Online Communities & Crowds
Comm Studies 378
All students in the Online Communities & Crowds class are required to submit an original final project on a topic of your choosing by 5pm, December 9, 2014. You are also required to submit a detailed proposal of your project before class on November 12, 2014. You must meet with Sneha at least once during the quarter to discuss your project.
This page contains detailed information about these assignments. As always, if you have any additional questions, please contact Aaron or Sneha.
Your Final Project for this course consists of an original research paper of no more than 2000 words that also includes relevant citations and sources (which do not need to be counted in the word total).
The objective is for you to analyze a particular puzzle or dynamic in the context of a specific community that you observe, participate in, and/or care about. As a general rule, You should aim to (a) describe the community; (b) explain how and why the community illustrates or engages with the puzzle or dynamic; and (c) explain how you would apply insights from the class to improve the community's approach to the puzzle or dynamic.
You will have several opportunities throughout the quarter to develop your project ideas, discuss them, and receive feedback on them. This includes the Final Project Proposal, which consists of a short (no more than 500 words) written description of the community and challenge/dynamic you plan to analyze, some discussion of why you care about this community, as well as the reasons you believe it would present an important site for critical analysis and engagement with the themes of the course.
- Your Proposal must be no longer than 500 words. We will stop reading after 500 words.
- Your Final Project must be no longer than 2000 words. We will stop reading after 2000 words.
- All submissions should be formatted as PDFs and submitted via the corresponding "assignment" on Canvas.
- Please use 12 point font so that the teaching team doesn't go blind reading your work.
It is up to you to select a community as well as a dynamic or challenge that you plan to analyze in your final project. You should choose a topic that is interesting to you and relevant to the course material. You are required to discuss your project idea with Sneha (preferably before the proposal is due).
As described in the course syllabus, the Final Project is worth 20% of your final grade and the Proposal is worth 5% of your final grade.
Proposals will be evaluated on a check plus, check, check-minus scale.
Final Projects will be assigned a letter grade by the teaching team. The evaluation criteria for your Final Project are the nearly identical to those used for the Critical Community Analysis:
- Clarity & style Is the paper readable and clear? Is it free of errors? Is the writing logically organized and coherent?
- Quality of analysis Does the paper provide detailed, well-documented information and insights? Does it identify and analyze community dynamic or challenge effectively? Where possible/reasonable, does the analysis provide references or links to relevant sources to support its claims? Are all sources appropriately cited/documented?
- Scope Does the paper adapt a suitable scope given the length constraints of the assignment? Does it provide a comprehensive perspective on the key issues at hand? Is there an appropriate balance between general information and concrete detail?
- Significance Does the paper advance an original argument about a signficant concern? Does it propose an improvement or solution that addresses an significant dimension of the challenge or dynamic under consideration? Does the proposed improvement/solution seem plausible and/or tractable as an approach that the community being discussed might actually adopt it?
The feedback you received on your Critical Community Analysis provides insights into the teaching team's expectations with regard to these criteria. You are also always welcome to discuss these criteria with a member of the teaching team.
You may pursue a project that is different from the requirements described here with prior permission from a member of the teaching team. For example, if you wanted to conduct a comparative analysis of two communities, you need to discuss this with Aaron or Sneha and receive confirmation that we approve your plan. If you do not have prior permission from the teaching team, we will expect that your project will meet the guidelines set out on this page.
Please note that course policies apply to all assignments. This includes the policies on deadlines, confidentiality, academic integrity, disabilities, incompletes, and grades.
Given that the teaching team must assign grades to a large volume of projects in a short period of time before the end of the quarter, it is particularly important that you turn in your final project on time. If you need an extension, you should attempt to discuss this with the teaching team well ahead of the deadline in order to ensure that you do not receive an incomplete (a.k.a. zero) for the assignment.
Please contact a member of the teaching team if you have any questions about these policies or how we apply them.