Digital Culture Documentary

For this project, you will compose a documentary video (approximately two to five minutes) in which you research and make an argument about the ways in which digital technologies are transforming communication and social interaction. For example, you might inquire into ways that online social video sites such as YouTube are influencing political activism, education, cross-cultural interactions, journalism, or interpersonal relationships. You might investigate ways in which the music industry is being transformed by shifts digital technologies; you might consider the ways in which the proliferation of texting is changing people’s writing practices; you might consider ways in which community organizations are employing social media such as facebook in order to achieve their goals; you might investigate the ways in which wikipedia articles are composed and revised; you might explore the influence of a particular technology on the lives of Miami students; you might make a critical argument about some of the limitations of contemporary digital forms of communication. The choice of topic is up to you, but you need to make sure that you narrow your focus and provide a unique angle (a novel perspective on digital culture which extends or complicates current discussions). You have the option to collaborate with up to three people on this project, but you can also choose to complete it individually if you prefer.

In order to develop a unique angle on your chosen topic, you will conduct multiple kinds of research. For example,  you will need to search library databases and public internet sites for sources relevant to your chosen area of inquiry. In some cases, you may also want to conduct interviews with people about your topic. If you choose to employ interview footage in your documentary, you must ask your interviewees to to give you permission to include their interviews in a video to be published to the world wide web.

Following the doctrine of fair use,  you may include copyrighted images (or brief movie clips) if you are explicitly employing these images for the purpose of analysis, parody and/or critique. If the image comes from a clearly public internet site (e.g. YouTube, a news site), then you do not need to seek permission from the creator of the image. If you want to show a more private form of digital communication (e.g. a facebook profile, an email or text message, a closed web discussion group), then you must ask permission of the author/creator in order to incorporate their work into your documentary.

Project Proposal and Annotated Bibliography: Due 2/23 (50 pts)

In your project proposal, you will address the following questions:

1) What topic or issue do you intend to explore?
2) What research have you already conducted on this topic? What research do you still need to complete?
3) How will you offer a novel perspective (or unique angle) on your topic? In other words, how will your documentary complicate or extend current scholarship and/or popular media representations of your topic?
3) How will you strategically employ words, images, and voice in order to present a compelling and unique narrative argument about your topic?
5) What kind of project timeline have you developed to ensure completion of your project? How will you break down the work into manageable deadlines? How will you divide the work (if you choose to work collaboratively)?
6) What ethical concerns are you likely to encounter in composing this documentary? How will you address these ethical concerns?

In addition to addressing the above questions, your proposal also must include an annotated bibliography of at least 10 sources relevant to your project. For each annotation, you should include a 2 – 3 sentence summary of how the source will be useful for your argument. At least three of your sources should come from books or from articles in library databases. You should follow a consistent documentation format for your citations (either APA or MLA).

Alpha Draft: Due 3/4 (25 points)

Your alpha draft must consist of at least one minute of video that serves as a kind of “proof of concept” for your project–giving a sense of the unique way you are employing words, images, and sounds to make a compelling narrative argument. Along with the video (uploaded to youtube or blackboard), you will also write a reflection (at least 25o words) in which you discuss the rhetorical choices you have made in composing the video and also outline your plans for the parts of the video that remain unfinished.

The alpha draft will be evaluated based on the completeness of your video and the thoughtfulness of your reflection.

Beta Draft and Reflection: Due on date TBA (50 pts)

For the beta, you must present a complete draft of your video (with beginning, middle and end). To receive full credit, the beta draft must reveal evidence that you have thoughtfully composed and arranged your images, words, and sounds in order to make a clear narrative argument. (I expect that the beta will still be rough in places, but it should at least demonstrate that you have made substantial progress towards have a well-composed, “publishable” final project). Along with the beta draft, you will also write a reflection. If the project is collaborative, each person should still write an individual reflection:

1) What is your rhetorical purpose in crafting this documentary?
2) Who did you imagine as your audience for this documentary and how are you adapting your work to them?
3) What kinds of feedback would you like from peers and instructor? What issues concern you?
4) What images did you employ and why? How did the images complement, extend, or complicate the words? If you used copyrighted images, why do you think that your use of these images should be protected by fair use?
5) Why did you time and sequence your images, sounds, and words in the way that you did?
6) What ethical concerns have you encountered in completing this documentary? How have you addressed these concerns?
7) What plans do you have for revising this text?
8) What exactly did you contribute to this project (if collaborative)?

Release Version: Due 4/1 (150 pts)

For the final, you will turn in a substantially revised version of the beta. This text should reveal a careful attempt to respond meaningfully to the feedback you receive from your peers and the instructor.

The Final Reflection:  Due 4/1 (50 pts)

Along with the release version, you will also write a reflection (at least 750 words). If the project is collaborative, each person should still write an individual reflection:

1) What is your rhetorical purpose in crafting this documentary?
2) Who did you imagine as your audience for this documentary and how are you adapting your work to them?
3) What images did you employ and why? How did the images complement, extend, or complicate the spoken words? If you used copyrighted images, why do you think that your use of these images should be protected by fair use?
4) Why did you time and sequence your images, sounds, and words in the way that you did?
5) What ethical concerns have you encountered in completing this documentary? How have you addressed these concerns?
6) What changes would you make to this documentary if you still had more time?
7) What exactly did you contribute to this project (if collaborative)?

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