I’m always on the lookout for new media to include in my teaching.  For extra credit, you will create your own unit that could potentially be included in a future version of this course.

Here’s what you’ll need to include:

Main screening(s): Choose one or more films and/or television episodes that will serve as the focal point of the unit.  You cannot choose something that is already in the syllabus, but you can choose a different episode from a series that’s covered (for example, you could choose a different episode of Black Mirror).  Briefly summarize the screening(s) and articulate the key themes that you would like the unit to explore.
Reading(s): Choose one or more companion readings.  These can be peer-reviewed or from the popular press.  If you choose something from the popular press, make sure it comes from a legitimate source (Wired, New York Times, Vox, etc.).  Don’t use “listicles” or some post from a random movie/TV blog.  How does what you chose connect to the themes you’re covering in the unit?
Supplemental material(s): Choose one or more supplemental materials (podcast, documentary, etc.).  As with the readings, make sure whatever you pick comes from a reputable source (for example, I don’t want to see you include a QAnon conspiracy theory video or anything along those lines).  How does what you chose connect to the themes you’re covering in the unit?
This assignment will count as an extra blog post.  If you’ve submitted fewer than the required five blog posts, this will serve as a substitute.  If you’ve completed five or more blog posts, this will replace your lowest blog grade.

As with the blogs, the finished product should be between 600-800 words, serving as a studied, intellectual exploration of your chosen media and the themes surrounding them.  Full credit is not automatic, and I will be grading this with the same rigor as I grade the blogs.

Example blog post
For this blog, focus on one specific component of at least one of the two films, making a connection with a contemporary surveillance issue.  Reference specific scenes from the film(s), along with integrating at least one of the supplemental materials from this unit (reading(s), documentary, archival clip).  You can also use outside information if you like, but make sure it comes from a reputable source and is cited properly.  Pick out what you find interesting about what this unit covers and explore that in more detail.

The details:

600-800 words
Give your post a unique title that reflects its theme
Type your post directly into the “Entry Message” field; do not upload a file
Follow an essay format: introduce your overall argument in the opening paragraph, then use each body paragraph as evidence that supports that argument
Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

Fallibilities of surveillance technology
Expansion of the US surveillance apparatus post-9/11
Public awareness of CCTV systems
Privacy implications of surveillance
The entire class will be able to browse everyones blogs, so if a fellow student wrote something you found interesting, feel free to post a comment.  Commenting on blogs is totally optional and will not count towards your grade.

Grading Rubric

  A: Comprehensive and detailed, displaying a high level of understanding. Writing is highly clear, analytical and insightful, with specific examples and concise evaluation of evidence.

  B: Complete and accurate, displaying a general level of understanding. Writing is mostly clear and thoughtful, using broad examples and/or analysis.

  C: Somewhat incomplete, displaying a minimal level of understanding. Writing is vague, inarticulate, and at times off-topic. Arguments are unorganized, lacking specific examples and analysis

  D: Incomplete or off-topic, displaying a misunderstanding of course materials. Writing is rudimentary, with sloppiness in spelling, grammar, and sourcing.

  F: Missing assignment.

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