Assignments

Paired PechaKucha Assignment

PechaKucha is a format of presentation in which you play 20 slides continuously through while you speak for 20 seconds about each slide.  You will be using this format to present an image-driven argument about one of the three topics described below. Unlike your papers, the presentation is not designed to be a place for nuanced and complex argumentation. Your goal is to have a simple, clear point that you present in an entertaining and engaging manner. For the purposes of this class, you will be presenting with a partner. Each partner will be responsible for a sequence of 10 slides at 20 seconds each slide. The presentation should be cohesive and addressing the same topic.

There are three types of presentation to choose from. The syllabus indicates which type(s) are available for which class sessions.

1) Performance history

Purpose: To incite discussion on an assigned playtext and to acquaint the class with different approaches to the performance of the play. For example: a famous controversy or disagreement between an actor and a director (or between two directors); a single performance that is a radical shift away from how the play had been staged previously; a tragedy (or salacious story) associated with a play that impacted its reception and performance.

2) Pastime history

Purpose: To prepare your classmates for more nuanced readings and discussions by offering historical contextualization for a pastime featured in the week’s readings. For example, if we were reading Titus Andronicus together, you might research sixteenth-century hunting and prepare discussion questions to help us think about how the sport of hunting informs the play’s themes or structure.

3) Game review

Purpose: To introduce a commercially-available Shakespeare game and to incite discussion over whether or not it is a “good” game, according to its own goals (i.e. if it’s a pedagogical game, does it teach well. If it’s meant for entertainment is it actually fun). Feel free to structure this one as a scathing review – it is sometimes easier to find and analyze flaws than things done well.

Assessment: You will be graded on:

  • The number of slides and your ability to stay on track as they scroll behind you. Are there 20 unique slides that each advance after 20 seconds? (40%)
  • The accuracy of your historical research and the persuasiveness of your argument. Do you choose striking pictures and explain them well? (25%)
  • How engaging your presentation is to the audience. Does your presentation generate discussion? Are your viewers bored by it, or does it hold their attention? (25%)
  • How smoothly your presentation runs. Do you have technical or mechanical errors that distract from your message? Do you need to turn around and look at your presentation? Is the transition between speakers time-consuming and awkward? (10%)

You will be required to submit a copy of your presentation to me by email 24 hours before the class period in which you give the presentation.

Group Game Project

  • By Week 10 (March 15th) submit a game proposal to the class forum. Your proposal should include:
  1. Game Purpose: Propose a game with internal goals (for example, in Disney Princess Candyland, the goal is to get to the ball before the other princesses) and an external goal (for example, teaching players something about Shakespeare’s England). Once you have this purpose in mind, decide what kind of game would work best to simulate it. Examples include a race-to-the-finish game, a resource collection game, a survival game, etc. Also consider audience. Is this a game for middle-schoolers? For your parents? For boardgame geeks? How are you making the game appealing to them?
  2. Specifications: How long is play time? How many players are allowed? Any other factors of importance to the mechanics of the game.
  • By March 17th vote on the forum for your favorite game idea. The most popular proposals will form the basis of your game working groups. You will meet or communicate with your group members regularly, clearly establishing expectations for each group member’s contribution to the project. At the end of the semester, you will turn in a document that tells me which group member was most responsible for which project areas.
  • On April 7th, game drafts are due in class for playtesting
  • By Week 14 (April 14th) you will have completed a game website linked to by from group member’s personal website. The website will explain the game and give instructions for how to play it. Website visitors should be able to reproduce the game and play it themselves. The website should include a page with a more in-depth version of the initial game proposal with purpose, audience, and specifications.
  • Also on April 14th, you will proudly display your group game website to the class in a presentation of 6-8 minutes. Walk us through your design decisions, audience, purpose, specifications, etc. Tell us about any decisions you made, any difficulties you encountered, any instances where you changed your mind about some element of the game and why.