midterm paper 6

For the Midterm Project, you have choices!

  • First, you need to choose whether to record an oral presentation or write a paper. The oral presentation should consist of at least 10 slides of content with accompanying narration. The paper must include between 4-6 pages of double-spaced writing.
  • Second, you need to select one of the following topic options.

Option 1: Television Study

Ever since television’s early days, cultural critics have described its harmful and positive impacts. One recent talk given at a TED event by television executive Lauren Zalaznick argues that television has a conscience. She stated that, “television directly reflects the moral, political, social, and emotional need states of our nation – that television is how we actually disseminate our entire value system.” Because these qualities are ‘uniquely human,’ they “add up to our [nation’s] idea of conscience.” (TED talk)

For this Midterm Project, you will start by viewing the talk titled Lauren Zalaznick: The Conscience of Television or by reading the interactive transcript located at this TED Talks site.

Ted Talks

Take careful notes on her ideas; you will need them to foreground your study. Think closely – do you agree with what she argues? If so, with what elements do you agree and disagree? Regardless of how you fall in relation to her ideas, you will collect evidence to see if her thesis holds up in light of your personal viewing habits.

Once you have a sense of Zalaznick’s argument, you will conduct a study of television over the course of 3-4 days of regular viewing. Keep notes on what you watch, and be sure to include:

  • the names of the shows
  • the number of minutes/hours you watch
  • the commercials you see

Take strong notes so you can remember what the shows and ads were about. Once you complete this step, look closely at your data for interesting trends, patterns, and other evidence that either supports or refutes Zalaznick’s ideas.

With your notes in hand, you will either write a 4-6-page, double-spaced analysis of Zalaznick’s argument, or create a 10-12-slide presentation by using VoiceThread. This project should:

  • Begin with a clear thesis that places your own observations into relation with Zalaznick’s argument.
  • Take 2-3 paragraphs (or 1-2 slides) following your introduction to briefly summarize Zalaznick’s main ideas based upon your notes. Note the evidence that she uses to build her analysis, and your responses to her arguments.
  • Describe your viewing experience. Note trends, interesting traits in your evidence, and other interesting findings that support, extend, or refute Zalaznick’s claims.
  • Conclude with an appropriate conclusion
  • Include a MLA-formatted works-cited page or slide for the Zalaznick video and any other sources that you used. (You do not need to cite every TV moment unless you specifically quoted from a show or a commercial.)

This project can be written/spoken in the first person, but it should maintain a formal, academic tone.

If you chose to use VoiceThread, you may want to review these VoiceThread Instructions PDF .

Option 1 Rubric

Your work will be assessed by the following criteria:

Criteria Max. Points available
Content: In shaping his/her response, the student begins with a clear thesis outlining his/her observations in relation with Zalaznick’s argument. He/she uses key terms and vocabulary from the lesson to summarize the argument and describe his/her viewing experience. The student provides a clear conclusion based on his/her findings and uses specific examples, images when needed, and cites any external content appropriately. 35
Critical Thinking: The student demonstrates a clear understanding of the critical thinking strategies mentioned to this point in the class and applies specific terms correctly. The student puts Zalaznick’s argument through the four tests of worthiness and determines if the argument passes or fails each test. A clear explanation is given that determines why the argument passes or fails each test. 35
Analysis: The student is able to accurately identify Zalaznick’s primary purpose and any bias that may be present. 10
Organization: The paper or presentation is clearly organized. It begins with a well-focused introduction, the body paragraphs/slides follow logically from each other, and there is a clear conclusion. 10
Grammar/Mechanics: The assignment has been proofread and spellchecked prior to submission. There are no errors that impede comprehension, and the student includes an MLA citation for the source(s). 10
Total Possible Points 100

Option 2: Advertising Analysis

As you’ve seen throughout the course, the look and feel of advertising, both in print and on TV, has changed with the times. As a savvy reader, you can draw interesting inferences by focusing on these changes, noting trends, and shaping an argument.

For this project, you will be asked to:

  • Select an advertising topic about which you have some interest or knowledge.
  • Search the Internet to find print, television, or a combination of both forms of advertising about your selected topic.
  • Try to find examples that span at least 10 years, though a longer time span is even better. If you are looking for a new device, such as an iPod, you should broaden your search to include older forms of portable music devices in order to have more evidence from which to draw your inferences.
  • As you view the advertisements, take careful notes on their traits.
    • Watch for style. (Are they visually-oriented or more text-based? Do they use music in an interesting way?)
    • State the argument the ads make, and then test that argument using the four tests of an argument’s worthiness. Determine if the argument passes or fails the tests. Explain your reasons.
    • Note how they appeal to the audience.
  • When you are done, study your notes and note interesting trends, changes, and other qualities that stand out based upon your observations.
  • With your notes in hand, you will either write a 4-6-page, double-spaced analysis of your observations or create a 10- to 12-slide presentation by using VoiceThread.
  • Your project should include:
    • An introduction to your topic with a clear thesis based upon your observations.
    • A comparative analysis of key advertisements that highlight their central arguments, any flaws, and how they could be effective in reaching an audience. Also, note changes in the advertisements over time. You can limit to the most interesting items from your observation, but you should have at least three examples.
    • A clear conclusion.
    • A works-cited page/slide that cites the visuals that were used in MLA format.

If you chose to use VoiceThread, you may want to review these VoiceThread Instructions PDF .

Option 2 rubric

Your work will be assessed by the following criteria:

Criteria Max. Points available
Content: In shaping his/her response, the student conducts a comparative analysis using key terms and vocabulary from the lessons that outlines the advertisements and highlights the central arguments. He/she includes at least three examples of how these advertisements have changed over time and uses specific examples, images when needed, and cites any external content appropriately. 35
Critical Thinking: The student demonstrates a clear understanding of the critical thinking strategies mentioned to this point in the class and applies specific terms correctly. He/she states the argument(s) the ads make and uses the four tests of an argument’s worthiness to determine which arguments pass or fail the tests. A clear explanation is given that determines why each argument passes or fails. 35
Analysis: The student is able to accurately identify the primary purpose of the advertisements as well as any bias that may be present. 10
Organization: The paper or presentation is clearly organized. It begins with a well-focused introduction, the body paragraphs/slides follow logically from each other, and there is a clear conclusion. 10
Grammar/Mechanics: The assignment has been proofread and spellchecked prior to submission. There are no errors that impede comprehension and the student includes an MLA citation for the source(s). 10
Total Possible Points 100

Next Steps

Before you submit your project, make sure you review the expectations and guidelines for your selected option. Make sure you cited each of your sources and proofread thoroughly to make sure that you did not miss any errors that could reduce your grade.

Also, be sure to note the expectations on the Midterm grading rubrics, which appear above based on the topic you chose.

Assessing Your Learning

Graded Assignments

  1. Midterm Project

Using the guidelines provided in the lesson, compose your Midterm Project.

  • Visual projects should include the URL for the VoiceThread in a Word document that includes a proper MLA heading. Visuals projects do not have to be uploaded to TurnItIn.com.
  • Note: VoiceThread has a file size limit of 25 MB per file. Also, you can only have 75 MB total on your account.

  • Written projects should be typed, double-spaced, and formatted with an MLA-style heading. You can see more information about MLA style and view a sample formatted paper here: MLA Sample Paper.

There are two steps to submit your written project:

  1. Upload your paper to Turnitin.com (the plagiarism detection service).
  2. Submit your paper to your instructor below.

Your written project must be submitted to both these places.

 

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