Courtesy: Boston Museum of Science


Rhetoric of the Internet

Spring 2004

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Group Assignment #1

Group Assignment #2

Group Assignment #3

Website Analysis

Impact of Internet

Final Exam

Class Discussion

Weighting of Grades


Academic Integrity


James F. Klumpp

Department of Communication

College of Arts and Humanities

University of Maryland


Group Assignment #3: The Internet and Democracy


This assignment is designed to learn practical issues of the internet and democracy through working on a specific democratically oriented website.

Step by Step Procedure Recommendation

This assignment involves the planning and execution of a website design. The website you will be working on will be different for each of the groups. but the basic assignment is the same.

Step 1: Research and Preparation

  • Read the material from Anderson and Cornfield and/or Shedletsky and Aitken relevant to your topic.
  • As a group, discuss what other research is needed to prepare you to make the important decisions about your website. Draw up a plan for doing that research.

Step 2: Develop a website plan

Develop answers to the following questions:

  • What is your overall goal for the website?
  • What are the objectives (there always be more than one) that you wish to accomplish with the website to help you reach your goal?
  • What are your informational objectives? What are your persuasive objectives? What are your framing objectives?
  • Who are your users? Do an analysis of the users for your site. What are your user's interests? beliefs?
  • How will you build your users into a group? That is, how will you assure your users return to the site?
  • What is the strategy of your site navigation? Design your site navigation from the home page.

Step 3: Develop your website

  • Put together the website to satisfy this plan.
  • As you encounter new issues in designing the site, revise your website plan
  • Remember the assignment here involves rhetorical choices. Sound rhetorical choices are as important or more important than aesthetic design.
  • The question about how much or how big a website you need to put together depends on what is necessary for the class discussion. In short, you need to illustrate your choices and need to do sufficient website to do so.

Step 4: Design your class presentation

  • Your main objective in the class presentation is to reveal to the class the kind of choices that go into the use of the internet in democratic processes.
    • Present your website plan to the class in such a way that you provide a narrative of the decisions you have made and the reasons.
    • Use your site to illustrate the decisions.
  • In addition, include near the end of your presentation the four or five things that you think the internet has changed in your campaign or organization.
  • You have 30 minutes to do your presentation

Assignments for the Groups

Group 1: Political Campaign

Your task is to design a website as part of a candidate's campaign for President of the United States. Your candidate may be someone you invent or someone you select, but should not be George Bush nor John Kerry, nor anyone else who has recently run.

Will report to class on April 27

Members: Jena Baker, Mike Bodnar, Katie Carpenter, Allen Fowler, Susan Osterlitz, Harrison DeStafano,

Group 2: A Community Website

Select a living community. It may be a campus dorm community, a neighborhood association, or a renter's association. Part of your goal is to involve people in the running of their own living community. Design a website facilitating the community.

Will report to class on April 29

Members: David Frederick, Kelly Frere, Rob Myers, Michael Piercey, Shahab Shokouhi-Behnam, Veronica Rodriquez

Group 3: An Issue Campaign Website

You are to design a website to facilitate a student organization opposing further increases in student tuition. Your goal as a group is to oppose further tuition increases. Your strategy is to develop student involvement to form a social movement that will support your efforts to stop further increases.

Will report to class on May 4

Members: Michael Buettner, Henri Makembe, Holly Neff, Seth Perelman, Arya Saleh

Group 4: A Framework for Internet Management

We have discussed the presence of hate groups on the internet. You need to design a strategy to respond to the use of the internet by hate groups. Your strategy may involve regulation, a website, or however you decide the issue is best handled. Your presentation should feature your decision and the reasoning that supported it on the basic question of strategy for dealing with hate groups. If regulation is chosen, issues of freedom of speech should be part of your consideration. It is possible that this group will not be designing a website.

Will report to class on May 6

Members: Kevin Brotspies, David Campuzano, Paul Heayn, Nicholas Okunubi, Ron Thomas


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