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. Design & Describe: Visioning Boards & Descriptive Essay (MIDTERM)

The goal of this assignment is to choose a product, a service, an infrastructure, a habit, an idea, a person, or a policy and write, both textually and visually, about how you might “green” that product, service, infrastructure, idea, habit, policy. Using Padlet to organize your thoughts into creative “vision boards,” you’ll curate images, thoughts, videos, weblinks, and other captured media that illustrate your “vision” for greening. This vision board will accompany a 3-5 page essay detailing your design for a more sustainable future vis-a-vis your chosen topic. In detailing your design, be sure to illustrate where we are today, where we might be going, and any research you’ve found that can take us there.

You will be graded on depth of analysis and research, sophistication of writing, creativity of solution, and demonstrated critical thinking as relates to designing more sustainable futures.

3. Capture: Outdoor EcoMedia Challenge

Full details are here: Outdoor EcoMedia Challenge

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 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 (as we’ve discussed in class), 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 element in the overall argument/presentation of your project.

Past projects have included interviews, stop-motion animation, annotated creative short fiction, a proposal for low-flow shower heads  on campus, a carbon-lowering browser extension, and a collaboration with the Durham Public Schools Hub Farm. Previous topics have included ocean waste, hunting and conservation, digital materiality, oil sands, rogue twitter accounts, and fast fashion.

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. I also recommend visiting the Duke Writing Studio for individual writing consultations at any stage of your project. All projects will be collected and published together in an online journal of we will collaboratively create.