MAS.720, 15.234 (6 Units)
Meets Thursdays 5:30-7PM alternately at Sloan and at the Media Lab (dinner will be provided at 5:15). Project help sessions in E14-348F, scheduled individually.
Here is the Canvas site for more information.
All teams are invited to present in our final class on Thursday, December 5. To make sure we have enough time that evening, we are expanding class from 5:30-8pm (or as late as needed) -- if you need to be done by 7pm that evening, please tell us and we will make that happen. As you are all still working hard on your projects, we are also CANCELLING class for this coming Thursday, November 21
Democracy thrives when the public is knowledgeable about and active in civic and political life. Past trends show low participation – only 40% of eligible voters turn out for the typical mid-term election; young people even less so. Online mobilization has impact but this is corrupted by mis-use of data, trolling, and a change in the style of civil discourse. Local efforts have demonstrable impact on issues that range from presidential elections to neighborhood betterment. This class will combine presentations and discussion sessions with projects that test a developing technology to aid the formation of grassroots organizations.
Meetings will feature a series of conversations with academic and experienced practitioners in participatory news, civic organization, political campaigns, and field testing ideas. Project groups will test a developmental civic organizational system that is an “organization in a box” akin to the bespoke software that major political campaigns use.
The particular focus of this term’s projects will be independent, grassroots activities that can be started by non-affiliated groups. Students will form teams, develop a scheme, and test it in an organization of their choice, which can be a dorm group, a local newspaper, a political action campaign or one of your choosing. Student teams should ideally comprise either 4 or 5 people; exceptions are permitted if you can make a convincing case.
Target audience: graduate students and advanced undergraduates. The project teams will be hands-on and cross-functional using tools developed at the Media Lab.
-30 percent class participation, including all kinds of contributions to the discussion and interaction with guests
-70 percent group project, including points for presentations, professional interactions with faculty and Media Lab mentors, and final materials. Also important: documenting exactly what you have done and, if appropriate, making these materials available more broadly.
Auditors will be permitted, if there is space in the room. However, in order to earn credit for this class, you must join a team and see a project through to completion.
|5 Sept||E62-450||Introduction: Action, Invention, Campaigns, News, what ties it together.||1,2|
|12 Sept||E15-359||Structure of projects; The engine of organization; the power in locality||3,4,5|
|19 Sept||E62-450||Project review session.|
|26 Sept||E15-359||Vivian Schiller, NPR Ex-CEO, Director of the Civil Foundation. News in the digital era, Civil||6|
|3 Oct||E15-359||Megan Smith, ex-US CTO, Founder of Planet Out, Director of Shift7||TBD|
|10 Oct||E62-450||Daniel Weitzner, Director of the Internet Policy Research Initiative, ex US Deputer-Chief CTO for Internet Policy||TBD|
|17 Oct||E62-450||Luis Videgaray||TBD|
|31 Oct||E15-359||Interim project reviews||13,14|
|7 Nov||E15-359||Harper Reed, former CTO for Obama 2012: Software and strategy||TBD|
|E62-450||(Marshall Ganz, Harvard Kennedy School, Longtime activist, author, and luminary on civic action: Action and Power or progress reports)||12|
|21 Nov||E15-359||No Class This week!||TBD|
|5 Dec||E62-450||Final Presentations, class time extended to suit||None|
Additional readings of interest:
Please arrange to have either Simon or Andy as mentors for your project and schedule a weekly meeting with the mentor to track progress.
Here is the Google Drive for project templates.
Templates for poster session presentations are here in Keynote and here as a PDF. Ideally, your poster accompanies a brief report.
|12 September||Initial Proposal||Form your team and fill out the google doc form here|
|10 Oct||Design Presentation||Present Design sketches and testing plan|
|31 Oct||Progress Report||Present progress in class meeting|
|7 Nov||Live demo||Tune into orgs your are working with|
|14 Nov||Present suggestions for next steps|
|21 Nov||Tabulated results||Analysis of success or failure|
|5 Dec||E62-450||Project poster and demo dinner|
Andrew Lippman, email@example.com
Deb Widener, firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Johnson, email@example.com
Michelle Fiorenza, firstname.lastname@example.org
Big list of organizing tools
CivicLink slides (keynote, powerpoint)