By Wednesday, December 13, 2017, students will be required to build an online multi-media exhibit inspired by their assigned Dickinson College class. Exhibits may approach the topic from almost any perspective, covering either selected events from their assigned year or individual stories of their assigned class, but students should illustrate their plans in a 6- to 8-page draft paper sent by email to Prof. Pinsker no later than Friday, December 1. Late papers or projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.
Guidelines for Draft papers
The draft paper will count for one-third of the final exhibit grade (or 10 percent of the overall course grade) and will be evaluated on the strength of its prose, research and analysis. The draft should identify and fully describe the topic of the planned exhibit, providing a descriptive title, demonstrating thoughtful research, and using Chicago-style footnotes to identify sources.
Guidelines for Multi-Media Exhibits
Online exhibits should incorporate revised work from earlier in the semester, including especially the draft papers, but now in a format designed specifically for classroom use. The goal of the exhibit should be to offer high school or undergraduate classrooms an effective and thought-provoking multi-media vehicle for learning more deeply about Dickinson College and the broader nineteenth-century history beyond its campus.
Students will build their exhibits using the free online website platform Weebly.
Each website should include at least one image-based slideshow, one custom-made map or timeline (using free platforms such as Google Maps, Timeline JS or Storymap), and one embedded original multi-media effort, such as a short video or a well-produced podcasts. [for all of these elements, see video tutorials below]
Exhibits may also incorporate multi-media elements from external sources, but students must acknowledge and properly credit all of those sources.
The best exhibits will provide well-written and well-produced multi-media content that illustrates an important nineteenth-century theme or topic in a way that inspires high-level historical thinking. The best exhibits will also demonstrate skill in story-telling. See this advice on story from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns:
Finally, the best projects will be incorporated into public exhibits and displays from the House Divided Project. Late projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.
See these models from the 2016 methods seminar:
- Researching Dickinson College History (Storify)
- Always include a brief About section that provides information about the author and also about the project’s objectives and its intended audience
- Make sure your site is published to the web but discourage search engines from indexing to protect your privacy
- All exhibits must acknowledge and properly credit their sources. Please take care to use public domain components and to follow fair use guidelines when approaching copyrighted materials.
- Make sure to communicate with Prof. Pinsker by email if you are in danger of missing the deadline.
Special Tips for Video Production
- Remember, you must sign up for YouTube or Vimeo and upload your video to those free cloud-based services FIRST (with video sharing set to public) before embedding your video at your web platform. If using our WordPress site, also please remember that you must only try embedding in the TEXT tab (not the Visual tab) and that you won’t see the video unless you switch to Preview mode.
- General tips for Ken Burns-style documentary filmmaking:
- Always open with a title page, and whenever possible, with some public domain music
- The key to voice over narration with still images is to have good, clear audio and a narrator with strong pacing and a conversational style. Make sure to take care with your recording devices and sound environment (watch echo!) and feel free to consult or record with the LIS specialists at Bosler.
- Also critical for the success of your video will be images. Make sure they are high resolution, and be creative in cropping, framing and using tools such as pan & zoom, in order to create a sense of engagement. Remember, you need to make quick cuts (about every 4 to 6 seconds) while still connecting images to the voice-over.
- Documentary short films don’t need thesis statements, but they do need a coherent point-of-view and careful attention to narrative storytelling. Try to outline your project with a storyboard (i.e. converting your text into a visual outline with accompanying images).
- Finally, make sure your images, music and sound effects are in the public domain and properly credited at the end of your video.