2019 Assignments

Part I – Print Photography Analysis — 5%

  • What: Dr. McClurken will assign a time period to each of the five tables. At each table, each student will choose a historical photo significant to the History of the Information Age. Then, each student will add their photo to their table’s timeline, accessible through a group Google Doc.
    1. Time Frame: 2 days
        1. Tuesday, Feb 5: Pick your photo, write your sentences
        2. Thursday, Feb 7: Present photos in class
  • Before Class: Each student chooses a historical photo from their assigned time period, adding it to their table’s timeline.
        1. Prompt: Choose a historical photo from your timeframe and explain the significance of that photo to the Information Age. Be sure to include the photographer, the subject, historical context, and the significance/cultural impact of the photo (approximately 3-5 sentences per photo). Include full citation of the photograph, and discuss copyright status of the photograph.
  • Time Period Ideas: (Years are generalizations, US focus, but flexible)
  • 1850-1900 (Civil War, Early Photography, etc.) — Table 1
    1900-1945 (WWI, Great Depression, Roaring 20s, WWII/Japanese Internment, etc.) — Table 2
    1945-1970 (Post-War Boom, Social Change, Early Vietnam/Cold War, etc.) — Table 3
    1970-1990 (End of Vietnam, Cold War, etc.) — Table 4
    1990-Present Day (Social Movements, Pop Culture, 9/11, etc.) — Table 5
  1. In Class on Feb. 7: Going chronologically, each group will present their individual timeline. Then, each table’s timeline will be added to a class timeline.

Evaluation criteria: citation, annotation, accuracy, significance


Part II – Yellow journalism — (in class activity on Feb 12, not separately graded assignment)

  1. Yellow journalism/Sensationalism — (In class small groups)
    1. Possible topics: Hearst, Pulitzer, “Remember the Maine,” “The Yellow Kid,” creation of mass media networks via newspaper companies, creation of news personalities
    2. Possible methods of presentation: source document analyses or in-class video or infographic
    3. Finished products can be added to overarching course timeline


Part III – Silent film — Due Thursday, February 28 (topic by Feb. 14) — 15%

  • Group project -Embedded into timeline
  1. Out-of-class assignment added to timeline
  2. Time frame: two weeks to complete with a group
  3. Set maximum length of film: 3-5 minutes so that it is completed on time
  4. Styled like an actual silent film using editing tools (black and white, caption screens, traditional soundtrack)
  5. Tools required: [Get training from DKC on HCC Recording Studio and basic video editing, if needed. Schedule in advance for training and reserve studio.] — Video recording equipment, Editing software, Possibly need a green screen, Costumes?
  1. Requires reading about how silent films were produced
  2. Potential topics for the film (submit topic by February 14).
  • Original silent film genres: crime, slapstick, etc
  • About a historical event
  • Include historical figure in modern day scenario
  • Spoof or parody


Table 1: Maddie U., McKenzie, Maddie S., Allison — Charlie Chaplin in the modern world, trying to get back to his time period.
– In our film, Charlie Chaplin will emerge from a time machine and learn that
he is in 2019. He will run into two girls, who will help him find the time
machine and get back to his own time.

Table 2 (Emma Baumgardner, Jasmine Alanis, Nikki McCormick, and Glynnis Farleigh) Silent Film Project.

We will be recreating significant scenes of student life from UMW history, as though we are going back in time. We will begin our film as a group in Simpson Library looking over UMW yearbooks. Then, we will select a photo or scene from a yearbook from each decade to recreate, (EG, 1950, 1960, etc.) going in chronological order until we reach the 1990s.

Table 3/4 — Cole, Sean, Jacob, Will, Billy

Robbing Mary Washington.


Table 5 — Connor, Andrew, Nicole, Kyle, Sean

“No Bars”  About what happens when our interconnectivity via hand held devices ceases functioning. Cell and internet coverage drops, and how people react and cope with these tools and social connectivity doesn’t come back.


Part IV – Infographic about memes — 10%

  1. Infographic about memes: individual project -Embeddable into timeline
    • Timeframe: due March 26
    • Tools: prominent meme pages, Canva/Piktochart
    • Choose a topic and have it approved by Dr. McClurken by March 12
    • Possible topics could include
      • Notable proto-memes (Kilroy)
      • Meme reactions to current events (Comparison to political cartoons?)
      • Newsworthy memes (Stefan Karl, Harambe)
      • Controversy (Pepe, NPC)
      • “Tone” of memes (Relatable, stupid, or surreal)
      • Others?
    • Guidelines to be determined in Class on Tuesday, March 12
      • Use of an infographic format, context (history and reach) of a specific meme, comment on a meme that connects to larger issues, include examples (link to video/vine/gif), citations.
  2. Topics:
    1. Glynnis — Vaporwave and satirization of consumer and capitalist culture.
    2. Maddie — bon appetit memes and unspoken language
    3. Nikki — Joanne the Scammer
    4. Emma — Nancy Pelosi and memes with political issues
    5. Jasmine — Success Kid
    6. Jake — We are number one & Stefan Karl Stefansson
    7. McKenzie — Distracted Boyfriend Meme
    8. Connor — World’s most interesting man
    9. Kyle — “How do you do, fellow kids”
    10. Nicole — de-motivational posters
    11. Sean M — Kilroy
    12. Andrew — Hoax memes
    13. Sean I — Be Like Bill
    14. Maddie U — “Kim K crying” meme and this meme has expanded a personal brand through popularity and pop culture
    15. Allison M. — Grumpy Cat
    16. Billy — Michael Jordan Crying

Final Assignment — Choice of topics — Due April 18 April 23 (Choice due to Dr. McClurken by April 2) — 10%

  • Choice 1 — Research blog post for social media influencers, others who make a career from the internet
    • ~1000 words
    • Each group individual can focus on one specific platform and analyze how the platform came to be, when people started making careers on it, any disruptions to their income, and who the standout earners in the platform are.
    • Tools: WordPress, social media, standard research tools
    • Potential categories: Youtube personalities (Pewdiepie) E-sports players/Twitch streamers (Doublelift, Hungrybox, Ninja) Instagram “Celebrities” Artists (Patreon, Etsy) Indie video game studios (Team Cherries and Chucklefish) Twitter personalities, etc.
    • Potential for venture capitalists- Gofundme, Indiegogo, Patreon.
    • Sources of revenue (donation, advertising, sponsorship, monetization)
    • Disruptions/threats to income (Adpocalypse 2017 and onward)
    • Disruptions to other industries (Print media)
  • Choice 2 — Fake News — identifying fake news headlines individually in small groups, discussing the challenges, and comparing tips on how to best identify valid sources of news. Blog post sharing each group’s experience.  The New “Yellow Journalism”?
    • Deliverable: an infographic blog post or short timeline on individual blogs
    • Tools: Optional timeline, Social media, available research tools.
    • Taking two forms of news:  Political speech (or statement) and an article in a particular field / current topic.  Fact check them and/or determine who is funding the article. Compare social media version of story with MSM = circular narrative?
    • Who determines the Fact Checkers validity?  What ‘sources’ do the ‘FC’ use to determine truth or falsehood?  Algorithm vs human research? Pinocchio scale?
    • What responsibility does the media have to promote the truth and validate that in which is reported?  
    • When facts determine that the media was incorrect what responsibility do they have to correct the narrative?  Note whether there is a retraction or apology.
  • Choice 3 — Dehumanization of humanity — The gradual dehumanization of humanity more focused on a screen than what is around in the present (looking at your phone at dinner instead of talking to each other)
      • Group assignment – possibly in the timeline format where each group could pick as aspect of the mentioned topics and display them in a digital format of their choosing (i.e.: infographic, meme, power point, or a timeline).  
      • Potential topics
        • Average screen time of today’s youth, research the statistics.  What are you missing?
        • Average age that someone receives a cell phone compared to ten/fifteen years ago.
        • Movie “Idiocracy” – prophetic sarcasm.
        • Physical evolution of tech neck.  Looking at a screen: Does it damage the spine?
  • Choice 4 — Documentary on some aspect of the Information Age
    • Group assignment — 5-10 minute documentary — topic approved by Dr. McClurken by April 2.




  • Contribute two entries to the class timelineDetails to follow
    • Each entry should be ~150-200 words (ask if you want to make the case for it to be longer) and should include your name.
    • Each entry should include some multimedia aspect (image OR video clip OR map OR social media platform that TimelineJS accepts)
    • Each entry must be fully cited (including content and multimedia).
    • Test out your entries in your own TimelineJS installation which you will post on your blog.
    • Share your Gmail address with Dr. McClurken so he can add you to access the TimelineJS Google Spreadsheet.  Then copy from your Timeline to the class Timeline. [Obviously, don’t edit or delete anyone else’s lines in the spreadsheet.]
  • Entries must be approved by Dr. McClurken by Feb. 19.
  • Entries completed by April 9 April 11