Assignments & Exams

This course is designed for student-driven learning, meaning that, unlike a traditional instructor-centered class, students will be working independently and together (with my guidance) to identify the main questions they need to answer, what information they need to find those answers or solve problems, and how to go about obtaining, synthesizing, and presenting their findings and solutions. Some smaller assignments will be added throughout the semester as appropriate; this page describes the major projects students will be responsible for throughout the semester.

Quizzes & exams

It is essential that students come to class fully prepared to discuss the assigned materials. Frequent quizzes will help ensure that students have absorbed and understood the concepts up for discussion. Quizzes may be administered in class or electronically via Blackboard. In-class quizzes and exercises may be given at any point during the class period, and cannot be made up when missed due to absence (for any reason), lateness, or leaving class early. While there will be at least twelve quizzes administered (so, be ready for a quiz most weeks), only ten of these will be counted toward the final grade, dropping the lowest scores for each student.

There will also be both a midterm and final exam to evaluate students’ understanding of the course concepts. Both exams will be in take-home format to be completed and submitted by the deadline stated in the syllabus. The final exam will be cumulative, covering all concepts addressed throughout the semester.

Surveys

Students will conduct surveys to investigate and quantitatively analyze one or more research questions relevant to the class topic. More details on this assignment will be provided in class.

Content Analysis

Students will also form small teams to work on content analysis projects to identify the primary themes in a set of texts. Teams will prepare their own coding schemes, measure intercoder reliability, thoughtfully analyze the findings, and work together to produce a summary report. More details on this assignment will be provided in class.

Class Participation

Given the design of this course, participation is of fundamental importance. Not only is regular attendance necessary, but students must come to class prepared, and participate actively in discussions, group work, and on individual tasks both in and out of class.

Grade distribution

Survey project: 250 points
Content analysis project:  200 points
Social media/SEO exercise:  200 points
Exams:

…… Midterm: 100 points
..…. Final: 100 points

In-class assignments and class participation: 200 points
Quizzes: 100 points

For group projects, final deliverables will be assigned a grade as a baseline to reflect the overall quality of the work done. Self- and peer evaluations will then be used to calculate individual grades, which may be higher or lower than the project baseline depending on each team member’s contributions to the project. 

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