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Semester Project Guidelines

Page history last edited by dparry@... 13 years, 10 months ago

Semester Projects


Each of you will have a semester-long project (in groups), the goal of which will be to examine one aspect of privacy, control, and surveillance on the internet. This course is designed to have you produce polished professional content for the web. As such each group will have a website which will analyze their subject matter. Think of your site as an open research project into your specific area. Each site should post links to relevant and important content, engage in critique, and produce original material. In short your goal is to join the conversation about privacy and control in the age of the internet. The content you produce need not, indeed should not, be limited to text. Instead think broadly about what can be done (make short videos that are relevant, interview people, produce a couple of podcasts, mashup data for visualization, create how-to guides). Your group’s site should become a resource for people interested in your topic.  You probably are not an expert on your group’s topic right now, but by the end of class you should be.



As this project comprises half of your grade, beginning with the first week your group should begin posting material to your site. The site should not be just updated once a week, just before class, instead it should have new material almost daily, with everyone in your group publishing items all week long. I realize this is a lot of work, but that’s why you are working in a group—one person could not possibly do this well by him or herself, but four to five can.


Each group should also have three marquis projects that are part of the group site, conducted over the course of the semester. These should be something more substantial than singular/weekly posts and content, but rather represent a synthesis of some of the material you have been collecting. Possible examples would be a short (3-5 minute) documentary interviewing people about privacy in relation to your topic, a substantial user’s guide for privacy in relation to your topic area, writing a plugin for Firefox or WP which relates to your area, creating a significant data visualization, make an interactive timeline, etc. See timeline for more information.


Group Rules:

1. On the first day of class you will divide into groups and this will be your group for the rest of the semester. No switching groups.

2. By joining a group you are agreeing to stay in this class and work on a project for the entire semester. While dropping a class mid-semester usually only affects one student, obviously that is not the case for this class. It would be unfair to your fellow students to join a group only to leave after a few weeks.

3. Your group is more than a group; it is your community of researchers and learners for the semester. As such you should develop your own rules, guidelines, and expectations for each other. Be clear on what each member is willing and able to contribute, and what your goals are. What level of work are you expecting from each other? How will you be organized? How will you handle differences of opinion? Your community/group rules are due at the beginning of the first week of class, and everyone in your group should sign off on them.



The grade for the project will be based on the content the group produces and the effort put forth (sometimes failure is just as important as success). Everyone in your group will receive the same grade. It is up to your group to obtain a grade with which everyone will be happy. (Note: Your Attendance, Social Media, and Learning Record are still individual.)


Dismissing a Member of Your Group:

If you decide that a member of your group is not contributing enough to the project you can remove them from the group. Your community rules should outline the means by which a member can be removed. The final step in the process should be a group meeting with me. If a member is removed from a group they can pursue a solo project (a difficult task given the amount of work required), or join another person who has been removed from a group. 



Week 1: Decide on groups and focus of each group.

Week 2: Draft layout of site should be up and running. Each group member should have posted several times. Community rules due in class.

Week 3: Polished (completed) site layout. In addition to regular postings you should also look to add other features (eg. a resource page, links page, illustrations, maps, etc.) Submit semester timeline/plan for your group. This should include plan to complete first marquis project by midterm. The scope/topic/idea for your first marquis project should be part of this plan, the second two can wait until after midterm.

Week 8: First marquis project due.

Week 9: Submit idea for second an third marquis project.

Week 13: Second marquis project due.

Week 16: Final marquis project due.

December 13th: All material, including individual learning records must be complete. 


Ideas for Posts:

Here are just some possible ideas for weekly posts.

1. Comment/critique a contemporary privacy debate in relation to your topic. Example: A post about how Google-Verizon deal impacts your specific area.

2. A link post, one that highlights and frames a contemporary privacy debate. Link to and summarize several different positions and important posts that other should read in relation to your topic.

3. A how-to post. Discuss one area of privacy and demonstrate for your readers how to take control of their own privacy. Examples: How to select privacy settings on Facebook.  How to use Tor to blog and hide your IP address.

4. Create an info graphic to help visualize an important issue in relation to your topic. Example: A graph which shows average number of times individuals are tracked by monetary transactions.

5. Link to another blog which covers something related to your topic, discuss why said blog is important.


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