Digital Life Cycle Project (20%)

Our readings have demonstrated that digital devices are made of a range of chemicals and components, and in this project you will trace the creation, use, disposal, and reuse of a single digital device. You will choose the device and then conduct research on the product's life cycle. What goes into making it? Who sells it? Who uses it? Is it reused or resold? How is it disposed of, and where? These are some of the questions you'll be asking during this research project.

This project should be seen as preparation for your final project. The research you do in this project will help you design a workshop for local high school students, and your work should help you consider the best ways to get those students to reflect on their own approaches to digital trash.

The project has three components:

Project Proposal (5%)
Your proposal is a one-page document that explains which device you've chosen to research, your plan for what kinds of sources you plan to use in your research, and a detailed timeline of tasks that you'll need to complete. The proposal is not a contract, and things will certainly change as you pursue the project. But this document will get you thinking about what needs to be accomplished during the project.

Life Cycle Map (5%)
You will produce a map that visualizes the life cycle you're researching using icons from the noun project. This map should be as detailed as possible and should provide your audience with a rich snapshot of the digital lifecycle you have researched.

1000-word essay (10%)
You will write an essay that reports on the results of your research and that explains how your research speaks to the issues we've read about in this class. Your essay is short, so you can't take on every issue we've read about, but you should explain how your research extends the work that other scholars do. What have you found in your research that calls into question, confirms, or perhaps updates their findings?

When grading these projects, I will be asking the following questions:

  • Does your project reflect careful research into your chosen object?
  • Do your map reflect careful attention to design and provide us with a detailed picture of this object's life cycle?
  • Do you support claims with evidence?
  • Does the paper provide evidence that you've carefully written and revised?
  • Have you observed the word limits and other requirements of listed above?
  • Is your paper clearly written with few grammatical errors?

[This assignment is based on Grant Wythoff's Supply Chain Project]