Skip to content

Assignment Explanations

Virtual Introduction: You will introduce yourself to everyone in our course and those reading the blog via an introductory blog post on our homepage, You do not need to use your name or picture. You may introduce yourself and post on our blog anonymously. This is the online persona that you will use publicly though our website. Given the public and open nature of our website, you do not have to use your real name or picture.

Use this introductory post to tell us a little bit about yourself; perhaps your year in school, where you are from, any hobbies or interests you have, academic interests, what brought you to JMU, Communication Studies or Food Communication. You should include an image of some sort, though it does not need to be a picture or representation of you. Have some fun with this.


Online Discussion Participation: Our online discussions make up a substantial portion of the course work and your grade. Our main course website,, will be the one stop place for our online course discussions. Whereas in a traditional face-to-face course, we engage the readings and each other in classroom discussions, the online environment forces us to change the discussion dynamic. Through our online discussions, you will demonstrate a command of the course readings, apply concepts to current events, synthesize arguments across perspectives and evaluate food communication in its varying forms. Like the old-school brick and mortar classroom, this is a space for open discussions, inquiry, questioning, debate and interrogation of course materials.

Each student is responsible for

  • initiating one original discussion post based on that day’s reading.
  • two weekly posts responding to an original post based on the day’s reading.
  • two weekly posts responding to the comment of another individual, student or member of the public.

So, over the course of the semester you will have at the minimum for online discussion participation:

  • 1 original post.
  • 8 comments responding to an original post.
  • 8 posts responding to another individual’s post.

The rubric for evaluating your online discussion participation can be found here. The rubric was developed by Karen Franker from the University of Wisconsin – Stout.

You are evaluated each week holistically regarding your online discussion participation, pass/fail. Each week you will receive 50 points if you score at least 40 out of the 48 points possible on the rubric. If you receive less than 40 points, you will receive 0 (zero) points for that week’s online discussion participation.

An example for effective and ineffective online discussion can be found here. These are examples that were created and taken from Melissa Aleman’s SCOM Communication and Gender course. Please keep in mind these examples are models of behavior from a different context. While we will not exactly mirror their discussion style, we should strive for their positive characteristics.

Bibliography: Over the course of the semester, we will build a bibliography of research resources available on food communication. This bibliography can be used to help build your project or as a resource for others to utilize.

Each student is responsible for contributing one annotated bibliography and three new food communication related sources per week. For the purposes of this assignment, an annotated bibliography is a summary of the research source in question. The summary should consist of several paragraphs highlighting the main claims and argument of the essay or chapter. The annotated bibliography should also isolate 3-5 key words that represent the merits of the source’s author.

For the new food communication related sources, the student should research three different sources not already listed in the bibliography on the subject of food communication.

The annotated bibliographies may be of the new sources a student submits for the week or something already previously on the bibliography. The sources should be formatted according to APA citation. Examples of this format of citation are already on the food communication bibliography page,, or you may get help through the JMU library resources,

So, over the course of the semester, each student will have contributed:

  • 4 annotated bibliographies, 1 for each week of the course.
  • 12 new food communication related sources, 3 for each week of the course

The rubric for evaluating your weekly bibliographic entries and annotation can be foundhere. I have developed this rubric specifically for this course assignment. The rubric evaluates 6 categories for up to 4 points each. Everyone will get one point for turning in their bibliographic entries on a weekly basis.

The Project: The project is your semester long engagement with a particular aspect of food communication that you choose. This project may take the form of a traditional academic research essay, position paper orientated toward institutional change or a public relations campaign portfolio. The project is broken up and divided over the course of the semester to encourage working on it as we progress through the course materials and to allow for constant feedback regarding the project. Given the restraints of the online environment and four-week course, the final project should be between 10-15 pages.

While most of the course takes place publicly online, the development and workshopping of the project will happen privately on blackboard. If you wish to work on your project online publicly throughout the semester, please speak with me and we can work something out.

Project 1.1 Proposal: The first part of the project is the proposal. The proposal consists of a 2-3 page introduction to your project. You should take this opportunity to identify the type of project you are working on and begin sketching out what your project entails, argues and might look like. You should include at least three sources that have helped inform your project and/or that you plan on utilizing.

Project 1.2 Outline and Bibliography: The second part of the project is the outline and bibliography. By this point, you should have a good idea of the argument or proposal you want to make and the literature you are drawing on for supporting material.

Your outline should clearly layout in detail and complete sentences the structure, flow and organization of your project. Your bibliography should contain at least ten different sources you are relying on to advance your arguments.

Project 1.3 Rough Draft: The third part of the project is the rough draft. Your rough draft should be just that, a rough draft of your final project, whether a research, position or public relations campaign paper. Your draft should be 5-10 pages and have at least 15 different sources.


Project 1.35 Peer Rough Draft Evaluation: Before you turn in your final draft of your project paper, each person and the professor will provide written feedback of your rough draft. Your rough draft will be evaluated based on strength of argument, flow of information, argument organization, strength of sources, grammar, argumentative creativity and innovation and clarity.

Each student is responsible for writing a 1-2 page constructive critique of one other student’s project. Each student will be assigned to another student at the beginning of the semester. The student partnerships will critique each other’s work for the rough draft evaluation.

Project 1.4 Final Project: The fourth and final portion of the project is your final draft. You are done; this is the last draft of your project paper. Your final project should be 10-15 pages, include 15 different sources and be uploaded to blackboard unless you want your paper posted on our public blog.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. Josie permalink
    May 16, 2012

    Hi Professor Mabrey!

    Is there a specific time of day you would like us to hand in each part of the project? Let me know. Thanks!

    Josie Warren

    • Paul Mabrey permalink*
      May 16, 2012

      Good question, Josie. If you go back to the syllabus page and click on the link for each week, it has detailed information about when each part of the project is due. The first three parts are all due Sunday by 9am, actually I think it says 8:59am…the final project is due the last Friday of class by 11:59am or effectively, noon.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.