1. Critique, Comment, Converse: Blogs

10 Blogs, you can skip one with no penalty

Weekly Blog Instructions:

You will be responsible for posting a Weekly Blog, due on Fridays 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. Analyze: Collaborative Long Blog Issue Analysis (MIDTERM)

Working with a partner, you will construct a robust analysis of an issue of your choosing. Possible topics include issues surrounding climate change, environmental justice, loss of biodiversity, deforestation, pollution, energy, rising sea level, geoengineering, etc.

You will write a 3-5 page issue analysis that details the causes, impacts, and possible solutions of an environmental issue of your choosing. If working with a partner to produce a collaborative essay, be sure that each writer’s work is equally represented. You may want (and need) to go beyond the 5-page maximum in order to accomplish this. Each group will report to me how the project was collaboratively prepared.

You will be graded on depth of analysis, sophistication of writing, and demonstrated critical thinking as relates to the intertwined nature of the ecological and anthropological impacts of your issue.

You will post this analysis to the blog, listing both authors if the work is co-written, and should include in your post relevant media (think images, videos, charts, graphs, sketches) as well as a full bibliography of resources referenced. You will be presenting your projects in class and should be prepared to share your issue and then answer any questions your classmates and I might have.

See Sakai for a list of questions (the one we made together in class) that you might consider asking of your issue.

3. Capture: Outdoor EcoMedia Challenge

Full details are here: Outdoor EcoMedia Challenge

3.5 (Optional) Image Blog

  1. Curate a gallery of images of one of our keywords OR
  2. Curate a personal portfolio of images of one of our keywords OR
  3. Curate a gallery that includes both found and original images

Your images can be photographs, advertisements, sketches, graphics, posters, maps, etc.

Tools you might consider using to present your essay: Tumblr, WordPress, Omeka, Instagram, Tiki-Toki if your images follow a timeline, StoryMapJS if your images are geographically mappable, a printed book or portfolio, Publisher, Adobe InDesign, Powerpoint, (you might save these online using

Paste a link to your project as well as its main argument (in the form of an abstract) to the blog on or before the due date.

4. Map: Solutions Map

The goal of this assignment is collaboratively map global environmental solutions. We will be using a customized shared Google Maps that will be made public so that others may view our geo-located findings. Each of you will be required to document at least three original (i.e. not already posted by a classmate) solutions in locations of your choosing all across the globe. For each solutions map entry, you will find its location on our map and create a new place marker for that solution that includes at least 1) a name, 2) a description, 3) an image, and 4) a link to your source.

5. Create: Final Project

The culminating assignment will be an interdisciplinary research project that integrates course readings, in-depth outside research, and innovative design to meaningfully reflect on our individual connection to the larger world. You will be required to use web, library, and hands-on research to produce an original final product. The hands-on component could be physical, digital, prototypical, political, and/or creative. Projects might include such elements as community eco-partnerships, global social activism, multimedia reflections, speculative design projects, land-based art or performance, written reports, graphic narratives, interviews, personal experimentation, and collaborations with Sustainable Duke, Duke Farm, the Duke Environmental Arts and Humanities Network, or the Duke Smart Home.

The final project is designed to bring together what we’ve learned in class with comprehensive individual research. The final document you are required to produce, though it may take on various forms (see above), will represent the equivalent of a thoroughly-researched 20-page critical research and reflection essay. If your project is primarily technical, you will be required to write a written report detailing the specifics. If your project is primarily artistic, you will be required to submit a critical artist statement. If your project is mostly textual (i.e. a written report), you will be required to integrate your hands-on research element as a supporting player in the overall argument/presentation of your project. All projects will require a prospectus, an outline, and a developed concept shortly after midterm so that we may cultivate our projects together over the course of the second half of the semester.

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. 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.