slack with more specific prompts. Evaluation will take the form of informal class discussion and reflection.

Digital Storytelling Keywords (15% of final grade): Each student will be asked to select a keyword related to ongoing class work (you are also free to suggest your own keywords: talk to me!) and will then be given 10-15 minutes of class time. Within reason, you can do whatever you’d like with this class time, so long as you can justify to me how you’re using this time in relation to the keyword in email correspondence (where you will be asked to briefly describe your idea and how you plan to use class time in some detail, with an eye towards time management and mechanics). You can do a more traditional lecture, presentation, or guided discussion, but you could also use the time in other, less traditional ways that are interactive, exploratory, speculative, immersive, etc. You can bring in whoever or whatever you’d like, keeping in mind your time and place constraints (though a quick, local field trip or use of an alternate venue could be interesting), as well as the needs of your peers. I’ll circulate the list of keywords early in the semester and we’ll take things from there. After you’ve successfully filled your time, I’ll provide written feedback reviewing your use of class time. You should submit any materials used during your class time (presentation slides, handouts, prompts, etc.).

Collaborative Audio Storytelling Project (25% of final grade): Building on course readings and in-class work related to audio storytelling and augmented reality, students will collaborate to develop and create a short-form, place-based audio storytelling project intended for distribution and use on mobile devices. We’ll discuss particular aims, parameters, forms of labor and collaboration, and project outputs this semester. Ideally, we will end up with a public-facing project that students can reference in various academic and professional capacities. Work on this project will be ongoing throughout the semester.

Digital Storytelling Project (50% of final grade): Over the course of the semester, you’ll develop and create a public-facing digital storytelling project. The course is structured so that several project development benchmarks throughout the spring allow you to brainstorm, research, draft, and refine these efforts over time (rather than a structure where we began work in the second half or final third of the semester: based on previous experiences, this reduced timeline can be stressful for all parties). You will be required to articulate your project’s aims, audience(s), and metrics for success, though I will obviously help you determine these parameters. You are encouraged to find collaborators in and beyond the classroom, and you may also decide to work on a digital project that already exists. An extension of the Collaborative Audio Storytelling Project is also an option for interested students. A “prototype” or “proof of concept” approach may work for some projects, but these efforts will still have to circulate publicly in some form (and we’ll talk about what “public-facing” might look like in relation to your work). I’m hoping that these projects will be of value to you in future academic and professional contexts, but you are not required to explicitly align your project with your chosen major or current career track. We’ll talk more about project work throughout the semester. We’ll also discuss how and where to ideally disseminate your finished projects (locally at Brown and online).

If you ever have any questions about assignments, learning goals, or forms and measures of evaluation, please talk to me!