This post is to elaborate on what I expect from the REFLECTION portion of the final project. As I’ve said repeatedly, this represents an extremely important, arguably the most important, part of your work for me this semester. It is like a code that I will absolutely need to decipher your object documentary. The better code, the better I can understand your film and the more accurately I can evaluate your effort in the course.
The academic justification for this reflective pedagogy comes from a diverse assemblage of disciplinary (and pragmatic) sources including anthropology, sociology, film studies, rhetoric & composition, technical writing, etc. This trend toward reflection happened in conjunction with an explosion in production technology broadly encompassed by the term DIGITAL. The first reflections were written and subject to the limitations of that technology. As production technologies have become more widely available, the ability for researchers (practitioners) to sharpen their reflective focus with images and audio becomes similarly more available. However, academic disciplines have a stubborn recalcitrance (attributable to many factors!) that has limited exploration into digital scholarship and continues to place primary interest in a finished product as opposed to a reflective analysis of the process. While this situation is slowly changing and there are fantastic multimodal examples from emerging scholars, there remains a lack of convention that makes assigning a project such as ours very difficult. There are infinite ways digital scholarship can look and perform. To make specific requirements is to (inherently) limit your production. So, rather than give specifics, I will map a few ideas for strategies and organizations. Before I do that, I urge you to spend some time with the links below to get an idea of what other scholars (and myself) are doing in terms of using (documentary?) methods to make academic arguments.
Brian McNely “Spaces and Surfaces”
Jody Shipka “To Preserve and Digitize”
Enculturation Video Mashup Project
Harmon “Toward a Glossary of Chai”
The most straight forward method/strategy/structure for your reflection is a temporal, narrative description. What happened? When? How does it look? How do I feel about that? What could I do to make it better?
This is not the only option.
You might also imagine a collage or pastiche of information about your project; a hybrid combination of the narrative questions above and other kinds of information. Be specific with production details. Give model numbers and statistics. I strongly encourage you to consider the reflection to be a multimodal assignment. Include photography (ala McNely’s work), screen captures, scanned notes and doodles, tweets, blog entries, audio narration, etc. Importantly, give captions to explain the content of the media and how it helped (or didn’t) in your larger effort toward the object documentary. Include the short production assignments we’ve done in class and comment upon their effectiveness (or lack thereof) to your final project.
Another organizational strategy might be to examine your project rhetorically using some of the taxonomic/conceptual terms we’ve discussed in class ( Ethos, Pathos, Logos, Kairos, Invention, Arrangement, Delivery, Style, Documentary Modes, etc). If you would like to get classical in your stylistic justifications, check out THIS list of rhetorical terms…how might these ancient devices be deployed to describe the visual moves you make in your film? Remember John Law’s strategies in Aircraft Stories. Consider the organizational strategies in the digital scholarship in the examples above. Remix all of the above! Explore your own ideas and do not be afraid to branch out into creative/artistic expressions to discuss the more affective/personal aspects of the reflection.
INCLUDE A PROPERLY FORMATTED WORKS CITED PAGE. I don’t mind which format you use (MLA, Chicago…pick the one that is most useful for you in your discipline) but be consistent. Include citations for ALL MEDIA USED in the object documentary AND the reflection (note: you represent the primary producer, so don’t cite yourself in this situation).
Lastly, think carefully about the delivery of your reflection. Will you submit it to me (by the exam date) via printed page, flash drive with (well organized) folders and different kinds of media, a website, a dvd with chapters, as a separate file on the DVD on which you submit your object documentary, shoe box with a bunch of stuff in it? Think rhetorically about persuading your audience. If your organization tends toward the abstract/non-linear, consider providing a map or instructions about how to navigate your reflection (this is relevant if you give me a flash drive or a shoe box full of media).
If you have questions or comments that others might find useful, please add them as a comment to this page. If you would like to discuss your ideas for your reflection, please make arrangements to meet outside of class. I’m happy to help as much as I can.