Assignments

The assignments in this course are designed to accomplish three things: to help you learn how to think critically about representations of the city, to provide opportunities for you to receive critical feedback and coaching as your learning develops, and by the end of the semester, to demonstrate what you have learned.

You will complete the following assignments:

Multimedia Representations Project — 50%

This project has three elements: a digital scrapbook that you will build over the course of the semester, a multimedia text that incorporates existing representations of a city of your choice along with your own representations and analysis, and a short essay explaining and reflecting on the project.

For links to everyone’s digital scrapbooks and (eventually) projects, visit this page, which also lists the members of your working groups.

Framing documents – 20% — click here to see which texts you’re scheduled to write about

Four times during the semester, you will prepare a one-page document that will frame our in-class discussion of a text. Your framing document should answer these questions:

  • How does this text deepen, contradict, complicate, or extend the discussions we’ve been having about cities and representations? In other words, what does it add?
  • What do you think we should focus on when we discuss this text? You might pose a question, identify a quality or specific moment of the text, or indicate a problem with the text.
  • How do you suggest we begin such a discussion? Specifically, what part of the text should we focus on?

You’ll sign up for your slots during the first week or so of class. We’ll use these documents to begin class and/or small group discussions.

 

Midterm scrapbook review – 10%

Throughout the semester, we will review and comment on your digital scrapbook, but in the middle of the term, early in October, we will assign a midterm grade.

 

Comments, critiques, and responses – 20%

You will meet regularly with a working group, with whom you will discuss your project as it develops. At various points in the semester, you will comment on each other’s digital scrapbooks, and you will critique the multimedia project and short essay as they develop. Your own work will also receive critiques, from your group members and others, and we will occasionally ask you to respond to these critiques. Some of this will be done in writing and some in conversation.

 

A note on grading standards:

If you complete all of these assignments appropriately, you will earn a B. Only excellent work will earn As. Excellent work is ambitious, creative, thought provoking, and critically engaged with the ideas and materials of the course. In most cases, assignments that earn As are also well executed. The writing is polished and engaging, ideas and specific references from sources are clearly cited using a standard documentation system, and visual or multimedia elements are incorporated smoothly. However, projects that attempt a creative and/or ambitious approach may earn As even if the execution is not fully polished. If you must choose, opt for difficulty and risk rather than repeating what you can already do easily and well.

 

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