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Assignment Guidelines

Each assignment will include an online writing component and an in-class presentation component. The requirements for each are as follows:


All writing will be completed via the course blog. For each of the weekly assignments you will be expected to write a blog of approximately 800-1200 words. It is expected that your writing will also include images, embedded video, and appropriate hyperlinks. Each image, video, and hyperlink is an important part of your argument. Images act as reinforcement and clarification to key points. Video offers the opportunity to add depth to your writing, including additional background information or added value. Hyperlinks are very important. Each hyperlink is an opportunity for you to provide readers with access to background information, elaboration and explanation of key points, definitions, or a path to action.

Your grade on the written portion of these assignments will be focused primarily on content, as well as grammar, spelling, structure…just as in any paper-based assignment. However, you will be additionally graded on your use of images, video, and especially hyperlinks for their usefulness and appropriateness. As a general rule, less is more. Just because you have a bunch of tools doesn’t mean you have to use them all over the place. Careful consideration of images, video, and hyperlinks is key. Of the three, your use of hyperlinks is most important. See this from NYU Journalism prof Jay Rosen on the Ethic of the Link.


Each assignment will have a basic prompt, including the range of class readings and ideas that should guide your composition. The typical assignment will require you to research our discussion topic(s) via online resources like news organizations, academic journals, prominent individuals’ websites and social media accounts, and the like. You will be drawing from a wide range of sources for your arguments and explanations, but the important consideration is the usefulness and credibility of your sources. An anonymous blogger or a dime-a-dozen marketing site are not useful in most cases (although there are some). We’ll deal with this in class.


In class presentations should be considered semi-formal, in the sense that you don’t need to show up with prepared remarks or a Power Point presentation or graphic charts. You are responsible for effectively communicating the range of issues you worked on, the definitions of key points, and the discoveries you made in the course of your search. In addition, you should raise a couple of questions that you consider important to add value to the class’ experience with your topic. Each presentation should last approximately 10 minutes, give or take… You will be evaluated on the clarity and completeness of your background on the topic, your definition of key points, and the presentation of your outside research. In addition, you will be evaluated on your preparedness…so if you stumble around and talk in circles, that will reflect poorly. Have notes. Have a plan. Know where you’re going and how you plan to get there. This is not a public speaking test, but it is a test of your ability to effectively communicate with a small audience of peers.


About mikeplugh

Media Ecology General Semantics Baseball Japan Fordham University


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