Digital Cultural Artifact Project

Digital Culture Artifact Project 150 pts.

Your final project will give you the opportunity to synthesize a number of different concepts we’ve discussed in class and create an artifact (a web site, digital movie, video or audio mash-up, a podcast, an infographic, an interactive story, etc.) that relates to the course themes (characteristics of new media, dystopian/utopian narratives, identity, community, embodiment, politics, representation, etc.). You will work in groups (3-5 students) to produce your artifact and present it to the class.


1. Find a group. 

In class on Friday 17 October you’ll find a group and start initial planning.

Decide on a team name, and create a page for your team on the class website DUE MONDAY 20 OCT:

a. Log in to the class Dashboard, Find Pages, Click New Page

b. Add whatever you like (include your team name and your names so I know who is where). This is your workspace for the project. Use this space to share information, to meet, to collaborate n drafts, etc. By the end of your project, you will have transformed this page into a platform for presenting your final project.

c. Before you publish your page, look under Page Attributes. ASSIGN A PARENT FOR YOUR PAGE> FINAL PROJECT TEAMS. This will cause your page to be linked under the Final Project Teams folder at the top of the website. If you forget to do this, your page will be lost forever in our long list of pages. Make it easy to find!

d. Read Step 5 below to see what is due when.

2. Decide on the issue you’d like to tackle in your project.

Consider all class readings, discussion, current events, etc. for ideas. Choose from one of these ideas:

– #GamerGate (for today’s news, read this NYTimes article)

– Issues in race, class, and gender in technology (beyond the games industry)

– Anonymous, Reddit and vigilante  justice in online communities

– Authentic identities online, and the controversy over the push for Real Names in social networks

Integrity in online communities

– Issues in computer and information ethics

Privacy online, The EU’s ruling on the “Right To Be Forgotten” and how Google is handling it

– Copyright and creativity online and the alternative systems of Creative Commons

– Open Government and the efforts to hack publicly accessible City data to benefit citizens

– Utopian and Dystopian visions of our cyborgian, tech-driven world

Deception, reality, and our expectations in social media

– Controversy over how technology is interfering with offline interpersonal interactions

Internet addiction with different devices

Big Data, and Data Journalism

Net Neutrality

The impact of the digital world on the real world environment

3. Decide what form your project will take

Will you produce a podcast? A video blog? Maybe you will create an activist group or a guerrilla ad campaign  to advocate for an issue. Will you create a series of infographics to illustrate your data-driven story? Will you build an interactive story? Maybe you’ll consider a combination of these digital storytelling techniques.

Check out some of the interesting tools and digital artifacts posted on the website for my graduate class (select the Skills Exercises category to see examples of Digital Artifacts). With free tools and templates, you can build some really creative and professional-looking stuff with few professional skills. Here are a few suggestions:

Twine for interactive fiction ( that you can repurpose for non-fiction)

20+ Infographic-making tools

Mozilla Web tools for building websites, or interactive videos

– An app called TimeLineJS to make interactive chronological stories

– An app called Storyteller to make interactive photo essays

– Creative uses of Twitter to tell history

– An app called iMashup to make audio mashups and remixes

– Use the Internet Archive to examine the history of a website

4. Research your story

You’ll need to do some research to understand the breadth and depth of the topic you’ve chosen, and how you want to build a particular story around it. Learn everything you can about the topic, and decide on an argument. You need to have a purpose for your digital artifact: will you advocate for something? Critically examine something? Introduce and describe the complexity of your topic in a basic primer for a general audience? Will you trace the history of your topic?

Do your research, cite readings from class, and expand your search outside of class. You must cite at least 4 scholarly sources outside of our class readings. It should be obvious from your artifact that you are applying and responding to the course and outside material.

5. Write your story

You must provide context for your artifact.

A. Write context into your artifact itself (a brief intro to a podcast series, a description of a video, an introduction for an interactive timeline, etc). A reader should be able to understand the entirety of your artifact, and read it without wondering why the thing exists of who made it, or why it matters.

B. Write a 3-5 page statement (co-authored – 1 paper per group) that introduces your topic, explains your perspective on it (your argument), details why it is an important issue to address, and justifies your choice of digital artifact format to present your argument. This 3-5 page statement will be posted to your Final Project Team Page on the class website with a link to your artifact (you may embed your artifact if linking to it doesn’t make sense).

5. Plan

Due October 20. Post your Final Team Project Page to the class website.

Don’t forget to assign a Parent Page to organize it! On this page, include:

– your group members (with contact info)

– a short description of the topic/issue you’ll be covering

– a description of the kind of digital artifact you might create

– a schedule for getting your project done.

Due November 03. Informal Presentations for Feedback.

This informal presentation is an opportunity to have an early deadline to get motivated to work, share your work in progress, and get feedback on how to move forward (tackling obstacles, making edits, etc.). Your project should be significantly fleshed out and started at this point. If you need to make big changes now is the time to find that out.

Due December 01-05.Formal Presentations.

Groups will be randomly assigned to present on of the the three days listed in the schedule for presentations. Depending on when you are assigned to present, your project may be more complete. If you present early, you may be presenting an unfinished work in progress.

During your presentation, your group will demonstrate your artifact–You may not have time to show your entire artifact, so be sure to pick a portion of it that’s the most interesting/provocative. Give a short presentation that outlines the project and connects it to concepts we’ve discussed throughout the course.

You should prepare an outline and practice your presentation so that you do not go over time. Every individual in your group should speak during your talk.

You should use the following questions to help you prepare for your presentation:

A. Why did you choose this topic? Why is it important that we examine it?

B. How did you decide what artifact to create? How does it relate to the material we’ve discussed in class? Outside materials?

C. Set up the artifact for us – what do you want your audience to understand about your topic after seeing/hearing your work? How is your artifact contributing to the ongoing conversation we’ve been having this semester about new media?

D. What surprised you about this experience? What did you find difficult or easy?

Your presentations should be no longer than 10 minutes (5 minutes for presentation and 5 minutes for actually showing your artifact).

December 05.Turn in Your Artifact.

By this date your Final Project Page on the class website should look pretty spiffy, and contain everything you want me to consider when grading your work. make sure all links functions, your text is free of typos, and everyone’s name is listed.


Your final projects will be graded on their creativity, appropriateness for the topic you’re choosing to discuss, integration of class/outside resources into artifact/artist’s statement, clear perspective/argument, and cohesiveness.

Each individual in the group will receive a peer evaluation that will be factored in with the group’s overall project grade.

I am happy to provide detailed feedback to your group. Please send me an email no later than 01 December to request comments.