Assignments/Course Evaluation


20%      12 2-page Integration Papers due in class

20%      10 Design Activities for Portfolio + reflections

20%      Discussion/Engaged speaking and listening

10%      Midterm

20%      Final Project/Presentation

10%      Final Essay


Integration Papers 

12 Integration Papers – 20%

What are Integration Papers? Integration Papers respond to the weekly readings. The papers are contemplative in nature and demonstrate your engagement with the ideas in the assigned weekly course material. Your papers will contain observable signs of notable effort, thinking, and involvement with the texts. An effective response demonstrates that you have thoroughly read and understood the material (or that you ask and attempt to answer compelling questions that reveal careful reading). The essay will develop connections between the material and the themes of the course and demonstrate that you have considered the implications of the materials. Please note that an Integration Paper is not a summary of your reading, but a response to an objective  (non-judgmental) way of thinking about the material.

Tips for writing: Adopt a contemplative stance. By adopting a contemplative stance, writers observe what is. Rather than separating ourselves from what is through judging, analyzing, and criticizing, in contemplative writing we learn how to be with it, just as it is. This is about descriptive observation (rather than judgment).

Judgement: This dish is awful.

Description: This dish tastes over-salted.

The contemplative essay combines the sense of free-form thinking with careful editing to create the artifice of good conversation on the page. Of course, you can’t have an actual conversation, unless you are co-authoring with another person, so it falls upon you to hold up both ends.

Ask questions. Suggest alternative ways of looking at things. Be curious. The best areas to explore in writing are those areas of the text that you truly don’t understand. The goal is to be writing in a fresh and surprising way. That’s what these papers are all about.

Details: Although these are not formal academic papers, they should be carefully written and cited nevertheless. Include direct quotes from the readings that support your integration of the material. Be specific about the works you’re discussing, give details to back up any assertions you may make, include references, page numbers, and in-text citations when appropriate. Finally, pay attention to grammar and mechanics.

Weekly integration papers must be typed, 2-pages, double-spaced, approximately 400-500 words in length. APA citation format (with no title page). See the OWL for APA details.

Integration papers are due, in hard copy, on their due date. Technology failure is not an excuse. Plan ahead – do not wait until the last minute. Allow time to print and staple your papers before class begins so that you are not tardy. If you are absent from class you can submit your paper via Blackboard.

Design Activities – 20%

To promote the integration of theory and practice,  a blog post will be due each Friday after the week’s in class design activity (10 total). This post will include:

1) 5+ clear and engaging photographs or a video of your work from the week’s design-related activities.

2) a 100-200 word write-up, video, screen recording, or sound file (think short podcast or video blog) of what you achieved (or what you were working toward) from a data-storytelling perspective. Use vocabulary, concepts, and ideas from the week’s reading material and any additional course material to link theory with practice. Make it a habit to thoroughly relate your design work with the readings. (This includes material from your Integration Papers.) Assessment of your blogging activity is ongoing throughout the semester. Post your link to your blog by Friday at 5PM. Late work is not accepted.

Discussion – 20%

This class requires engaged listening and engaged speaking. Each member of our learning community needs to be actively engaged in the learning process. Each student is here to contribute to the exchange of ideas. Ask questions. Be curious. As a student in this course, you will create your own communal context for learning by engaging in conversations with others. As such, being prepared to participate in discussions and activities is paramount. This entails having read, annotated, and thought about the required materials carefully before class starts.  More details here. 

Midterm – 10%

This midterm is a two-part examination of your critical thinking about themes in the course. Part 1 will ask you to engage in a data-storytelling problem. Part 2 will ask you to write an argumentative essay. In this essay include a clear, compelling thesis statement and strong supporting evidence to support your argument. Essays should be 500 words in length.

Final Data Storytelling Project – 20%

For the final project, you will design and produce a narrative experience that tells a story with data, around data, or about data. It could be a data visualization on the web, a physical installation using hardware and human bodies, or an interactive documentary experience. More details TBA.