Over the past 10-11 weeks, you’ve learned to gather and evaluate information, write short- and long-form stories and deliver them in a variety of ways — through text, audio, image, video and the Web. Now’s your chance to take all of those skills and use them by working together as a lab to develop your own product.
For your final project, each lab will envision and create an online and mobile information product that can be marketed to a specific audience. During our final exam time, you’ll pitch your lab’s idea and how you would execute it to a group of experts who will critique your strategy, content, design and business models. Think of them as a group of “angel investors” who will be frank about whether your idea and execution has the potential to thrive as a business.
This project allows you to frame your own capstone experience to apply what you’ve learned in J202. It can be among the most challenging assignments you’ve ever encountered, but you’ll also find it among the most rewarding. Most students come away with a sense of accomplishment in having created something innovative and engaging.
One of the underlying elements of this project is how you work together as a team — it is key to your eventual success. You’ll all work together as a big group, but each member of the lab will be part of one of four small teams. To succeed in the current media environment, you have to learn how to collaborate and communicate effectively in a group. In many ways, this is a skill as important for the field as writing a lead.
This is where you get to think boldly about all that you’ve learned this semester. We’re not telling you what to write and produce. Unlike many of the assignments you’ve done this semester, this is a time when you have a blank canvas and get to take it from the first creative spark to the finished product. These opportunities don’t present themselves often, so use this freedom to your advantage.
How It Works
Each lab develops an idea for an online and mobile informational product. For instance, Lab Awesome may pitch and develop a site to promote organ donation registry in Wisconsin and a mobile app to let people sign up.
Four teams within each lab will take responsibility for different areas of the project, and each student is assigned to one team. Every team has one lead coordinator who works with the TA to ensure progress on the project.
- Strategy and Project Management Team: develops overall strategy, coordinates workflows
- Platform Team: develops WordPress site for project, envisions other apps and tools
- Content Team: coordinates all content, including assignments, editing and gathering needed assets
- Pitch, Promotion & Revenue Team: develops a plan to fund and promote project, and sells the project at the final pitch
In addition to team responsibilities, each student completes:
- one informative story
- one alternative story form
- one piece of strategic communication content
- two multimedia packages in pairs or groups of three
By Week 11 Lab 2,
Three assignments must be completed before Week 11 Lab 2:
- Fill out this form to let your TA know your preferences for a team assignment;
- Generate at least one idea for your lab’s project, so you have options to discuss and decide on;
- Generate a set of questions you have about the project – your TA can answer your questions, or you can ask them during lecture in Week 12.