Welcome to Social Chronicles

FALL 2018
Tuesdays and Thursday
11:00am-12:15pm EST

Course Description
In this course, student teams from three COPLAC institutions will design websites archiving historical events and community engagement at local organizations. Each student will visit a local site as part of the 10 hour service learning/community engagement component. Student teams will research histories and cultures at the site, engage as volunteers in these select communities, and showcase personal experiences and revelations using digital tools. Each student group will apply symbols and music to create a timeline and chronicle meaningful organizational traditions. The student groups will use multiple digital tools and assignments to represent personal community-centered projects during the synchronous digital classroom experience.

Learning Objectives
Digital Learning Outcomes: Each student will:

  • Develop a familiarity with diverse methods and processes of digital liberal arts and utilization of technological resources in research, data analysis, and presentation,
  • Work together cooperatively and creatively,
  • Conduct research in a variety of settings and media,
  • Demonstrate application of critical analysis, written, and oral communication skills through the website and oral presentations, and
  • Gain an understanding of the course subject and content and to effectively communicate the content to the public using digital technology.

Subject-matter Outcomes: Each student will:

  • Identify and develop history of a local community,
  • Engage with a local community activity or event, and
  • Develop a comprehensive web-resource archiving the history of a local community, the student’s interaction with the community, and the impact the community engagement experience made on the student.

Tina Holmes-Davis, Assistant Professor of Music Education, Georgia College
Office Hours: 12:25-1:50pm EST and by appointment

Chiquita Howard-Bostic, Associate Professor of Sociology, Shepherd University
Office Hours: 10:00-11:00am EST and by appointment

Course Expectations: Students are expected to read all assigned readings, complete independent research tasks, participate in all synchronous class sessions/discussions, and meet with professors as needed or by request. Students are also responsible for submitting all project drafts and the final product by the designated due date.

Texts: All readings for this semester will be made available in a password protected Google drive folder.

“password protected”

Learning the Digital Tools: The website project is central to this course. Much of what you learn will be about using digital technology to create your website. We want to cultivate a sense of self-reliance as you work with these digital tools. When you have a question or encounter a problem, ask the instructors and attempt to find the answer yourself through the WordPress Codex or other online resources. You should also use your fellow students as resources.

COURSE COMPONENTS: The six course components include (1) class participation/synchronous online discussions, (2) community engagement, (3) symbolic frame, (4) blog/vlogs, (5) a historical chronicle, and (6) a final webpage and presentation:

(1) Class Participation/Synchronous Online Discussions (100 points): Students are expected to read all assigned material and/or complete assigned tasks prior to attending classes. Class participation includes active involvement in synchronous class discussions in 10 modules (H15 – 70 points). Students will also prepare experiential notes (mini blogs) on their personal sites to document their experiences in 5 course modules (H16 – 30 points). As needed, students should identify questions or notes  (parallels, problems, factual questions, reminders of past readings, connections to ideas from other classes or from “real life”) to discuss during office hours both before and after the synchronous session. Additionally, students may present 2-3 minute project updates periodically throughout the semester. All students are required to sign a “course contract” at the start of the course as part of their class participation

(2) Community Engagement (200 points): Community engagement integrates service learning with reflection to enrich learning experiences, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities. The community engagement hours will include interactions with employees, volunteers, and participants. The goal of the engagement experience is for students to document the historical events and to understand the current situation of the community group and community.  Each student will complete 10 required community engagement hours at a community organization. The four core themes to explore during the engagement hours include: (1) collecting information about events [2 hours], (2) becoming aware of the community culture and symbols [2 hours], (3) establishing a timeline of organizational development [4 hours], and (4) uncovering a representation of related music/sound and energy (mood) over time [2 hours]. Students will focus on one of these core themes in their experience blogs. The community engagement hours will include contact and communication with employees, volunteers, and participants. Students will collect information about major events including (event location, purpose of the event, and outcome) to add to the experience map. Community engagement includes the submission of a site selection form (H1 – 20 points), mission statement (H3 – 30 points), and the Community Engagement Experience (CEE) timesheet (H6 – 150 points). The information collected during the engagement hours will serve as exploratory research for the Chronicling the Digital Time Capsule data (Timeline JS project) and the Experience Map (Google Fusion project). The symbolic/sound information collected will be added to final website pages.

(3) Symbolic Frame (130 points): Complete the Symbolic Bio (H2 – 30 points), which includes a personal bio for the web page. Students will connect their histories to the organization. Each student team will complete a class presentation of the symbolic frame (H4 – 40 points). Students will complete the Cultural Sounds assignment (H7 – 60 points) to identify related musical selections, the meaning or impact on the community, and its relation to social norms. The “Symbolic Frame” content will be represented on a page on the final project site.

(4) Blogs/Vlog (150 points): Students will create two public blogs and 1 vlog: (1) perspectives cultural awareness blog (H5 – 30 points), (2) community engagement experience (CE) blog (H8 – 60 points), and (3) a final vlog about the project experience (H13 – 60 points). Students will describe values that make up the organizational environment and a ritual that supports a primary cause at the organization. They will also describe their site engagement in a blog by focusing on one of the four core areas of research. Students will create a final vlog to represent their project experiences. Each student will use findings from all homework assignments to craft a very creative visual/audio vlog experience, which will be presented during a synchronous class session along with the final project pages. The blogs/vlog assessments will be public and available on the final course site but will also be introduced as a contribution to each host community organization. They should include only positive or constructive experiences to avoid any negative public representation of an organization (local organizations, COPLAC institutions, or the Mellon Foundation). Students will have an opportunity to discuss all experiences or reflections in writing or during one on one sessions with the instructors. Blogs/journals will be kept private and used to create the final reflection vlog, which will be public. Blogs 1 and 2 will be included on the “Reflection” page of the final project site. The final reflection vlog will be included on the “Final Chapter” page of the final project site.

(5) Historical Chronicle: Digital Time Capsule (190 points): Student groups will conduct primary-source research during the course to create a digital time capsule. Each group will complete a chronicled narrative (H9 – 30 points) and Timeline JS project (H10 – 100 points). Then, a subgroup will be established to create an experience map (Google Fusion) to chronicle the service experiences of each student group (H11 – 60 points). The Timeline JS project will be included on the “Digital Time Capsule” page of the final project site. The Experience map will be located on the final course site.

(6) The Final Project: Website and Presentation (170 points): The final project consists of a project review (H12 – 20 points). One team member will work directly with an instructor to provide feedback and make adjustments to pages. The final website will serve as a digital time capsule to chronicle the course experience (H14 – 150 points). The website will include specific pages displaying community engagement findings (mission/vision), three blog/vlogs (cultural awareness, service, and a project reflection), symbolic frame (culturally-related sound, images, and personal connections), and a historical chronicle (digital time capsule in Timeline JS). Students will present their final web pages to the class. A link to the final webpage resource will be gifted to the community organization.


FINAL GRADES AND ASSIGNMENT DEADLINES:  Mid-semester and final grades will be reported to the instructors of record at each home campus. Course grades will be based upon completion of assignments developing skills in community participation, ethnomusicology, blog/vlog reflecting, historical chronicling, class presentations, and web development. Final grades will be determined based on SIX components (16 assignments and 940 points) listed below:


Grading: All scores for assignments will be based out of a possible 940 points, which are based on the assessments listed above. There are specific deadlines for each assignment.

A =       90-100%    =    846-940 points
B =       80-89%       =    752-845 points
C =       70-79%       =    658-751 points
D =       60-69%       =    564-657 points
F =       below 60    =    less than 564 points

Academic Conduct: If you cheat or plagiarize in this class, you will fail, and we will report the incident to the Instructor-of-Record on your home campus.  On the other hand, having friends or family read and comment on your writing can be extremely helpful and falls within the bounds of proper academic conduct (assuming the writing itself remains yours). If you have questions about these issues, then you should talk to us sooner rather than later.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities:  We are committed to making this course and related activities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you receive services through your Office of Disability Resources or require accommodations for this class, please speak with us as soon as possible to discuss your accommodation needs. We will need a copy of your accommodation letter, if you have one. We will hold any information you share with us in the strictest confidence unless you give us permission to do otherwise. If you need accommodations, please consult with your Office of Disability Resources about the appropriate documentation of a disability.

Assessment: Since this course is supported with a Mellon Foundation grant, students will sign a contract to showcase their consent to engage in the process of exploring various digital learning tools during an organic service learning experience. As students navigate through the digital history experience, they will identify unique tools to add to blog posts, a vlog, and pages exploring ethnomusicology (symbols and sound). Each student will also be asked to participate in one survey before the beginning of the semester and one survey at the end of the semester. Review the “Lesson Plans” below for a step by step guide through each module. These surveys are for information-gathering purposes and will not be a part of the course grade.