Assignment Option 5 (Homework and creative in-class project)
(NOTE: This assignment can be completed with computers for each group or by having the groups turn in a sheet of paper with an outline (Internet Architecture) of the website.)
(NOTE: It is advised that the results of the in-class work be graded.)
Goals: 1. reinforce learning by making students talk about their answers with their peers in the class; 2. encourage active learning by having students work with their peers; 3. encourage creative learning by using the website and by encouraging them to design their own; 4. encourage critical thinking by having them decide on "main" characteristics of a religion or religious traditions
Students: In our next class, you will be designing the main pages and links for a website on Japanese religions [or use another religion]. As an example, browse this website (jpnreligions.weebly.com) to get ideas. Answer the following questions to prepare for our next class assignment.
1. List 3-5 of the main traits/characteristics of Japanese religiousness/religions. You don’t need to define it—that is an impossible task due to its variation and fluidity. Just list some of the main aspects. Be specific.
2. What are some examples from this website that you think would be useful for designing your own website? Also, why would those be important?
3. Find one academic source on this topic and read the introduction (or abstract if it’s a journal article). This could be a book or a journal article, for example (avoid newspapers and magazines—those are not academic). Bring that to class and be prepared to add some of the information from that source to your website. (Hint: Use the website’s “References” page to find a good source.)
Classwork: (20-50 minutes; this can also be expanded to more than one class period)
1. Break the students into groups of 3-5
2. Give them 5-10 minutes for each to discuss their responses to Homework #1. Ask them to work as a group to choose what they determine as the most important traits. Remind them to be thinking about how they might highlight these in a website (e.g., as Headings, Links, Sub-links, etc.). Challenge them to prioritize to make their website accurate and useful as a teaching tool for other students.
3. Next, give them 5-10 minutes to add some details from the academic source they were asked to bring. One person can write the bibliographical information from all the sources (or, if they can send a group member an email in class or ahead of time).
4. Let them use the rest of class to create a basic Internet Architecture (outline) for their website. Encourage them to use what they saw on the website and add to it. Challenge them to be creative and think of how they might design it differently. Also, ask them to explain to each other (or to you) why they would design it differently. Remind them that they will be graded on their ability to accurately characterize religiousness in Japan but that creativity is also a component.
5. You can share some of the student work at the end of class or after you have graded them—it is best to share their work before they are tested or quizzed over the material.