The Assignments are designed to help you think through complex ethical issues and the case studies we'll focus on during class. Each assignment should use scholarly sources and your own observations. There are two project this semester broken up over the course of five assignments.

Major Assignment

The class project is to design and build a creator account on a social media channel. This may be TikTok, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Facebook or a podcast (if there’s a different media type you’d like to explore, let me know! For example, some students may prefer to start a Subreddit). You’ll be asked to generate content for your account and write a critique for both the Mid Term and the Final. The content for your account will come from weekly peer interviews and our in-class readings.

Here are some channel ideas (based on our topic this semester). I encourage you to choose any topic that is interesting to you so long as it’s related to the class. The channel ideas below are simply to get you started thinking along the right path.

Channel Idea: A YouTube series or podcast that introduces the basics of political economy and its relevance to digital media. The first few episodes could explore foundational concepts and set the stage for deeper dives in later content.
Channel Idea: TikTok or Reels that creatively interpret Marx’s theory of alienation in the context of current digital media, using examples from popular platforms. A mini-series could be designed where each video tackles one aspect of alienation observed during student interviews.
Channel Idea: A podcast that discusses the ethical implications of new technologies and the transition from Web 2.0 platforms to more decentralized technologies. Students could include interview snippets that reflect their peers' thoughts and experiences.
Channel Idea: A Reels or TikTok channel focusing on the creative economy and the impact of AI on digital media. Content can include short, engaging discussions or dramatizations of how AI is reshaping creativity and labor in digital media.
Channel Idea: A series of podcasts or YouTube videos examining how digital media platforms affect the democratic processes. Students could analyze interviews to discuss how their peers engage with and are influenced by digital media.
Channel Idea: An investigative TikTok or Reels channel that delves into recent cases of misinformation and disinformation. It could use a storytelling format to trace the origins and spread of certain digital media narratives.

Weekly Assignment

Each week, you’ll be asked to turn in your notes on reading and interviews for the week. These comprise the grades of your 📌Interview Project (Weekly Journal) (20%). This is taken from your annotations in and your weekly interviews. I’ll give time in class to complete both and turn them in. However, I expect you to do the readings prior to class on Tuesday.


📌Mid Term (20%)📌Final Assignment (20%)📌Group Class Facilitation (20%)📌Interview Project (Weekly Journal) (20%)📌Presentation (20%)

Grading Scales & Rubrics

Grading Rubric

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A WorkB WorkC WorkD & F

Your writing is clear, but needs a little polish. You're missing one requirement.

Your writing isn't entirely clear and you're missing more than one requirement.

We should discuss your grade

A few more rounds of editing and you'll be ready to publish

Work on the structure and developing a clear thesis to improve

Let's set up some time to talk

Qualities of an A Paper

Clear Thesis
  • Essay controlled by a clear, precise, well-defined thesis: is sophisticated in both statement and insight
  • Explicitly connects the prompt insightfully to context
Thesis is fully developed
  • Cogent analysis
  • Shows command of interpretive and conceptual tasks required by assignment and course materials
  • Ideas are original and insightful
  • Building on discussion, lecture, and reading assignments
  • Persuasive reasoning develops and support thesis
Evidence for argument is clear
  • Examines the topic and its context deeply and carefully in order to inform thoughtful analysis
  • Well-chosen examples from assigned readings support development of thesis
  • You're showing, not telling
Logical structure that's easy to follow
  • Clear introduction and conclusion paragraphs
  • Arrangement of paragraphs seems particularly apt
  • Appropriate, clear and smooth transitions
  • Excellent use of topic sentences
  • Avoids "absolutes" in statements and defaults to accurate phrases
Mechanics and Format
  • Uses sophisticated sentences effectively (not necessarily long or complex sentences)
  • Usually chooses words aptly
  • Observe conventions of written English
  • Few minor or technical errors
  • Using active verbs as opposed to adverbs
  • Use active sentences as opposed to passive sentences


Writing Style for Political Econ

I expect all papers and essays to follow academic and professional best practices. We'll discuss these practices at length during class, but this means that you should be writing in a formal tone (think Pew Research or Data & Society as opposed to Reddit or Buzzfeed).

Please remember to:

  • Use Active Sentences
  • Refrain from the second person (no "you" in your papers)
  • Write in complete sentences and paragraphs
  • Limit your use of meaningless adjectives and adverbs
  • Do Not add filler just to hit the word count (I don't want to read it and you don't want to write it). Filler is painfully obvious to everyone involved.

Formatting Basics

  • 12 Point Font
  • Times New Roman
  • MS Word or Google Docs
  • MLA Citation or Chicago
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