Archive for the ‘Assignments’ Category



Each week will be broken into solo work, conferencing, and optional collaborative workshops.  Students are responsible for the careful structuring of their time; outside of the individual conferences, there are no checks on the use of resources.  Computers will be available during every period.  See the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.

THE PROMPT: Acting as an instructor, design a ten-day unit of study for use in a high school Media Studies course.  Assume that you have two weeks, with one weekend after Day #5, and that the final assessment is due on Day #10.

You must include the following in your unit of study:

  1. Essential Questions: The backbone of the unit.  Use the guide available here: EQ Guide 2.0.
  2. Background and Introduction: Your approach on Day #1.  How will you introduce the unit to students?
  3. Central Texts: Essays, videos, interactive media, etc.—the pieces you will read and study in and out of class.  You must annotate and otherwise prepare these texts for the students.
  4. Individual and Group Activities: Work completed in class.  Usually built around the central texts.  If these activities will result in student products—writing especially—create an answer key.
  5. Homework: Assigned as preparation for the next day or extension of the current lesson: You must create answer keys or rubrics for all homework assignments.
  6. Adversarial Questions: Can be given in class or online.  Can be open-ended or highly specific.  You must create an answer key for your adversarial.
  7. Final Writing Assessment: Culmination of the unit.  Can combine analysis and creativity.  You must create your own response to this final prompt that can be used as a model.

The final exam is due in class and to Turnitin before the last day of school, or June 13  All materials must be submitted online before 7:50am; all hard copies must be handed in before the end of that day.  In addition, you must submit:

  • A Reflection: Analyze your process.  Reflect on the final product itself.  Evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses.  This is also due online on June 13 by 7:50 am, and must be typed according to MLA guidelines.



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All right. Let’s see what more than a month of preparation yields.  Here is the schedule for the week of April 25:

MON 4/25 TV projects: Seinfeld
TUE 4/26 TV projects: Friends, Entourage, and The Daily Show
WED 4/27 TV projects: Laguna Beach and The Bachelor
THU 4/28 Field Trip (P1-P4) | Film criticism: Inception
FRI 4/29 TV projects: Summer Heights High

On Monday, the class will be structured around the Seinfeld presentation. The group will have 10-15 minutes to organize itself and set up shop; in the meantime, you’ll receive your Jasper Morello reviews back and have a bit of time to begin reading the feedback.  Those of you who have elected to write essays for the TV project must submit them at this time.  Two other notes of importance:

  1. Everyone must check in their completed projects on Monday, regardless of any presentation date, and even if you make further changes to your work during the week.  Fair is fair.
  2. All written work, including PowerPoint slides and presentation outlines, must be submitted to Turnitin by midnight on the 25th.  This will check originality and digitally archive your work; without a Turnitin submission, your project will not be scored.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we’ll split the class period between the two groups that have been selected to present.  Three students will join forces to discuss Friends and Entourage on Tuesday.  After that, we’ll see The Daily Show, Laguna Beach, and The Bachelor.  Friday is a PLC; the final group, having asked for 30 minutes or so to introduce and discuss Summer Heights High, will present last.


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First, a quick aside: Your TV projects are still due on April 25, after your spring pseudo-break. You will be given two periods (on 4/18 and 4/19) to revisit this assignment; we will also determine the sequence and scope of each period from 4/25—4/28 at that time.  On the 25th, you must be prepared to submit or present your work.

Now, to film criticism: We are using movie reviews as a vehicle for insightful discussion and writing—to suss out the meaning of the world around us, more or less.  After you submit your TV-related work, we’ll spend a few hours one morning (hopefully on the 28th) watching Inception; then you will craft a review of the film that incorporates all that we’ve studied recently.  First, we’re going to practice with this:

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello

Andrew Allen, writing for the website Short of the Week, gives this summary and response:


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Click here to load a copy of your scores and commentary for your responses to this post:

The scores and general comments are arranged by student number.  Please take the time to review your peer’s comments, as well, through Turnitin; in most cases, you will find helpful feedback there.  If you would like further clarification from me, schedule an appointment this week.

Information on revisions: You may revise these papers for a new grade.  If you choose to do this, you have until midnight on Friday, April 1st.  You need only to upload a digital copy to Turnitin.  You may also choose to write a reflection; this optional reflection, if it is well done, will earn you enrichment credit.  A reflection of 500 or more words will be worth 50 enrichment points, and one of 1000 or more words will earn 100 enrichment points.  Any reflection writing must be submitted by midnight on 4/1 to Turnitin.

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Copyright Bill Waterson.

It would be easy to lose ourselves in a study of television, a medium that lends itself to a complex discussion of the creator/audience dynamic as easily as to jeremiads about our national health.  What I’d like to suggest is a more focused kind of lost, if we can use a paradox: delving into a favorite program to find new meaning.  You will choose a program (perhaps a set of programs) and set off to explore, offering in the end a serious analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of what you have found.  And I am encouraging collaboration on this one; you are welcome to work alone, but it may require earnest collaboration to deal with the sheer volume of data you are mining.

First, let me confuse things a bit.  I am going to give you two documents that have been given to every iteration of this class, but you are not required to use either.  You will be given no due dates to fill in the blanks below, nor will you be graded on the formative process.  There will be a formative process, but the final product is what matters—just like the final product produced through this last post mattered.  You (and hopefully a partner or two) will conceive, create, and refine a paper that answers each requirement outlined here, but how you arrive at those answers is up to you:


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James Jean, "Maze" (2008)

Freud defines the id as the primal and animalistic engine of desire at our cores, and quite a few jokes could be made here about what that means on the Internet.  For now, consider that the id is there first, according to this theory; the ego and super-ego develop later, and only through the interaction of the three do we obtain an identity.

You could, of course, list many different kinds of identities:  drivers’ licenses, passports, fake ones, secret ones, even proposed Internet ones (appropriately enough).  But in the end, there must be a core identity—an answer to the question, “Who are you?” that is indelible and true.  You might identify with a particular group, for instance, but that doesn’t mean you fit its stereotype.  You might be obsessed with a book or movie or TV show, but that doesn’t necessarily define you.  If you were given only five minutes, how would you answer that question?  Who are you?


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By the time you read this, Kinder, all of you will have had the opportunity to revise the first five questions from the background quiz on the Internet, which was given to you yesterday, promised more than a month ago, and then further outlined here.  You were allowed to use the text to revise—an ambiguously ethical decision, but one made in light of the ridiculous blizzaster of 2011.  Here is a copy of that text:

The first five questions are done, then, and you have the final five left:

  • Discuss the extent to which anyone is “introduced” to the Internet now, in the way that we are introduced to music, movies, TV, and other kinds of media.
  • To what extent are virtual communities (e.g., Facebook, MMORPGs, image forums) genuine communities?
  • To what extent is a more paperless world a positive thing?  Consider the shifting ways we access newspapers, magazines, and other print material.  (Consider even developing technologies like smart phones and e-readers.)
  • To what extent is the Internet an impersonal medium?
  • Explain the idea of a “meme,” including the origins of the term.

Your assignment this weekend is to revise your work, typing up responses to each question and posting them to Turnitin before the end of class on Monday.  To help you, Monday’s class will be altered so that you may upload your work during the period (through either the Mac bank in 215 or the PC banks in the library).  We will begin our next unit with a discussion that relies on these responses.

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