Assignments and Projects


Grades (100 points total)

  • Class participation — 20 points
  • Blog posts (weekly) — 30 points
  • Final project proposal — 10 points
  • Final project — 40 points

Grading Scale

A = 94-100          C = 74-76
A- = 90-93          C- = 70-73
B+ = 87-89          D+ = 67-69
B = 84-86            D = 64-66
B- = 80-83          D- = 60-63
C+ = 77-79          F = Below 60

This course site ( will be the core hub for the class. Students should bookmark it and refer to it often, as it will house all up-to-date information and assignments.

Class Participation (20 points): I expect each student to be an active participant in class discussions. Participation begins, obviously, with attendance, but it requires more than that. Please come to class prepared to exchange ideas about the readings or assignments, to raise questions, and to speculate on our topics of discussion. That means you will need to do the readings before you come to class. Your grade for this part of the course does not depend on providing the “correct answers” to my questions, instead it will reflect upon your thoughtful contribution to our discussions.

Additionally, our weekly meetings will include in-class demonstrations and exercises that are designed to ensure that you master the skills we’re covering. Because these skills will help you with your final projects, these exercises must be completed, and often will make up the base of your weekly blog assignment. I will expect you to follow along and attempt the exercises in class. Obviously, if you are not in class, you will struggle to keep up with the skills.

Weekly Blog Posts (30 points)
: It is my goal to get you comfortable with writing for public consumption, which is something you may have to do once you’ve entered the workforce. To help you practice, we will have weekly writing assignments. On your domain, you will be responsible for maintaining a blog where you will chronicle your exercises, your progress in the course, the development of your major project, or your reflections on the course readings. There will be 10 blog assignments total this semester, each will be worth 3 points. These blog posts should be at least 300 words; they should be written in a semi-formal scholarly style (with complete thoughts and correct spelling, grammar, and syntax); and are due on Sunday by noon each week they are assigned. Partial responses (including responses that fail to meet the minimum word length or clearly fail to answer the prompt) will receive partial credit. Late posts will not be accepted.

Final Project & Proposal (40 & 10 points): Each student will complete a digital project that answers a significant question about the history of crime in Chicago between 1870 and 1930. You are required to turn in your preliminary project proposals to me on November 9th. This proposal is worth 10 of your total 50 possible points and is required. These projects are not simply busy work; they will allow you to demonstrate your mastery of the digital skills that are central to the course. We will cover the expectations and the skills essential for this assignment extensively in class.

Important Dates

  • August 31 – First day of class
  • September 7 – Labor Day, GMU closed.
  • September 8 – Last day to add.
  • October 2 – Final Drop deadline
  • October 12 – Columbus Day recess, we meet on Tues., no Tues classes
  • November 25-29 – Thanksgiving Recess
  • December 12 – Last day of classes
  • December 14 – Final projects due

For the complete list of important semester deadlines, please see the Registrar’s Fall calendar.

Last updated: November 19, 2015 at 19:31 pm