In addition to daily activities and regular in-class challenges, you’ll have four graded assignments this term.
Weekly Blog Instructions:
You will be responsible for posting a Weekly Blog, due on Monday by 11:59pm (exceptions will be noted on the schedule). Your responses should reflect on our course readings, our in-class discussions, supplemental outside research, and your experiences working on your course project. Posts should be roughly 200-300 words (about ½ page single spaced) and should demonstrate your understanding of our course texts and topics while addressing the prompt provided. When you discuss a particular text, scholar, media artifact, or quotation, be sure to properly cite those sources—a scholarly blog should faithfully abide printed citation conventions.* In order to take full advantage of the affordances of the online medium, I welcome the use of links and media, and strongly encourage you to interactively engage with your classmates’ reflections by adding comments to their posts.
Why Blog? My favorite description comes from Professor Ryan Cordell:
“All writing—Even academic writing—is being reshaped by online modes of publication. Many academics maintain personal research blogs in which they try out their ideas and get feedback before developing articles or even books. Outside of academia, public, online writing plays an increasing and essential role in many fields. I believe its essential for modern college students to develop skill crafting an online writing persona and I want to foster that development. In a related point, blogs give you the opportunity to experiment with your writing, composing arguments that integrate links, quotations, images, video, and other online media as evidence. Blogging allows for a broader spectrum of participation in the class. Even shy students can contribute to a course blog. Blog posts give you the chance to learn from each other. You’ll read your colleague’s writing and, hopefully, learn from it or be challenged by it. Public blogging allows us to connect to larger communities outside of our classroom. Who knows? Perhaps the author of an article you blog about will respond directly…”
Take your blog writing seriously. Not only will you be graded on the content, construction, and critical reflection demonstrated in your blogs but you might also find that your final project concept emerges while you are writing. Use the blogs to practice your thinking, research, and writing skills.
*For help citing online sources like Tweets, Youtube videos, Blogs, and Facebook posts, see Purdue’s MLA Electronic Citations resource. You can, of course, always embed the first two, and link to or take screenshots of the second two, for an enhanced citation presentation.
2. Environmental Movement March Protest (MIDTERM)
In an act of embodied learning, we will be putting our bodies on the line for an issue we believe in. In small groups, you will develop an environmental organization, will prepare an environmental protest of your choosing (we’ll discuss different ways to ‘protest’), and you will be enacting your protest. Each group will jointly give a brief presentation post-protest and each group member will be asked to write a short reflection paper.
3. Environmental Movements Map
You will be asked to contribute to a public digital map we are creating in conjunction with Duke’s Social Movements Lab.
This project contains a few moving (movement) parts:
- Each student will choose a local, national, or international environmental group to profile. These profiles will be posted to the Social Movements Map (https://socialmovements.trinity.duke.edu). We’ll orchestrate group choice so that we are not duplicating work.
- Each student will geo-locate at least two of their group’s protest actions on the global public map.
- (Optional for Final) Each student will create a ‘story’ about their chosen group using either StoryMapJS, TimelineJS, and/or several image sets with JuxtaposeJS.
- (Optional for Final) Each student will write a short paper to accompany their digital project parts.
4. Final Projects
The final project is designed to bring together what we’ve learned in class with comprehensive individual research. For your final, you may choose from one of two options:
- Expand on your mapping project with a digital element and an accompanying short paper of roughly 10 pages. See #3 and #4 above.
- Write a well-crafted, thoroughly-researched 10-15 page paper on a topic of your choosing. Previous topics have included ocean waste, hunting and conservation, digital materiality, oil sands, rogue twitter accounts, and fast fashion.
Note: If you have spoken with me about a different form of project entirely, one that includes more hands-on work and/or something else not represented here, you will be required to write a ‘Project Statement’ that explains your project in full and articulates how it is an act of environmental art, action, advocacy, activism. Your Project Statement should also outline your research and properly site all sources consulted.
You will be graded on depth of analysis, creativity, sophistication of writing, breadth of research, and demonstrated critical thinking as relates to your topic of choice. Because student projects span such a wide range of forms, genres, and topics, it is difficult to prescribe a ruling rubric for all final projects. Two flexible rubrics I like to consult are here: Holistic Rubric and Analytic Rubric.
Please feel free to send me drafts and or meet with me throughout the semester to discuss your plans, possible projects and tools, and/or best procedures for carrying out your proposal. I also recommend visiting the Duke Writing Studio for individual writing consultations at any stage of your project. Per student interest, all projects may be collected and published together in an online journal of we will collaboratively create.