25% of course grade

Due: Friday, May 1 by 2:00 pm 

**Final Project Proposal (response to Prompt 10):

** Due: Wednesday, April 15 by 10 pm

Extended Office Hours:

Monday, April 27: 1:15 pm – 4:15 pm

In-class Workshops:

Tuesday, April 21

Thursday, April 23

This project is a bit different. It requires you to get creative, and to get creative not only with the argument you want to make, but also with the form that argument will take. No matter what you decide to do for this project, I strongly urge you to get started on this project early and to talk with me about your ideas as they evolve. The last week of class has been set aside for in-class workshop time; in addition to my regular and extended office hours, this time is for you to use to get one-on-one feedback from me. Take advantage of it. As always, please come talk to me if this project seems daunting, or if you’re not sure where to start.

Your final project has two interlocking parts, both of which are due at the same time.

Part One: Multimodal Comparative Analysis

The final project is a multimodal comparative analysis of two different objects across print and digital forms. In other words, you’ll consider a textual artifact in print form and then consider an analogous artifact in digital form. At least one of these artifacts must be something we have covered in class. You may need to do some additional research to find a related artifact. In some cases there might be a one-to-one literary correspondence between the two forms (for example, the novel The Familiar and _The Familiar _WordPress blog we contributed to with other classes). In other cases the correspondence might be conceptual, thematic or aesthetic. Whatever the objects you consider, you should consider issues such as affordances and constraints, materiality and form, the affective effects of different media, the social issues wrapped up in and visible through different forms of media, and everything else we’ve discussed throughout the semester. Your analysis should be informed by at least 3 scholarly sources. These sources may include any of the critical readings or scholarship we have read this semester, and you are also invited to go beyond the course readings and incorporate other critical perspectives if you choose (see the “Other Scholarly Sources” section of this assignment page).

What does a comparative analysis mean? It means you will compare your two chosen artifacts in order to make an argument about their meaning and expressive power. In other words, be sure to pull all of your observations about your two objects together in the name of making an argument about your artifacts, rather than merely describing them or describing how they are different (or the same).

What does multimodal mean? Quite simply, it means that more than one mode of communication is used. Words are one mode of communication. Images are another. Audio is a mode of communication. Data, charts, and maps are yet other modes. Even the procedures and processes embedded in software are modes of communication.

The form this project takes is up to you, but that form must incorporate more than one mode of communication. For example, you can write a paper that also includes images, roughly 6-8 pages in length (not including images; double-spaced, 1″ margins, 12 point font; roughly 2000-3000 words). You can create an online version of your analysis (using our class site or your own website or some other forum) that incorporates multimedia. You could, if it makes sense for your project, record a podcast or video that you post online along with accompanying images. Consider other alternatives too; I encourage you to get very creative here. Think about what form will best express and mediate the argument you want to make.

Whatever form your project takes, it must still fulfill the scholarly requirements, containing the equivalent of 6-8 pages of text (roughly 2000-3000 words) and at least 3 scholarly sources. You should also make sure that, no matter what form your project takes, you cite your scholarly sources appropriately.

Part Two: Scholar’s Statement

This project must be accompanied by a 500-word “scholar’s statement,” which you will post on our course website (categorize your post under “Final Project”). This statement should 1) include link(s) to your project, if it exists online; and 2) describe why your project takes the form it does. What different modes of communication does your project incorporate and why? Why is this important to the argument you are making?

Final Project Proposal

Prompt 10 (due Wednesday, April 15 by 10 pm) will ask you to describe your plans for your final project, including: 1) What artifacts you plan to analyze; 2) What form(s) you think your project might take; and 3) What your initial thoughts are about what your argument might be. You must respond to Prompt 10. I will not accept final projects from those who haven’t responded to Prompt 10.

Possible Artifact Combinations

You are free to analyze whichever artifacts you choose, as long as the following conditions are met:

  • One artifact is print and one is digital.
  • At least one artifact is something we have covered in class.

Here are some ideas for possible combinations of artifacts. Feel free to take these ideas and run with them:

  • The Bug and any database or database-management system (phpMyAdmin comes to mind, or even the WordPress backend interface [Wordpress is also a kind of database management system])
  • The Bug and Agrippa (each artifact deals with software “bugs” of some kind)
  • “Dakota” by YHCHI and The Familiar (hyper vs deep attention)
  • The Familiar and a social network like Facebook or Twitter (Parcel Thoughts, a fictional social network, in relation to nonfictional social networks)
  • Pattern Recognition (specifically the F:F:F forum) and our Familiar Wordpress blog
  • Pattern Recognition (specifically its emphasis on paranoia and conspiracy) and an online service like Facebook or Google (could use each artifact to discuss concerns with privacy, data mining, targeted advertising, cookies, etc.)
  • Any of the works in the Electronic Literature Collection, Vol. 1 and/or Vol. 2, and any of the print novels we have read
  • Blackboard as an online course management system and the Center for American Progress report on online education (not technically a print artifact, but a PDF is close enough)

Other Scholarly Sources

These sources go beyond what we’ve read in class, but they may be useful to you as you form your arguments:

  • Langdon Winner, “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” from Daedalus 109.1 (1980) : 121–136 (Could be used to think about the power and privilege embedded in a piece of digital technology)
  • Bonnie Mak, How the Page Matters (University of Toronto Press, 2012), “Introduction” (Useful for thinking about print books as media)
  • The entire issue of Michigan Quarterly from Fall 2009 (lots on intersections between print and digital media)
  • Garrett Stewart, “Bookwork as Demediation,” Critical Inquiry 36 (Spring 2010) (useful for his concept of “demediation” if you’re writing about The Familiar)
  • More are on our course Blackboard site. Go to Course Readings > Additional Scholarly Sources for Final Project.

Final Project Checklist

Make sure your project meets all of these requirements before turning it in:

  • Have you submitted your Final Project Proposal (response to Prompt 10, due Wednesday, April 15)?
  • Does your final project have an argument? Do you move beyond describing your artifacts, or describing how they are the same or different, and make an argument about their meaning?
  • Does your final project contain the equivalent of 6-8 pages of text (not including images; double-spaced, 1″ margins, 12 point font; roughly 2000-3000 words)?
  • Does it incorporate at least 3 scholarly sources? Do you cite those sources appropriately?
  • Is your final project multimodal? Does it incorporate more than one mode of communication?
  • Have you written your scholar’s statement and posted it to our course blog (categorized under “Final Project”)?

I have heavily borrowed from two assignments by Mark Sample in creating this final project.