Author Archives: Prof. Michael Smith

Finishing Trophies for Everyone!

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by terren in Virginia

For Portfolio students, we’ve spent time on three things: internship preparation, final project proposals, and digital presence crafting.

1. Internship Plan – Semester you plan to complete the CT 490 or CT 491 class. Have you identified an actual location or not. If it’s next semester or the subsequent (spring or summer) is the contact confirmed? Have you made arrangements with Daniel between the location supervisor and him?

2. Final Project Plan – Have you drafted a plan using the syllabus I attached? Have you had it reviewed by Prof. Smith? Do you have a semester in mind to complete your final project?

3. Digital Presence Plan – You were supposed to have written about your ‘ego surfing’ (googling oneself), and from that you were supposed to have thought about how you’d like to frame yourself online. This is not only a big decision, but an ever evolving process – domain of one’s own? Social Networks? Aggregating to another space? Pseduonymetry?  Try to articulate where you are with your digital presence and what you are doing to change it or plans for change. Are you intentional enough with what you are putting online to frame yourself academically? Professionally? And even your personality?

Final Project Post for students completing their final project. You should talk about the the work completed during the semester as well as reflecting on intentions and process.

1. Work Completed – You must give a detailed description of what you made as well as hyperlinks and embeds of the work. The description should include details about quantities, length, characters, content, locations, etc…

2. Process – What tools did you use and why? How did things work the way you wanted or not? If you were part of a group project, you must specify your particular contributions. You should be respectful of the group process, but try as to single out your individuality and how your contributions affected the direction of the project.

3. Reflection – What was the plan and what actually happened? What did you learn from the project you did not expect? What might you do differently from the beginning knowing what you discovered in making what you made?

Drafting your Final Project Proposal

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Brian Tobin

The final project class CT 401 requires that you submit a proposal for approval before you may register for the class. This proposal should serve as a blueprint for how you plan to complete your project by the end of the semester in which you register for final project.

Why do you need to do this? Why bother with a detailed plan? There are really two answers to this actually. The obvious one is that if you have a good plan, it shows you’re prepared and ready to do the work it will take to complete your final project. But the more important reason to have a good plan is that it will allow you to be more creative. How?

Good plans are ones that show tremendous amounts of preparation. But as  the old saying goes, ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray,’ and it is for this reason that I would argue being well prepared allows you to work through the problems with your plan that will inevitably arise. Your ability to adapt a plan is developed by working very diligently on the original plan itself. In making a detailed plan you are likely to discover gaps that need to be filled before you even start your project. So when the unexpected gaps are revealed during the project, you’ve already had practice filling them.

We approach your proposal by thinking about the following:

  1. A precise description of the scope of the project. (For example if you plan to make a film, a treatment must be attached)
  2. A description of the relevance of the project. (Who is your audience? Why make this project?)
  3. A timeline for completion of the project (production schedule) including dates for meeting various “milestones.”
  4. Resources you will need for this project and how you will get them.
  5. Places you plan to exhibit the project. (Online, in the small theater, etc.)

As you start your proposal, you will need to create your own syllabus for the class. Effectively detailing what you will make, how, resources, timeline, and even how you wish for your project to be evaluated for a final grade. Use this skeleton syllabus which explains each part to be completed.


Is someone to twist my arm make me do work

cc licensed ( BY NC ND ) flickr photo shared by Frank V.

For the next three weeks (while we’re apart) I’m challenging you to create something everyday and present it on this blog. You can create ANYTHING, but you must document it and present it here. It can be a work in progress, a drawing, doodle, photo, design, animated GIF, audio/video recording, writing, meme, craft project, great meal, sculpture, but it has to be something you made THAT DAY. Not something you made a week, month, year ago, but today. New work can be based on old work though – remix, rework, mashup is all allowed.

And if you’re stumped, then try looking at the DS106 Assignment Repository or follow the Daily Create for a daily creative prompt. There are lots of fun stuff in the assignment repository and you can often find better assignments try sorting them by views.

Post what you’ve made and categorize it under “Creative Challenge.” Also, you must, must write a description of how and why you made what you did. And please hyperlink to sites that were an inspiration or source of remixed media.