Circle Project

Printer Friendly Version: Circle Guidelines

Due Dates:

12 October Group presentations during class time
12 October Digital Documentary in Blackboard by midnight
17 October Reflection essay in Blackboard by midnight

Summary of Assignment: Working in a group of no more than four, you will create a 3-5-minute digital documentary. Your digital text will explore, depict, and make an argument about perceptions of technology in the twenty-first century. Your project will be in response to a class reading of Dave Eggers’ The Circle. Your group mates and you will create a multimedia text using Audacity and Windows Live Movie Maker (or other appropriate technologies as your group determines). Groups will present their projects in class on 12 October and post them in Blackboard by midnight on 12 October.

Your first job as a group will be to settle on a theme specific to ideas developed while the class reads and discusses The Circle. In class discussion we will try to answer the following question: “How has technology and social media impacted perceptions of public and private lives?” However, group themes may focus on events as they occur in The Circle or they may focus on current events in relation to the way technology, communication, and social media are depicted in the text. You will begin conducting library research to collect sources in addition to the assigned readings. The main goal of the multimedia text is to present a compelling and well-supported argument in multiple modes of communication. The text your group produces should incorporate more than one medium (i.e. audio, video, photographs, and written texts).

To further support your arguments, groups will conduct interviews and/or administer surveys to Reynolds students, faculty, and staff to gather data from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines to provide evidence in support of your claims.

Research/Documentation:  Collect, document, and cite the following types of sources using MLA documentation style:

  1. Two scholarly journal articles
  2. Two books
  3. Personal interviews and/or survey results[1]

This means your project will include in-text citations AND a Works Cited list—even when producing a digital text, you still need to cite and document your sources.


  1. The length of your digital documentary should be 3-5 minutes long.
  2. Arrange the documentary in such a way that it builds into an argument about your topic.
  3. Include a detailed narrative and/or alphabetic captions to enhance and explain your argument. Narratives may be audio files created and edited in Audacity or they may be voiceovers created and edited in PowerPoint.
  4. Include background music from Freeplay Music, a site, which features audio files that do not infringe upon intellectual property rights.

Ideally, your digital documentary will

  1. Consist of original footage; not videos or images downloaded from the Internet (i.e. YouTube).
  2. Consist of original audio files in which you have edited your narration and/or interviews.
  3. Use a digital camcorder to collect film footage.
  4. Use a digital camera to collect original photos pertaining to your research topic.
  5. Use a digital recorder to record your own narration and record interviews.

Grading Criteria: (Total = 20%)

  1. Project Grade (10%): You will earn individual grades based on an average of grades assigned by group mates of your performance in your group and the overall project grade. You will grade each of your group members based on the criteria established on the group rubric.  Each of these grades will be averaged together to form your individual grade. I will also assess the quality of the project and the composing of each element; please be sure to identify the responsibility of each group member. Your group presentation will also be factored into your project grade.
  2. Reflection Essay (10%): Write a 900-1200-word reflection on the project. In your Reflection Essay, describe how your group and you met assignment requirements and discuss your individual contributions to the project. Your essay should demonstrate the following:
  3. Your contribution to the project (what you did, specifically to contribute to the development of the digital documentary).
  4. What you learned about the specific theme your group identified and how technology impacts public and private lives.
  5. What you learned about producing a multimedia argumentative text.
  6. What you learned about designing an argumentative visual and audio text.
  7. How you argued a position on perceptions.

[1] is a site that offers free development of surveys that you may send out to your study participants by email or you may link in social networking sites such as Facebook. You might also create a survey using Google Forms in your college Google accounts.

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