WHAT IT SAYS ON THE MAIN SITE:

The final assignment is the inquiry project. You’ll have to have this finished and published for a grade by the last day of class. It’s worth 35% of your final grade. Think of your inquiry project as a research paper for the digital age: although it will have many of the characteristics of academic writing, it’ll take advantage of thought vectors in concept space–and lots of creativity–to make something much more involving and rewarding than a typical “term paper.”


 

WHAT I WOULD ADD:

I stand by what I wrote in my blog post about exemplars.

Also, Jessica Gordon wrote a description of the inquiry project on her clubhouse site. There’s some useful information there that’s worth considering. In particular, Jessica writes:

You should not think of your inquiry project as a paper that you write in Word and dump into your blog before adding some links and images. Rather, your inquiry project should be written for the web, and you should be considering and making notes about how you can supplement your text the entire time  you are drafting.

Also,

Our motto for this project: Be thorough in your research, clear, articulate and careful with your words — and creative with your form!

Finally, your inquiry must be about something that makes you wonder in/about the Internet and/or digital age. In other words, you’ll effectively need to tie your project to the ideas promoted by the dreamers whose ideas you will have read in the first part of the semester.


 

There are some core criteria that we might apply to the inquiry project:

  • Thoroughly researched – support by lots of high-quality evidence; in a robust conversation with arguments found in sourcework that allow for a diversity of possible interpretations of your primary text
  • Well-reasoned – this has to do with the organization and logic of the overall argument
  • Intentional – someone reading it ought to see immediately that it has a point and has some polish.
  • Ambitious — project should present the best summation of your deep inquiry process. Although not a final answer (because questions will always linger), the inquiry project aspires to offer a compelling and personal way of thinking about your digital phenomenon.
  • Purposefully written to and for the Web – students should take advantages of the affordances of the Web for composition (multimedia, hypertext (links), etc.). See Dr. Jason Coat’s post on what it means to be “Webby.”

 

There are also some important specifications for the inquiry project:

  • At least 3000 words (across any and all pages of the Inquiry Project that you write)
  • Links to at least eight quality sources that appear throughout your project.
  • Three of the eight sources must be scholarly and primary.
  • Thorough and thoughtful use of embedded media (images, videos, sounds, GIFs, etc.)
  • A complete bibliography of sources (NOTE: in many cases, I would argue, the use of a hyperlink is redundant to doing APA citations and a bibliography. But, in the near future, or at least until other professors begin asking you to write FOR and TO the Web, you’ll need to know how to do formal citations and bibliographies. So, now’s a good time to demonstrate that capability).

Although your final project should be reachable through your blog, you will probably want to create the final project somewhere else and just post the link. There are no limits about the digital tools you might use to create your project and where your project should reside. However, it must be open to the public. There are any number of potential platforms for the inquiry project, including, but not limited to:

  • A stand-alone page (or set of pages) on the RamPages site you’ve been using for this course.
  • A whole new RamPages site (you can have many!)
  • A new website entirely (e.g. Wix.com or Weebly or anything really…)
  • A Google Site or wiki
  • Medium.com (my understanding is all you need is a Twitter ID to be able to write for the Medium platform; this is a particularly intriguing platform).
  • Try one of a number of new digital storytelling platforms, including Hatch or Atavist. Or, maybe there’s one you know about that hasn’t been mentioned here…
  • A video hosting site (what if your argument included a significant video component and you added the narrative component in the description?)

Find the right home for your particular project.


 

Important Dates

  • Monday, November 23: Inquiry Project in Beta (i.e. your draft) due by end of day. This is to be submitted via Google Drive/Doc. You’ll get more specificity on this by email, but, basically, you are to create a Google Doc and share it with Dr. Becker. You are to use that Google Doc to craft the narrative of the argument. You might also include notes about aesthetics and/or design elements, but this is where you are to work out the text/narrative of the argument.
  • Friday, December 4: Finalized Inquiry Project due by end of day. Send a link to me by email at jbecker@vcu.edu.