Hi everyone, and welcome to week 11 of EDC20,
Under normal circumstances, we’d be moving into the final two weeks of the course, you’d have submitted your lifestream, and we’d be discussing the final assignment. However, hopefully you’ve seen the announcement, posted last week, about 7 day extensions for all coursework.
New assignment deadlines are as follows:
Lifestream submission deadline: midnight (GMT) Sunday the 29th of March
Final assignment submission deadline: midnight (GMT) Sunday the 12th of April
Therefore, week 11 will be a little like week 10. You have until midnight (UK time) this Sunday 29th to complete your final lifestream summary post, and submit your work in Moodle – see the assignment page for all the details.
However, you may also want to use this time to discuss the final assignment. I’ve already been responding to lots of emails, as people share initial ideas, so please keep them coming and I’ll do my best to reply with something useful. There is also a Moodle forum for assignment discussion – please use this to suggest ideas and share possible tools and services for making your artefacts.
Later today, I will extent this introductory post will a summary of the tutorial discussions last week, as we covered lots of interesting and relevant points about the final assignment. I’ll also try to dig out some examples of final assignments. So, more to come, all the best for now!
Here is a summary of the discussion about final assignments in the tutorials last week:
The first thing to say here is that the final assignment is intended to be fairly open in terms of the ways in which you can address the assessment criteria. Therefore, guidance ‘in general’ is sometimes less useful than individual feedback. It is for this reason that weeks 11 and 12 are devoted to your individual work on the final assignment, and to individual feedback from me about your emerging ideas. Therefore, as you start to develop your final assignment this week and next, please get in touch and I can give you some feedback on the extent to which you are able to address the assessment criteria with your ideas.
Given the expected use of digital media, the size of the final assignment is difficult to quantify, for example with a word count. In at least one of the tutorials I suggested 2000 words as rough guide for ‘size’. However, I don’t see a need to actually include that number of words in your piece (although I also suggested that it would be difficult *not* to have any words at all), because your use of digital media will count towards some aspects of the assessment.
Think of the artefacts (visual; micro-ethnographic; and algorithmic) as building towards your final assignment. Further, think of the final assignment as a ‘more in-depth’ artefact. This is what I mean by the final assignment being digital: something that incorporates digital media of some sort, and that also works in the same way as an academic essay. By ‘more in-depth’ I don’t necessarily mean ‘bigger’ than any of your artefacts, rather, something that is more focused, and that is specifically made to address the assessment criteria (the artefacts are much more open).
Your final assignment needs to connect very clearly with one of the themes from the course. In other words, with ‘cybercultures’, ‘community cultures’, and ‘algorithmic cultures’. You don’t necessarily have to pick one of these themes (although that would be one good way of keeping things succinct and focused), you might connect an idea across two or more of the themes. Either way, you should choose a very specific topic for your final assignment, rather than attempting to ‘summarise’ the course in its entirety. A useful approach here is to go back through your lifestream a find a specific idea or resource that really caught your attention, and consider how you might comment on this critically.
In the tutorials we also discussed whether you should chose an idea first, or a social media space or ‘tool’ first. Either way can work, however, I would suggest that the former can be more advantageous, as it is really your ideas – in other words, the critical arguments and discussions you make – in this course that matter, rather than your use of technology. Not also that technical competence is not part of the assessment. Simple use of technology that helps to convey your ideas is always better that fancy media without any scholarship. And further:
I think the best final assignments are those in which the choice of technology, and the technical design of the artefact, reflect the ideas being discussed in the assignment. In other words, don’t choose a particular piece of software for the sake of it – think carefully about how the space you are using (e.g. Prezi, YouTube, even a hypertext essay in Word) is also part of the critical comments you are making. For example, if you decide to make a final assignment on the topic of dualisms or oppositions between human and non-human (following some of the cybercultures themes in block 1), think about how you can represent that idea in the design of, say, a Prezi, which might be structured around two ‘opposing’ sets of resources and discussion. Further, if you decide to make a final assignment on the theme of algorithmic automation in education, think about whether you can use a space that has some kind of algorithmic functioning, and how you might use this to demonstrate some of the ideas you will discuss in a textual accompaniment.