I am still in the process of re-conceptualizing your final projects, given the move to an online version of the course. However, I do know for sure that your final project will require two main components: one which focuses on your personal habits of media use, and one which focuses on institutional (or “systemic” issues). The remaining chapters of the book shift toward the latter focus, and deal with broad-scale social, economic, and political issues. These include policy initiatives (laws, regulations, company policies, etc.) as well as technological solutions.
The ideal final project will offer a coherent, integrated vision of personal and institutional changes that will help us move beyond the pitfalls of the current digital media environment. I will continue to draft guidelines for thinking about that kind of conceptual integration.
For the time being, I’d like you to craft a plan for a clear, specific, demonstrable change in media habits that you can describe and document in your final project:
- Clear. Your plan is clear if you could describe it to a stranger in a 30-second “elevator pitch.” This imaginary person would be able to say, “Oh, I see what you’re going to do and I understand why you’re doing it.” For example:
- “I know that online sources are good for finding small bits of up-to-date information, but not for big-picture topics that require concentration. So, I’m going to create a reading ritual where I designate a specific time and place to read books about an important topic (e.g. climate change) by authors who embody the virtue of wisdom. Then, I’ll create social media posts about what I’m learning. This way I make the most of both analog and digital media.”
- Specific. Your plan is specific if someone who heard your elevator pitch could walk away, execute your plan themselves, and produce something that looks remarkably similar in its concrete details. This might look like:
- A pop-up recreation of an especially moving or humorous scene from Friends.
- A memorial tribute to an aunt who embodied wisdom and has passed away.
- A reading practice based on two hard-cover books, one about determination (The Grapes of Wrath) and the other about authenticity (Travels With Charlie).
- Demonstrable. Your plan is demonstrable if you can provide evidence that you executed the plan and that it had concrete, observable results. Evidence could take the form of photographs, notes, paintings, video recordings, audio recordings, etc. In other words, you should be able to embed (or link to) audio/visual material that demonstrates the process you undertook to execute your plan.
Please draft this plan and submit it on Canvas by tomorrow afternoon (March 27, 2020). I’ll create a special assignment slot for it. I’ll mark it is complete or incomplete. If I mark it as incomplete, I’ll give you suggestions for revision, and you can re-submit until it’s complete. Let me know if you have any issues with that due date. I recommend revisiting the individual exercises described at the end of each of the proverbs chapters. These may serve as helpful models for the kind of plans you can propose.