PUB 101 aims to develop your own capabilities and resources for presenting yourself online. Our learning goals for this course are expressed more in terms of disposition and confidence than skills and abilities. This course provides an opportunity for you to engage with facets of contemporary media in a constructive way: we learn through doing, building, and sharing within a community of practice.
By the end of the course, you will have developed a portfolio of sorts, according to your own design and vision. But more than just a portfolio of past work, it also can serve as the platform for your future building, learning, and working. Formal assessment for this course—and your official mark—is primarily based on written work, partly individual and partly in collaboration with partners and/or larger groups.
The quality of your writing will be part of the official assessment. This means you need to take extra care with grammar, usage, spelling, syntax, and structure. What you write is being published. Anyone can see it. You want the most polished version of your work on your blog. This means proofreading your work before it goes out. Informal assessment for this course—and you will be the judge of that—is all about your contribution to the community gathered here.
You will be given two formal formative feedback reports on February 6 and March 12.
Here’s the marking breakdown:
- One short (~750-wds) essay: 15%
- Online development & Process posts (weekly): 35%
- Website Accessibility: 10%
- Mini assignments: 10%
- Peer-review activities: 15%
- Participation: 10%
- Flexible Five: 5%
Assignment Details and Due Dates
Online Development and Process Posts (weekly) (35%)
Your Process Posts are where you will document your work on your online publication, and reflect on everything you do: writing, media, link sharing, editorial, design, and the cultivation of social media as an organized whole. You will be assessed on your ability to describe, account for, justify, complicate, assess, and otherwise intelligently write about your own online publication. We will also be looking for evidence that you have been keeping up with the weekly readings and attending lecture, demonstrated through your ability to integrate those readings and discussions into your own writing. These posts will be assessed weekly, with feedback provided on a semi-regular basis. You can choose how to integrate these posts into your site, as long as they are clearly discoverable by your instructor.
Additionally, you will post content for your audience each week. The growth of your website is dependent on fresh and consistent content. You might choose to have your core content be a blog, podcast, vlog, imagery, clay animation, videos, or other media. While we will be using WordPress as the CMS, feel free to use whatever additional tools or platforms that best represent your creativity. This content is specifically for your public.
Website Accessibility (10%)
This semester a grade is attached to your website accessibility. In previous semesters students were encouraged to make their sites accessible but it was not required. From here on in all sites developed in posiel will be as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. You are building your site from scratch which gives you the best opportunity to use widely available free tools and build born accessible websites.
Throughout the semester, you will be given short, fun assignments. There is no set grade for each one, but they will add up 10 per cent overall. Due dates: Week Three (Jan 23); Week Four (Jan 30); Week Six (Feb 13); Week Nine (Mar 12); Week Eleven (Mar 26).
Peer Review One: developing an online self (due Week 5 – Feb 6) (3%)
With an assigned peer from your own tutorial, write (appreciatively, constructively) a review of what they have developed on their site thus far, with a focus on the development of a clearly articulated online self. The review should assess any content and design decisions made thus far, and should engage clearly with course readings on developing an online self. Is the writing clear, free of typos, carefully edited? Your review should be 400+ words and posted to your Process Blog, with clear links to your peer’s site.
Peer Review Two: design (due Week 8 – Mar 5) (5%)
With an assigned peer from the course’s other tutorial, write (appreciatively, constructively) a review of their website’s design. Link well, use resources from your readings please. The review should assess theme and customizations, typography, layout, social media integration, site structure, usability, and any other design decisions you notice. Your review should be 400+ words and posted to your Process Blog, with clear links to your peer’s site.
Peer Review Three: audience and channels (due Week 11 – Mar 26) (7%)
With an assigned peer, write (appreciatively, constructively) a review of their website’s marketability to their intended audience group. Link well, use resources from your readings please. The review should thoroughly assess both content and design from the perspective of a reader/user. Your review should be 400+ words and posted to your Process Blog, with clear links to your peer’s site.
You are expected to attend all classes and all labs (tutorials). PUB 101 is collaborative, with an emphasis on learning from one another. Your participation mark is based on your activity in conversation, reflection, giving feedback to colleagues, and contributing new ideas and resources. If you have to miss a class, please let your instructor and/or TA know. Show up. Ask questions. Take part in the classes and tutorials. Contribute to the class resources. Be present.
Flexible Five (student-determined grade) (5%)
Each student can choose how they want to use this 5%. The options are: assign a self assessment grade for overall participation, growth, contribution to the class, (or other criteria); assign the 5% to one category of the existing assessment breakdown (peer reviews, process posts, essays, participation); present your site on the last day of class; *lead a discussion on a topic of your choice .
*There are 6 slots available for Lead a Discussion. These will be allocated on a first-come basis. The topic is up to you, but should tie in with that week's topic. Look through the course outline, if you see something of interest that you can talk about using your own experience, a case study or research you've done, sign up to present. Describe where the topic lives in social media, summarize the theme, present the main points of view, and give the class two points or questions to discuss. You can find the sign-up sheet here. Have fun!
Essay (due Week 9 – Mar 12) (15%)
You have a choice of topics for this essay.
- You can consider some aspects of social media as a source of/for news. It was during the presidential campaign of 2006 in which US president Barrack Obama was elected that we saw a huge increase in the use of social media platforms as a means to disseminate information. While misinformation and disinformation have been around for a very long time since the mid-2000s social media has become the preferred medium for their spread. Online engagement and access were supposed to bring about a democracy of access to knowledge and level the field for communication across all levels of society. How do we combat the spread of lies and harmful information without becoming overly censorious? Can we? Are better digital literacy and critical thinking education enough? Your essay should consider the topic from the perspective of a person involved in the creation, dissemination, and curation of digital content. You may use a specific example or case study, or discuss the issue on a broader level. Research data on how people get their news. The PEW Institute is a good place to start.
- The other topic you may want to research and write about is the looming impact of Artificial Intelligence. You could consider this from the perspective of a student or from the perspective of a content creator. Some in the educational sector have banned things like ChatGPT or Dall.E from schools or have set strict policies around its use. The quality of AI will only get better and it will do so at a rapid pace as Google and Microsoft race to be the dominant player. How should we work with (or not work with) AI in our everyday lives? Should it be banned or should we find ways to best use the tools it provides?
Your essay should be at least 750 words (1250 maximum). It should be posted on your site (either as a page or a Process Blog post). It needs to have at least three academic references, and they need to be properly cited. Use links where appropriate.