Each of you can take justifiable pride in how far you have advanced and how much you have learned this semester about effective information design both in print and online. Yes, it took a lot of work, but you picked up a lot of skills in the process.
On the whole, your final projects (at right and below) — especially the print versions — appear to have been worthwhile efforts. As much work as you put into yours, don't forget to try to get it published in some form — print, online or both. Many would make great clips for impending job searches.
Our final project was in many regards a capstone experience not only for this course but also for your entire journalism education. The project wasn't about learning or practicing any particular technology or technique but rather was a creative, entrepreneurial effort, combining everythihng you know and requiring that you locate and master whatever new technologies and techniques were needed to produce a journalistically competitive project.
Whether you graduated or will be back next semester, all of you have moved past the point at which merely showing that you can do something cool or minimally acceptable with a technology, regardless of its journalistic marketability or value, is sufficient. Your final projects weren't just class exercises; they were supposed to be competitive not just against other student work but against the highest of professional standards. And, for the most part, you succeeded, proving that you you have learned to identify and tell engaging and important stories not just with the quality of your writing but also with visuals and interactive elements.
All in all, it was an enjoyable and productive semester. It was my pleasure to spend a large portion of it with you. Thanks for working so hard to develop what I hope will be important skills professionally. And don't forget to keep in touch as your careers move forward. One of the best ways, if you have a profile, is to connect via LinkedIn.
Whatever you do, remember to think visually and to regard technology not as a challenge or an end but as an opportunity and a tool. Do so and you can accomplish anything!
Grades for students who submitted complete final projects have now been posted. Especially strong performances by students who had been more or less in the middle of the pack caused considerable movement in grade distribution .
Out of 1,000 points possible, the class as a whole scored between 629 and 923 points. The mean was 845.3, and the standard deviation was 72.9. That means if the course had been graded on a curve, point totals would have translated to these letter grades: 5 B+, 1 B, 4 B-, 2 C+, 2 C, 1 D+ and 1 F. If letter grades had been based on a 90-80-70-60 breakdown, we would have had 3 A-, 4 B+, 5 B, 2 B-, 1 C+, 1 C and 1 D-. Instead, nearly everyone made out better with the course's actual grading system (left), which takes into account clusters of grades to avoid borderline situations.