This assignment was developed for a Media Literacy class, and it could be easily adapted for a variety of Media Studies classes (including classes on Digital Media & Society; Digital & Social Media; Communication Technologies, etc.). It is designed to help students draw connections between critical scholarship on media, popular culture and everyday use of the media. It is also intended to help students draw connect media theory to the production of media, and asks students to think of themselves as media producers.
This assignment could be implemented as either an individual or group project. This particular version asks students to work in pairs.
You and your partner are being asked to design a media intervention that is theoretically/conceptually informed by the course materials. In other words, I am asking you to create and pitch an idea for a DIY media project that communicates a message of your choosing, as long as it relates to course concepts. You decide what concept(s) you’d like to engage with, and what kind of media intervention you’d like to make. For example, you could design and propose a short video, a television show, a film, wiki, blog, digital game, etc. Your media intervention should be something you could create, as students, with resources you can readily assemble (in other words, with a limited budget and access to whatever technology & expertise you can find).
Examples might include: A film that challenges race- and class-based stereotypes, a news article that examines media ownership, a digital game that challenges heteronormativity, or a wiki on the issue of internet neutrality.
The purpose of the assignment is to spark thought and discussion about possibilities for creating our own media messages with the resources that are at hand. It is also an opportunity for you to engage with the course materials in a creative way: for you to explore what messages you, as a potential media maker, could create yourself.
This project includes several components: a proposal, a presentation, and an individual reflection paper.
- Proposal (200-250 words): First, you and your partner will compose a proposal for your project in which you describe what kind of media production you are envisioning (e.g., a digital game, a wiki, a short video, etc.) and what you want your project to accomplish (e.g., spreading awareness on internet neutrality, challenging racism in cyberspace, provoking debate on digital surveillance, etc). You will post your proposal to the class discussion forum and exchange feedback with other students.
- Presentation (8-10 minutes): In your presentation, please describe the concept for your media intervention and how your project relates or responds to course concepts. Please provide some kind of visual and/or aural aid to help illustrate your idea (e.g., sample graphics, storyboards, a draft of a website, etc). In addition, please be prepared to respond to questions during a brief Q&A period that will follow your presentation.
- Individual reflection paper (1000-1200 words): Your reflection paper should elaborate on the content you presented to the class and discuss your experience collaborating with your partner. Please describe your DIY media intervention, its purpose and how you could go about creating your project using resources and skills you have at hand. In addition, discuss how your idea is informed by, responds to and/or critiques theories and concepts covered in class. Be sure to define the key terms and theories you refer to, and cite sources appropriately. Finally, discuss your experience collaborating with your partner: What were the most difficult aspects of collaborating? The most interesting ones? Did you encounter any obstacles in designing your project? How did you and your partner decide who was responsible for what? How do you think would this project be different had you worked individually or in a larger group?