Self-Guided Skills Development

Due Date: Friday, March 16, 2018

Submission Instructions: Submit in Link and Statement in Your Box.com Folder

Assignment Description:

For this assignment, you will choose an area of interest and twenty hours of self-guided, deliberate practice in order to learn more about one of the focal areas of the course: web design (html/css), image design (Adobe Photoshop), or sound production/editing (Audible). You will build core competencies related your topic of choice and reflect on the process of self-guided study. Think of this assignment as an apprenticeship in the art of learning to learn. Reflecting on how you learn will make skills acquisition easier and more rewarding.

This assignment will provide an opportunity to pursue your own interests. It emphasizes the core literacies and habits of mind that will help you throughout the spring. These skills will also inform your work for the final portfolio assignment.

To achieve an A on this assignment, you must complete the following components:

By Tuesday, February 13: Pick a Focal Area and a Topic

The three focal areas for the course are web design (html/css), image design (Adobe Photoshop), and sound production/editing (Audible). Once you have chosen one of these areas, narrow your focus to a theme or an idea. If you've chosen sound production/editing, maybe your topic would be podcasting or sound effects in film. Likewise, a web-based focal area could lead you to think more about effective web design in the media industry or best practices for creating enticing links. A great deal of customization is allowed here, but you are strongly encouraged to settle on a topic before you write your first post.

By Friday, February 16: Build a Preliminary Curriculum [Post 1]

For this step, a bulleted list is just fine. Go through Lynda.com list of tutorials , as well as the weekly calendar, and flag some items that relate to your topic. Do your own searching and add tutorials, lessons, articles, Youtube videos, etc. that relate to what you want to learn. Sketch out a rough plan for how much time you anticipate spending on each item. Put a little pressure on yourself to be concrete, but be willing to revise later. The goal is specificity, not finality. 10-15 bullet points, at minimum. This list should be represented in your first post.

By Friday, March 2: Complete 20 Hours of Deliberate Practice ... Submit Reflection Posts with Log Friday, 2/23 [Post 2] and Friday, 3/2 [Post 3]

I have provided a template for your learning log, but you should build on the look and feel of the template in a way that matches your personal style. The log sheet asks you to account for how you spent your time and to reflect on your choices. Visit this log for at least a few minutes every time you sit down to work. It will be the primary instrument by which I measure your engagement. It will also become a valuable source for you when you write your final reflection. Did I mention that you should fill it out as you go? I'm serious. You should fill it out as you go and include an updated version in your Feb. 23 and March 2 posts.

Tips for Success

By Tuesday, March 13: Write Final Reflection on the Process (750-1000 words)

This section is your chance to reflect on the assignment as a whole. Sum up and generalize about your experiences. Talk about what worked and what didn't. Talk about time management, tutorials, where you parked yourself to study. Did you use headphones? Did you get advice from your roommate? What would you change if you could start over? Bring a copy of your reflection to class.

Tips for Success

By Friday, March 16: Put it All Together on Your Individual Website [Post 4]

At this stage, you will have already built a personal website for the course and added a link for the self-guided skills assignment. You will already have links for your first three posts. Now you should add your final learning log and your final reflection to the website. At this stage, you should also make sure all your links work, and that the various pages of your self-guided learning assignment come together to form a logical whole. This might involve creating a clear submenu that takes users through the project, or even adding "previous" and "next" links to individual pages. In general, a user should be able to move around effortlessly without needing to press the "back" button.

(You may also wish to differentiate the self-guided learning assignment portion of your website from the rest of the site by designing it using distinct CSS rules. This is a decision you will have to make for yourself.)

Grading Rubric

I will use the course's primary descriptive, non-numerical rubric for this assignment. It includes the following criteria:


Item Description
Assignment Process: Evaluates whether students have followed directions properly. All materials are turned in on time and in the right place. Assignment directions are followed. Required components are all present and submitted on time.
Attention to Detail in Writing and/or Code: Language shows thought, precision, and control in word choice. Uses forms of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and syntax that are appropriate for published work. Demonstrates careful attention to proofreading. For websites, links work properly, images display, all html tags terminate properly. Page design renders as intended.
Interface Functionality and Design: Interface is easy to navigate and aesthetically balanced. Appears to be designed with an overall vision or sense of purpose. Data visualizations or interactives are clearly contextualized and show evidence of attention to design. Features that may seem out of place are well contextualized in written materials.
Synthesis of Form and Content: Digital functionality extends research in some way. Clear connections between design and subject matter. Approach conveys care and creativity. Work successfully imagines its audience and choices seem consistent with that audience. Elements that may seem out of balance are discussed in written materials.
Evidence of Effort: Supplementary statements and process assignments clarify and contextualize choices. Work shows no signs of last-minute, unresolved complications. Student has shown the professor drafts in office hours or during studio blocks.