Final Projects

Throughout the semester we will be reading and discussing a variety of uses of mobile media technologies, conducting small-scale field research projects, and exploring mobile application development.  For your final project you are required to draw on all of these tools to conduct original research and develop a research-grounded mobile technology or application design that will address a social justice issue. Review the report “Designing for Social Justice” listed on the syllabus under February 26th.

You do not necessarily need to construct the device or application, but you must present a complete and coherent design. Your ideas for the project should stem from uses of mobile technologies or interactions you observed in your field research assignment and must address a social justice issue. You are expected to use both your observations and library research to design your mobile technology or application. This assignment is your culminating project for the course and should draw together the various themes and texts we cover. This is a largely open project, so choose something of interest to you. The only requirement is that the primary goal of the application design is promoting social justice. I will work with you on your project ideas throughout the semester.

This project will consist of four parts.

1. Proposal (5%)

On March 23 (11 pm on WordPress) you will post to the course blog a 750-word minimum description of your chosen social justice topic, idea for an app design, and how it connects to what you saw in your field project. Include a list of 3-4 peer-reviewed scholarly articles or books you’ll be drawing on for your research paper, at least two ideas for the visual design project, and a concrete timeline for the project’s completion.

If you need help conducting research contact the Comm/English librarian: Kristina DeVoe devoek[AT]temple(dot)edu

She is here to help you!

2. Meeting with Kristina DeVoe (5%)

Meeting with Kristina DeVoe (email: You are required to sign up for a meeting with the Communications and English librarian using the Google spreadsheet here (meetings between April 7 and 18). You must bring 3 peer-reviewed academic sources you plan on using for your final paper with you. You have until March 31st, 5pm to sign up for a slot.

3. Presentation (5%)

During the last two weeks of class (see course schedule)  you will present your design to the class in a 5-7 minute presentation. You can use any materials (digital presentation, poster, props, etc.) to communicate your design. Explain what your design is and what it does. Be sure to provide the background for the design (what is the social justice issue you are addressing), connect it to observations you made during your field research, and address any accessibility and privacy concerns of the design.

The main project has two components.

4.  Final Paper (20%)

One part is a short research essay (2000 words minimum) in which you explain your social justice topic, historicize and theorize your proposed design, and engage with scholarly materials to build support for your argument for why your design is needed and how it will address the social justice issue. Connect your field observations to both the relevant literature and your design plans. Be sure to include any accessibility and privacy concerns in your design. Your paper must incorporate and critically engage with at least 2 scholarly sources from the course materials and at least 3 peer-reviewed scholarly sources that you find through library research (those three cannot be from the syllabus). The paper must include a works cited list formatted in APA style (

Make sure your paper addresses (it does not have to be in this order):

  • Some discussion of how you are conceptualizing social justice (see Light and Luckin reading).
  • Discussion of how your field research influenced your design.
  • What your app is/does.
  • History: What history does your app connect to? This includes what previous designs make it possible, what other apps exist that are like it, and what technology does it builds on. It also includes the history of the social justice issue you are addressing.
  • Mobility: What specifically about mobility is important in your app design? How does it take advantage of mobility?
  • Accessibility: Who cannot access your app? Why? What features can you include to make your app more accessible?
  • Privacy/Surveillance: What data about users would your app need to college. How would you ensure privacy? Is privacy important to the design?

5.  Visual Design Component (10%) 

The second part of the project is to create a visual representation of your application. This can include actually creating a mobile application, a short video explaining your design, a poster illustrating how your design idea works and is intended to look, etc. The key parts to this portion of the assignment is that: 1. it is primarily visual and 2. it clearly communicates to someone who has not read your paper what your device/application is and does. It will be graded on evidence of effort and thoughtfulness of design. Everything cited in the visual portion of the project must include a works cited list (formatted in APA). And remember your designs must incorporate things you learned in your library research.

Final Project Due Date: May 9, 11pm. You will post your visual project (or pictures of it) and final paper to the course blog. If your final media object is not digital (i.e. a hand-drawn poster) you must also arrange a time to bring the physical object to my office. 

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