Here’s what your grade will consist of.

Individual work: 50 points

  • 20 points – Weekly one-page, single-spaced article summary/critiques
  • 20 points – Two exams, midterm and final
  • 5 points – Online assignments
  • 5 points – Participation

Group projects: 40 points

  • 25 points – Group weblog
  • 15 points – Final project and presentation

Discussion leadership: 10 points

WEEKLY ARTICLE CRITIQUES: 2 points each, up to 20 points total.


Each of you will turn in a short paper on one of the reader articles each week. Your response needs to be a hardcopy-printed, one-page, single-spaced, typewritten summary and critique of the article, approximately 500 words excluding name, title and other basic information. (Use no larger than a 12-point font, no larger than one-inch margins, and put your name, TA, and the author/title of the article at the top of the page.)

These are formal writing assignments and should be taken seriously. Hone in on the main topic, argument, and evidence that the author presents in the article. Critique: Provide your own reaction to the author’s argument, either evaluating it (saying what is convincing and/or unconvincing about the argument and evidence) or extending/connecting it to a different issue.

Print this one-page paper out and bring it to lecture on Monday. You will want to save these summary/critique papers, because you may want to recycle them into your media fluency blog. LATE PAPERS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED AND WILL EARN A ZERO.

Please note: Each of these article summary/critique papers is worth 2 points, and the total grade for all is worth 20 points. However, you will be asked to write 12 of these papers over the course of the semester! Yes, that means you can earn back any missed points, up to four points, to a maximum of 20.


One time during the semester, each of you will be a discussion leader for the big class meeting with two to three other students. This will take place on a Wednesday, unless otherwise noted. You will each:

  1. Come up with one good, open-ended discussion question EACH. Good questions ask “how” and “why,” and not “What do you guys think of ______?” In order to get to those questions, you might want to start by brainstorming a number of questions with your other discussion leaders in order to combine them or boil them down into strong questions.
    1. All leaders must read all articles.
    2. Student #1 (as you appear on the signup list) is responsible for a question from reading #1. Student #2 is responsible for a question from  reading #2. If there’s a third or fourth student, you’re responsible for a question from readings #3 & #4.
    3. You should come up with your questions together.
    4. If there is no 3rd or 4th reading, you are responsible for a holistic question that takes on the theme of the week and has to do with both of the readings.
    5. It is highly recommended that you meet with Professor Steenson during her Monday 4-5 pm office hour, and/or with Manisha Shelat as you prepare.
    6. Share the discussion questions with Professor Steenson and your TA, Manisha Shelat via email.
    7. On the class blog by midnight the day before class (typically a Tuesday), post the questions.


  1. Post to the class blog ( a relevant link, article, video, podcast or other digital media. Some examples: an article on a well-written blog, an interview on a Soundcloud podcast, a Youtube video, even a meme and animated GIFs from a Tumblr blog.
  2. After opening remarks from Prof. Steenson, the discussion leaders will lead the discussion. They will ask their questions of the class, clarifying and prompting the students when needed, calling fairly on students by name, if at all possible.
  3. Summarize the discussion: in 30 seconds to 1 minute each, each discussion leader highlights the main points and thanks the class for participation.

Being a good discussion participant:

  • Your perspective is unique. Do raise your hand and participate, even if you’re shy.
  • Be to the point. Make a quick note about your key points. This keeps from rambling.
  • If you’re someone who talks more readily, give others a chance to jump in, too.
  • Respond to your fellow students by name.

GROUP WEBLOG: 25 points
Your will work in groups to produce a rich-media web site over the course of the semester that brings “media fluency” to life for an undergraduate audience in an engaging and insightful way. You will use the WordPress platform. Your group will work together to populate your website with interesting content, linking your website to relevant online resources like YouTube videos, podcasts, and Wikipedia pages, market your website through social media, and curate comments and discussion on your web site. You will document your content strategy and assess your site through usability testing. By using the analytics and tracking tools on your site, you will track the popularity and reach of your web site over time. Your grade for the blog relies on your personal contribution, group collaboration and overall cohesiveness.


At the end of your class, you will take the subject of your blog and change it into a different medium. Some possibilities: a video, a podcast, animation, digital book, map with sound and video content, mobile app prototype, or some combination of all of the above. You will meet with your TA and professor, and with the Design Lab for help carrying out your ideas. Finally, you will present the final projects during the exam period on December 18 (with pizza and snacks). More information will follow in the second half of the semester.


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