Requirements + Assignments

[See also Procedures + Policies]

ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION.

In a seminar course each participant’s contribution is valued, and absences affect the entire group. You will be permitted two excused absences (“excused” means that you must have contacted me prior to class to inform me of your absence) throughout the semester. Any excused absences in excess of two and any unexcused absences will negatively affect your grade. A pattern of late arrivals is likewise detrimental. More than three excused absences, or more than two unexcused absences, will prevent you from passing the course.

You’re expected to come to class prepared, remain engaged, and participate thoughtfully in class discussions, presentations, group exercises, etc. Be conscious of your “power of presence,” and make room for others to contribute. Attendance and participation are worth 10% of your final grade.

READING RESPONSES.

You’re expected to post to our class website at least six ca. 300-word reading responses throughout the semester. The reading responses are intended to help you to think critically and, when we’re reading a selection of texts for the week, collectively about each week’s readings. You might start off by very briefly summarizing the arguments of each text, then critically examining main ideas across the texts – and the development of those ideas from one week’s readings to the next’s. Think about how the texts have contributed to your understanding of the relationships between media and architecture. What issues raised in the texts are of particular interest to you, and how would you like for us to address these issues in our class discussion? Although your focus should be on the assigned texts, you’re welcome to draw connections to external ideas and sources, and to incorporate images, audio, video, etc.

These responses also help me organize the discussion. Therefore, responses must be posted by 6pm on Tuesday to give me time to review all posts before our class meeting. Late responses will not be accepted. Please give your post an easy-to-identify title – e.g., “Reading Response Week 2: [Subhead].” Your writing should be relatively clean and coherent and should indicate that you’ve given some serious thought to what you’ve read, but given the tight timeframe for these assignments, nobody expects perfection. Your responses are worth 25% of your final grade.

See some exemplary reading responses from past students here.

EXHIBITION/SITE REVIEW.

Throughout the semester New York will host several architecture-and-media-themed exhibits and events in its museums, galleries, and other cultural and educational institutions. We’ll keep a running list of relevant exhibits, events, and “sites to see” on our course website (please post any relevant event listings you find), and I encourage you to visit as many as you can. By April 18*, I’d like for you to post to our course website a 1200- to 1800-word review of one of those exhibits or sites. Please describe the exhibit/site and post images/video/audio if possible, address the key concepts or theoretical issues the artist(s)/architect(s) is/are addressing, and assess his/her/their success in grappling with those issues. This review is worth 15% of your final grade.

You can find exemplary reviews from past students here, here, and here.

*You have a chance here to get feedback on your writing and gauge your performance in the class at mid-semester. The earlier you seek this feedback, the more useful it’ll be. I strongly encourage early submissions.

PROJECT PROPOSAL.

Throughout the semester I hope you’ll come across several ideas, arenas, individuals, etc., about which or whom you would like to know more. This final project will give you the opportunity to delve deeply into a research and/or creative area of personal interest. You should begin thinking about potential topics immediately, and you’re welcome to explore project ideas in conversation with me and your classmates. By April 4, I’d like for you to submit via Google Docs a formal 600- to 900-word project proposal (if you can post your proposal before class, by 4, great!; if you need until the end of the day, fine!). This proposal must include (1) a problem statement or research question; (2) a discussion of your proposed research methodology and an outline of your research/production plan*; and (3) a tentative bibliography containing at least ten sources, half of which must be scholarly sources. You’ll be expected to deliver a two-minute presentation in class on the day your proposal is due. I certainly don’t expect your proposals to be perfect (the primary reason I ask you to submit these is so you can receive constructive feedback before delving too deeply into your projects), but I do expect your proposals to evidence some serious contemplation, good planning, and an awareness of relevant resources in the field; the proposal is worth 10% of your final grade. You’ll have an opportunity to revise and resubmit the proposal if necessary.

*If you’re considering a research-based creative project or media production, your “research methodology” section should explain how your chosen format – video, artist’s book, interactive map, audio documentary, etc. – serves as an appropriate “method” for your project, how the form suits the content.

FINAL PROJECT.

Throughout the semester you should be working toward the completion of either a 4,000- to 6,000-word paper (word count includes foot/end notes and citations), or a creative/production project with a 900-word accompanying text, in which you address the critical issues you aimed to explore through your work and explain how your chosen format aided in that exploration. This research project is worth 40% of your final grade, and is due before class on May 9. Papers and support papers for creative projects should be submitted via Google Docs.

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