Unit #4: Scholarly Webtext

(Worth 20% of your grade; due on December 18, at 7:45 p.m.)


For your final project in this course, you will select a topic related to some aspect of writing, technology, social media, internet culture, etc., and create a web-based artifact that incorporates outside sources and makes a specific argument designed to be read by an academic audience. You may choose to present your argument in the form of an online article, a podcast, a video, an interactive website, or some other format. This project is designed to give you maximum control over both the topic and the format of your argument, so you will need to think carefully about what you want to say and which tools will help you say it best. The only strict guideline is that your project must be live on the web and ready to share with the world.

Assignment Guidelines

Because each student’s work on this assignment will be unique, you will begin by drafting a one-page “plan of action,” which will outline your proposed topic, the tools you plan to use to compose your argument, and the sources you expect to draw upon. Your plan of action should be uploaded to your shared Google Drive folder before you come to class on Monday, December 2. I will review your plan of action and potentially suggest modifications that will help you strengthen your work. Once I have approved your project, you can begin implementing it. In class, I will regularly review your progress to make sure that everyone is staying on track.

Submitting Your Project

A full draft of your project is due on Wednesday, December 11. We will conduct a peer critique session during class that day, and I strongly encourage you to have a finished draft ready to share with your classmates. After our critique session, you will have a week to revise and polish your project, which is due on Wednesday, December 18, at 7:45 p.m. (our university-appointed time for the final exam). Your project should be accompanied by a one-page (300-500 words) memo of transmittal that explains and justifies the choices you made as you worked on this assignment. For example, you may want to explain your initial motivation for exploring the topic you chose, discuss your rationale for selecting specific tools or platforms, or address the technological challenges you faced as you completed the project. Your memo should also include the URL for your finished project. When your memo is complete, title it “Full Name Unit 4 Memo,” and upload it to your shared Google Drive folder. (Please be sure to convert your memo to Google Docs format so I can comment on it.)

Potential Topics

We have discussed a wide range of topics this semester, and I am open to approving almost any topic that intersects with the ideas of writing and technology in some way. In a perfect scenario, each of you would use one of your blog posts as a starting point for your research; however, if you need help selecting a topic, you might want to use one or more of the articles I have bookmarked on Pinboard as first source to kickstart your research:

Potential Tools and Platforms

The following is an incomplete list of tools and platforms you may want to use for your project. Please do not limit yourself to the tools on this list, and if you find additional tools that might be helpful, please send them to me so I can add them to the list.

Evaluation Criteria

I will evaluate your webtext using the following criteria:

  • Substance: Does the project attempt to make a specific argument on a specific topic? Is the author addressing a subject that relates to one of the ideas we have studied and discussed this semester?
  • Situatedness: Does the project position itself as part of an ongoing “conversation” on the author’s chosen topic? Does the author show how their argument fits within that conversation?
  • Sources: Does the project successfully integrate outside sources into the author’s own ideas? Does the project always make it crystal-clear whose words or ideas are whose?
  • Multimodality: Does the project take advantage of the affordances of the author’s selected format/platform? Does the author blend text, images, and other media in ways that strengthen and extend the argument? Has the author taken risks to try something new?
  • Memo of transmittal: Does the memo clearly and persuasively explain the author’s work on this project and justify the decisions that the author made? Do the written portions of the project follow the conventions of standard written English (spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.)?