Additional Guidance for Final Project and Presentation

Greetings! Since we’re in the home stretch, here is the promised additional guidance for our final project and presentation.

Final Presentations

The final presentations will take place on Friday, March 11 at 10:00 a.m. Based on the difficulty I’ve encountered facilitating a live video feed, I’m planning to digitally record these for a vidcast or vodcast (depending on your choice of terms) and then post them online. I’m also planning a live studio audience (but no sitcom laugh track).

Here are a few guidelines:

  1. Please keep these presentations to no more than five minutes. If you’ve not encountered it yet, you’ll soon find that part of the challenge of public history is editing work DOWN to meet specific requirements — be they a limited word count, file size, target length, etc. Several of the midterm presentations went significantly beyond the five-minute mark (without factoring-in time for questions), so please focus your presentation with this goal in mind.
  2. You are welcome to bring and utilize media such as projected images via PowerPoint, but please be sure that they contribute to and not detract from your presentation. If you are interested in doing so, please coordinate directly with me, and have your media ready to go on a USB drive via a file in .ppt format.
  3. Please be sure to organize your presentation, dress in appropriate professional (business-casual) attire, speak clearly and directly, and adhere to standard practice for professional presentations. Since you had the opportunity to work out any kinks or butterflies during the midterm presentations, I think you’re all ready to take the next step!
  4. Your presentation should highlight your Final Project: the podcast proposals for the three parks associated with your theme (see below).

Final Project: Podcast Proposal (3 per theme)

Each individual podcast proposal will consist of:

  1. A list of specific tangibles, intangibles, and universal concept(s) from your chosen park. Especially with the tangibles, please make these are as compelling and narrowly focused as possible – rather than, say, listing the park itself as a tangible, chose a particular item such as an artifact, photograph, collection item, monument, landscape item, or something similar. It is critical that you work with park staff and employ their expertise in selecting these. The more dialed-in your tangibles are, the better you can employ them to support that they support your theme statement.
  2. A list of specific primary source materials to be used to support and enhance your episode, including letters, quotes, artifacts, and at least 3 images (200 dpi) to be used in the report;
  3. A minimum of three secondary source materials that may provide context or further reading. Please err toward more recent publications.
  4. A list of correct names and titles of the NPS staff contacts with whom you’ve worked and with whom someone enacting this plan could use as points of contact.
  5. A compelling one-sentence interpretive theme statement for each prospective podcast that meets the NPS standards we have discussed, viewed, read about, and applied in our in-class work. This statement must link at least one tangible to at least one universal concept from your list. Hint: This is the most important element of your proposal!
  6. An abstract of approximately 500 words that a) describes and summarizes your proposed episode and b) places it in context. For the latter contextual portion, please be sure to articulate – using specific references –how your proposal will:
    1. support the NPS goals and fits the thematic framework established in guiding documents;
    2. tie to current research and scholarship (including NPS in-house projects);
    3. fill in any gaps in current and past interpretation;
    4. help foster public understanding, connection, and stewardship.

Reflective Essay (one per assigned theme)

For each theme assigned (not each park or podcast proposal), please provide a short, reflective summary essay of approximately 800 to 1000 words wherein you describe your experience this quarter working with the NPS thematic approach to historic site interpretation (in general) and the Civil War sesquicentennial (more specifically), with a focus on your experience connecting your theme to different park units. Has your understanding of the Civil War changed since the course began? How about your understanding of the National Park Service and its role? The field of public history? How might interaction with the parks’ public historians have shaped or changed your initial thinking on how best to connect? Did you encounter any surprises or revelations? Any stumbling blocks? What readings or resources did you find particularly applicable? Any feedback for me in crafting future courses like this?

Optional Assignment: Draft Podcast Narrative

In response to several queries, students wanting to draft a podcast narrative are welcome to do so; however, it is not a course requirement. Students should only undertake this after consultation with me; I’ll need to make sure that you have all of the required class assignments squared away and in good standing before moving in this direction. Any draft narratives may be added as an appendix to the report.

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About Greg Shine

Adjunct faculty in the History Department at Portland State University, where I teach historic site interpretation. Former Chief Ranger & Historian at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
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