I’ve gotten a couple of questions via email from a couple of you about the essay part of the Semester of Social Media essay, and it makes me wonder: do we need to have a broader discussion on this? Are there still some questions about what this essay is supposed to be about?
Let me try to point you to some initial answers though:
First, here’s how I describe this in the assignment itself:
[Y]ou will write a concluding “reflective essay” that will be due near the end of the semester (see the schedule for due dates for peer review and the final version of the essay). This is different from the more informal progress reports. This essay will be longer (1250-1500 words) and more formal in that you will want to incorporate evidence from our assigned class readings research you conduct on your own in order to make a more complex “point” about your social media experiences.
Second, I wrote about this and talked about it in the YouTube video I posted in the pre-Thanksgiving update. If you haven’t watched the video yet, you should– I start talking about the social media assignment at about the 2:15 mark. Here’s what I wrote there too:
I talk about this in the video a fair amount, but in the nutshell: your brief “progress reports” this semester have really been about telling us (me and anyone else in class) what you’ve been doing with the social medias you sighed up for this term, literally “what’s new.” This essay is different in that I am asking you for an overall reflection of the experience. Now that you’ve tried out some new social media platforms and now that we’ve done some critical/thoughtful reading and discussing about social media, what have you learned? What is your bigger picture feelings/observations/conclusions about social media?
My hope is you’re seeing a pattern here. I don’t have a particular quota about how much you should be writing about your own experiences and how much you should be writing about the things we read and discussed– though it seems to me you should do both. Rather, I really am asking you at this stage to tell us (me, folks in class, anyone who might stumble across your wordpress site), what did you learn after engaging in these experiences. There’s no “right” way to do this, though one “wrong” way to do this would be to simply recap in an essay what you already wrote about in your updates.