Project Assignments

These projects are roughly aligned with each part of the course. Each project will eventually be plugged in to the main course timeline at —  Part one & two – Select one of the following by September 15.

  • A–Actually use an early system of communication to convey information (demonstrated to the class)
  • OR B–describe the process and complications of using such an early system to convey information.  (300-500 words, plus sources, posted to your blog)
  • OR C–research and discuss the significance of an information technology in the life of a specific individual before 1950.  (300-500 words, plus sources, posted to your blog)
  • OR D–create an infographic with information about an early system of communication from Parts I or II (with sources, posted to your blog)
  • Individual project – Value is 10% of course grade
  • To avoid overlap, each topic must be submitted for approval by September 15.
  • Project due September 29

 Approved topics for Part I/II:  

  1. Charlie — Infographic on Pony Express [D]
  2. Kyle — Use system of cuneiform [A]
  3. Mike– Use a cave painting to convey information [A]
  4. Abbey — Describe the process and complications of using the telegraph to convey information. [B]
  5. Christine — Research and discuss the significance of Radio in the life of Edward Murrow.  [C]
  6. Nicole — Infographic on Cave paintings [D]
  7. Ashley —   Process and complications of using the printing press to convey information. [B]
  8. Andrew — Process and complications of using the first US postal system to convey information [B]
  9. Ken — process and complications of using early American Newspapers to convey information. [B]
  10. Caitlin — infographic on early photography. [D]
  11. Joe — Talking Drums [A]
  12. Riley — Research and discuss the significance of newspaper production (printing and distribution) in the life of Joseph Pulitzer. [C]
  13. Claire — process and complications of using early telephones to convey information. [B]
  14. Anthony — process and complications of using Bell’s photophone to convey information. [B]
  15. Patrick — Research and discuss the significance of the printing press in the life of Martin Luther. [C]
  16. John — process and complications of using daguerrotypes to convey information. [B]

— Part three – Create your own advertisement/commercial/print ad related to the history of information to be shared. – Group– 10%

  • Group 1 –Radio Advertisement for Gutenberg’s printing press.
  • Group 2 — Tupperware in print form, reflecting information spread through gatherings in women’s households.
  • Group 3 — Weight-gain products, reflecting 1940s advertising styles
  • Group 4 — Jukebox advertisement w/magazine style ad.


  • Ad Assignment Due Thursday, Oct. 20, when we’ll do brief in-class presentations (May be completed by Monday Oct. 24, if extra time is needed).
  • Revisions to the timeline entries due Tuesday, Oct. 25

— Part four – Make a documentary (5-10 minutes) on topic from this period – Group – 15%

  • Due Thursday, November 17
  • Group 1 — Why the rise of modern forms of transmitting information have contributed to the demise of the U.S. Postal Service
  • Group 2 — Rise of DIY culture and use of online videos for that purpose
  • Group 3 —  shift from card catalogs to digital catalogs in libraries, with a focus on its effect on librarians.
  • Group 4 — Documentary on the history of the internet and its effect on Higher Education, using  the University of Mary Washington as a contextual lens.


— Part five – 5%– Help improve the timeline – Aspect must be preapproved before work starts on it.

  • A) Work on the overall structure/format/presentation of the timeline.
  • B) Pick any point on the timeline to expand on (with research) – Can take form of video, brief, essay, infographic, oral history, etc.
  • Individual, unless a case can be made for group work here.
  • Due the last day of class, December 8 (or the following Tuesday, if needed).
Approved PART FIVE Projects:
  1. Documentary on DS106 at UMW as relates to the information age — Caitlin, Joe, Nicole, Ashley
  2.  Fix the BC dates on the timeline — Andrew
  3. Documentary on start of email at Mary Washington — Kyle
  4. Yellow Journalism — 2-3 page essay — Ken
  5. Infographic on Internet video memes — Charlie 
  6. Radio Commercials essay — Riley
  7. Adding images to pages — Claire
  8. Standardizing timeline image and source  citations — Abbey, Christine
  9. Creating links between various timeline entries — Anthony
  10. Revolutionary era pamphlets history essay — Patrick
Tentative PART FIVE Projects — in discussion, but not finalized
  1. Atari/video games — Mike
  2. Early Copyright Acts–John

NOTE: These are based on student suggestions of projects since early August and refined in class discussions over the last two weeks.

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