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Project Proposal

The project counts for 50% of your grade for the course.

Compose and submit a project proposal for a five-week project addressing some aspect of blogging, wikis, or, more generally, social media. Post your proposal on your wiki name page. Go to your WikiName page, create a new page titled ProjectProposal- followed by YourWikiName.

About

The project proposal sets out what you intend to work on for the rest of the semester. Because you're working pretty much on your own, I'm asking for some detailed thinking about the project before you start. In writing your proposal, stay close to what you're being asked to address below. If your proposal is ambiguous or fuzzy or incomplete, I'll ask you to revise before approving your project.

Think of writing the project proposal as practice for a writing a grant. You'll need to be specific, semi-formal, and ringingly clear. Don't try to impress with language or be too clever. Grants try not to call attention to their language or the author; they focus on the project. Don't BS or strain for hype. Impress by designing an interesting and creative project that you and others will learn from.

Calendar

Your project has to be approved by me before starting for credit.

Wiki, Blog, Tumblr, other?

You need to decide which writing space is appropriate for your project. Blogging and micro-blogging (on Tumblr, for instance) work with time and get most of their value by linking out. Wikis are topically arranged and develop over time, and link internally. Try googling "wiki project" and "wiki projects for students" for some ideas concerning wikis. here, for instance.

For ideas for blogs and micro-blogging, look around WordPress. Review what students have done. Try the PastParticipants pages, and the PageIndex > P.

For the project, you may use your current weblog or start a new one.

If you're going to use a wiki, you'll need to find a platform. WikMatrix has a list and some advice on choosing a platform. PBWorks is good but it seems to have gone corporate, and I've heard good reports about WikiSpaces. Dig around for offers for student wikis. Dig around on our course wiki, as well.

Project, Experiment, or Research Study

You can come at this project as an experiment or research study into weblogs or wikis. Rather than focusing on creating a product, you can set up the project to investigate a use of the medium (using a wiki in class, for personal note taking, blogging class notes), situations or circumstances (when and where is blogging welcome - when is it not), even more general experience: What's gained by following 10 freelance bloggers over 5 weeks? What can you find out?

If you take an experiment or project angle on the project, phrase your executive description as a hypothesis (Project: To discover if twittering class notes will help me master material. I hypothesize that it will lead to ...).

Reporting

Projects that involve weblogs or wikis are self-reporting. That is, we can both see how things are coming along week by week because you will be posting regularly.

But your project will include a weekly reflection 500 or so words, linked to appropriate materials. The report is a consideration of what happened that week and what that might mean: what you did, what went well, what went poorly, how you dealt with things. Post this to your blog by midnight, Monday, each week. I generally check on progress on Tuesdays.

Writing the Proposal

Use the following headings in your proposal. Writing this proposal is like writing a grant. Use the following headings and follow the requests or expect your proposal returned unread.

Title of project

Go for a descriptive title rather than clever.

Your email address and URL for the project

You can use your current weblog or start a new one. If you're using a wiki, you'll need to find a platform and sign up to get a URL. For Tumblr, set up an account.

Executive description

(Write this description last, after you've written the rest of the proposal.) The exec description is an overall description of the project: In two well-formed sentences (no more, and no less): What are you going to do, why, and how does the writing space you're going to use (blog or wiki) help you do it?

Narrative

The narrative is detailed description of the project. In this section, address in detail what are you going to do, why, and how the writing space you're using serves the purposes you're aiming at.

Start with an overview of your intent. In a paragraph, explain what do you hope to do, or achieve, or find out.

Then, walk through your project in more detail: What are you going to do first, second, third ... why specifically are you going to do that rather than something else, and what specifically you hope to learn about what from doing that. You want to link what you're doing with what you expect of that doing. In this section, address

What ideas or theory or other examples of blogs or wikis are you grounding your project in? For instance, if you're looking at setting up a community wiki, what other wikis have you looked at and what are you drawing on from them? What other blogs have you looked at? What are you borrowing, what will you be doing differently?

Describe how will the blog or wiki be designed. What will be in the blogroll, if you use one? What else on the side bar? If a wiki, how do you expect to organize things?

What will you write about, what will the space contain? How will you use images if you use them?

Throughout this section, talk about connecting the means (what you're doing) with the ends (what you intend to achieve by that doing), about writing, about what you aim to get from this project - and what value your project has to others.

How much detail Go into enough detail in the narrative section so that another person could actually do your project as you envision it.

In the last paragraph of this section, mention how you envision your project report: Will it be a wiki essay or something on your blog? What will you deal with in this report - as specifically as you can imagine it now. You can change your mind on this one, but start thinking about it now. You'll be making a brief in-class presentation along with your report.

Grad Students: Readings Your project report (at the end of the project) should include background reading or theory based on readings for the course and your own reading. So, include a section on outside reading you'll be doing for your project. The reading can be web-based or print; and can be in great part looking at other blogs and / or wikis. A preliminary bibliography is best, but you can also list or talk about the kinds of readings / sites you're thinking of looking at and how you see them tying in with what you're doing in the project. You might start with readings and sites on the BlogReadingsForCourse, WikiReadingsForCourse, or HypertextReadingsForCourse, as appropriate.

Weekly Reports

Give the address where you will post your weekly reports: blog URL or wiki URL.

Contract for Grade

The project counts for 50% of your final grade. In this section of your proposal, detail the extent of your project in measurable terms: numbers. Think in terms of numbers of blog entries or wiki nodes, length, and frequency of posting.

For instance, if you plan on keeping a blog, how often will you post? How long do you expect those posts to be? If you're working with others on a collective blog, how will you distribute the tasks? What will each person contribute? Who will be responsible for what?

Or if you're building a wiki, about how many nodes do you expect it to grow to? How often will you add material?

Use good estimates because you'll be held to them.

Set your contract. Here are some guidelines.
Contracts are set for the number of points: 100 / 150 / 250.

You can earn more points than you contract for if you end up going beyond what you originally planned on. On the other hand, if you fall short on the contract, you may receive fewer points. (I'm hoping for the former.)

The points accumulate by week. A late or missing means no points for that week. Your final write-up adds up to 50 points to the mix.


some examples

These are all very good project proposal (clearly planned and stated) which resulted in full point projects.


There are other projects to look at in the archives at PastParticipants.

See also BlogSites for examples | ExampleWikis and WikiAsCulture for examples | CourseSyllabus


Template

You may copy and paste the template below into your page as a heuristic for drafting your project proposal.

==== Title of project ====

==== Your email address and URL for the project ====

==== Executive description ====

==== Narrative ====
The narrative is detailed description of the project.

==== Weekly Reports ====

==== Contract for Grade ====




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