Final Web Project

Due November 30, 2020

By Monday, November 30, students should post an election web project on their own custom-built Weebly site.  Each project should be designed as an online teaching exhibit, revised from material submitted earlier in one of the previous narrative papers, but now focusing on conveying an engaging multi-dimensional perspective.

  • Students should consult with Prof. Pinsker over email as they make decisions about transforming one of their previous campaign narratives into an effective teaching web exhibit.
  • Teaching website can be organized with an essential question or theme rather than a thesis statement (as in a narrative paper). 
    • EXAMPLE THESIS:  The hidden turning point in Lincoln’s 1864 reelection campaign occurred on August 23, 1864 when he drafted the so-called “Blind Memorandum.”
    • EXAMPLE QUESTION:  Was Abraham Lincoln feeling depressed or determined when he speculated in August 1864 about losing the upcoming presidential contest?

Once again, students should employ a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, but now benefiting from the online platform, they should strive to find ways to provide full-text access to primary sources whenever available.

  • Consider using the course web guides as models for sharing access to sources

Most important, students should also strive to engage classroom audiences with visual and multi-media tools such as timelines and short videos.

  • Students may incorporate revised versions of their previously submitted multi-media appendixes.  They may also attempt to use other tools like Google Maps, podcasts, etc.  

Students may embed and curate multi-media elements from outside sources, but they must take care to credit and caption those sources properly.

  • Credits offer short acknowledgments of sources (Library of Congress) or (House Divided Project at Dickinson College).  Captions provide brief descriptions of images or multi-media.

All text content at the student-produced websites should be original and cited with Chicago-style footnotes.

Students should submit a link to their website by email to Prof. Pinsker.  Late projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.

Weebly guidance

  • Building websites in Weebly is easy –and free.  Just make sure you sign up for the free version of the site and pick the “subdomain” URL that allows for Weebly branding (e.g.  NOTE: sometimes your desired subdomain URL is not available.  Just keep trying.
  • PRIVACY:  Your Weebly sites can be kept essentially private if you change the SEO settings on your web pages to “Discourage Search Engines”
  • All websites should have at least three content pages: e.g. Background, Campaign, Election Day.  All sites should also have a separate home page that describes both the nature of the project (class and semester) and the author (grad year and major).

Model Sites

Finally, here are some model student-produced Weebly sites culled from the Student Hall of Fame.  Take special notice of how these students organized their content toward teaching goals.  Also, pay attention to the ways they employed embedded images, multi-media resources, and hypertext links to primary sources.

On Storytelling

Try to surprise your readers.  See this advice on storytelling from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns:

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.

Video Tutorials

Creating and embedding short documentary-style videos into your websites is one of the best ways to enhance the learning potential of your website.

  • STUDENT MODEL:  Slave Stampede (Narrated by Liz McCreary)
  • STUDENT MODEL:  Roger Taney (Narrated by Sarah Goldberg)
  • STUDENT MODEL:  Moncure Conway (Narrated by Sam Weisman)
  • Students may chose to convert part of their paper (such as the opening paragraphs) into a video narration, or they may craft an original script
  • Consider using the free version of the online platform WeVideo, but you may also consider relying on software such as iMovie or Windows Moviemaker –but just remember that sharing those videos will require you to post them first at an online platform like YouTube.  
  • Remember to provide CLEAR audio narration.  Usually, you can achieve good sound quality simply by recording into your cell phone in a quiet room.  Just speak close to the phone, vary your tone and pacing, and try to sound natural.  
  • 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.
  • Finally, make sure your images, music and sound effects are in the public domain and properly credited at the end of your video.  You can find lots of examples of compelling short documentary videos at the House Divided Project YouTube channel.

Other Multi-Media Tutorials