Final Due Date on Projects, Make-up Work, and Revisions: Monday, Dec. 21

I hope that you all are doing well physically and mentally. It’s a tough time of year even before the pandemic, but I think it can be even more so given how things are now.

I wanted to give you all a gentle reminder that everything in our class is due by the end of the day on Monday, Dec. 21.

It’s important to give me something for all of the assignments even if might be incomplete or not your best work.

That said, I don’t want anyone to feel compelled to plagiarize or copy the work of others without proper citation just to get an assignment turned in. As I’ve discussed in lecture, it’s important to engage the words and ideas of others, but we have to do so ethically and give credit where credit is due. This is why the professional style that we use–APA–is so important. It gives us a system for quoting the words and ideas of others and giving them credit for their writing that we discuss and engage in our own writing. This page on the Purdue OWL website answers a lot of questions about plagiarism. You can also email me if you have any questions about plagiarism.

My overall advice at this point in the semester is to keep your eye on the prize, see the class and your team project through to completion, and reach out to me if you have any questions leading up the final deadline of Monday, Dec. 21.

Good luck!

Important Reminders

  • If you have any questions about the class or assignments, reach out to me by email at jellis at We can talk over email, or we can make an appointment for office hours.
  • Please fill out the Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) for our class! You can find this in your school email (if you don’t see it, check your spam folder). In particular, your comments, which are anonymous, are very helpful.
  • Check your grades. As I’ve discussed in past lectures, you can check your project grades and read my feedback by clicking on “Check My Grades” on the left side of our OpenLab site. If you don’t see a grade for one of your major projects, you should send me an email. Also, you can go into our Site’s Dashboard > Comments to check some of your weekly writing assignments.
  • I want you all to know that your collaborative project is difficult even in the best of circumstances when we were holding in-person classes. Now, those challenges are compounded even more with distance learning. As you all work to complete these final projects, please keep these things in mind:
    • Be kind and understanding to one another. Work things out as a team as much as possible. However, you can loop me in at any point if it’s big issue or something that you cannot find a way to resolve. I want to help you as much as possible, but I also want to give your team the space to discover solutions, too.
    • Maintain good communication channels. Don’t go silent.
    • Work out responsibilities within your team. Be aware that depending on circumstances, you might have to shift or adjust these.
    • Do your best. I know you all have terrific affordances (skills and knowledge) and realistic constraints (time, energy, and resources). Do the best that you can by finding the middle way between your affordances and constraints.
  • Be well, stay safe, and have a strong finish to the semester!

Week 13, Office Hours

Prof. Ellis' office in Namm 520.

I hope everyone is doing well during this week before Thanksgiving!

If you want to talk with me about anything relating to the class, visit my office hours today on Google Hangouts.

Due to testing for tomorrow’s Science Fiction Symposium, I will be in an out of office hours for short tests. If you don’t see me, stick around and I’ll pop back into office hours shortly!

Week 12, Project, Focusing on the Analytical Research Report

As discussed in the Week 12 lecture, your team needs to quickly choose a topic and begin working together to do the research and writing of your analytical research report. As I discuss in the lecture, this is a secondary research report, meaning it is based on research that you find done by others. You are not required to perform primary research or building/testing your topic on your own. This is the foundation for the rest of your collaborative project, which also includes a presentation, a website, and report on collaboration. I will discuss these latter parts next week.

With your analytical research report problem/topic identified, you can begin researching it with the library’s databases and books, periodicals like the New York Times, and the World Wide Web.

Evaluate and vet your sources so that you can account for their veracity, accuracy, credibility, etc.

To get started with writing your report together, check out this week’s Weekly Writing Assignment and the lecture. You will need the following outline:

Introduction (topic and why your report is important)

Objectives of the research (what were you attempting to do?)

Method (methodology–what kinds of research did you do, how did you do it, and why is the research sound?)

Results (what did you find in your research? facts, quotes, figures, interviews, surveys, etc.)

Discussion (how do you interpret your results? what story does your data tell us? results and discussion can be combined, but title this section appropriately if you do so)

Conclusions (what conclusions do you draw from your results and discussion? what is the significance of what you discovered?)

Recommendations (what do you think should be done to solve the research problem based on your research? this section is what all of your work is leading up to.)

Also, here are some resources and examples that I discussed in this week’s lecture to help you with writing and designing your analytical research report.

Week 11, Project, Beginning the Team-Based Collaborative Project

While you are finishing up your last individual project in the class, we are moving ahead to begin the team-based collaborative projects in the class.

Think of each of the following projects as part of an interconnected larger project. Each team member should contribute to each part, but individual team members may take the lead on one part versus the others depending on their skill set and interests. For example, one team member may take the lead on the research report and collect contributions from the other team members for the first draft, and another team member may take the lead on the presentation or the website.

These are the parts of the collaborative project from the syllabus:

  • Collaborative: 4000-6000-Word Analytical Research Report, 20%
  • Each team member contributes 1000-1500-word contribution to a 4000-6000-word analytical research report on a scientific or technological problem that demonstrates: 1) knowledge of the history and context of the problem, 2) knowledge of the causes and nature of the problem, 3) ideas for solving the problem, 4) the ability to explain the problem and offer possible solutions to a general audience, 5) the ability to integrate written work with the written work of a partner or partners in a coherent report, and 6) knowledge of proper research report format. At least six library-sourced citations must be included (non-library-sourced citations are encouraged, but they do not count toward the six library-sourced sources). Any outside sources cited should be documented according to APA format.
  • Collaborative: Seven-to-Ten-Minute Oral Analytical Research Report on a Scientific or Technological Problem, 10%
    • The goal of this part of the project is to transform your written report into an spoken presentation anchored by a PowerPoint or other visual presentation supplement. As a team, adapt and present your analytical research report as an oral presentation that demonstrates: 1) knowledge of oral presentation techniques and conventions, 2) the ability to organize a presentation effectively, 3) the ability to incorporate various media into the presentation, including appropriate computer software, 4) awareness of audience, 5) the ability to communicate the value of the product or service in clear spoken English, 6) the ability to answer audience questions, 7) the ability to collaborate productively with a partner or partners, and 8) the ability to explain the problem and offer possible solutions to a general audience.
  • Collaborative: Website Advertising a Product or Service Responding to the Analytical Research Report and Oral Presentation, 10%
    • The goal of this part of the collaborative project is to imagine a service or product that your team can offer that is related to your research report and oral presentation, both of which will be featured on the website in some way. The website should demonstrate: 1) knowledge of the product or service offered, of pertinent market forces, and of the potential customer base, 2) basic knowledge of web page design and composition, including appropriate software. The website will be based on your presentation and it is encouraged to be integrated into your presentation (perhaps to demonstrate how your team is promoting your product or service). All graphics, logos, design, and text must be created by your team.
  • Collaborative: 500-Word Report on Collaboration, 10%
    • During the collaborative project, the team as a whole needs to track and document their progress, challenges, and successes, and each individual delegated responsibilities needs to keep track of what they contribute to the project. As the last component of the collaborative project, write a brief report of 500-750 words reflecting on how the team worked together and what each individual team member contributed to the overall effort. Each team should submit only one report.

Another way to consider these interconnected projects is through the following illustration:

The main part of the collaborative project is the research report. It anchors everything else. It should be completed first and adapted or transformed for use in the other deliverables: the website and the presentation. The report, website, and presentation will be submitted on our OpenLab Course Site. Also, throughout the project, the team should keep track of the work that each person does and compile that into a reflection report that will be submitted via email to me after your collaborative project is completed.

To distribute the workload better, you will work in a new team of five or six persons. These teams are randomly assigned using a number list that I generated on

For your reference, I am including the teams below. I will get in touch with each team via email for this week’s weekly writing assignment.

Remember, don’t confuse these teams with your peer review teams on the first three projects in the course. If you are still working on individual projects and need peer review feedback, you should give and receive it with your peer review teams that you’ve already been working with.

Separately, you will begin working with this new team on the collaborative projects. There may be some overlap between your peer review team and the new collaborative teams–this was just by chance and not by design. In addition to reaching out to you by email, I will detail how I would like you to begin the project together in this week’s Weekly Writing Assignment, which I will post soon.

And, make sure that you all watch this week’s lecture and listen carefully to the details that I provide about the collaborative project.

Team 1
Barbu L.

Team 2
Barbu T.

Team 3

Team 4

Team 5

Week 11, Project, Submitting Your 1500-2000-Word Instructional Manual Project

While we will be moving ahead to the final, collaborative projects in the class this week, I wanted to go ahead and provide you with instructions for submitting your 1500-2000-Word Instructional Manual.

Since we are running a week behind on the syllabus, your instructional manual is now due by Nov. 11. If anyone needs additional time, reach out to me at jellis at and let me know how much more time you need to complete the project.

To submit your Instructional Manual, please do the following (which I will also discuss in this week’s lecture).

First, you need to publish your Instructional Manual to the Web from inside Google Docs. This is a great feature of Google Docs that I wanted to make you all familiar with. Essentially, it allows you to quickly publish content on the World Wide Web from Google Drive (Docs, Sheets, and Present). To do this, follow these steps:

After opening your instructional manual in Google Docs, click on File > Publish to the web as shown below.

Then, click “Publish.”

Next, click “Ok.”

Finally, copy the link to your now published instructional manual and click the “x” in the upper right corner to return to Google Docs.

That completes the first half of this process.

The next phase is creating a post on our OpenLab Course Site that includes the link that you just copied. To do this, open another tab in your web browser and go to our OpenLab Course Site. Then, click the “+” icon to create a new post as shown below.

Then, add a check next to “1500-Word Instructional Manual.”

Then, type in a title for your post that includes your name and a descriptive title, such as “Jason Ellis’s Instruction Manual for Assembling a Skateboard.”

Next, add a sentence into the body of your post describing your project, such as “For this project, I created an instruction manual for assembling a skateboard.”

Then, highlight the part of your sentence that corresponds with “an instructional manual for [your topic].”

Next, click the icon above the text that looks like three chain links, paste your link into the box that appears, and click the “Enter” or “Return” line-and-arrow icon to the right of the link as shown below.

After reading over everything and correcting as needed, click the “Publish” button in the upper right corner of the page.

And, click “Publish” again to confirm.

To see if your post is live, click on the title of our OpenLab Course Site in the center of the page, click on down carrot next to Student Work in the left menu, and then click on “1500-Word Instruction Manual.” Yours should be at the top of the posts that appears.