Assignment: Revisited

Spreading the Message (Original Draft)

Context: Around the mid-2000s, protesters from around the world found merit in utilizing SNS as a space for collaboration and organization, like we’ve read in Manuel Castells’ Networks of Outrage and Hope. As we continue our discussions and readings on Social Networking Sites (SNS), it’s important to go beyond their ability to share pictures of cats and babies to consider the role they play in disseminating vital content to diverse audiences during times of social movements.

Assignment Description: Select one social movement that has occurred within the past ten (10) years that has greatly utilized SNS as a means of collaboration, organization, and dissemination. The formal assignment is two-fold.

  • First, write a 4-5 page brief summary describing the context of the social movement. In your summary, make sure to discuss:
  • Who the oppressed are/were;
  • Who they identified as their oppressors;
  • The social injustices that prompted the movement;
  • The SNS protesters used to help propel their movement;
  • The influence the SNS had on collaboration, organization, and dissemination of movement information
  • Second, use the digital tool DH Press to visually demonstrate the use of the various SNS protesters utilized. On your map, please:
  • Identify physical epicenters of online organization/collaboration
  • Identify what SNS were primarily used by protesters
  • To accompany your map, please include a brief (1-3 sentences) discussing the significance of the location and the primary SNS used there
  • Third, prepare a 10 minute presentation to discuss the movement and the role of SNS. Please include a visual component to your presentation as well. This can take the form of a PowerPoint, Prezi, Haiku Deck, website, or handout.

Audience Consideration: As you continue to enter the DH discourse community, it’s important to practice the community’s writing conventions. Try to incorporate the composition styles and methodologies you’ve seen thus far in the readings. Your classmates and I will function as your immediate audience.

Spreading the Message (Revised Draft)

Context: Around the mid-2000s, protesters from around the world found merit in utilizing SNS as a space for collaboration and organization, like we’ve read in Manuel Castells’ Networks of Outrage and Hope. As we continue our discussions and readings on Social Networking Sites (SNS), it’s important to go beyond their ability to share pictures of cats and babies to consider the role they play in disseminating vital content to diverse audiences during times of social movements.

Assignment Description: Select one of the following social movements that has occurred within the past ten (10) years that has greatly utilized SNS as a means of collaboration, organization, and dissemination:

  • Arab Spring
  • Occupy Wall Street
  • Occupy Central
  • Tunisia Protest
  • Ferguson Protests

First, write a 2-3 page brief summary describing the context of the social movement. In your summary, make sure to discuss:

  • Who the oppressed are/were;
  • Who they identified as their oppressors;
  • The social injustices that prompted the movement;
  • The SNS protesters used to help propel their movement;
  • The influence the SNS had on collaboration, organization, and dissemination of movement information
  • Second, based on the information you gathered for your summary, use the digital tool DH Press to visually demonstrate the use of the various SNS protesters utilized. On your map, please:
  • Identify physical epicenters of online organization/collaboration;
  • Identify the SNS primarily used by assigning a color/pattern for each SNS;
  • To accompany your map, please include a brief (1-2 sentences) discussing the significance of each location and the primary SNS used there

Audience Consideration: As you continue to enter the DH discourse community, it’s important to practice the community’s writing conventions. Try to incorporate the composition styles and methodologies you’ve seen thus far in the readings. Your classmates and I will function as your immediate audience.

Spread the Message—Follow Up Assignment

Context: During the previous assignment, you gathered information on a recent social movement that utilized various SNS as a form of collaboration, organization, and dissemination. However, this practice, and the research surrounding it, is anything but static, as developing movements turn to SNS to achieve a similar success as their predecessors. The purpose of this assignment, is to use the information you’ve gained during the previous “Spread the Message,” to theorize the impact SNS will have on a current conflict, or developing social movement, between a people and their government.

Assignment Description: Select an ongoing local, national, or global conflict between a people and their government.

First, compose a response that addresses the following questions:

  • Who are the peoples involved in the conflict?
  • What is the main concern of the conflict?
  • What restrictions does the government place on SNS??
  • How have the people worked both in and outside of those restrictions?

Second, based off of the research you’ve gathered, create a map on DH Press that geographically demonstrates your prediction about the influence SNS will have on the developing social movement.

Third, create a presentation using Power Point, Prezi, or Haiku Deck. During your presentation, please discuss the response you composed concerning the current conflict. Additionally, please present your map to the class. As you discuss your map, please provide your rationale for the predictions you make.

Audience Consideration: Your classmates and I will function as the primary audience.

3 Comments

Add yours →

  1. Hi Lacy,
    I can see a lot of changes in here in what you presented to class and what you have in the revision. I really like that you’ve listed particular social movements for your students to choose from in the first assignment, giving the unit more focus and also avoiding having to do additional research on movements you may have not been familiar with had students chosen to focus on their own. In addition I like that you took the presentation element out of the first part of the assignment, because I think what you are asking students to do is really quite involved, and I’d be curious to know how this project would disseminate over a series of weeks given what you are asking them to do.
    In addition, although I really really like the assignment, I think you are asking a lot of your students in the additional assignment that you have composed. In a sense, this assignment is asking students to do the same thing as the first (working with the same DH tools and write up), just with a different social movement. I wonder how you can revise this new assignment to be an expansion of your first one but allocates asking them to work with the information in a different way. I think the shift to focusing on a current issue is really great, and very important considering what the focus of the DTC program is, which asks them to become critical of technology and culture(s). Also, at this point when you ask them to “compose a response” I’m not really sure what that means, or what the expectation is for students requiring page length or how they’ll be assessed. Sometimes I find that coming to my own assignment sheets as a student perspective is really helpful. Regardless, I think you’re off to a great start and I don’t mean to sound deflating in any sense, I REALLY like the whole political focus of this assignment and see its relevance in an introductory DH course. It’s an important place to get students situated.
    Lucy

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  2. Lacy, I like how this is coming along. Perhaps either in the first or follow up, get them to somehow reflect on the mapping piece and tie this back both into the tool–what it allowed them to see / not see/ see differently–and also to the geopolitical context–does it make a difference to “map” these conflicts? How does mapping and plotting points and seeing the reach (or lack of) of the SNS make a difference to how we understand the technology? information? political movement? One thing I’d like you to push more is to get them to frame the technology within the discussion more.

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  3. Lacy,

    I was really struck by how you revised your assignment here, because you seemed to articulate the work that students do in two distinct but interrelated steps: 1) developing background or topical data in which to understand a rather large and inscrutable concept–social movements; and 2) extending this data into a specific and personalized context. This two-pronged approach to your assignment is very smart and compelling insofar as it asks students to truly atomize the conceptual framework for a larger project. Rather than asking students to apply nascent or developing ideas about social movements to a context they might not understand, you provide spaces for invention, spaces that ultimately allow students a measure of input and creative license in how they define the terms that comprise social movements in the assignment. I might, however, suggest expanding the frame you’ve developed for audience consideration. Making distinctions between “readers” and “audience” can be extremely fruitful to the conversation you’re asking students to engage with regarding SNS and social movements, so it might be interesting to integrate these contexts into the assignment itself. Thank you so much for sharing your blog entry!

    Mark

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