Course Assigments


    • Twitter: 15%
    • Active Engagement: 15%
    • Quizzes: 15%
    • WordPress Blog and Portfolio: 15%
    • Self-Portrait Assignment and Reflection: 15%
    • End of Year Self Evaluation Paper: 25%

Self-Evaluation Paper:

Some researchers have suggested that students will likely only retain about 5% of the material covered in a course after several years have passed. This assignment is geared to help you identify the topics covered in this course that have impacted you and are ideas that you would like to carry with you well after the completion of this course.

This written assignment will be a self-evaluation reflecting on the topics studied in this course. You must pick two ideas, terms, or concepts covered at some point in this course and discuss how your ideas about these concepts have changed or evolved throughout the semester. You must also connect these topics to your larger interests, major, or career goals. The objective is to trace how an idea evolves through analysis and how that idea can have an impact on areas of your life that are important. Questions you should consider include:

  1. How have the course lectures, readings, and discussion sections (you must cover all three) influenced the ways that you think about your chosen terms/concepts?
  2. How have the hands-on explorations from the course influenced the ways that you put these ideas into practice?
  3. How can you use the knowledge gained about these terms and incorporate these ideas into your majors or your possible career paths?

The final paper must be 3-5 pages in length, doubled spaced, in Times New Roman font. You will need to cite the course readings that have impacted the ways you think about your chosen ideas/terms/concepts. These must be cited in text and in a Works Cited/References page that conforms to MLA, APA, or Chicago citation style. You must upload your Self-Evaluation Paper to Canvas as a Word document or PDF by Wednesday, December 16th at 11:59pm. No late work will be accepted. This final self-evaluation is worth 25% of your grade.

Grading Rubric:

  • Has a strong introductory paragraph.
  • Has well-chosen and clearly defined ideas, terms, or concepts drawn from the course (minimum of 2).
  • Demonstrates how your ideas have changed throughout the duration of the semester.
  • Offers clear examples from class lectures, readings, and discussions.
  • Discusses how the hands-on explorations impacted your thinking about these concepts.
  • Offers thoughtful connections between course material and your major, your areas of interest, and/or your possible career path.
  • All ideas are cohesive and fully developed.
  • Well-written essay: few spelling or grammatical errors, no awkward sentences.
  • Has a strong concluding paragraph.
  • Citations are done correctly.

WordPress Blog:

During each “Hands-On Exploration” week, you will be assigned to either post a blog response on your WordPress site or respond to another classmate’s blog post. These responsibilities will alternate each time (see the course schedule for which days you are assigned a blog post and which days you are meant to post a response to another person’s blog post). These blog posts will be a place for you to critically reflect on how the hands-on exploration builds on the ideas discussed in lecture up to that point. You should make connections across material, link ideas, and discuss how the hands-on exploration gave a different level of insight to the topics we’ve been discussing in class. Your blogs should be well written, thoroughly edited, have no spelling or grammatical errors, and correctly cite any material that you draw ideas, quotes, or media from.

You must also fit each blog post to a specific writing genre as listed below:

  • Posts due after the “Redesign the Classroom” (blog: sections 0101 and 0103; responses: sections 0102 and 0104) must write in the style of a newspaper opinion piece. It should be 1,000 words (no more) and should take a stance about the “design” of the university classroom as a space for learning. It should be journalistic in style (i.e. while it can include personal opinion, it should be written in a reporter’s tone that strives toward objectivity). More about opinion pieces (Op-Eds) HERE.
  • Posts due after the “Surveillance Map”(blog: sections 0102 and 0104; responses: sections 0101 and 0103) exploration must write in the style of a personal narrative essay. It should be 1,000 words (no more) and should focus on your perspectives on privacy, tracking, and identity. It should be a first-person account of your experience with issues of privacy, critically analyzing your own point-of-view and life experience, taking into account the readings and hands-on exploration. More about personal narrative essays HERE.
  • Posts due after the “Flash Mob”(blog: sections 0101 and 0103; responses: sections 0102 and 0104) must write in the genre of a Buzzfeed-style list (e.g. “10 Ways a Flash Mob Can Change the World”). It should be roughly 750 words. It should attract people with its title, be able to be skimmed easily (i.e., your visual layout allows it to be quickly read), and it should tell readers something new and interesting about the topic. You should connect the flash mob experience to previous topics discussed in class and offer a thoughtful analysis of this kind of event and use of media. For example of academic Buzzfeed-style lists, look HERE.
  • Posts due after the “Art of Repair”(blog: sections 0102 and 0104; responses: sections 0101 and 0103) must write in the style of an Instructable. It should be roughly 750 words in length. You must have an introduction and then a step-by-step process for fixing something. You must include a well-crafted image for each step. You will post your instructable on your WordPress, not the Instructables website. For some guidelines for writing an instructable, go HERE.

For those who are writing a response: you must find a post that interests you from your classmates. Find one based on the sections who are supposed to be writing a post that week:

  • Section 0101 blogs are Here.
  • Section 0102 blogs are Here.
  • Section 0103 blogs are Here.
  • Section 0104 blogs are Here.

It is your job to thoughtfully engage the ideas presented. Your response must remain focused on the ideas presented, frequently citing the student’s blog and the readings/hands-on explorations related to the post. You should always show respect for your classmates and their ideas in your comments. All comments should be well written, edited thoroughly, with no spelling or grammatical errors. The minimum word count for your responses is at least half of the length of the original post. Here, we are grading you on the quality of your contribution and how well you engage your classmate’s ideas and the material at hand.

Self-Portrait Assignment

For this project, we will be working with several other courses across campus on artistic explorations into the concept of identity and diversity. Through the creation of a self-portrait and interacting with self-portraits from other classes on campus, we will engage how identity is tied self-perception and in what others see (and understand) when they look at us. In the “selfie era,” we make images for others and to also reflect on how we understand ourselves. How can we gain a better understanding of the coded visual cues in those portraits? Are we creating accurate messages about ourselves? For this assignment, you will create a non-traditional self-portrait using imagery of your choosing. A traditional self-portrait is a (mostly) life-like replica of a person, clearly defining facial or other features of the artist. For this self-portrait, however, you are to create an abstraction or symbolic representation of yourself rather than create a literal image of yourself. Think of this as a symbolic (rather than literal or figurative) selfie. Once created, we will engage with other self-portraits on campus and explore identity, labeling, and diversity.

DO NOT use photos of yourself or persons you know.
DO NOT incorporate your name into your portrait.
Consider the following questions for your self-portrait’s content:
  • What are your interests?
  • What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time? With friends?
  • What are your favorite musical artists or types of music?
  • Where have you lived? Where do you want to live? How have your lived locations shaped the person you are today?
  • Do you like to travel? If so, where have you traveled? Where would you want to travel?
  • Are there any physical aspects that help to define you such as tattoos, jewelry or style of dress?
  • What have you accomplished that you are proud to share with others?
  • How do you want others to perceive you? What words, ideas or terms would you expect others to associate with you?
  • What matters to you? Are there issues about which you are passionate?

Your self-portrait may focus on your childhood, your adulthood, your future, and/or your present. Strive to communicate aspects about yourself that others can understand and interpret to some extent. You do not have to represent your face and/or body. The best self-portraits require some sort of interpretation by the viewer. They are not literal representations but have ideas and messages embedded within them. A little mystery in a self-portrait can be a good thing. That said, your self-portrait should be understandable to others to some degree. Consider including a “legend” with pertinent content to help an outsider “navigate” the portrait. These self-portraits will be shared with your classmates during next week’s class. With this, make sure you are comfortable with your portrait’s personal or private information as it will be seen by many different people inside and possibly outside this classroom.

This portrait is about you who you are rather than what you look like. It should incorporate visual information that represents yourself in an abstract and symbolic way. Consider maps (road maps, topographic maps, depthof water charts, etc.) symbols of languages and countries (money, flags, etc.), music lyrics, fabric patterns,photos of objects that are important to you, and other types of visual content.
Write down a few words or ideas that you think would be good to include about yourself. Gather the images or imagery you would like to include and consider which would be best to use. How will you represent these ideas or words? Sketch a few ideas before you begin your portrait. Your self-portrait should contain multiple images, rather than being a single photograph or image. Dimensions: 11″ x 17″.
  • Strive for strong hierarchy: As you create your composition, strive to have one image or visual element be the largest to have strong hierarchy. Then make the remaining images or visual components “stair step” down in sizes.
  • Communicate don’t decorate. Use visuals to communicate rather than decorate. Flowers, dot patterns and other decorative elements can make an image more visually interesting, but they generally do not add much information to the overall portrait. As much as possible, make sure the elements you use in your self-portrait have meaning that others will understand.
  • Less is more. Really. Some of the most successful designs and art works have limited visuals. Rather than trying to say everything about yourself (and thereby creating a very crowded portrait), choose a few of the most important aspects of yourself to address.
  • To explore your identity through an artistic process.
  • To explore communicating through visual, rather than strictly verbal, cues.
  • To gain understanding of how we understand the identity of others.
You may assemble this content using a method of your choosing: collage or montage, drawing, painting,Photoshop, or a combination thereof. Visual materials will be provided to you during class, however you arenot limited to these. You may supplement or completely substitute your portrait visuals with other visuals andmaterial.You will need to submit a paper-version of your final portrait.
Your 11″x17″ printout of your self-portrait is due at the beginning of section on the week of October 5th. We will be using the DCC Lab’s large-format printer to print out these posters.