Research Project

RESEARCH-BASED BLOG SITE
Each student will create a research-based site about the history of an artifact of American technology that she or he finds interesting.  To do this you’ll need to use two blogs:  The first, your “proposal blog,” will be used to test out the blogging process and present your proposal.  The second, your “project blog,” will be used for the skeleton outline and the final project (#5-7 below) and will be linked to the class project blog at http://historyoftech.umwblogs.org/ .

All assignments due at (or before) the beginning of class
(1) Email me with title/URL of proposal blog by January 15.  [It can be a blog you’ve used before.]

(2) Artifact choice due by Thursday, January 22
–Email your planned topic for approval.  [Remember, you cannot choose a topic that we cover in class or one which someone else has already claimed.]

(3) Post test blog post with a picture by class time on Tuesday, February 3

(4) Proposal (with annotated bibliography) due via your first blog: Thursday, February 12  — See detailed proposal assignment here.

(5) Skeleton outline of your research site in your second blog due: Thursday, March 19
— This “project blog” should be a new blog, created just for your site and the URL should include the name of your invention.  [e.g., http://railroad.umwblogs.org ]  The theme used must be the one that everyone is the class is using.  More on this during our discussion of the project on January 29.

— Skeleton outline should include creating key sections/pages of the site, list of media (images/video) to be used, and one key image that can be used on the main course site to represent your project.

(6) Completed blog site due: Thursday, April 2
–Each student will do a peer review of two of their classmates’ project blog sites, sent via email, by class time on Thursday, April 9.  [Use this form (peer-review-for-project-sites-2009), which parallels one that I’ll use to evaluate your projects.]

(7) Final revised web site due: Thursday, April 16

(8) Presentation of your site to the class: April 16 & 23

Areas each web site should cover:
1) Background – should include information on antecedents or influences.
2) Invention – Explain why this artifact was invented and what perceived “need” it fulfilled.
3) Adoption of the artifact of technology – should include any alternatives to the technology and an explanation of why one technology succeeded over others.
4) Impact of the technology on American economy, military, society and culture. [Not all of these may be applicable to your technology, but at least some will be.]
5) Footnotes/Endnotes and Bibliography – Cite the sources for all quotes, ideas, information, images, or video.
Although there might be slight differences for each topic, these are the basic content areas that each website should cover.

A note on appearance
Online sites allow historians to present information in new ways, so take advantage of them. Part of your grade on this project is based on using that medium in creative ways.

1) A good web site is clear and well organized, making it easy to navigate and get information.

– Pages on the web site should be appealing, consistent and laid out in a logical manner for the topic.
– The content should be appropriate for your audience, clear, and well-written (with no errors in grammar or spelling).

2) A good web site also takes advantage of the possibilities of the Internet without letting them interfere with the communication of information.

– This should not just be the text of a research paper dumped onto a web page.
– Use hypertext links in logical and helpful ways.
– Use pictures and graphics, where appropriate and available.

Remember, clever and creative presentation is not an acceptable substitute for content.