Viral Media (Undergrad)

This class has been offered in Fall 2011 and Fall 2015 as EMAC 4372 and Spring 2012 as COMM 3342. The materials below are from the most recent iteration.

Syllabus

Viral Media
EMAC 4372: Special Topics in Emerging Media and Communication
Fall 2015
These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the Instructor.

Course Information

Class No. 86953
Meets: W 10am – 12:45pm
Location: ATC 1.305
Credit Hours: 3

Contact Information

  • Instructor: Kim Knight
  • Email (preferred method of contact): kim.knight@utdallas.edu
  • Phone: 972-883-4346.

Office Hours:

Contact policies:

  • I respond to email M-F, generally within 24 hours.
    •  If I do not respond within that time frame, check my email address and re-send it.
    • Use official UTD email only.
  • I will not respond to
    • Email messages that request information found on the syllabus or assignment sheets.
    • Twitter direct messages.

Course wiki: viralmedia.pbworks.com
Twitter tag: #utdviral
Twitter archive: https://goo.gl/CqwME8

Course Description

In this course, we will explore the concept of “the viral” in relation to emerging media, art, literature, and communication. The course will begin with a look at the history of the term and its definitional and metaphorical operations, particularly in relation to biology and computation. We will then situate the term within the contemporary media landscape that produces “viral structures” that influence our engagement with media, institutions, and one another. Finally, we will examine viral structures in operation in the realms of entertainment and activism. Throughout the semester we will consider “viral media” both as it circulated in operation, and as it is represented through the lenses of film, literature, and digital art.

No prior experience with digital media is necessary.

Course Goals

In this course, students will:

  • Understand the biological and computational origins of the viral metaphor.
  • Apply theoretical readings to the analysis of viral media objects.
  • Communicate with the emerging media community through the use of blogs, microblogs, social bookmarking, live presentations, etc.
  • Utilize the existing research on emerging media in their own work.

Required Textbooks and Materials

  • Johnson, Steven. The Ghost Map. ISBN-10: 9781594482694
  • Parikka, Jussi. Digital Contagions. ISBN-10: 0820488372
  • Kunzru, Hari. Transmission.  ISBN-10: 0452286514
  • Rettberg, Jill Walker. Seeing Ourselves Through Technology. ISBN-13: 978-1137476647 (The ebook version is free from Amazon (Kindle) or Rettberg’s website (pdf) )
  • Graedon, Alena. The Word Exchange. ISBN-13: 978-0345806031

Various chapters and essays, available online or through course reserve. The username for readings hosted at kimknight.com is . The password for kimknight and course reserves is “.”

You will also need the following: a UTD email account (that you check frequently), a Twitter account, a wordpress blog, a PBWiki account.

Course Policies

Attendance: Some of the most valuable take-away from this course will come out of our class discussions.  Your participation is necessary for our success. It is important that you come to every class prepared and on time. To be “prepared” means that you have read the reading, developed and considered questions, and are prepared to discuss it in class.  Bring questions, comments, observations, disagreements, examples, etc.

Because your presence in class is important, more than one absence (i.e. missing more than 1 week of class) will negatively affect your participation grade. In most cases, more than four absences (i.e. missing more than 1 month of class) will result in a failing participation grade. Missing more than 8 classes (more than 2 months in class) will result in a failing course grade. There is no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Use that one freebie wisely. If you need to miss class for religious reasons, please speak to me ahead of time. Absences for religious purposes do not count against the permitted number (as long as prior notification is given).

Lateness is also unacceptable; if you arrive more than thirty minutes late to class you will be marked as absent. If you leave more than 30 minutes early, you will be marked absent. In addition, please try to be as fully present and engaged as possible – silence cell phones, don’t send or receive texts or emails, etc.  Excessive distraction may be counted as an absence.

Accommodation:  If you have a disability that requires accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act -2008(ADAAA), please present your letter of accommodations from the Office of Student AccessAbility and meet with me as soon as possible so that I can support your success in an informed manner. If you would like to know more about the University of Texas at Dallas, Office of Student AccessAbility, please contact the office at 972-883-6104 or email: studentaccessability@utdallas.edu.  Their office is located in the Student Service Building (SSB), suite 3.200.

Online Due Dates: Online assignments listed as “before class” are due before class begins that day. All other online assignments are due by 11:59pm on the date listed, unless otherwise noted.

Late work: You should make a concerted effort to turn in all work on-time, in the format outlined on the assignment sheet.  Work submitted in formats other than that listed on the assignment sheet will not be accepted. Work emailed during class session will be considered late.

  • Participation: Work associated with participation will not be accepted late.
  • Blogs: Work associated with the blog assignment will not be accepted late.
  • Cool Hunting: Work associated with the cool hunting assignment will not be accepted late.
  • Research Paper: Late submission of proposals and drafts will result in a loss of 1/3 of a grade on the project for each late item. Research papers will be marked down one letter grade for each day (or fraction thereof) that they are late.

It is your responsibility to complete your work early enough to allow time for any technical difficulties. Work that is turned in late due to technical difficulties is subject to late penalties.

Respectful behavior: Our many discussions and online assignments will require vigilance to ensure that we are always preserving an atmosphere of mutual respect in which everyone is welcome to learn. Disagreements may arise and consensus may not be possible.  We can, however, respect each person’s right to respectfully express themselves and to have the opportunity to learn. Name calling, harassment, or menacing behavior will not be tolerated.

Online identity: This class asks students to participate in publicly accessible blogs and other forms of public writing. Writing in public has several advantages for student learning. It creates a closer analogue to the offline environments, and allows for the creation of writing that is designed to be shared with an actual audience, instead of just an instructor. It also allows students to learn from each other. However, some students may have legitimate privacy concerns about participating in publicly accessible assignments. These students may choose to participate in public assignments under a pseudonym, or assumed name. If you wish to request this accommodation for any reason, please contact me immediately.

Academic Honesty: From the UT-D Handbook of Operating Procedures: “The university expects from its students a high level of responsibility with respect to academic honesty. Because the value of an academic degree depends on the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that degree, it is imperative that a student maintain a high standard of individual honor in his or her scholastic work. The dean may initiate disciplinary proceedings under subchapter C against a student accused of scholastic dishonesty upon complaint by a faculty member or a student.” (http://www.utdallas.edu/dept/graddean/gsPolDishonesty.htm)

Plagiarism will be reported to the Dean of Students. Possible disciplinary action by the university may include failing the assignment, failing the course, expulsion, etc. If you have any questions regarding the proper use of outside sources or the distinction between sampling and plagiarism, I encourage you to meet with me.

University Policies: Please visit http://go.utdallas.edu/syllabus-policies for the University’s policies regarding all courses.

Course Requirements and Grading Policy

Grading Scale:

A Range: Excellent

A, A-

B Range: Good
B+, B, B-
C Range: Fair

C+, C, C-

D: Needs Improvement

D+, D, D-

F: Failing

F

Assignments:

Participation – 25%
Participation includes attendance, reading quizzes, and class discussion, which may be supplemented with online discussion.

Blogs – 25%
Each student is required to develop a blog as the center of his/her own online “presence” in the  course. This will serve as a place for weekly discussion of the class reading. Blog responsibilities include writing original blog content as well as responding to the blogs of  peers.

Cool Hunting – 15%
Students will create a wiki entry to document and analyze a viral structure in a case study format. They will present their example and analysis in class.

Research Paper – 35%
Each student will be responsible for producing a 7 – 10 page research paper that
reflects on, builds upon, and engages one of the issues surrounding viral media that we have covered in class. More on this after the midpoint of class.

General Requirements: This class involves a lot of theoretical reading.  My hope is that you will apply the ideas from that reading to our discussions and analysis of art, literature, and media. You will be most successful in this class if you are able to have an open mind and take a critical approach to our topics. Please note that being “critical” does not necessarily mean being negative, but it does mean that you are willing to question assumptions and explore the implications of the seemingly mundane and minute aspects of contemporary media culture.  Openness to experimentation and play and a willingness to try and fail are critical to the study of emerging media.

Schedule of Readings

Academic Calendar
(DRAFT: Always check the course website for up-to-date assignments)

 Unit One: Origins of the Metaphor

Week One

Wed, Aug 26: Introduction

Week Two: Biological Viruses

Wed, Sept 2

Saturday, Sept 5

  • Blog responses due – B & C bloggers

Week Three: Epidemiology

Tue, Sept 8

  • Before Class
    • Reading Johnson, The Ghost Map
    • Blog post due  – B Bloggers
  • In Class:
    • Cool Hunting: Tiffany, Cristelle

Sat, Sept 12
•    Blog responses due – A & C bloggers

Week Four: Computer Viruses

Wed, Sept 16

Sat, Sept 19

  • Blog responses due – A & B bloggers

Week Five: Representations

Wed, Sept 23

  • Before Class
    • Blog post due – A Bloggers
  • In Class
    • Viewing and discussion: Peterson, dir. Outbreak

Event of Interest: Sept 25 Deadline for Undergraduate Research Awards

Sat, Sept 26

  • Blog responses due – B & C bloggers

Unit Two: Toward a Theory of the Viral Structure

Week Six: Media Ecologies

Wed, Sept 30

Sat, Oct 3

  • Blog responses due – A & C bloggers

 Week Seven: Representations

Wed, Oct 7

  • Before Class
    • Read Kunzru, Transmission
    • Blog post due – C bloggers
  • In Class:
    • Cool Hunting: Taylor, Emily, Sara

Sat, Oct 10

  • Blog responses due – A & B bloggers

Week Eight: Web 2.0 and Participatory Culture

Wed, Oct 14

Sat, Oct 17

  • Blog responses due – B & C bloggers

Week Nine: Seeing Ourselves Through Media

Wed, Oct 21

  • Before Class
    • Read Rettberg, Seeing Ourselves Through Technology Ch 1, 2
    • Blog post due – B bloggers
  • In Class:
    • Cool Hunting: Madison, Crystal

Sat, Oct 24

  • Blog responses due – A & C bloggers

Week Ten: Representations

Wed, Oct 28

  • Before Class
    • Read Graedon, The Word Exchange
    • Blog post – C bloggers
  • In Class:
    • Cool Hunting: Angie, Alyson

Event of interest: Wed, Oct 28, 7:30pm – A rare sighting: Dr. Knight gives a lecture: “Viral Anxieties in Art and Antiviral Technology,” sponsored by the Center for Values in Medicine, Science, and Technology

Sat, Oct 31

  • blog responses due – A & B bloggers

 Week Eleven: Theory of the Viral Structure

Wed, Nov 4

  • Before Class
    • Read Knight, Viral Structures Intro
    • Blog post – A bloggers
  • In Class:
    • Cool Hunting: Jose, Casey

Sat, Nov 7

  • Blog responses due – B & C bloggers

Week Twelve: Representations

Wed, Nov 11

  • Before Class
  • In Class
    • Viewing and Discussion: Nakata, dir. Ringu
    • Cool Hunting:

Sat, Nov 14

  • Blog responses due – A & C bloggers

Unit Three: Viral Structures in Action

Week Thirteen: Viral Structures in Activism

Wed, Nov 18

Sat, Nov 21

  • Blog responses due – A & B bloggers

Nov 23 – 27: Fall Break

Week Fourteen: Viral Structures in Entertainment  

Wed, Dec 2

Week Fifteen: Other Viral Structures

Wed, Dec 9

Week Sixteen: Finals

Wed, Dec 16: Research paper uploaded to the course wiki no later than 11:59pm

Assignments

Participation

Research Paper Assignment Sheet
EMAC 4372: Viral Media
Fall 2015

Purpose:

  • To analyze the role of viral media in our media ecology.
  • To synthesize the varied course materials and topics into a deeper understanding of viral media.
  • To utilize the existing research and publications of media studies.

Description:

The final project for EMAC 4372 is the culmination of our fifteen week sequence of readings, discussions, presentations, and blog posts. The goal is to engage in an in-depth analysis of an object or topic. Your project should be centered on a thesis. In other words, you should use rhetorical strategies and carefully present evidence to support an argument. Be sure to address any likely counter arguments. The subject of your project should be sufficiently narrow to allow you to analyze it in-depth. At the same time, you should attempt to address the wider implications of your topic, the “so what?” question.

Instructions:

  • An 7- 10 page critical paper, taking one of the following thesis-centered approaches:
    • A topic-based analysis that addresses one of the larger topics of viral media (the role of viral media in relation to participatory culture, identity, sociability, different social and cultural factors,  etc.)
    • Use one or more case studies, grouped by genre, as the basis to make an argument about the role of viral media in our media ecology. Genres might include entertainment, education, politics, representations of viral media, etc.
    • Use one or more case studies, grouped by topic, as the basis for an argument about the role of viral media in our media ecology. Topics could include race, gender, social issues, etc.
    • Other ideas must be cleared with Kim prior to the project proposal due date.
  • The paper should be uploaded (not copied and pasted) into the course wiki or another publicly accessible site (like google docs). Put a link to the uploaded document on your course participant page.
  • Choose a documentation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) and stick with it.
  • Cite at least three scholarly sources (at least two of which should be from outside the syllabus).
  • Topic Proposal, 150 words + bibliography
    • The 150 word proposal should give an overview of your topic and identify why it is important (the “so what?”).
    • The proposal should also include a working bibliography that lists the relevant course readings as well as the outside sources you will read for your annotated bibliography (see below).
    • The proposal should be copied and pasted into your course participant page.
  • Annotated Bibliography, minimum 400 words of annotated material.
    • This is a research paper. You should utilize scholarly sources as evidence.
    • To find and evaluate your outside source, you are responsible for completing an annotated bibliography. In the bibliography you should examine at least four potential sources not on our syllabus.
    • An annotated bibliography is a works cited or reference list that includes annotations that summarize, assess, and reflect upon each work.
    • Each annotation should be a minimum of 100 words.
    • The annotated bibliography should be copied and pasted into your course participant page on the wiki.

Support:

  • For assistance with topic ideas, look at blog posts, the class tweet stream, or visit Kim during office hours.
  • For assistance with research, see the library’s guide to New and Emerging Media resources: http://libguides.utdallas.edu/media For further assistance, use the “Ask a Librarian” feature or contact Matt Makowka. He is the Media Studies subject librarian and is there to help you.
  • For assistance with writing your paper, consider visiting the UTD Writing Center. They are available to help you with: finding a topic for a paper; organizing ideas and clarifying thoughts; drafting and revising papers; documenting sources; preparing for essay exams.
  • For more information about annotated bibliographies, visit the Purdue OWL website. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/
  • Kim will examine and give feedback on drafts of papers received no later than Dec 7, 2015. You must make an appointment (drop in hours or via youcanbook.me) to receive the feedback.

Grading:

The research paper is worth 35% of your final grade.

Excellent Good Fair Needs Improvement Failing
Argument and sources The research paper is centered on a thought-provoking and well-supported thesis. Appropriate sources are well incorporated into the student’s writing and work to support the thesis or demonstrate a counterargument without detracting from the student’s writing voice. The research paper is centered on a thought-provoking thesis that is well supported. Appropriate sources are incorporated into the student’s writing and work to support the thesis or demonstrate a counterargument. The research paper is centered on a clear thesis that is well supported. Appropriate sources are used to support the thesis or demonstrate a counterargument. The research paper may lack clarity in the thesis or the thesis may not be fully supported. Or the writer may have issues with sources, such as poorly selected sources or failure to use the sources to support an argument or counterargument. The research paper may not have a thesis or the evidence presented is not connected to the thesis. Sources may be poorly selected and utilized.
Writing The paper is well organized and contains a minimal number of grammatical or mechanical errors. The paper is well organized and contains a minimal number of grammatical or mechanical errors. The paper may waiver in organization or grammar and mechanics. The paper may have organizational or grammar / mechanical issues that impede understanding Organizational, grammar, and mechanical issues may be so severe as to obscure the argument.
Annotated Bibliography The bibliography demonstrates a well-rounded and scholarly approach to the topic that extends beyond summary to analysis and evaluation. All entries are well-written. The bibliography demonstrates a well-rounded and scholarly approach to the topic that mostly extends beyond summary to analysis and evaluation. All entries are well-written. The bibliography demonstrates a scholarly approach to the topic that more often than not extends beyond summary to analysis or evaluation. All entries are clearly written. The bibliography may exhibit issues with focus or analysis and evaluation. There may be issues with the quality of writing. The bibliography may lack depth or go off topic. The writing may impede understanding.
Proposal The proposal takes an innovative approach and is well conceived, well written, and on time. The proposal takes a unique approach and is detailed, well written, and on time. The proposal does not replicate previous research and is complete and on time. The proposal may be redundant or may be late or lacking detail. The proposal may be off-topic, late, or incomplete.

The following will detract from your grade:

  • Late work (see below for more details) or failure to complete any of the project components.
  • Failure to fulfill the requirements of the assignment, including minimum length, number of sources, etc.

Timeline and Due Dates:

  • Nov 4 – Topic proposal due in the course wiki before class starts.
  • Dec 2 – Annotated bibliography due in the course wiki before class starts.
  • Dec 16 – Research paper should be uploaded to the wiki and linked on your participant page no later than 11:59 pm.

Late Work:

  • Late submission of proposals and bibliographies will result in a loss of 1/3 of a grade on the paper for each late item.
  • Research papers will result in the loss of one full letter grade for each day (or fraction thereof) that they are late.

Blogging

Blog Assignment Sheet
EMAC 4372: Viral Media
Fall 2015

Purpose:

  • To provide a mode of contact with the wider community of emerging media scholars.
  • To facilitate the formation of community in the classroom.
  • To seed ideas for class discussion, presentations, and the final paper.

Overview:

Each student will keep a public research blog that will provide the means of working through some of the more complex issues in the class. Students may respond directly to the ideas in the course material or they may apply concepts from the class to analyze an event, website, etc. Either way, each student should incorporate at least two ideas or concepts from the week’s material into his or her blog entry. Students are encouraged to additionally incorporate relevant material from previous weeks, other classes, and outside experience.

Keep in mind that this is a scholarly research blog. Though a certain informality in tone is permissible, even desirable, student writing should be well-written, coherently organized, and thought-provoking.

Rather than writing into the void each week, students will be placed into groups of three who will alternate writing and responding. See below for more information.

Requirements:

  • Edit this page to add a link to your blog under the blog groups section.
  • Original Posts
    • Minimum 300 words.
    • Addresses the reading topic of the week, citing at least two concepts or ideas.
  • Responses
    • 75 word minimum.
    • Directly responds to the original blog post and/or engages with the responses left by others.
    • If you are in a blog response week, and the person assigned to write their original post has not done so, please choose a blogger from another group and post a response to them.

Technical Specifications

You must use the WordPress blogging platform. If you do not have the resources to host the blog yourself, free hosting is available on wordpress.com. For low-price domain name registration and hosting, see Reclaim Hosting (reclaimhosting.com) for student pricing.

Grading:

The blog assignment is worth 25% of your course grade. The criteria for grading are:

Excellent Good Fair Needs improvement Failing
Quality of Writing Posts and responses are always well-written, including proper use of grammar, mechanics, and organization. They are written in a tone appropriate for an intellectual audience who is interested in issues in the field of emerging media. Posts are consistently well-written and in a proper tone. Posts are generally well-written and in a proper tone. Posts may falter in the writing quality or the tone. Posts are consistently poorly written or inappropriate in tone.
Quality of ideas and engagement Posts are consistently thought-provoking and engaging. They use specific examples to analyze readings, relate it to outside material, or address the wider implications (the “so what”) of the material. Responses engage with and extend the original posts. The writer is daring! Posts are more often than not thought-provoking and engaging.  Responses engage with  the original posts. Posts do not merely summarize course material. Responses move beyond simplistic agreement or disagreement. Posts may stick too closely to summary or fail to use specific examples. Responses may be superficial in agreement or disagreement. Posts are often muddled or boring. Responses are disconnected from original posts.
Blog format The digital blog format is used to enhance the ideas and writing. The blog fully utilizes the digital blog format with a links section, tags/categories, etc. The writer  uses the digital blog format for most posts. The writer may not take advantage of the digital blog format or uses these features poorly. The student’s use of the blog’s affordances impedes understanding.

Please note that original posts and responses are considered with equal weight in determining the assignment grade. The emphasis here is on interaction and the building of discourse communities. In other words, if you skip a response week, it has as much impact as if you skipped an original post.

The following will detract from your grade:

  • Failure to meet minimum length requirements
  • Going off-topic
  • Using something other than wordpress

Though I will read the blog posts every week, and even periodically respond to them, I will not issue grades for them each week. If you want to know how you are doing, see me during office hours.

Late work:

Work associated with the blog assignment will not be accepted late.

Timeline and Due Dates:

  • Due weekly.
  • In writing weeks, your blog work is due before class on Wednesdays.
  • In responding weeks, your blog work is due by 11:59 pm on Saturdays.

Blog Groups:

Cool Hunting

Cool Hunting Assignment Sheet
EMAC 4372: Viral Media
Fall 2015

Purpose:

  • To connect theoretical readings with the analysis of viral media
  • To build a collection of viral media examples and analysis to be shared with the emerging media community
  • To seed ideas for class discussion, presentations, and the final paper.

Overview:

As we move through the semester, you will want to be on the lookout for interesting examples of viral media objects. These can be for a variety of purposes: political, entertainment, marketing, activism, etc. They can also take a variety of forms: games, videos, images, leaked information, etc. As you find them, add them to the course wiki. Each week, different students will write and present case studies on these viral structures. The goal of the case studies is to describe the viral media object and the viral structure that surrounds it, to identify the cultural and social factors that intersect to facilitate its circulation, and to analyze the appeal of the media object.

Requirements:

  • The Cool Hunting reports is a description and analysis of a viral structure, which you will write for the course wiki.
    • Minimum 300 words. Post to the wiki. Add a link to the index. Put a link to the finished case study on your course participant page.
    • Cite at least one source from the course readings.
    • The cool hunting writeup should be divided into the following sections:
      • Description & History
        • describe the media object at the center of the viral structure, including any relevant links, images, videos
        • describe its genesis, rise to popularity, any relevant viewership or download statistics, etc.
        • describe any parodies, associated products, follow up videos, etc.
      • Appeal
        • Identify the likely audience for the viral structure
        • Analyze why you think the viral media object has appeal.
      • Social and Cultural Factors:
        • analyze any social conditions that might have particularly influenced the viral transmission of this object. What are the social conditions, attitudes, laws, trends, etc. that intersect to enable the circulation of this viral structure
      • Resources / Further Information
        • include links to your sources, related viral structures, etc.
  • Present the Cool Hunting Report to the class on an assigned date.
    • 10 – 15 minutes
    • Clear and concise presentation of the viral media object and your analysis of the viral structure.
    • Be prepared for questions

 Technical Specifications:

All case studies must be posted to the course wiki.

Grading Criteria:

The case study assignment is worth 15% of your course grade.

Excellent Good Fair Needs Improvement Failing
Content The student chose an appropriate case study and offers thoughtful analysis that is well-supported by course readings. The student chose an appropriate case study and offers engaging analysis that is connected to course readings. The student chose an appropriate case study and offers engaging analysis that is connected to course readings. The choice of case study or level of analysis may need improvement. The connection to cited readings may be unclear. The case study is not connected to the week’s readings and/or contains no analysis or references.
Writing The case study is written in an engaging tone appropriate for an academic audience. Grammar / mechanical errors are at a minimum. The case study is written in a style appropriate for an academic audience. Grammar / mechanical errors are at a minimum. The case study is clearly written. Grammar / mechanical errors do not interfere with communication. The case study may lack clarity in writing or grammar and mechanical errors impede understanding. The case study lacks clarity on the sentence level, which is amplified by mechanical or grammatical errors.
Wiki Format The wiki format is used to support the student’s analysis, including the inclusion of relevant media. The student uses the wiki format effectively. Relevant media supports the analysis. The wiki format does not distract the reader. Media is relevant to the student’s analysis. Wiki formatting distracts from the writing. Media may seem irrelevant. Wiki formatting impedes understanding. Media is missing or off topic.
Presentation The presentation, including any presentation media, is dynamic and well-organized. The timing is excellent. The presentation, including any presentation media, is clear, engaging, and well-timed. The presentation, including any presentation media, is clear and is well-timed. The presentation may lack clarity or have timing issues. The presentation goes off topic or has severe timing issues.

The following will detract from your grade:

  • Failure to meet minimum length requirements
  • Failure to properly format the case study or upload it to your blog.
  • Failure to present the case study to the class.
  • Evidence of a lack of preparation for the presentation, including time management.

Late work:

Work associated with the case study assignment will not be accepted late.

Timeline and Due Dates:

  • Ongoing.
  • Wiki articles are due before class on the day that you are scheduled to present.

Schedule of presentations:

Research Paper

Research Paper Assignment Sheet
EMAC 4372: Viral Media
Fall 2015

Purpose:

  • To analyze the role of viral media in our media ecology.
  • To synthesize the varied course materials and topics into a deeper understanding of viral media.
  • To utilize the existing research and publications of media studies.

Description:

The final project for EMAC 4372 is the culmination of our fifteen week sequence of readings, discussions, presentations, and blog posts. The goal is to engage in an in-depth analysis of an object or topic. Your project should be centered on a thesis. In other words, you should use rhetorical strategies and carefully present evidence to support an argument. Be sure to address any likely counter arguments. The subject of your project should be sufficiently narrow to allow you to analyze it in-depth. At the same time, you should attempt to address the wider implications of your topic, the “so what?” question.

Instructions:

  • An 7- 10 page critical paper, taking one of the following thesis-centered approaches:
    • A topic-based analysis that addresses one of the larger topics of viral media (the role of viral media in relation to participatory culture, identity, sociability, different social and cultural factors,  etc.)
    • Use one or more case studies, grouped by genre, as the basis to make an argument about the role of viral media in our media ecology. Genres might include entertainment, education, politics, representations of viral media, etc.
    • Use one or more case studies, grouped by topic, as the basis for an argument about the role of viral media in our media ecology. Topics could include race, gender, social issues, etc.
    • Other ideas must be cleared with Kim prior to the project proposal due date.
  • The paper should be uploaded (not copied and pasted) into the course wiki or another publicly accessible site (like google docs). Put a link to the uploaded document on your course participant page.
  • Choose a documentation style (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.) and stick with it.
  • Cite at least three scholarly sources (at least two of which should be from outside the syllabus).
  • Topic Proposal, 150 words + bibliography
    • The 150 word proposal should give an overview of your topic and identify why it is important (the “so what?”).
    • The proposal should also include a working bibliography that lists the relevant course readings as well as the outside sources you will read for your annotated bibliography (see below).
    • The proposal should be copied and pasted into your course participant page.
  • Annotated Bibliography, minimum 400 words of annotated material.
    • This is a research paper. You should utilize scholarly sources as evidence.
    • To find and evaluate your outside source, you are responsible for completing an annotated bibliography. In the bibliography you should examine at least four potential sources not on our syllabus.
    • An annotated bibliography is a works cited or reference list that includes annotations that summarize, assess, and reflect upon each work.
    • Each annotation should be a minimum of 100 words.
    • The annotated bibliography should be copied and pasted into your course participant page on the wiki.

Support:

  • For assistance with topic ideas, look at blog posts, the class tweet stream, or visit Kim during office hours.
  • For assistance with research, see the library’s guide to New and Emerging Media resources: http://libguides.utdallas.edu/media For further assistance, use the “Ask a Librarian” feature or contact Matt Makowka. He is the Media Studies subject librarian and is there to help you.
  • For assistance with writing your paper, consider visiting the UTD Writing Center. They are available to help you with: finding a topic for a paper; organizing ideas and clarifying thoughts; drafting and revising papers; documenting sources; preparing for essay exams.
  • For more information about annotated bibliographies, visit the Purdue OWL website. http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/01/
  • Kim will examine and give feedback on drafts of papers received no later than Dec 7, 2015. You must make an appointment (drop in hours or via youcanbook.me) to receive the feedback.

Grading:

The research paper is worth 35% of your final grade.

Excellent Good Fair Needs Improvement Failing
Argument and sources The research paper is centered on a thought-provoking and well-supported thesis. Appropriate sources are well incorporated into the student’s writing and work to support the thesis or demonstrate a counterargument without detracting from the student’s writing voice. The research paper is centered on a thought-provoking thesis that is well supported. Appropriate sources are incorporated into the student’s writing and work to support the thesis or demonstrate a counterargument. The research paper is centered on a clear thesis that is well supported. Appropriate sources are used to support the thesis or demonstrate a counterargument. The research paper may lack clarity in the thesis or the thesis may not be fully supported. Or the writer may have issues with sources, such as poorly selected sources or failure to use the sources to support an argument or counterargument. The research paper may not have a thesis or the evidence presented is not connected to the thesis. Sources may be poorly selected and utilized.
Writing The paper is well organized and contains a minimal number of grammatical or mechanical errors. The paper is well organized and contains a minimal number of grammatical or mechanical errors. The paper may waiver in organization or grammar and mechanics. The paper may have organizational or grammar / mechanical issues that impede understanding Organizational, grammar, and mechanical issues may be so severe as to obscure the argument.
Annotated Bibliography The bibliography demonstrates a well-rounded and scholarly approach to the topic that extends beyond summary to analysis and evaluation. All entries are well-written. The bibliography demonstrates a well-rounded and scholarly approach to the topic that mostly extends beyond summary to analysis and evaluation. All entries are well-written. The bibliography demonstrates a scholarly approach to the topic that more often than not extends beyond summary to analysis or evaluation. All entries are clearly written. The bibliography may exhibit issues with focus or analysis and evaluation. There may be issues with the quality of writing. The bibliography may lack depth or go off topic. The writing may impede understanding.
Proposal The proposal takes an innovative approach and is well conceived, well written, and on time. The proposal takes a unique approach and is detailed, well written, and on time. The proposal does not replicate previous research and is complete and on time. The proposal may be redundant or may be late or lacking detail. The proposal may be off-topic, late, or incomplete.

The following will detract from your grade:

  • Late work (see below for more details) or failure to complete any of the project components.
  • Failure to fulfill the requirements of the assignment, including minimum length, number of sources, etc.

Timeline and Due Dates:

  • Nov 4 – Topic proposal due in the course wiki before class starts.
  • Dec 2 – Annotated bibliography due in the course wiki before class starts.
  • Dec 16 – Research paper should be uploaded to the wiki and linked on your participant page no later than 11:59 pm.

Late Work:

  • Late submission of proposals and bibliographies will result in a loss of 1/3 of a grade on the paper for each late item.
  • Research papers will result in the loss of one full letter grade for each day (or fraction thereof) that they are late.

 

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