Joining the Vlogosphere

Points
Up to 30

Abstract
Students will produce video blog posts that offer a notable engagement with ideas, trends, or issues related to our course focus and/or course practices.

Prerequisites
– Complete all Level 1 Assignments

Completion
To complete this assignment, students need to make a Video Blog Post (3:30-6:00 minutes in length [no more, no less]) that offers a genuine engagement with course content, practices, design, activities, assignments, and so on. To count, students need to upload their videos to YouTube or Vimeo (or some other approved video hosting service), embed the video inside a blog post on our course blogsite (w350rhetoricplaygames.wordpress.com), and tag that post with at least 5 keywords or tags to help identify the content/focus of the post.

Star Reward
Students who successfully complete this assignment will be eligible to for a Star Reward Bonus Roll.

Assignment Description
We are seeing video continue to rise as a mode of expository expression. From crafted documentaries to podcasts, vlogging communities to video conferencing, writing/thinking/speaking via video is increasingly a skill set many people possess or need to possess in today’s culture (for both personal and professional benefit). To this end, this assignment asks students to familiarize themselves with video blogging as a way of engaging course content, practices, and ideologies.

These posts are meant to offer genuine engagements—to be reflections, critiques, or creative responses to any number of rhetoric, play, or game related issues. As such, these are not just opportunities for students to tell us how well they like a particular game or how much they dislike a design. Rather, these are more on the analysis-to-argument spectrum in that there is an expectation in these assignments that students have put in some thought to the content and focus of the vlog before doing the recording.

As a kind of set of starting points, students might consider any one of the following prompts for their blogs:

  • In what ways do course readings X and Y (and/or Z) connect, and how might we use those connections to make sense of this class or other classes, or our course game or other games?
  • How do you understand the concept of play? How does this fit with readings and/or definitions from the class?
  • Take one concept from class discussions (e.g., game mechanics or game skins) and talk about this concept in some depth, exploring it in relation to common games.
  • Explore a current issue or trend in the gaming industry. Tell us what that issue is, where it is coming from, what is it’s impetus, and/or why is it important?
  • Look into the connection between games and narrative (exploring games as narratology), and offer some insight in relation to this pairing (and support these insights).
  • How is transmediation (games to movies, movies to games, books to games, books to movies to games, etc.) impacting the gaming industry? Or, in this same line, offer an exposition on a particular artifact that has manifested in multiple formats (i.e., What happens to Lara Croft once she is portrayed by Angelina Jolie?)

These questions and prompts are by no means an exhaustive list. Rather, they are meant as just a few among the many kinds of inquiries and engagements students might pursue for vlog posts.

Evaluation
Vlogs for this initial assignment will be assessed in terms of their depth of engagement, their insightfulness, and their potential impact on our course. Additionally, there will be a basic expectation of view-ability—meaning, vlogs that have technical or performance issue that prevent an audience from being able to hear, see, or understand what is being offered will not count. And last, vlogs will be assessed on their ability to stay within the guidelines of the assignment (one second short of or one second over the time limit will result in a failure to meet the expectations of the assignment, which will be a failure of the assignment).

Goals
The goal of this assignment is to familiarize students with basic video-making skills, to provide additional ways for students to engage the course (in all its varieties), and to create a path (though somewhat strenuous) to additional class rewards.

Vlogging Guidelines
Students who have successfully completed the “Joining the Vlogosphere” assignment have the option to produce additional vlog posts for Course Rewards (see chart below). To this end, students may only produce one vlog post per week, and each post must adhere to the same basic expectations of the “Joining the Vlogosphere” assignment in order for students to receive credit for the posts. Vlogs are to be posted to the course blogsite by 5pm Monday evening of the week in which they are to receive credit.

Vlog posts that meet all these guidelines will earn students 1 one Star/Bonus reward roll of a 20-sided die, with the reward corresponding to the number on Star/Bonus reward roll chart (see Course/Game Rules page for chart).

“Popular” bonus – Vlog posts that receive over 1000 views will earn a +4 diamond bonus for the authoring student. Note, however, that the instructor reserves the right to deny this reward (and/or pull the post from the site) if the vlog in question is designed to be inflammatory or is ethically problematic.

Instant Assignment Completion
Cost: 2 Diamonds

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