Click here to download the full practicum assignment, with project descriptions and fieldwork guidelines.
This assignment is designed to give you some practical experience engaging with specific internet practices. There is both a group component and an individual component to this project. It is worth 20% of your final grade. This project involves the following components:
- 15 hours of fieldwork activity (playing a game, writing in a forum, making a website, being a part of an online community, etc.) These 15 hours are to be done individually.
- Posting to the course blog. In at least 7 posts to your section blog, you will document your research progress and submit evidence or illustration of your participation. 1 practicum post (of the 7) should be made the day before your in-class presentation, and should include a question for your classmates to reflect on and then discuss in class. You are encouraged to include links, screenshots, images, etc. All of your practicum-related blog posts should be put in the “practicum” category and tagged with your last name.
- A 15-minute in-class presentation (in teams of two). Be sure to meet beforehand with your presentation partner to discuss the details of your in-class presentation. Though your topics are different, you should work together to try and find a common theme, or draw a comparison between the two projects. You must include visual aids, description, and analysis of your project and experience. Specific questions to address in your presentation will be posted under your group’s name below 1 week before the presentation date.
- A 3 page paper (due on Thurs Dec 15 in lecture) where you will analyze your findings more thoroughly in relation to 3 concepts from class. Click here for the prompt for this final practicum paper.
In addition these components of the project, we also ask you to share the knowledge you have gained through this project with the rest of the internet by posting to Wikipedia about your topic. Probably all of you are used to engaging with Wikipedia as consumers of information. While it’s there for you to encounter knowledge, though, it’s also there for you to share your own knowledge, too. With this practicum project, you will gain a great deal of unique knowledge about the particular site, service, activity, or community you’ve been working with all semester— you can then take the opportunity offered by Wikipedia to contribute that knowledge in a way that it can then be helpful to many others outside of this class. All you have to do is look up the page for your topic, read through it to find something that you learned that isn’t included there, click ‘edit,’ and write and submit your addition. Your submission can be as simple as a sentence or two but it should be something of consequence. In keeping with Wikipedia’s standards, though, your addition should come with a citation from a verifiable and authoritative source and not come from your own original research. Please make one of your 7 blog posts about what you added to Wikipedia and then link to the page you added to.
Details: On the day of your group presentation in section, you will present your individual research in teams of two, comparing and contrasting your experiences. Presentations are 15 minutes per group. At the end of the semester, you will hand in a 3 page paper summarizing your findings and relating them to 3 concepts from the class, such as democracy, identity, community, remix, digital divides, mobility, etc. You must include specific references to course material in your paper. The paper is due in lecture on the last day of class, Thurs, Dec 15. Your in-class presentation is due on the date listed below (also listed on the syllabus). Be sure to meet beforehand with your presentation partner to discuss the details of your presentation. There are five topics with four projects available within each topic area. Presentation dates are listed for each group. You must have completed at least 7-8 hours of research before presenting.
Note: You are responsible for mastery of the technological aspects of the project you choose. If you do not have much experience with the particular activity you are undertaking, you will have to take it on yourself to learn along the way. Online tutorials and FAQs are good resources and you can also email website administrators with questions and take advantage of the services offered by the DoIT Help Desk and the Computer and Media Center in College Library. Part of the experience of participating will involve working to solve your own technical problems.
Practicum Project Groups
Group 1: Online Communities
- A1: Social MOO – Jenny Weeden
- A2: Virtual world – Jessica Seyferth
- B1: Media fandom – Jenny Staebell
- B2: Special interest group – Taylor Brickman and Amy Verhey
Group 2: Identity and Social Networking
- A1: Social network sites – Melissa Cooper
- A2: Personal homepage – Elissa Alster
- B1: Microblogging – Ariel Barron and Jessica Bender
- B2: Media-based social networking – Stephanie Wezelman
Group 3: Internet Users
- A1: Senior citizens or tweens – Alyssa Bernstein and Michelle Kresch
- A2: Minority group
- B1: Social or political activism – Katherine Thibeau
- B2: Support groups – Nick Johns and Christy Donovan
Group 4: Social Production
- A1: Locative service – Ashley Glowinski
- A2: Social review site – Anne Leahy
- B1: Social news site –
- B2: Specialized information community –
Group 5: Interactive Media
- A1: Online console gaming – Bennett Johnston
- A2: MMORPG – David Pierringer
- B1: Remix production – Mike Coakley
- B2: Media sharing service – Lauren Jaeger