In this course your main assignment is to work with at least two other students, at least one of whom must come from a different discipline than your own, to design a project that will shed new light on some aspect of the topic of this course.
Given our interest in digital media, there are two primary ways that you can go at this project:
1. Research project — find a question about the development, implementation, uses, or meanings of some aspect of contemporary digital culture that you wish to pursue, and design a study or develop a research methodology that will help you begin to answer it.
2. Tool design project — explore the current landscape of digital technologies and develop an idea for how to contribute to it, designing and strategizing the production of a new network-based tool that will expand the possibilities of contemporary digital culture.
In either case, it’s likely that the semester would not provide you enough time, or enough funding, to complete the project, so what I’d like you to focus on is the project design phase, developing a rich proposal for that project that might enable you to apply for research funding in order to implement your proposed study or project. That said, you should allow your work to take you as far down the road toward a finished project as is feasible.
A full research proposal should include an abstract of the project, a statement of the proposed project’s significance and impact, a literature review or environmental scan that demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the prior work that’s been done in the area, a description of the project’s methodologies, a full description of the project’s final project and plans for its dissemination, and a clear and feasible work plan (including a budget, if necessary).
I strongly encourage you to make use of the technologies of the course — whether the blog, Sakai, or Claremont Conversation — to support this collaborative project, and to share work as you go along. I also hope that you’ll find ways to share examples of such research proposals and projects with one another as you go along.
As you can see from the syllabus, next week’s class is devoted to a project work session, so that your groups can meet and discuss with Yaeri and I present. Your initial proposal — a 1-2 page single-spaced document that lays out the research question you hope to pursue and your first thoughts about how you will pursue it — will be due in class on March 10. The final project itself — the fully elaborated proposal — will be due on May 5, and each group will present its proposal in class that day.
Yaeri and I will be giving you feedback as you go along. Please let us know if you have questions about how to proceed.