Blog: Due Each Friday

Short weekly assignment due each Friday. Each blog should be 300-500 words long, often include some media, and should be submitted on your own e-Portfolio. The instructions for each blog post will be assigned at the beginning of each week.

20% of course grade.

Reading responses: Due before each day with a reading assignment

Before each class day with an assigned reading, submit a response to the assigned reading. This should include 1) a summary of what you learned from the reading and 2) a question that you would like to discuss further with the class about the reading.

Submit your reading responses before each class session on your own e-Portfolio.

10% of course grade

Project 1: Research Podcast | DUE Friday 8/23

Podcasts are audio-only programs typically released in a series form, on practically any conceivable topic (although the most popular podcasts often relate to fashion and entertainment, current affairs, and games). For this assignment, you and your partner(s) will develop your own podcast on a particular research topic.


  • Research: Listen to some podcasts in different genres and analyze their mission, composition, and reception.
    • What is the name of each? Who is/are the host(s)? How is it typically distributed (meaning how often, over what channels, for how long)? What is its usual reach (including any reliable numbers on the size of the podcast’s audience)?
    • What is the thematic focus of the series, and why? Is there a special origin story or set of founding principles behind this podcast?
    • What kinds of sonic elements are deployed in this podcast (e.g. music, sound effects, voiceover, ambient sound), and to what effect?
    • In what context are you typically listening to this podcast, and does that matter? Do “paratextual” materials, like a download website with comment threads and images, have an impact?
  • Select a topic: Think carefully about what content or style is best suited to the podcast format and/or audio-only register, and what, if anything, would make your podcast distinct from other podcasts you’ve heard.
  • Script: After you have selected a topic you want to research and present through your podcast, develop a draft script including prompts for desired “sound bytes” from interviewees, environments, etc. Make sure each person in the group speaks.
  • Finished podcasts should be uploaded to your e-portfolio or linked from SoundCloud.
  • Post a reflection on your blog that explains your process, choices, and evaluates what you learned. This reflection should 1) explain your group’s process producing the podcast (What steps were important? What was challenging? Fun? Interesting? New?); 2) discuss the choices you made (to appeal to the audience, support your argument, meet your goals); and 3) evaluate your podcast (what makes it interesting, important, original, engaging?).

Audio recorders are available through the Writing Program and Wireframe (Zoom recorders). You can also use your own smartphones. Audacity audio -editing software and a Blue ICE microphone are available on the 2 PCs in Wireframe.

Length: 5-7 minutes

After completing this project you will be able to

  • Use audio recording equipment and editing software
  • Be familiar with online hosting tools for audio
  • Understand how practice is also a form of research.
  • Have a better sense of writing for the podcast format.


Aug 19 Draft/outline of podcast script due

Aug 21 Rough cut due for peer review

Aug 23 Finished podcast and reflection due

Project 2: Sound Research Article

Scholars in the humanities use listening as a method of research. We listen to interviews, oral histories, speeches, soundscapes, music, and performances. Based on listening to these sound artifacts, we learn about our communities, people, social movements, and much more. We learn about who speaks and why. 

By listening carefully, we can learn about ourselves and our communities. You are the newest members of the UCSB community. As such, let’s use this assignment to learn about your new home: UCSB and Isla Vista. 


  1. Begin by collecting to primary audio sources–including the local radio station, local musicians, public hearings, community meetings, and community spaces–to learn about Isla Vista and Santa Barbara. We will begin to do this together in class on Aug 26th
  2. Identify a topic, theme, or question that you would like to learn more about UCSB or IV. You will submit this as a proposal on Aug 30th
  3. Support this listening with secondary research, which could mean talking to community members with follow up questions, reading articles in the newspaper, or reading histories. 
  4. Compose a short article that explains what you’ve learned about UCSB/IV history. Integrate short audio clips that invite your readers to hear a bit of what you heard (you can add images if you’d like as well!) Partial draft due Sep 4, full draft due Sep 9, Final Writing Project due Sep 11. This should be published on your on your portfolio.
  5. Submit a reflection essay that explains your process, choices, and evaluates what you learned. This reflection essay should 1) explain your process composing the article (What steps were important? What was challenging? Fun? Interesting? New?)  2) discuss the choices you made (to appeal to the audience, support your argument, meet your goals) 3) evaluate your article (what makes it interesting, important, original, engaging?). Due Sep 11 on your blog. 

Genre: Multimedia, educational article

Audience: UCSB students and faculty

Length: Article should be a minimum of 1000 words plus some short audio clips. Reflection essay should be 250-300 words. 

I am assigning this project so that you can learn to: 

  • Practice listening as a mode of inquiry.
  • Analyze primary audio artifacts. 
  • Compose an argument about UCSB/IV with evidence from audio artifacts. 
  • Study the communities in which you belong. 

Put together, our class will compose many different stories of UCSB and Isla Vista. We will listen to and read these stories together. Collectively, we will also attune ourselves to the voices that make up IV and Santa Barbara and understand the local community in more depth and with empathy.


Proposal including selection of audio clips: Aug 30th

Partial draft due in class: Sep 4th

Full draft due Sep 9

Final article due and reflection essay due: Sep 11