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Module 2: Critical Thinking

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Critical Thinking Assignment (125 Points)

Important! Read First

Choose one of the following two assignments to complete this week. Do not do both assignments. Identify your assignment choice in the title of your submission.

Option #1: Know Your Meme! Exploring and Evaluating Media and Media Theories

New media, digital communication, and the internet have changed how we consume information. In fact, we don’t just consume media but instead reshape and deliver information/media to other audiences, who then may remix it again.

A perfect example of this is internet memes. Sometimes referred to as an internet fad or phenomenon, an internet meme is most often an activity, concept, and catchphrase that is often delivered in a piece of media. It then gains popularity and quickly spreads online. The sharing and remixing of internet memes often take place through social networking sites and blogs that post, remix, and repost the popular memes, thereby reinforcing their popularity.

Still not sure you understand memes? Think of Gangnam Style, the success kid, or one of the many lolcatsmemes. You’ve been encountering memes and may not have even realized it!

For this assignment, you will complete the following:

Part 1:

Visit www.knowyourmeme.com, and analyze the various memes on the site. Why do you think these memes gather audience attention and participation? What features do they all share? How does each meme invite participation beyond viewing the image or video clip? Select 3-4 media/communication theories we’ve explored so far and discuss how memes relate to and/or contradict those theories.

Part 2:

Create your own idea for an internet meme that you think would be widely emulated and shared online. Discuss what features from Part 1 you would include and how you would encourage audiences to extend your meme by copying its idea. If you have video or photo editing software, enact your idea by creating the meme and posting it online. Include the link in your assignment submission. Select 3-4 media/communication theories we’ve explored so far and discuss how your meme and the act of creating your meme relate to and/or contradict those theories.

Requirements:

  • Include research from at least 3 scholarly sources. In addition, you may use the course required readings.
  • Write a 4-5 page paper, not counting the required title and reference pages.
  • Your paper must be formatted according to the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA Requirements. You can find additional helpful guides on making presentations in the CSU-Global Library.

Option #2: Spotlight on Digital Issues: The Photo Essay

A photo essay is an arrangement of images used to tell a story to an audience or express a real-life event. Often, the images provide an emotionally charged narrative that captures details that the written word cannot. These photographs are arranged in a specific order to tell this story, usually chronologically.

For this assignment, you will produce a photo essay that makes an argument regarding the topic/issue you selected for the Final Portfolio Project.

Once you have chosen your topic, you must develop a photo essay containing the following elements:

  • The message of your essay (3-5 sentences)
  • A lead photo (first) to help communicate your main message and caption
  • A scene or related photo (second) to help identify the issue and caption
  • “Portrait” or elaboration photos (you need at least three) of the issue and captions
  • Detail photos (you need two) and captions
  • Action photos (at least one but no more than two) illustrating the in action practice and captions
  • A close-up photo (you need two) illustrating nuances/complexities of the issue and captions
  • The clincher photo (last photo) and caption
  • A final reflection paragraph where you discuss the challenges you encountered while composing this photo essay, the successes of the essay, and how your experience “composing” this photo essay compares and contrasts to the traditional essays you have written in the past.

You are strongly encouraged to take your own photos for this essay! However, if you do use images from the Internet, consider using Creative Commons or Wikimedia Commons to locate images licensed for reuse.

Requirements:

  • Include research from at least 3 scholarly sources. In addition, you may use the course required readings.
  • Write a 4-5 page paper, not counting the required title and reference pages.
  • Your paper must be formatted according to the CSU-Global Guide to Writing and APA Requirements. You can find additional helpful guides on making presentations in the CSU-Global Library.

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