In-Class Work for Tu 11/5: Researching / Drafting Proposals

Hi everyone, from utopia (aka, the Society for Utopian Studies annual conference, this year in Pittsburgh):

Today in class you’re working to flesh out your ideas for your final project proposals, conducting research, developing the specifics of the project you are designing, and drafting the actual proposal.

Work Plan for Class Today

2:15pm-2:25pm: Freewriting

  • Continue the freewriting you did in class last Tuesday. Take some time to gather your ideas, get the ideas flowing. Remember, the goal with this short activity, as it is with all freewriting, is to simply keep writing, and let the ideas get down on the page.

2:25-2:45pm: Research

  • Using the Internet, but also the texts, materials you’ve brought with you, do some research surrounding your proposed project, to work on becoming informed about the particulars of your topic, to learn key concepts, phrases, and keywords, and to help you to refine your focus
  • This research process should prompt you to ask new questions, explore new potential trajectories for the project, and spur your thinking. Take notes on what you’re finding, and include these sources (with citations) in your proposal.

2:45-3:10pm: Proposal drafting (I encourage you to do this on OpenLab, drafting a new post–that can then be revised to the post you need to have completed by Saturday)

As you draft your proposal, make sure you consider / address these questions:

  • What is your project? What is its purpose? Its motivation (why are you interested in this?)? What do you hope to learn / gain from doing this project? What will others gain from your project (how should others care about it? ask yourself, “so what?”). Really attempt to articulate a clear vision for this project.
  • How can you focus/narrow down your topic so that it is manageable in this short-term project?  Remember, you don’t want your topic to be too broad or general … isolate just one variable (focus is very important).  What kinds of questions do you hope to address through your research?  What, specifically, do you want to learn about this topic?
  • What kinds of sources will you use in your project?
  • What will the components (process, products, deliverables) be? What forms of new media composing will you experiment with (what genres will you work in, what online communities will you explore, etc.; use the textbooks to remind yourself of the various genres you can include)? What do you hope to achieve? How will this be practice-oriented (not a standard, traditional research project)? How will you build reflection into the process?
  • How do you plan to present this material in a portfolio (on your individual ePortfolio)? What kinds of write-up will you provide? What kind of multimodal compositions will you create?
  • Timeline: What is the proposed timeline for conducting / completing this project? What are the logistics involved? What makes sense, for your particular project? (remember, as we discussed, for example, if you are exploring the impact and analytics of some type of new media composing, you will need to produce the content relatively early in order to allow time for this analysis)
  • What questions do you have about your proposed project? What do you most want feedback on (for both the peer review today, with classmates, and for discussions with Professor Belli)?

3:10-3:35pm: Peer Review of Ideas

  • You’ll work in groups of two: Mariah & Fola, Pam & Jodie, Ashley & Sam
  • Taking turns, each person will first present, orally, her proposed project to the other, talking through it for five minutes or so, and then hearing the other person’s response, and having a discussion after to help revise (this is meant to be a conversation: do not simple read each other’s drafts).
  • Your goal is to provide helpful feedback to your peer at this early stage at the proposal drafting process. While you may not be an expert in the proposed topic area, don’t feel as if you have nothing to contribute. The most helpful thing you can do is to offer your impressions as a “reader” (of this proposal): is there a clear sense of the project? Does it seem like it will be do-able in the timeline of this assignment? Does it address the particular expectations, guidelines, and requirements of this project? Are there considerations that are being overlooked? Underexplored? You should ask clarifying questions and offer suggestions, to help your classmate to think through / articulate the particulars of her project,

3:35-3:55pm: Drafting (with focus on revision / expansion)

  • Return to drafting, based on the feedback you’ve received, and revise your proposal accordingly. You should take notes for yourself, noting where you need to do further research or thinking (before you submit your full draft to me, as a post on OpenLab, by Saturday night)


HW / Reminders / Announcements:

  • Proposals Due by Saturday night (11:59pm), 11/7. Must be submitted completely and on time, in order to receive feedback
    • Remember to be a specific and detailed as possible, and at the end, to ask for targeted feedback (what are you most struggling with? what can I offer most help with as we work to design / focus the project?)
  • Response blogs due M 11/9
  • In-Class Presentations on Th 11/12, on revised versions of proposals
  • Professor Belli’s office hours have slightly changed, due to her being assigned to advise from 4-5pm on Tuesdays. Office hours remain Tu 1-2pm and always by appointment.

Looking forward to reading your proposals, and seeing you all next week. Again, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me. Have a wonderful weekend!

Professor Belli

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