Students’ major, maturity are considerations for project audience

For the final project I am developing in a summer course in the digital public humanities program at George Mason University, I am defining the audience as undergraduates studying media history. Of course, undergraduates is a broad term and consideration must be given to several variables, including major and maturity.

The final project, a digital history lesson involving exploration of The Prescott Paraclete in Pierce County, Wisconsin, is for a specific course: History of Mass Communication. The course is an elective in our curriculum and students who enroll in it usually are journalism majors or journalism studies minors, although at times we have had students from other programs. This means that certain knowledge about journalism and its values cannot be assumed to be shared between majors and non-majors. Thus, the project will need to allow for that. In fact, this might serve as a good opportunity to discuss how journalistic values are viewed by the public vs. the profession.

Experience also has shown that the course attracts students with a range of maturity as learners. Some students have never had a course that requires engagement with primary sources and research, while some have developed good analytical and time management skills. Balancing their needs is not a specific concern of the final project, but the variable must be considered so as to make the lesson not overwhelming but at the same time challenging enough.