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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 12 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 by March 12 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 12

See full assignment details here

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. 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

Prospectus Due February 26, Comments on Prospectus Due March 5.

This assignment is in two parts, with the prospectus due before class on February 26th, and comments on the prospectuses of your peers due on March 5th.

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?
  • If you are interested in pursuing a format other than a paper (see the Final Project page for more info), please mention this in your prospectus.

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.

Submitting Your Prospectus

  • 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.

Submitting Your Comments

  • Everyone will receive an additional participation grade for this assignment. You should read through everyone's proposals after they are uploaded. Your comments should be made on the Assignment 2 Submissions page itself, and we ask that you give comments on at least three prospectuses. These comments can be reactions, feedback, thoughts, suggestions for further research, personal insights, or anything else that will help the student further his or her work. Please try to balance your comments across the submitted material so that each student receives a couple of comments.
  • Comments should be submitted by March 5th so there remains enough time to incorporate them into project outlines. Remember to sign your comments so we can be sure to give you credit!

Assignment 3: Project Outline

Due March 26

Submit an outline (2-4 pages, double-spaced, 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 12 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

This assignment was due on April 23. The deadline has been extended to April 30th.

You may work in groups, provided you have submitted a short paragraph to the instructors by March 12 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 (or presentation equivalent). 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. This should be a complete or near-complete version of your final project, so your work between now and the final deadline will principally be refining, editing, and adding further research to make a good paper even better.

Submit your rough draft here: Assignment 4 Submissions

We do not require it, but students in past years also participated in voluntary peer review. We have created a page for Assignment 4 Peer Review that allows you a forum to do so.

Extra Credit

Due May 7

Submit your extra credit/sign up for an in-class presentation here: Extra Credit Submissions

If you are interested, you may create an audiovisual work discussing and presenting your research to date OR present your final research paper in class. Those that submit a satisfactory piece will receive one extra point on their final assignment grade, which is graded on a five point scale.

The work could be an audio file (such as a podcast), a video, 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 on May 14th.

Possible ideas for A/V works include:

  • An audio podcast or video interview with someone doing influential work related to your project
  • A video medley and/or remix
  • A podcast show in which participants debate the topic
  • A mindmap image that charts out a policy debate or domain
  • A photo montage
  • A short film
  • A song or musical work drawing from various samples
  • A song with lyrics
  • A data visualization

You can upload your project here.

Final Project

Due May 14