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Case Study: China in Transition

CHIN 481. Professor John Crespi, Colgate University

Please provide the course description as it appears in the catalog and the typical enrollment for the course.

This course focuses on topics central to the social, economic, and political transitions in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and China. It takes an interdisciplinary approach to such topics as family life, education, rural and urban life, tourism, ethnic diversity, and ecology. Readings, video viewing, guest lectures, and discussions focus on and are supplemented by real-life experiences such as school, farm, and temple visits; factory tours; and possibly urban and rural home stays. The goal is to arrive at understanding through both analysis and experience.

What are the learning goals of the media assignment(s) in the course. If your course assignments contain both analysis and creative production components, describe the learning goals of each.

Explore a specific aspect of life in Beijing using digital technology.

What are the relationships of the media assignment(s) to the other aspects of the course?

Option for final project--instead of written paper.

Describe your assignment design/structure.

10-12 page research paper or media project on a topic of special interest to you. The research paper you must:

  1. be double-spaced with source citations and bibliography;
  2. provide an original thesis statement followed by substantially supported, focused argument;
  3. include a descriptive and intriguing title;
  4. be written in error-free, clear, and smoothly-flowing prose. You may focus on the materials used in class or choose an independent topic.

The file format is: lastname-CT-FP.doc or lastname-AT-FP (for China in Transition or Arts in Transition, respectively.)

The project will be graded in two parts: 10% for the draft (handed in Friday April 27); 30% for the Final Project itself.

Thursday March 22: Declare Final Project Topic in class (orally)
Friday April 27: Bring draft to individual discussion meeting with me. Comments and suggestions provided orally.
Thursday May 3: Final Project Due
Times will be arranged to meet individually with me (or in your group for group AV projects) on Friday April 27 to go over your draft.

To what extent does your assignment design address issues of visual/aural literacy?


To what extent does your assignment design address issues of information literacy?

Less than a written paper, I would say.

To what extent does your assignment design address issues of technology skills?

Intensive use. Students mostly work it out on their own, though I make sure that some have used video and video technology in preceding language classes. I let the students teach one another for the most part.

What are the resources necessary for your assignment (content/materials, institutional support, equipment)?

Digital still cameras, 2 digital camcorders, 1 cheap tripod, 2 12" Mac laptops, 2 USB mikes.

Describe how you evaluated the project outcomes? Did you evaluate process? Outcomes? Both?

Process and outcome. I find that a good outcome is only possible when students really apply themselves to the process of doing background research, writing voiceovers, gathering data, editing, etc. All the same, I put a good bit of weight on process.

Estimate the time invested in the project by you, your students, and academic support staff.

Students all said that the digital projects took much longer than a paper project. They were much more engaging on many levels.

How many times have you taught this course/assignment? What would you do differently next time?

Once on the study group. I'd certainly do it again, only this time I could show some Potemkin Village samples of previous work so that students know the sort of standards to attain to.

What is your level of expertise with respect to media technologies and scholarship?

Above average. I use it a lot in my research and play with it frequently.

An instructor created model, instructor comments and students projects can be found here.