Multi-Media Exhibit

Due by Friday, December 6, 2019 at 5pm

Annotated Assignment Guidelines

By Friday, December 6, students will be required to build multi-media teaching website (in the free platform Weebly) that uses a historical figure from the Dickinson & Slavery exhibit as a compelling gateway for teaching and learning. Websites should have at least three main components (in addition to a home page): a biographical page, a creative page, and a public memory page.

  • The home page should feature about 150 words describing the project and the author.  If relevant, you should also use the page to acknowledge any special assistance from peer reviewers or technical support.
  • The project description can offer an interpretation or ask an essential question, but it should aspire to tie together the three main components of the project into a coherent message about how to study and commemorate this figure from the larger story of Dickinson’s ties to slavery and anti-slavery.

The biographical page should include a biographical essay on the subject that explains his or her connection to the story of American slavery.

  • Revised versions of this essay could be shortened, but all should be improved and illustrated (with properly captioned and credited images) and contain Chicago-style footnotes and the Sources section overview at the end.
  • Useful embedded multi-media tools might include a short overview video, Google map, or TimelineJS.  These embedded resources can be either curated from other sources or produced on your own.

The creative page should feature at least one creative exercise inspired by the subject (literary, visual, musical, etc.).

  • Again, this creative exercise can be shortened from earlier efforts, but it’s now very important to provide an adequate headnote at the top of this page that fully describes the rationale for providing a creative snapshot of the subject.  Usually this involves explaining a key moment in the subject’s life and why the existing primary sources are limited in nature and how important (but challenging) it is to imagine the voice and outlook of the subject.
  • Useful embedded multi-media tools for this page might include an image gallery showing actual primary sources before introducing your fictionalized efforts
  • Make sure to distinguish and clearly demarcate the creative or fictional element that follows the headnote and any image gallery or embedded multi-media resource.
  • No footnotes are required in the section, but there should be a descriptive Sources section following the creative exercise that fully explains the primary and secondary sources which informed the creative work and any specific details contained within.

The public memory page should feature a persuasive essay that explains where the subject fits within the larger challenges of commemorating slavery at Dickinson.

  • Again, the revised persuasive essay can be shortened here, but it should be improved, illustrated and properly cited with Chicago-style footnotes.

Students are encouraged to revise one or more of their earlier writing assignments for this website. All sites should include text with Chicago-style footnotes, and supplemented with properly credited and captioned images.

  • Final reminder –previously submitted essays can be shortened or altered in any way deemed relevant by the student author, but all of them should be revised and improved based on earlier instructor evaluations.  No page should be shorter than 2 to 3 pages of text (about 500 to 750 words).  They can be longer.

Students who create and embed well-developed multi-media resources at their sites –such as online maps, timelines, podcasts, or videos– may receive up to 5 points extra credit.

  • See the resources below for video tutorials on all of these tools.

Websites may also incorporate multi-media elements from external sources, but students must acknowledge and properly credit all of those sources. Late projects will be penalized up to 5 points per day.


Here are some student-produced Weebly models to consider:

See also these examples of multi-media resources in action:

Exhibits will be evaluated on the basis of research effort, general analysis and clear prose and design. The very best exhibits will also demonstrate real skill in story-telling.  See this advice on story from documentary filmmaker Ken Burns:

Ken Burns: On Story from Redglass Pictures on Vimeo.


  • Make sure your site is published to the web but discourage search engines from indexing to protect your privacy.  You can find these settings in the SEO settings on each of your Weebly pages.
  • 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 Weebly platform.
  • 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.

Featured Tutorials