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
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
- 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
- Remember the assignment here involves rhetorical choices. Sound
rhetorical choices are as important or more important than aesthetic
- 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
- 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,
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