Assignments

MAJOR ASSIGNMENTS

As necessary, each will receive its own documentation in a subpage of this menu item.

  • Readings, in-class notecards, Twitter
  • Environmental Scan (e.g., a report based on how other digital media journals match up to best practices guidelines) [mid-term, ~5pgs ss] Update: Due to being behind on the metadata project, I’ve moved this assignment to the end of the term and made it a little shorter, as a wrap-in to your Best Practices document. Details to come after spring break.
  • Metadata Project [all-semester; large spreadsheet]
  • Best Practices document (e.g., workflow on metadata project with justification and recommendation for sustainable workflow practices) [end-term]

GRADES

  • class participation = 100%

Because ALL of the assignments build on each other to help you complete the major assignment, it is crucial that you attend every class, do all the readings and homework, and engage in the discussions. I do not believe that assigning letter or number grades on individual assignments improves your learning. I do believe that you can achieve the learning outcomes for this class if I expect excellent work from you, help you achieve excellence through structuring assignments that enhance your critical and creative thinking, and offer thorough feedback on your in-progress work.

Feedback often comes in the form of informal in-class discussions about your in-progress assignments but might also come as an email. As we go through the class, we’ll be building metadata — sometimes focusing on a different “field” of data each week. I will give you in-class time to start on these assignments (usually but not always), where you can raise questions about problems you’re running into. We can address these before you leave class, and this is a form of “feedback”.

In regards to the metadata project, there is sometimes a “right” answer, so it’s imperative that you follow directions and use a keen editorial eye when compiling your data. Either I or my graduate research assistant, Gina Cooke, will be following up with each of you after these assignments are due to give you feedback on how detail-oriented you have been in translating the data into the metadata spreadsheets.

In regards to the Environmental Scan, you will be getting direct (probably written or oral, in a conference) feedback from me on how you did. In some cases, revision might be called for. I will let you know if that’s the case.

Finally, while I hate giving grades, I hate that ISU doesn’t have plus/minus grades even more. Most students in my classes deserve an A-/B+, if they follow most of the directions. In the past, without that leverage at my disposal, I have rounded grades up. I’ve decided not to do that anymore, which may mean more Bs (and possibly Cs) overall. Below I have listed pertinent examples of when and how your overall grade might drop so you can stay on track and avoid disappointment.

class participation
I take class participation very seriously because it sets the tone for your learning experience in this class as well as your professionalization for your other work experiences. Participation includes

  • attendance: You are required to attend every class session unless the schedule specifically indicates that class is canceled that day. There are no such things as excused vs. unexcused absences—if you’re not here, I don’t much care why. If your absence is caused by a funeral or similar extenuating circumstances, I will take that into consideration when I consider your grade. If you miss more than one class, consider your A in jeopardy. Also, attendance at out-of-class conferences with me is considered the same as class time. If you miss a conference, you will be counted absent.
  • timeliness: If you show up late or leave early or disappear (or fall asleep) for 15 minutes in the middle of class, it will affect your participation. Timeliness also refers to the time-sensitive nature of completing assignments, such as weekly readings or spreadsheet due dates. Late work is completely unacceptable, and I will not give you feedback on it. Being late on more than one metadata assignment due date will jeopardize your A. If you’re late on the Environmental Scan or Best Practices document, your grade will drop to a B.
  • readiness: Readiness is different from timeliness in that it relates specifically to being prepared by the start-time of the class period. All homework must be completed BEFORE class starts, if that’s what I’ve requested in the Schedule (otherwise, occasionally, I’ll indicate on the Schedule that we’ll have in-class time to work on things). For instance, printing of assignments or uploading of files after the class period has begun will result in a delay of class, which will negatively impact your grade. If you delay class more than once, your A will be in jeopardy.
  • thoughtfulness: Thoughtfulness translates to critical awareness, reflection, and participation in all manner of class activities. This may include activities such as having useful, productive questions or discussion items based on homework (readings, assignments) or thoughtful work demonstrated in the major assignments themselves. Make SURE, for instance, that your assignments follow all my directions. If you’re missing some component of the assignment, consider your A in jeopardy.

By making my expectations very clear from the outset, I hope to avoid any surprises, but please come talk to me if you have any concerns about the status of your grade, your participation, or your budding professionalism.

tips for earning an A
The grade of A is reserved for excellent work. Excellent work does not equate with showing up every day, participating once in a while, and turning in completed drafts on time. Those are the average requirements of any class setting, and average equates to a C in this academic setting.  Here are some ways to earn an A:

  • Produce excellent assignments. What constitutes excellence?  Doing more than simply completing the terms of the assignment. An excellent assignment may meet any number of qualities, depending on its purpose and genre. We’ll discuss what this might look like in relation to each assignment I give.
  • Participate excellently in class. Excellence in class participation means not simply speaking frequently, but thoughtfully (e.g., see the class participation section above). As some examples, you should contribute in an active and generous way to the work of the class as a whole by asking questions, offering interpretations, politely challenging your classmates, graciously accepting challenges in return, and being a productive professional.
  • Be an excellent citizen-scholar. Specifically, be able to demonstrate to me (through discussions, assignment drafts, and other interactions with me and your classmates) that you (a) understand and can reflect on the content of this class and show progress toward that knowledge in your assignments, especially your final report; (b) reason logically, critically, creatively, independently and consensually, and are able to address issues in a broad and constantly-shifting context; (c) recognize different ways of thinking, creating, expressing, and communicating through a variety of media; (d) understand diversity in value systems and cultures in an interdependent world; and (e) develop a capacity for self-assessment and lifelong learning. I should want to write you a letter of recommendation by the time class is over.

actions that will positively affect my evaluation of you as an excellent student

  • having a collegial attitude
  • waiting for me to get settled when I walk into class by holding all questions until I am ready
  • bringing your materials to class every day
  • asking for help well in advance of a deadline
  • accepting responsibility for late or incomplete assignments
  • asking your classmates for missed content if you are absent
  • being attentive in class so that I avoid needless repetition
  • providing me assignments on time and in the medium I ask
  • asking your classmates for help during open-lab sessions, then…
  • …if stumped, raising your hand, calling me, and waiting patiently for help
  • using email, office hours, or some other agreed-upon conferencing medium for private or involved questions
  • accepting that I respond to emails quickly, except after 5pm or on weekends
  • understanding that strategic (and sometimes maximum) effort results in excellent work