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During the course of the semester, you will be responsible for the following assignments, tasks, and projects:

Class Participation

Group Work

Students have the option of working in groups for Assignments 2-4 and the Final Project. Working in a group can be fun and productive and should enable the participants to take their topic farther than an individual. Students should also consider the time required to coordinate their activities and potential complications of group work. A majority of students in previous classes have had a good experience working in groups.

The maximum group size is three. Those that wish to work in a group will be responsible for forming and organizing the group by March 1 at the latest. For those that choose to work in a group, it is essential to come to a clear understanding within the group how the work will be shared. There is an additional class requirement for those that work in a group: each group must submit a statement that describes the contribution of each member of the group.

Prospective groups should submit a short paragraph to internetsociety2011 at gmail dot com by March 1 explaining why a group approach to their proposed topic for the final project makes sense.

Looking to form a group or join a group? Need a partner? Go to the Group Project Page.


Assignment 1: Wikipedia

Due February 8

For this assignment, you will investigate the rich social ecosystem and organizational structure that allows Wikipedia to function. Specifically, you will explore some of the community policies that govern Wikipedia, and write a report on how these rules play out in practice, and whether they contribute to or inhibit collaboration on Wikipedia. Ideally you will create an account, and make several edits before writing the report to give you some "hands on" data about community on the site. More details on the assignment as well as the menu of rules to choose from, as well as a space for you to report your observations can be found on the Assignment 1 Details and Reporting.

Submit your reports here: Assignment 1 Submissions

Assignment 2: Prospectus

Due February 22

For this assignment, you will choose a topic that will be later developed into your Final Project. You may work in groups.

  • Read the description of the final project on the Final Project page.
  • Write a one page prospectus (no more than 400 words) of a topic you would like work on for your final project. Thinking of the big picture: write your research questions, prepare your potential arguments, and do a bit of research. Use links as appropriate.
  • The goal is to identify a focused research question (or set of research questions) and to explain how you will answer these questions. What methodologies will you use or observable behaviors will you examine to address your topic? What case study/community will you use? For some research question examples, see the Research_questions page.

The purpose of the prospectus is to help you start thinking about your final project. Your proposal doesn't need to be a final product, and your topic may change, but putting in the time to develop an idea up front will help you as you work on your project later in the semester.

  • You can choose any topic for your final project. We are open to topics, but we advise that you get in touch with us in advance with your idea. If you are unsure of what topic you want to address, some examples are listed on the Project Ideas page.

Submitting Assignment 2

  • When you have completed your proposal, upload your document as a .txt file (or related readable format, such as .rtf, .doc, and .odt) to the class Wiki using the Upload file link to the left. (Remember to write your name on your assignment and in the file name!)
  • Write your name, the title of your project, and link to your document on the Assignment 2 Submissions page.

Participation Grade for Assignment 2

  • Everyone will receive an additional participation grade for this assignment. You should read through everyone's proposals after they are uploaded and add constructive comments on the Assignment 2 Submissions page, below the proposal on which you're commenting. Comments should be submitted by March 6 so you have time to incorporate them, if applicable, into your project outline. (Remember to sign your comments!)

Assignment 3: Project Outline

Due March 22

Submit an outline (2-4 pages, including a list of related materials and sources) of your project along with a description of the methodological approach you will take for the project. If you are taking an empirical approach, describe how you will structure your observations and data gathering.

You may work in groups, provided you have submitted a short paragraph to the instructors by March 15 explaining why a group approach to your proposed topic for the final project makes sense.

Submit your outline and description here: Assignment 3 Submissions

Assignment 4: Rough Draft and Bonus AV Credit

Due April 12

You may work in groups, provided you have submitted a short paragraph to the instructors by March 1 explaining why a group approach to your proposed topic for the final project makes sense.

This assignment will be to turn in a rough draft of your final, 8-10 page final project paper. It will be a chance for us to give you some comments, and suggest some places to push your research project forward in the next few weeks.

It's also an opportunity to get some extra credit. If you are interested, you may prepare an audiovisual work of your creation discussing and presenting your research to date. The work could be an audio file (such as a podcast), a video (such as a remix or animation), or an in-class presentation. You should aim for a length of 3-5 minutes (there is 7 minute maximum). Content and presentation are much more important than length (a compelling 2-minute audio interview would be great). These may be presented in class. More information about this extra credit assignment is available here: Assignment 4 Details and Links.

Submit your rough draft (and your extra credit, if applicable) here: Assignment 4 Submissions

Final Project

Due May 10