Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Course Project

This post is intended to give you an overview of what we're expecting for your course project for the Digital Civilization class.  You will be completing your project in teams of about four students and working on this project throughout the second half of the semester. Remember that we plan to have a showcase for all the final projects on the evening of December 9th (a Thursday).

As explained below, your project should
  1. be an authentic task
  2. belong to one of the history of civilization content areas we list below
  3. draw upon the historical context of Western Civilization, and 
  4. use some of the digital media tools and digital culture concepts we have explored during the first part of the semester.

Authentic Task
Your project should be authentic, rather than something you do just to fulfill the requirements of the class.  This means that the project should create value beyond our class members or our limited time together. Use the principle of "connect" from digital literacy to achieve authenticity. For example, if you connect your project to someone else's larger, ongoing project, then it will be valued by people beyond our class and have authenticity. Another way for a project to be authentic is that it generates response from people outside of our class who recognize whatever is created as a genuine contribution to something they value.

Content Areas
Your project should have a theme drawn from one of the following broad content areas.  This list isn't meant to be exhaustive -- if you would like to do something in an area we haven't listed, please comment below and we'll consider adding and approving the area.
  • Religion
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Law
  • Government
  • Information Technology
  • Art / Music / Literature
  • Science
Historical Context
Your project should relevant to the present time, but must also incorporate historical context drawn from our Western Civilization class.  For example, if you do a project on intellectual property and copyright (law area), then you should include a discussion of how these concepts have been developed throughout history.  If you do a project on open notebook science (science area), then you should examine the development of science and how this has shaped our scientific practice and public expectations.

Digital Media and Culture
Your project should be presented in a digital format, using some of the tools we have explored this semester.  You may also use some of the key concepts from digital culture.  Potential formats for your project include:
  • Remix: take some existing content and remix it.  For example, you could start with a book licensed using Creative Commons and add illustrations, explanations, and pictures that improve its message.  You could even re-write parts of it to make it more clear.
  • Wiki: create a Wiki that includes contributions from your team, with the ability for anyone from the general public to edit it.  For example, you could create a Wiki on how to be a successful student in the digital age.
  • Comic Book: create a comic book that illustrates your ideas.  For example, you could provide a primer on copyright law throughout history, with a call to action for those who would like to change some of the more onerous features of our current system.
  • Podcast: create a series of discussions on your topic.  You should do more than just post audio files on a blog -- your show should be syndicated with iTunes or another store where the public can easily download it to their audio player.
  • Crowdsourcing: start a project that requires the public to perform small, well-defined tasks, like the projects at Simple Acts.
  • Event hosting: start a regular offline event that is promoted through online sources, such as a Meetup or Ignite-style event.

Please discuss the project in the comments below.  Ask for clarifications, suggest additional content areas, or even propose an idea for a project.  We'd enjoy hearing from you.