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

Class Participation


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.

Assignment 2: Prospectus

Due February 22

For this assignment, you will choose a topic that will be later developed into your Final Project. Write a one page prospectus. Thinking of the big picture, prepare your arguments, and do a bit of research. Use links as appropriate. The possible topics you can choose from are here: Project Ideas. We are open to a topics beyond these, but it is advised you get in touch with us in advance with your idea.

Also post the title of your prospectus here: Assignment 2 Submissions.

Assignment 3: Project Outline

Due March 8

Submit an outline 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.

Assignment 4: Rough Draft and Bonus AV Credit

Due April 5

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.

Final Project

Due May 10

Ideally, many of these assignments and projects will build off one another. You should feel free to carry over ideas, themes, and arguments from one assignment or project to the next, so long as you expand and develop your work, taking into account both positive and negative feedback from the instructors and your colleagues.

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 prior to the submission of Assignment 2. 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 prior to your first group submission 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