Community & Citizenship Project

You will spend several weeks “embedded” in an online community which you are not currently a member of. You will carve out an identity for yourself in this space, learn about the rules and norms of the community, and participate in community activities.

I will provide you with a list of communities to choose from, but you may also propose something else if you like (I do reserve the right to veto your choice, however).

I expect you to blog regularly about what you are finding as you complete this project (tag: #communityproject). You should be sharing the status of your research at least ONCE A WEEK between spring break and the end of the semester. This is NOT a project that will work if you try to do it all at the last-minute. 

Some questions that should guide your reflection and work:

  • Why did you choose this community?
  • What are your first impressions?
  • What are the terms of service? How much do you own of yourself and your contributions?
  • How do you “enter” this community?
  • What mechanisms does this community provide for you establish an identity and presence?
  • What are the rules of this community? How are they determined?
  • What kind of activities does this community foster? Which are people most invested in? Which are you most interested in?
  • Is there dissension in this community? How is it handled?
  • How easy/hard is it to feel “connected” to others?

At the end, you will compile your findings into a digital story. Below, you will find a number of new media project ideas that you may use to inspire your story. I will ask you to decide on an approach for your story by the week of 3/26. I will work with you to refine that idea and make sure that you have access to resources to complete your project.  You will present your research and project to the class in  5-10 minute presentation during the week of 4/23.


Week of 2/13: Introduction to Community Project

Week of 2/27: Community Project Choice Due

Week of 3/26: Blog post in which you outline your plan for a final digital story.

Week of 4/23: Project (all blog posts and digital story) complete; in-class 5-10 minute presentation.

Suggested Communities

  • Wikipedia: collaboratively edited and created encyclopedia
  • ds106 Radio: community radio station that grew out of ds106
  • GoodReads: site for sharing what you’re reading and connecting with other readers
  • Ravelry: community for people who sew/knit/crochet
  • Flickr: community photo sharing site
  • MetaFilter: a community blog about. . . everything
  • UMW Reddit (or some other subreddit): Site for sharing and up/down voting stuff about UMW (or some other topic)
  • LibriVox: community dedicated to recording and sharing audio recordings of works in the public domain
  • Board Game Arena: community site for playing board games with others online
  • World of Warcraft: massive, multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG)
  • Lord of the Rings Online: another MMORPG
  • DailyKOS: left-leaning political community and commentary site
  • Little Green Footballs: (sort of) right-leaning political community and commentary site
  • Unfiction: community dedicated to the creation and playing of alternate reality games

New Media Project Ideas

Students will create digital stories about their experiences in the communities of their choice. You have two options for the format of your story:

  • Create a 5-10 minute video in which you narrate the story of your involvement in the community.
    • Your story must contain the following “content” components:
      • Background information/history of the community
      • Why you chose it
      • What it was like to get started in the community
      • Whether you will continue to be a member of the community
    • Beyond those required elements, the rest of your story can (and should) cover anything(s) that you found of particular interest during your investigation. In other words, you MUST include the items listed above, but you also MUST include other aspects to your story (or your choosing)
    • Your story must contain the following “media” components:
      • at least 5 screenshots taken in the online community
      • at least 3 short screencasts of you doing something (or something happening) in the community
      • your voice and minimal text to create the narrative
      • EXTRA CREDIT: at least 2 uses of background music
  • Do some other kind of digital story.
    Seriously, if you don’t like the video idea or want to tweak it in some way, TALK TO ME. I’m open to other story ideas, I just want to have a chance to discuss them with you before you create them. This way I can ensure that you’re all working on a project of the same relative complexity.If you are looking for inspiration, LOOK HERE.


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