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Digital Pedagogy: Digital Showcase or Display

Objective

If you choose to post student-generated content on the web, your objective should be clearly tied to the need for a wide audience and should take into account the ramifications of “going public.” This type of assignment presents an opportunity for helping students to reflect upon and think critically about their own public identities and digital citizenship. Josie Ahlquist defines digital citizenship  at its most basic as “responsible technology use,” recognizing the ways in which students can use their digital presence to foster meaningful communities. “We educate our youth and ourselves to read and write with facility and discernment. Likewise, we must empower our students as digital citizens to make their contributions to the global conversations…” (Invent The Future: VT 2020 Task Force On Instructional Technology, “The Case For Digital Citizenship”).

Considerations

You will need to treat students as research collaborators and consider the issues inherent to web dissemination. Some students may have valid reasons for avoiding public media and attaching their names to outward facing web content. Make provisions for those students in your assignments (anonymity, pseudonyms) and/or create alternative assignments. Consider that your product may not be slick and beautiful; focus on process instead.

Skill Level and Tools

Beginner: Partner with Computer Science students to digitize the content your students create.

Intermediate: Teach students a relatively user-friendly blog or web-hosting tool such as Wordpress. WordPress, for example, has a free version that fits most users' basic needs. If you want some fancier capabilities, you will need webhosting if you don’t already have your own domain/website: See “Website Hosting 101,” by Julie Meloni (2009), and then ask people who have already done this for their advice. Some instructors post student content themselves, but this is not the best practice—it involves an inordinate amount of your time and your students won’t learn anything about the joys and frustrations of creating and posting their own content. Here’s an example of Katherine Holt’s Latin America and The U.S. course digital display for her history with documents assignment at the College of Wooster, and here is Danica Savonick’s (CUNY Graduate Center) assignment for a composition class digital display.

Advanced: If you’ve tackled Wordpress and are ready to move on, try advanced tools such as Omeka for archiving and image sharing. Here’s an introduction to Omeka on The Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker blog.

Sample Assignment for a Digital Display of a Final Project

Overview:

            The final project will require 1) collaborative work and planning, 2) demonstration of skills/understanding required by discipline, 3) research appropriate to your purpose and/or use of course materials, 4) a visual element, and 5) a presentation. Each individual student will also need to produce a short (350-500 words, 1-2 pp.) written reflection, due date and time TBD.

 

Due Dates: (Scaffold, include lab days or workshop days as necessary for your purpose)

  • Draft for lab day or portion of assignment due by: TBD (see, for example, #8 in assignments guidelines below).
  • Draft of project uploaded by: TBD   
  • Complete version uploaded by: TBD 
  • Project presentation: See course schedule.
  • Revised version that addresses feedback from presentation uploaded by: TBD
  • Individual written reflections: TBD

 

Possible Assignment Objectives:

  • Evaluate discipline specific material
  • Exercise your creativity and take intellectual risks
  • Translate material from one medium to another and one context to another
  • Think critically about audience and how to present your work to that audience
  • Work collaboratively to best utilize individual participants’ strengths and interests
  • Participate in producing final product via the process of drafting and revision
  • Identify, mobilize, and attribute appropriate secondary resources (literary criticism and theory, historical and contextual research, etc.) if necessary
  • Identify and deploy the right tools for your project
  • Present ideas in multiple modes, including written, oral, and visual
  • Reflect upon the creative and interpretive process
  • Engage with the concept of the greater good or other course objective tied to university goals.

 

Assignment Guidelines and Instructions:

  1. Explain format here. Your project should be in this form, but must have a visual element that can be uploaded onto our class website.
  2. Your product should demonstrate course specific objectives. We will workshop your ideas in class on a designated lab day.
  3. Identify a target audience for your project, consider why this is your audience, how your project appeals to that audience, and what the best means are to reach that audience.
  4. Use assigned class readings and collaboratively produced course materials when appropriate to support the creation of your product.
  5. Conduct research if necessary, derived from varied and valid sources appropriate to the purpose and genre of your project.
  6. Every project must also include a written introduction (very brief—we will work on these on a designated lab day) for your project’s landing space on the website.
  7. You must deliver an 8-10 minute presentation based on your project to the class toward the end of the semester. During your presentation you will:
  • Clarify the overall creative, analytical, etc. vision and explain the choices you made:
  • Detail the themes, issues, concerns, etc. Be prepared to explain and point to how the project illustrates them. Address creative, analytical, etc. choices.
  • Explain your intended audience.
  • Explain how or why this project addresses the theme of the greater good or other course objective tied to university goals.
  • Class members will be expected to respond to presentations with constructive comments in the Wordpress comment area in the minutes between presentations [refer to blog commenting guidelines for developing these comments].
  • Be prepared to field questions or comments for 2-3 minutes.
  1. Your project idea must be approved, both informally at midterm [due date TBD] and via the formal project proposal blog post [one post per group, due date TBD]. Project topics cannot be changed after [date TBD]!
  2. You must upload your project at various stages to the course website by the dates noted at the top of this assignment and on the course schedule.
  3. Your project must have a written reflective component that addresses your personal experience creating the project. Write about 350-500 (1-2 pp.) words explaining your personal experience with the process and what you learned. You must specifically address how the process affected your understanding of the specific assignment objectives for this course, but you can address other aspects of the project as well (collaboration, tool use, etc.). Due date TBD.
     

Grading:

  • Draft of project uploaded by: date TBD – marked for completion only
  • Complete version uploaded by date of formal in-class presentation – marked for completion only
  • Your group will receive a holistic grade for the web product and presentation after the final revision process is complete. Your grade will be based on the following elements:
  1. Project presentation
  2. Revised version that addresses feedback from comments made during formal in-class presentations
  • Comments on other groups’ presentations will count toward your participation grade
  • Individual written reflections will be marked for completion. You will not receive a grade on the final project until you have submitted this reflection.

 

Evaluation of the final version of your project, including the presentation and incorporated revisions, is based on the overall effectiveness of the project or how successfully you have executed your purpose, which should be thoughtful, perceptive, insightful, and provocative. All written portions of the assignment will be evaluated in terms of the writing rubric [add hyperlink], summarized below. Writing is evaluated in terms of:

  1. the articulation of a clear purpose or focus, usually in the form of a specific thesis that demonstrates the writer’s understanding of the issue, text, etc. being addressed;
  2. the organization of the argument and how well it flows (this includes use of such elements as an introduction, body paragraphs, topic sentences, transitions, and a conclusion in conventional prose. Other standards may apply to other forms of expression, especially briefer pieces);
  3. how gracefully and insightfully it makes use of specific primary textual references by using quotations and paraphrase when appropriate/applicable;
  4. how gracefully and insightfully it incorporates and/or synthesize secondary source material (research) if applicable;
  5. the grammatical clarity and stylistic finesse (this includes things like spelling, punctuation, diction, proofreading, etc.).

   Presentations are evaluated in terms of [add hyperlink to oral presentation rubric]:

  1. Delivery (Presenters are poised, speak coherently, not too hurried, do not ramble unnecessarily, and are not simply reading text; presenters stay within allotted time; presenters do not rely too heavily upon props or tech, such as text-laden PowerPoint slides.)
  2. Content (The presentation is succinct and organized; balances general ideas with specific references to illustrate for the audience; includes well-planned and thought-out visuals that do not take attention away from the presenter; holds the audience’s attention.)

 

Grading Rubric

This is a specific rubric for final adaptation projects in my First Year Seminar course on Adapting Austen but can be tailored to the specific needs of other courses.

 

Advanced

Competent

Developing

Basic

Unacceptable

Purpose

clear, focused original, and provocative

clear, narrow, identifiable

recognizable

confused, too general, or not clearly articulated

lack of purpose and/or controlling idea; may be too broad or off or the assigned topic

Ideas/ Innovation/ Creativity

innovative, creative, and perceptive ideas; demonstrates a depth and/or breadth of insight; sophisticated concepts are explored confidently; risks are taken; creates an entirely new idea, question, format, or product; tackles controversial or complex ethical issues

original points that capture the audience’s interest, and/or original synthesis of familiar ideas; demonstrates a clear understanding of concepts; creates or significantly experiments with a novel or unique idea, question, format, or product; includes new directions or approaches; addresses ethical considerations

addresses the discursive  situation competently; does not offer many new insights or is partially derivative; may include excessive summary, digression; makes safe or unoriginal choices such as reproducing an appropriate exemplar; uses a simplistic approach to ethical considerations

addresses discursive situation somewhat competently, but lacks ideas, takes no risks, etc.; reformulates, a collection of available ideas, formats, etc.; does not adequately consider ethical implications

 

no innovation or creativity; copies available ideas; merely lists facts or elements; does not promote any reflection upon ethical issue; does not meet the requirements of the assignment

 

Content Organization

(spatial, narrative, etc.—can vary from project to project. Web considerations include font, color, text placement, etc.)

exceptionally clear and suited to the purpose; elegant connections between elements

coherent; strong and appropriate connections between elements

logical but sometimes formulaic or inappropriate for the audience; coherence weakened by ineffective connections

lacks coherence; no or very weak transitions and connections between elements

absence of any apparent organizational or developmental plan

Evidence/use of Research

all support offered is interesting, relevant, and boldly thought-provoking; engages with and incorporates all source material exceptionally well

support offered is specific, substantive, relevant and integrated seamlessly into the project; research, if applicable, is used to an advantage and correctly

adequate support of recognizable point; source material (primary and secondary) is contextualized and documented appropriately

support is not specific, wholly accurate, relevant, or sufficient; evidence and/or research is incorrectly documented

almost total lack of support

Use of images/Visual content/Design

 

Visuals are bold and interesting, adding or creating significant meaning

Visuals add to the interest, meaning, and purpose of the project

Visuals don’t always add to the interest, meaning, and purpose of the project and/or lack coherence

Visuals are lacking or are incoherent

Not used, don’t add meaning, purpose is confused

Grammar/

Mechanics/ Stylistic concerns

exceptionally sophisticated style and tone; mature vocabulary and/or understanding of visual rhetoric; no grammatical, proofreading , or errors

style and tone reflect attention to discursive concerns; sophisticated sentence structure, higher level diction; no grammatical or proofreading errors

tone and style are appropriate; prose is readable, graphics are interesting; the reader does not encounter awkward syntax or diction; few editing errors

Voice, tone inconsistent or inappropriate; style, diction awkward, vague, making perception difficult; distracting number of editing errors

Alienating voice or tone; style is incomprehensible either because of vagueness and imprecision or number and magnitude of editing errors