Because this course puts a premium on production, the sequence of the course is of vital importance. Planning, scheduling, and conducting field research (interviews, observations) needs to coincide with the demands of production: compiling, composing, and editing what we call segments. Segments include audio, video, photographic and textual productions alike. Sequencing is how we get our work done together.

Phase One

Leonardo da Vinci, Archimedes Screws and Water Wheels, c. 1503-1507
The first four to five weeks are spent getting comfortable with the principles and practices of new media science writing. We read discussions about, guides to, and examples of science writing. Class time is devoted to technology workshops where students learn the necessary tools and techniques for production and to field work workshops designed to introduce and model successful practices for interviews, observations, and secondary research. As we are doing in-class workshops, students develop research leads for potential stories. The phase concludes with the production of sample segments and the presentation of proposals for possible scientific research to investigate and report on for the remainder of the semester. We then organize into teams and move to begin our work in earnest.

Phase Two

Students begin phase two by inaugurating their field research plans. While students do field work outside of class, class time itself is devoted to learning and practicing with production technologies. We also begin our discussion of the rhetoric of science and continue analyzing examples of science writing. In addition to technology workshops, we commence with segment workshops. At the beginning of the phase, students also begin documenting their individual work in their Field Journals. By the end of Phase Two (week nine), students will have produced their first segment, which will be presented and evaluated during an assessment workshop.

Phase Three

Much like Phase Two, the third and final phase centers around the conducting of field research and the production of another segment. This entails both segment and assessment workshops. We continue to examine and discuss science writing samples and to think through the rhetoric of science. Following Thanksgiving Break and the finalizing of Segment #2, students articulate their segments into the “Final Story,” which pulls the two segments together into a cohesive and coherent whole. The semester ends with final presentations and the submission of Field Journals, which, again, document a student’s individual contributions to collaboratively produced segments.

English 401 Sequence