Tips on Formulating a Prospectus

Good afternoon everyone. It’s about one week from the midway point in the semester.   Scary, I know. Kelly and I have asked you to begin forming ideas for an end of the semester project that synthesizes some of the major ideas we’ve been talking about this semester.  According to the class syllabus:

The final project should be a significant extension of the ideas of our course. You can develop a scholarly or creative project that synthesizes what we have discovered during the semester.  You can write an essay, produce an oral history, direct a short video or podcast, create illustrations, or do something else.  You can develop your ideas individually or in collaboration with other students.  We will provide guidance to help you articulate a project, but in general, we are placing the responsibility on you to create something interesting, innovative, and relevant.

So what does this look like, and what do we expect when you turn in your topic prospectus this week?  Although nothing is hard and fast, here are some guidelines that may help you out:

1.  Try to be as clear as possible about the intellectual questions you will ask in your project.  Each project will be different, but in some way, you should address some of the following questions in some form: what is at stake? How does this project relate to the national parks or representations of national parks, and why should a generally educated audience care about what you have to say?

2.  Speak with specificity about what you will do.  This is your chance to stake out something creative.  What tools or platforms will you use?  How will you circulate your ideas?  What makes your project engaging?  How will we know that your project is befitting of an “end of the semester” synthesis?

3.  Situate your project in academic conversations that have already taken place.  Demonstrate that you are aware of research that has already been done on your topic.  No matter what you work on, you may want to include a working bibliography, a list of sources and ideas, and notes.  Show how you position yourself in relation to other thinkers.

4.  Tie together multiple cultural artifacts.  In addition to outlining your ideas, you may want to mention or include additional cultural artifacts–songs, movies, paintings, photos, apps, borchures, websites, articles–that extend your reach.

5.  Basics.  Your prospects should be at least a 1000 word blog post and include the following:

  • Working Title
  • Medium or tools (or a description of what you will do)
  • Names of collaborators
  • Timeline and plan of action
  • Brief list of resources being consulted
  • Write an individual blog post and tag it “Topic Prospectus”
  • Respond to the ideas of at least 3 other groups in the comments

Ideas for Projects

Researched Essay

  • Audio Narrative
  • Video Documentary
  • Curated Collection of Art
  • Artistic Creations (photo essays, sculptures, drawings)
  • Digital Stories
  • Concept Map
  • A Creative Manifesto

It’s up to you!  Use your imagination.

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