Project “X” – blog postings

What this project is about.

This page will be expanded as the project develops.

Project “X” (the final project) is in many ways a design-it-yourself project. You will propose, draft, revise, and upload one blog posting on a cyberlaw topic of interest to you.

Educational outcomes.

The educational goals (outcomes) of this project are to:

  1. Allow you to select a hot cyberlaw topic of interest to you.
  2. Learn more about your topics of interest.
  3. Add to the knowledge base of your classmates.
  4. Learn how to use the WordPress blog/content-management system and to draft postings.

What you will do.

First, your proposals. You should email me (by end-of-day midnight EST on Friday, June 9, 2017) with 2-3 proposed topics for blog postings. Provide your proposed topics and a little bit about what you’d like to discuss in the postings. You should include links to any supportive information.

Second, your draft. You will upload a first draft of your posting using the WordPress blogging framework. (It’s due end-of-day midnight EST on July 7). In class, I’ll teach you how to use it.

Finally, your revisions and posts. You will revise your postings based on feedback I’ll provide. If your blog posting is approved, I’ll make it available publicly online.

Details on the two draft submissions.

First draft.

  • Tools. Use WordPress at digitalgarbage.net using the login provided to you in email.
  • Length. Generally, it will take at least 5-10 paragraphs (real paragraphs) of original text by you to accomplish your goal. This is not going to be possible unless you keep your topic narrow. If the topic is too broad, you cannot accomplish this goal. For a bigger topic, it makes good sense to focus on one or two anecdotes and use that as the basis for raising questions and sharing your opinions or suggestions.
  • Third-party text. You can additionally include text written by others, but be sure to use quotation marks or block quoting, as well as identification of the source, along with a link.
  • Media. You might include:
    • Links (these are a must)
    • Embedded information such as YouTube videos and Tweets
    • Images (possible but proceed with caution to avoid copyright infringement; do not use unless you have a good basis for using the photos). Note: if you want to upload any media, please put a note into your draft indicating your basis for using it (public domain, etc.) Put your note in brackets as a side comment to the professor.
  • Structure. Your submissions should have three parts, in the order provided below:
    • First, your draft with any questions. At the top is the blog draft. Feel free to put questions for me into brackets.
    • Second, a listing of sources. After the draft provide a listing of sources with links for my review.
    • Third, digital signature/certification. After the links you will fill out a certification form which must be digitally signed and dated by you. The template for certification form can be found at: http://digitalgarbage.net/2017/06/30/px-certification/ (password – cyberlaw2017). Copy and paste this into the end of your submission. Be sure to use this form, it is different from the P-1 form.

Interim drafts. You can submit interim drafts for additional feedback. Email me to let me know you have created a new draft or I will not realize that you have done a revision.

Final draft. Provide all the components noted above but in the most complete, final form you can. Email me when you submit it.

Scoring.

Category %
Draft 1 20%
Certification on draft 1 0/100%
Final draft: organization & writing 20%
Final draft: use of sources 20%
Final draft: discussion & analysis 20%
Final draft: media & technology 20%
Certification on final draft 0%/100%
Total 100%

Further details:

Draft 1. For this, I look to all of the categories listed below for the final draft (i.e., org/writing; use of sources; discussion/analysis; use of media/tech). However, I am looking at this as a first draft. My recommendation is to make your first draft a good one so that your work from then until your final draft is geared towards polishing your posting.

Final draft: organization & writing. How well-organized is your draft? Is it well written and proofed? Is it well-formatted with consistent use of typography and layout?

Final draft:use of sources. Are you simply parroting one source? Are you using several sources? Are they good, reliable sources?

Final draft: discussion & analysis. How thoughtful is your discussion? It is original? Are you trying to solve the problem? Perhaps the problem you raise is not solvable in 5-10 original paragraphs. If so that’s ok, but at the very least are you raising pertinent, thought-provoking questions? Are you providing thoughtful critique of others’ positions?

Final draft: use of media & technology. Are you making aesthetic, clean, and useful applications of display technology such as embedded media (Tweets, video), possibly images (if appropriate and justifiable)? Are you providing needed and helpful hyperlinks? (Added July 13, here’s tips on how to find media. Password: cyberlaw2017)

Certification. An absolute requirement to obtain a score. As such, it is not separately scored but no score will be given to a submission that lacks certification. If you forget to certify, I will give you the opportunity to fix it. Cf. FRCP 11(a).

Due dates.

  • Topics. You should email me by end-of-day midnight EST on Friday, June 9, 2017 with 2-3 proposed topics for blog postings. Provide your proposed topics and a little bit about what you’d like to discuss in the postings. You should include links to any supportive information.
  • Narrowed topics. Due by noon, Thursday, June 29, 2017 via email to me.
  • First draft. First draft with sources and certification due by end-of-day midnight EST on Friday, July 7.
  • Final draft. Final draft with sources and certification due anytime between Monday, July 17  and Monday, July 24 (by end-of-day midnight EST). Email me to let me know you have uploaded your final draft.

Other information.

Fodder for topics. Your topics can be based on emerging issues, new laws, new cases, new technology, etc. Places to look include:

Your audience. Write for a general audience with little-to-no knowledge of the law.

I’m your professor, not your lawyer. As noted repeatedly in class, I’m not your lawyer and there is not attorney-client relationship. Having said this, here are some suggestions (which include being respectful to others and using common sense).

What can be in your posting. Text, quotes, images, sound (with cautions about copyright noted above and in class), video, etc. Any type of media that is supported by WordPress.

Stick to reputable sources. Don’t retweet just any crap you find out there. Use reputable sources. Avoid inflammatory assertions. Remember, although you are doing this for a class assignment, you are posting real things online, so don’t stick your neck out into a defamation claim. Sharing your opinions is fine but remember that statements of fact can create defamation liability. And sometimes an opinion can create defamation liability if it is based on assumed facts.

IP considerations. As noted repeatedly, your profile photos and background images should be your own, or something clearly in the public domain (such as an indisputable government work). Remember what Larry Lessig said: fair use is sometimes nothing more than the right to hire a lawyer when you’ve been sued.

Remember that others in the class will be able to see:

  • The title of your draft
  • Any media you upload to the media repository on the site

Save your work. I recommend you save your ongoing WordPress works in progress to help prevent a data-loss disaster.

  1. Go into your editor
  2. Click on “text”
  3. Copy the text version of your posting
  4. Paste that text into a *.txt document and save it

Also make sure you have digital copies of your profile/background photos as well as any text or materials you upload (such as bios).

Added June 30: Here’s a page that shows you how to back up your work.

Added July 13: Here’s tips on how to find media. Password: cyberlaw2017

Updated July 13, 2017