Final Projects

Note to Winter 2015 Students: Having reviewed the instructions, I can't really see a way to reduce the amount of information included below. Rather than compromise the integrity of the assignment by trying to dumb it down, I will issue a checklist in class week 6 to simplify the process. But you still need to read everything noted on this page in order to produce a project suitable for a course at this level. Please proceed carefully, noting any questions that arise. If you truly don't understand particular aspects of this project, please discuss them with me in person or (if you must) via e-mail.

General Guidelines

The project for this class must engage the course subject matter in some creative way, preferably related to a student's program so that the connection between general education and your career path becomes demonstrably clear. The scope and topic, as well as the medium (or media), are up to each student, subject to the instructor's approval and guidance. Read these instructions carefully; you are responsible for fulfilling them all.

Each project consists of four elements: preliminary work (including background research during the project development workshop week 6), the project itself, and a process essay and annotated bibliography of all sources consulted (due week 10).

The purpose of the project is to help you recognize the role of myths and their interpretation in the creative process and to relate what you learn in this class to your particular field. Students must also engage in meaningful research into topics appropriate to the course objectives (listed on the Syllabus).

Developing good research skills is a priority in this class, because the ability to locate high-quality resources and reliable information constitutes an important professional skill. The ability to make use of research results is reflected in the quality of your final project and its process essay. Since the purpose of the project is, in part, to enhance your research skills, be sure to choose a topic about which you do not already know a great deal. Both philosophy and creativity are grounded in wonder--in the capacity to formulate questions in order to devise ways of answering them. As Socrates once noted, the truly wise person is one who knows that he or she doesn't know everything.

Please pay careful attention to each component of these guidelines. Failure to accomplish any part of the assignment will result in a significant lowering of possible points; the project in its entirety accounts for 35% of your grade for this class, with the result that it must be submitted in order for you to pass. Informal presentations of the finished project can earn a 5% bonus.

To ensure the success of this endeavor, I will hold a project development and research workshop week 6, and a writing and project finalization workshop week 9. For the week 9 workshop, please bring in process essays for critique, as well as finished or nearly-complete projects for evaluation and trouble-shooting. Bibliographies can also be checked at this point to ensure appropriate quality.

Each component of the project is worth 10 points; a suitable, well-designed package or container is worth another 5. The total number of points available is 35 (35% of the final grade), with an additional 5 bonus points available for those who present their work to the class. The project itself (the artifact) is worth 10, the essay 10, and the annotated bibliography 10. An assessment sheet with scoring criteria will be distributed in class week 6.

The final project consists of the following essential elements:

Preliminary Research: By the beginning of class week 6, be prepared to discuss an appropriate project with your instructor. It would help to type out a few paragraphs of description in as much detail as possible, but being able to describe the proposed project is essential.

A mandatory research workshop will be held week 6, during which time you will locate suitable sources and evaluate them before preparing the final bibliography. Up to 10 points will be awarded for an MLA-formatted bibliography consisting of the sources you locate to help you complete your project, and annotations for each entry that both describe the source's use to your project and evaluate its appropriateness for a project at this level. Information on effective research and how to annotate bibliographies is available at the research resources link.

Feel free to photocopy or print out any materials you've gathered if you'd like to discussed them with me during the workshop or while you're developing the project. You may also e-mail me links if you have questions about anything you've located.

The Project Itself: Since many projects are potential portfolio pieces, approach your task accordingly. Try to choose a meaningful project in the first place, and pursue your research with careful consideration. Make sure you possess the skills necessary to complete the project in a professional manner, and try to use it as a way to enhance the skills you are developing here at AiDallas.

Students undertaking computer-based projects must be prepared to show their work on classroom computers in formats than be copied onto a flash drive for assessment in my office or at home (I have access to most programs either on my own Mac or at school). I will be happy to critique your work at any time before week 10 in order to help you improve the final result. Try to have as much done as possible by week 9 if you want advice; there will be time in class for consultations.

Because of space limitations, I am impressed favorably by portability and compactness. Large-scale projects will be accepted, but I will have to photograph them for evaluation. The written components of the project must be contained in a pocket folder.

The project may consist of illustrations, themed interior designs, fashion collections, short (under 5 minutes) films or animations, sculptures, advertising campaigns, artist's books, or multi-media presentations (such as websites). I'm open to suggestions as long as they represent a sufficient amount of effort at research and execution to warrant a passing grade in an upper-level humanities elective class. Remember that this is a 35-point assignment; as such, it deserves suitable care and effort, as well as professional attention.

To earn the 5% bonus, be prepared to present and discuss your project results during the term-end exhibition (week 10).

The Process essay and annotated bibliography: In 3 to 5 double-spaced pages, describe the process of completing your project, from its inception (how did you come to choose the topic?), through its development (what kinds of creative choices did you make?), to its termination (what do you think of it? What would you do differently? Did you accomplish what you set out to do?). Then place your project within the parameters of myth as we have discussed it during this quarter. If your perspective is informed by a particular theoretical framework, make that and your reasons for choosing it are clear in your essay.

This aspect of the project is extremely important, because the project itself can go "wrong"--what you started out to do may not be what you end up with. Too, projects that are conceived of as potential portfolio pieces (especially in computer animation and web design) may not be complete by the end of this quarter. The essay is designed to help fill in any gaps and to keep you conscious of the creative process as you experience it. I strongly suggest that you keep a notebook or journal in which you include observations, inspirations, details of construction, changes of plan, etc., and to use it as the basis for your essay; this may be included in the folder with your process essay.

Do not write a research paper and do not underestimate the value of this essay: it can make or break a marginal effort. The essay must be submitted in a pocket folder to accompany the project itself (if it will fit, put the actual project in the folder). Projects consisting of computer-generated models, images, etc. should include screen shots of important aspects of the project, in case it gets separated from your folder. Finally, the complete, annotated, properly formatted bibliography that reflects the research undertaken to complete the project, must also be placed in the folder with the essay.

Completed projects will be returned week 11. Comments will be included in the e-Companion evaluation.

Final Project Checklist

The process essay and annotated bibliography. If your project was completed as a group, each member must submit a separate process essay. Remember, too, that all written work must conform to my style and format guidelines. (10 points each)

The completed project, in as compact a form as possible (10 points)

An appropriate container for the project and its supporting documents. At minimum, documents must be included in a pocket folder (basic 3 points). More points (up to 5 total) will be awarded for more creative solutions.

Any questions should be brought up as soon as they occur--either in class, or by e-mail. I would like this project to engage you creatively and for you to enjoy it, as well as learn from it. If problems occur, please notify me so I can help solve them.