9104 Course Outline

The Social Media & Digital Production Dojo (Fall 2019)

Tentative Course Schedule

Course: MMJC 9104
Title: The Social Media & Digital Production Dojo
Times: Wednesday, 9-noon
Location: FNB 3050 (9-10ish am), FBN 3010 (10ish-11:50 am)
Lecturer: Mark Rayner
Contact: Email: marayner@uwo.ca Twitter: @markarayner
Office Hours: Wed. noon-1:30 pm
NFB 4063, or by appointment


This course introduces you to some of the technologies you will need to excel in integrated media environments, including social media. In addition, you will learn concepts of visual communications, adapting to new technologies, and user-centered design which will enable you to be more effective communicators and journalists. We will also learn strategies for anticipating technological shifts and how to respond to them through your own work.

My hope is to show you enough technologies that you’ll start to get comfortable with all of them. It’s a lifelong journey we’re starting here.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, you will:

  1. have a familiarity with, and a capacity to use social media and digital tools for storytelling of all kinds
  2. understand how to learn new software and digital technologies
  3. evaluate the principles of ethical, user-centered design, and to analyze how technologies are constructed for optimal communication
  4. have basic HTML/CSS coding skills
  5. understand the basics of visual communication and be able to create images and infographics to tell stories.

It’s not rocket science, but it takes work:

You’ll note that there is no set text for this course. There are readings, podcasts and videos, but I’d like you to spend as much time as possible playing with technology. Learning technology is like learning a musical instrument, you can’t just show up for the lesson and expect to get any good. Please keep this in mind when planning your term. Note: I recommend that you have a memory stick so that you can always have a backup of your work!
rocket science

Sharing our ideas: the eval breakdown

Participation 15%
Exercises 20%
Story Proposal 15%
Infographic or Election 15%
Integrated Story 35%

Brilliant ideas from all!

Professionalism & Participation (15%)

You are expected to be at all meetings of the group and to be on time — just like you would in a work environment. Active participation in all classes, discussions and group work is also expected. You will be evaluated on the quantity and quality of your contributions to in-class discussions and to the intellectual life of the class. If you are clearly, consistently and respectfully engaged with the course, you will be rewarded.

Canadaland logo

As part of this professionalism component, I would like you all to listen to Canadaland Short Cuts, hosted by Jesse Brown.I would describe this as the “inside baseball” podcast about Canadian media. He has good guests on regularly, and a perspective on media that skews towards the digital.You can find the podcasts here: http://www.canadalandshow.com/shows/shortcuts

Note: This mark will include one 5% pop quiz. The quiz will feature questions about that week’s assigned reading, podcasts, videos etc., and it will be unscheduled.

Exercises (20%)                   Due: December 4

Exercises are worth a variety of points and will be marked on a pass/fail basis — in other words, if you tackle the exercise, you will get the points. NOTE: An important part of completing the exercise is getting it posted to your website (which we’ll build in our second week), and linking from your homepage to the exercise. You will not get the marks if this is not done. We’ll have a full listing of all the exercises on the class website. If you do not complete the exercise in the allotted lab time, you can complete the exercise on your own. The Exercises mark includes your self-directed work with #MMJC10DoT, the Burli workshop, and building your professional selfie (your portfolio). Check out the Exercises page for a full break-down of the exercises and their value in grades.

Sweet, short story proposal (15%)     Due: October 9

Write a short (500 word) pitch of the integrated media story that you would like to produce for your final project. In the description, please include the following information and analysis:

  • Audience: who is the intended audience for the story?
  • Content: what is the content you would like to produce? What is the news hook or value? How are you going to gather the information? (Interviews, research, surveys, etc.) If you are planning to produce a communications piece, what is the communications issue you are trying to solve? (Note: a communications plan is not a story.)
  • Anchor media: what is the primary delivery media for the story, if any.
  • Supporting media and integration: what other forms would you like to use. How are you planning to integrate them with the main form of the story. If you plan on creating a fully integrated story, how will that work?
  • Social media: what role could social media play in this story, if any? Explain how you would get the world to know about the story.
  • Metadata: what are the keywords, phrases, and tags you will use?

You can check out some examples of integrated stories from students over the past few years.

EITHER Election LiveTweet w/Twitter Story (15%) Due: October 23

As this is an election year, I thought I’d give you an opportunity to live tweet the event. Cover the election from any angle that you want, as a live event. Possible ideas: go to a campaign headquarters and report the evening’s events from there; find a special interest group or club that is celebrating the election and cover from that perspective; get person-on-the-street reactions as the results come in from a coffee shop or bar; perhaps shadow a candidate or member of their election team to see how they react to the results. Collect your tweets from election night into a story so I can see them all in one place later.

Delicious data infographic (15%)    Due: November 27*

Research, compile and visualize an infographic or data visualization that you can share with the class via Twitter and other social media. Your infographic will incorporate (at least) 5 pieces of data and do the following:

  • Correctly identify the sources of the data
  • Properly visualize the information so that it can be understood at a glance
  • Stand on its own without an accompanying story
  • Have a thoughtful use of colour, typography and layout
  • Can be read easily (legibility)

You can use whatever technology you would like to create the infographic, including free services such as Pictochart.

*You can also elect to miss this deadline, and simply include the infographic in your final integrated story.

Robot approved: integrated story (25%)    Due: December 11

Create your first integrated media story. You can choose to create a work of digital journalism or a communications piece. If the latter, your proposal must include the communications issue you are trying to solve, in a short comms plan (See OWL for a sample.) Integrated storytelling is not simply just an anchor medium “plus” some other media. (For example, a text article with an accompanying graphic or video added as an afterthought.) Ideally, these will be pieces of work wherein the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. So, think in terms of creating a story in which the variety of media will create a synthesis of ideas, where more is communicated because of the methods used. You may use any platform and technology you wish to create this project, but it must be an original work and any data used must be properly sourced

Note: you may incorporate your infographic into your final integrated story, if you would like to get double-duty out of some of your research and reporting time.



Submitting Assignments:

Except for the pitch, which I’d like handed in on paper, please leave a PDF (not a Word file) with a link to your assignments in your drop box on OWL.

Estimated Hours Outside Class:

Readings & Other Prep: 12 -17 hrs; Canadaland: 8 hrs; Exercises & Workshops: 10 hrs; 10DoT: 3 hrs; Infographic or Election: 6-8 hrs; Proposal: 6 hrs; Portfolio/SM Profile: 5 hrs; Final Project: 20-25 hrs.

Total: 70-82 hrs

The Schedule

I’m planning to bring in guest lecturers during course, so that tends to make scheduling fairly fluid. You can go check it out here. And any changes to deadlines will also be listed on this site. You will want to bookmark it!

its all listed here'


Western University: Faculty of Information & Media Studies

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes