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HU2900 Syllabus

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This syllabus contains information, links, and resources related to the pre-departure prep for the London HUA project center. Please read it carefully, and read all pages linked within this document very carefully. There are several assignments at the bottom in this page that must be completed by the end of the prep term.

If you're looking for the onsite syllabus, click here.

Overview


The course introduces methods for site-specific research, project-design, and analysis related to humanities and arts study. It also develops HUA disciplinary skills appropriate both to the projects students have selected and to the culture of the project center where they will be working. Students learn to develop project objectives, milestones, and deliverables in their topic areas related to their forthcoming onsite work and expectations. Students make presentations, write an organized project proposal, and develop a deliverable design for reporting their project findings. This course is a co-requisite for off-campus Humanities and Arts project center study.

This prep course is designed to prepare students to succeed in meeting the objectives outlined in the onsite experience. By the end of the onsite experience, students will have 1) visited numerous landmarks, sites, museums, concerts, and other points of interest, some selected by the students themselves, and 2) written reflections about these experiences identifying key persons, places, things, and ideas documented through an individual profile page, 3) gathered information and media to contribute to the body of knowledge through articles, and 4) completed the objectives to produce three major project milestones, each of which corresponds to the focus area of Humanities and Arts course credit that you are receiving. More information about the onsite experience and expectations are provided in the onsite syllabus.

Goals


The primary objective goal of the London HUA prep course (HU2900) is to create three milestone projects that correlate to each of the course credits you're receiving for the onsite London HUA experience.

Examples of combinations per each student’s degree needs:

  • Two depth in music + one capstone in art
  • Three depth in art
  • One depth history + one breadth theater + capstone in theater
  • One depth writing + two breadth philosophy



Students need a unique milestone topic and objective statement for each of their three credit areas. Students are asked to think about each milestone to be completed onsite as having two parts:

  1. A thorough background review of the topic
  2. A "creative" original component that is rooted in their background research



For example, a student may have an interest in a particular style of music like early Baroque choral music. As part of the background, the student would be expected to provide a thorough overview of the style, its characteristics, the key who what when where and why about the style, and so on. The creative deliverable component can be a new composition that implements that style in some way and a demonstrated explanation describing the relationship or connection between their new work and the background component. The creative component can be a comparison between styles or across time periods or across the globe. It can also be a unique multimedia way of retelling the background in some novel way. The wiki format used is conducive to embedding transmedia elements for both the background and creative components of the project.

In London, as students complete the schedule onsite activities, they are immersed in the culture and are often able to obtain transmedia elements and infuse their milestones accordingly. Students are encouraged to supplement these activities with ones that are more closely related to specific aspects of their milestone objectives; our onsite calendar allows such flexibility.

The major goals of this prep course are to:

1. Develop an objective for each of three "milestones" for the onsite experience


During the onsite experience, you will be asked to complete three project milestones discussed further herein. You should take a look at the Profile page you'll be asked to complete fully onsite; by the end of this prep course, you need only to fill in the Objective statement on your very own profile page. This is something that you will discuss with your advisor throughout the term, though you are free to address this goal now and revise it at any point. Please explore some of the existing projects that other WPI students have completed.

Your advisors will form small teams for onsite activities based on common interests and milestones. These groups may change every few weeks when we're onsite depending on the differences in milestone and discipline objects. Even though you are ultimately completing your own profile and milestones, you are encouraged to work on your milestones with teammates, so, as you devise your own objective statements, consider the objective statements of others and look for common interests. The objectives of others will be apparent after completing Assignment 1b. If you feel that a team is beginning to form around a particular milestone based on common interests, discuss it with eachother, then note the potential team collaborators in the spreadsheet above by highlighting/filling the cell color of the common Objective statement for all individuals.

To get started thinking along the lines of developing an objective, consider your HUA interests, and some potential areas of inquiry for your project. For example, if you're interested in early church music performance, a good starting point for a milestone objective statement might be "Performance techniques of English church organists in the Medieval time period". The project scope during 1/3 of the London HUA experience would, thus, require you to get out to churches and cathedrals, get talking to the docents, hit the library, hit the museums, and start to make sense of what was happening there then. Then, refine the emphasis of your project aims through continued study, and begin to retell the story or present the information you are uncovering in a creative way; use narrative, multimedia, and other mechanisms to deliver your message through the creation of pages on this wiki as explained further herein.

Take a look at the Milestone template you'll be asked to complete onsite for each of your three milestones. Think about each milestone to be completed onsite as having two parts: 1) a thorough background review of some topic, and 2) a "creative" deliverable component that correlates to the background.

As you continue to think about your project milestones:

  • Think about the subject area and your interests as well as things that don't interest you
    • Start generally in your subject area (art, music, history, etc.) then think more specifically about topics, genres, and sub-genres related to those subject areas and parts related to London. What types of themes are you interested in within that subject area? Political? Religious? Mythical? For example, if one of your interests is modern art, you can make at least one milestone objective to describe and analyze (with specific examples) a modern art approach or technique that you observe in London (or something unique to London-based art), and then, for a creative deliverable related to that topic, produced original works that embodied those techniques. The task would be, then, as part of your project milestone, to demonstrate and detail in your own creative work how your work represented or implemented those salient features.
  • Think about each of your project milestones, and think about a few themes and the deliverable. The creative component of your project milestones can nearly be anything (a piece, a documentary, a performance, a commentary or persuasive essay) as long as you are able to successfully and effectively
  1. Tie those creative elements in to your background research (part of what you describe in you project milestone), and
  2. Have enough "substance" to your creative deliverable that is described or otherwise noted in some way through the project milestone; if you create a musical work, for example, that embodies some elements of early London choral music, present your original creative work in the deliverables section of your project milestone page (ideally, using some transmedia elements), and also describe thoroughly those elements that you implemented in your own work that were influenced by what you previously described in the background section of your project milestone page.


Take a look another look at the milestone template; the idea is to have a really solid background and then some sort of "thing that you do". You'll need to add in some narrative to describe why you did the "thing that you did", which you'd probably want to do anyway.

Background Research

Consider each of your milestone topics, and then start conducting background research by identifying and reading some real sources (not just Googling stuff). At this point, you're not expected to have a full sense of the big issues related to your project (the key players, the "who, what, when, where, and why", etc.)--you'll only learn this by reading books, and many books. Once you do this, most of your difficulties will be over; we have time structured into the onsite portion of this course for you to do this type of scholarly research, though you should explore sources now; consult the WPI library; you can also buy books from any bookstore. Keep in mind that the "creative" deliverable for each of your milestones must be deeply rooted in solid background research.

Begin by reviewing some of the featured projects created by previous London HUA students. Note the depth of the background review of these projects, and review the quality of the sources they used (journal articles, books, etc.). The better your sources are, the more informed you'll be on the subject, the more you'll have to say, the more rooted your creative deliverable will be in solid research.

2. Learn how to Wiki and the ins and outs of transmedia


When we're onsite, you have the opportunity to create an incredibly innovative, rich, multimedia "something" as your project deliverable for each of your three milestones. This does not need to be a completely text-based deliverable, so a crash-course in "transmedia" techniques and approaches has been integrated into this prep.
Read this article on editing this website; it's really easy to do, and you'll get the hang of it in no time.

3. Setting up your profile

Since we'll be working on our onsite projects using a Wiki, you should get started by setting up your profile page and adding some content to it. By the end of the term, you should have this page filled with at least your name, and your three milestone objectives.

Course Criteria and Expectations


Role of advisors:

  • Provide project “guidance” rather than project “instruction”
  • Encourage critical thinking
  • Push students to realize their greatest potential
  • Create a learning environment based upon openness, trust, and respect;
  • Establish milestones to encourage timely completion of work
  • Provide advice and/or resources for group effectiveness



Integration between HU2900 and the onsite experience

All of the assignments that you do in this course, HU2900, are designed to help you with the process of project development. In our regular HU2900 check-in meetings, we will focus on helping you with the formulation of your project goals, your three milestone objective statements, discussing background research, and providing big-picture feedback on your thinking as the project develops.

HU2900 meetings (and evaluation) involve only your project advisors. Your advisors continue through the onsite phase and will be with you in London.

Time commitment

During the HU2900 phase, you receive 1/6 unit academic credit as a corequisite to the onsite experience, and, during the onsite phase, you will receive credit for three courses toward your HUA requirement (two courses + a capstone, or three courses). WPI expects that you will spend about 16 hours per week per 1/3 unit of academic credit, including time spent in meetings and class. Therefore, our minimum expectation is that you will spend about 8 hours per week (per individual) on combined HU2900 work, and then about 48 hours per week on onsite work.

While the amount of effort you invest in your project is likely to be related to the quality of the work you complete, it is critical to remember that we evaluate projects based on a set of criteria that we describe in the next sections, and not directly on how much time you invest in your project.

Assignments


Assignment #1a: State your course needs

  • Complete this form (if you've not already completed it) stating your course needs.

The London HUA experience can count toward up three courses in any combination:
1) Two HUA courses (one breadth, one depth or two breadth or two depth) + HUA capstone in depth area
2) Three HUA courses (one breadth + two depth or two breadth + one depth).
Just choose the emphasis you'd like to pursue onsite as it related to your breadth and depth needs.
Note: the third category yields the option to choose a capstone option for each emphasis--only select this option if you will have completed three courses toward your HUA breadth and depth requirement before we arrive in London.


Assignment #1b: State your milestone objectives

  • Complete this spreadsheet to list your milestone objectives; this is a form that may be revised throughout the term.



Begin by reviewing some of the featured projects created by previous London HUA students. Note the depth of the background review of these projects, and review the quality of the sources they used (journal articles, books, etc.). The better your sources are, the more informed you'll be on the subject, the more you'll have to say, the more rooted your creative deliverable will be in solid research.

Assignment #2: Set up your portfolio page

This assignment has four parts and requires that you read the Help tutorial prior to completing these steps.

2a: Copying the template

  • Log into this site with your WPI credentials to reveal the edit menus.
  • Right+click on this Template Profile page
    • open your profile page in a new window or tab leaving this page open
    • On the Template Profile page, click the "Edit" button from the "Actions" menu
    • Right+click and Select All" of the wiki markup text
    • Right+click and "Copy" all of the wiki markup text
    • Close the browser window without saving changes to the Template Profile page and return to the tab or window with this page


2b: Pasting the template

  • On this page, from the top menu at the right, find your own "profile page" by identifying your username from the menu and right+click on it
    • open your profile page in a new window or tab leaving this page open
  • On the profile page, click the "Edit" button from the "Actions" menu
    • Paste the copied content from the Template Profile page onto this page
    • Replace the username at the top of that page
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and delete the category tag text [[Category:Template Pages]]
    • Scroll to the bottom of the page and click the button labeled "Save Page"
    • Test that your profile page is linking correctly

Throughout the term online, we will be adding content to the profile page included regular journal activity reflections.

2c: Read through the profile page

  • Please take a moment and read through all of the content on your newly updated profile page in order to become acclimated with the scope of work for our onsite experience.


There is a great deal of flexibility in terms of what the final deliverables will be; certainly the expectation goes beyond a traditional paper. Your project milestones, three of them, may include images, video, and other artifacts. In light of this flexibility, this wiki site should provide you with the scaffolding to facilitate a wide range of course deliverable formats. This wiki site, and, in particular, your profile page and the pages linked from it will serve as the main "deliverable" for your work onsite. The page will be publicly accessible, though, please contact your advisor if this poses a problem for you. Welcome to the world of wiki editing!

3: Fill in your three milestone titles and objective statements

Edit your profile page and list the titles and the objective statements of your three milestones. You do not need to create the individual milestone pages at this time; just replace the template text on your profile with your milestone titles and objective statements.

Course Dates and Deadlines


By End of Week 1

(3/13 - 3/17)

  • Complete Assignment #1a
  • Read some of the existing "Student Projects by Category" linked on the homepage including the Featured Projects.
  • Begin drafting Assignment #1b
    • Do some preliminary searching on the internet and in the library for topics that interest you. Ask yourself, "Who, what, when, where, and why" for specific aspects of London related to your interests.
  • Our first meeting
    • This meeting will be held on Thursday, March 16th at 5:30pm in Stratton Hall SH 106.


By End of Week 2

(3/20 - 3/24)

  • Complete Assignment #2
  • Continue drafting Assignment #1b
    • Reach out to others in group about potential overlapping interests and indicate that (if applicable) on the form linked in Assignment #1b


By End of Week 3

(3/27 - 3/31)

  • Meeting with the library team to discuss research (data and time TBD)
  • Continue drafting Assignment #1b
  • Submit your room preference through this form (even if you have no preference)


By End of Week 4

(4/03 - 4/07)

  • Attend Transmedia Lecture with Prof. Leslie Dodson (Salisbury Labs Rm. 124) Monday April 3rd 5:30pm.
  • Continue drafting Assignment #1b


By End of Week 5

(4/10 - 4/14)


By End of Week 6

(4/17 - 4/21)

  • Pre-Departure Orientation Meeting Wednesday, April 19th, 5pm - 8:30 in Campus Center Odeum (2nd floor)
  • Complete Assignment 3



Other Things


Flights


Book a flight to London and arrive on the morning of the day indicated on the calendar. If there are some extraneous circumstances requiring you to arrive early, please let your advisor(s) know ASAP. Check the calendar for the day of departure as that will be the last day we'll be able to provide you with housing. IGSD will need to see proof of your passport (or other documentation) and your flights at some point during the prep term.

Getting to our Housing


You are expected to find your own way to the housing. Consider consulting with your classmates if you are arriving at the same airport at around the same times. We are staying at Acorn Housing. Check in and get your key at 19 Bedford Place, Camden Town, London, WC1B. The Acorn Housing staff will provide you with the exact address and number of your flat in London. While a train from the airport to the housing may be the cheapest, a car service like ExpressWays will be the fastest. Be sure to get to the housing by the Orientation Meeting time (about 2pm) and day indicated on the calendar. If you arrive early, get your U.K. phone number squared away.

Phones


You'll need a local number in the U.K.. Your best option is either to:

  1. Unlock your phone and buy a local sim card
  2. Buy a local phone with a sim


Either way, you'll need a local phone number that can be called from UK number for the two months you'll be in London. Option 1 is probably the better option if you like your phone and intend to use GPS and other smart phone features. Unlocking your phone can be an annoying process, so you should do it a few weeks prior to departure. Definitely don't wait until you land to unlock your phone. In short, you'd use a paperclip to pop the SIM card out of your phone, and replace with a local SIM; very easy, and the people at the phone store can probably do it for you. That would give you a local UK number, and leave your old number/plan as it is (you can even suspend your old number plan if desired). You can pick up a local SIM card at [EE on Oxford Street]--very affordable compared to U.S. prices. Buy a monthly plan with a tethering/hotspot option so you can always have internet access for your laptop even if no wifi networks are available. You'll need to renew your monthly plan after the first month expires. I would not recommend that you buy a SIM card at the airport as they can be expensive.
To avoid roaming phone charges, you can (most likely) put your phone in "airplane" mode, and then turn WIFI on when near WIFI.

Credit Cards


It's probably a better strategy to charge all of your expenses to a credit/debit card than to bring cash. Some credit cards charge a fee for international transactions. Check with your local bank to see if they have a card that doesn't charge any fees. Chase Saphire, Chase Mileage Plus, and many other cards give you a full year to use their international card without a fee; cards like this don't charge a few for international transactions.
You should also bring a debit card with you as some older stores may not accept all U.S. cards that don't require a pin.

Clothes


We will have very few (if any) formal occasions, so please be sure to bring clothes that are comfortable and layer-able (given London weather). You should also bring comfortable walking shoes.

Before you leave the U.S. call your bank or local credit card company and let them know that you'll be traveling internationally with your card, so they don't immediately think your card has been stolen.

Be Sure to Bring...


In addition to your passport, clothes, luggage, etc., make sure you bring:

  • your WPI student ID, which can get you student discounts on many different exhibits
  • some sort of device capable of capturing video, audio, and images (like a phone!)
  • your computer


When you arrive, you can buy adapters/converters for your other electronic devices.

Grading


You are registered for this course as a 1/6 unit co-requisite for the London HUA onsite experience. This course credit does not count toward the completion of the HUA degree requirement; it is merely a co-requisite. The grade assigned for this course is determined by the following criteria:

  • Effective participation in preparation activities, project meetings, and presentations: 50%
    • This will be evaluated by reading the journal article reflections and through observations made by your advisor during meetings and presentations. If you don't fully participate (both physically and cognitively), you will lose credit commensurate with the amount of content missed.
  • Completion of all assignments indicated on the syllabus: 50%
    • This is a competency-based criterion; if you complete all assignments indicated on this syllabus, you will receive full credit. If you miss these assignments, you will lose credit commensurate with the amount of content missed.


Evaluation of HU2900 and Onsite London HUA

It is important that we communicate how we evaluate projects and assign grades. Project grading is difficult, particularly since students and advisors develop a working relationship during the project. Project grading is also very different from course grading. In a class, correctly completing all assignments and evaluations typically earns a student an A or B grade. However, an A project requires that students go beyond this level and demonstrate originality, initiative, and critical thinking. Students generally feel that lots of hard work and a nicely presented set of three milestones deserve an A. Most professors (including us) do not—unless there is real analysis, creativity, and depth in the total project effort.

The following list describes overall project expectations that apply to both the HUA and onsite components of your project. These follow from the stated learning outcomes from the undergraduate catalog (p. 17).

Throughout the project, we expect students to:

  • Demonstrate initiative and originality
  • Take the lead in discussion, planning, and analysis
  • Communicate a good understanding of the problems and issues underlying the project
  • Develop clearly stated, effective, achievable goals/objectives for the project
  • Strive to achieve as much balance as possible between the technical and social/humanistic aspects of the project topic
  • Demonstrate depth of knowledge of the relevant literature and other background sources; evaluate and synthesize this material critically and apply it appropriately to the project work
  • Design and apply appropriate methodologies to achieve the project objectives, and demonstrate understanding of their limitations
  • Produce clear and professional deliverables and presentations
  • Work collaboratively with teammates, advisors, and others to advance the success of the project.
  • In the end, achieve all stated objectives of the project.



It is important to note that project grades reflect both product (i.e., the content of the final three milestones, the activity journal, and the portfolio pages) and the process by which it was achieved: teamwork, creativity, perseverance, resourcefulness, professionalism, etc.
For HU2900, you will receive a single grade for 1/6 unit of coursework at the end of D-term based on both the product (completion of all assignments) and the process (e.g., teamwork, communication with advisors, consistent effort on the project).
We encourage you to seek feedback from advisors on your progress at any point during either term. We will provide you with regular feedback, but welcome inquiries and discussion on the team’s progress at any time.
VI. Grading guidelines:
The following guidelines describe how we will evaluate project work. Please consult the undergraduate catalog (p. 195) for a complete description of project grading policies.
A: This grade denotes excellent work that attains all of the project goals and learning outcomes. The product and process of this work meet all of the expectations and exceed them in several areas.
B: This grade denotes consistently good work that attains the project goals and learning outcomes. The product and process of this work meet but generally do not exceed all of the expectations.
C: This grade denotes acceptable work that partially attains project goals and learning outcomes. The product and process of this work meet some but not all expectations.
NR: This grade denotes work that did not attain the project goals or learning outcomes and is insufficient for registered credit. Both product and process were inconsistent with acceptable project work at WPI as outlined above.
NAC: This grade is reserved for performance that is unacceptable. It might mean that a student’s performance (or lack of it) has seriously impeded group progress, or it has embarrassed the group, a project sponsor, or WPI. Note that this grade remains on the transcript.
VII. Team Meetings with Advisors
Onsite, we will have weekly meetings where we discuss personal milestones for team members and group progress. For all meetings with advisors, the project team has the responsibility to run regular meetings. We expect each team member to participate as both meeting chair and meeting secretary, on a rotating basis.
Onsite, to facilitate meeting planning and to alert us to the issues you will raise, teams should prepare a weekly agenda for each meeting provided to both advisors and team members in paper copy. The specific format for the agenda is up to you, but it should:
• be consistent from week to week (both in content and organization)
• include basic information such as date, team name, meeting attendees, and identities of the secretary and meeting chair
• include a statement of your project goal and objectives
• include a report of progress during the past week and plans for the upcoming week, focusing on substantive accomplishments related to the project. When in doubt, list it.
• list items for discussion during the meeting. You may wish to prioritize these in some way, in case we run short on time. In addition, you may wish to build into the agenda some time to discuss any drafts that were turned in earlier in the week.
It is the meeting chair’s responsibility to keep the meeting on task, and to ensure that all critical components of the agenda are addressed. The team member serving as secretary should complete meeting minutes and circulate them among teammates and advisors as soon as possible after each meeting.
VIII. Report formats One educational goal of this project experience is to have you take a complex open-ended problem and transform it into a research problem. This means that you must take ownership of your project. The most tangible expression of this level of commitment is in the drafts you hand in. Accordingly, the feedback you receive will not necessarily focus exactly on the techniques of writing, but on how you are thinking, the very logic you deploy to frame your sentences, paragraphs, sections, and, indeed the entire project. Most of our comments will focus on things like organization, logic, and ideas rather than grammar, spelling, punctuation, word choice, and syntax. This is NOT to say that these latter elements are less important. Rather, YOU are responsible for issues of grammar and usage. Poor writing will affect your grade.
The other critical component of your proposal is its citations and language. Citations and references should be consistent, and should be in APA format.