Individual Project Overview

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Your individual course project will involve production, design, distribution, promotion, and publication of one multi-touch short-form book, magazine, or catalog for the iPad using iBooks Author and supporting software. Your book will need to include interactive elements and multiple media (sound, video, images, etc.) You will choose the topic and content for this project, with an eye for either developing new content or using existing content that you or a client (such as Parlor Press) may have developed previously. Your job will be to articulate the goals and parameters of the project and carry it through to completion. The project will extend over the entire semester, but there will be milestones to meet along the way so that you can receive progress grades. Possible projects include a collection of creative writing, an interactive catalog or textbook, a portfolio of your previous work, a magazine, a children's book, an enhanced version of a public-domain work of literature, a travel guide, a cookbook, an "augmented reality" (AR) book, technical documentation or instructrions, a documentary or biography, or any other type of writing that can be enhanced by multimedia content and interactive elements. Your work may involve working directly with a client (such as an author) or organization. You'll be asked to keep a project log to help manage the process and elicit feedback. At the end of the semester, you'll present your project at the Showcase in the new Publishing and Design Studio. You'll also learn how to submit your book to the iBookstore for wider distribution. (30% of course grade.)

Steps in the Process

  1. Topic Proposal: Post a one-page topic proposal as a blog entry (tags: individual projecttopic proposal). Try to describe the type of multi-touch, interactive book that you want to create (the genre or form), the audience(s), and in what ways your book might be innovative. Due: Post your proposal by the end of the day on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
  2. Peer Feedback: Provide feedback to your peers by responding to their topic proposals (in or out of class). Try to write three responses offering feedback and suggestions (pats on the back are nice, but try to go beyond that, too). What would you expect to see in such a book? Due: End of day on Thursday, Sept. 13.
  3. Topic/Approach Development: Using feedback from your peers, revise your proposal or approach and post it as the first entry in your Project Log. Describe what you plan to do, why, what you hope to learn from the project, the audience for your book, and anything else that provides a context for the project. (tags: project log, topic proposal). Due: End of day on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
  4. Meet with Dr. Blakesley: Meet face-to-face with Dr. Blakesley, during our outside of class, for a 10-minute discussion of your project. Due: meetings should take place before Sept. 25.
  5. Asset Collection and Development: As early as possible in the project begin collecting and developing assets (text, images, video, recordings, photographs, illustrations, information graphics, thumbnail images, and any other content that you might eventually use). Create a Dropbox folder that you can later share with others so that we'll be able to help, review, etc. Since you may be sharing this with a number of people, use this naming convention: CourseNumber YourLastName Assets (e.g., 487 Blakesley Assets, 687 Jones Assets). We will discuss in class how to develop, collect, and use assets in your book project, including the form they should take (e.g, file format). You should collect or create many more assets than you may actually use. You should also keep a spreadsheet that includes identifying information about each asset (filename, source, copyright info if any, etc.; keep this spreadsheet in your Assets folder). Due: ongoing; but plan on an asset review on Oct. 2, Oct, 23, and Nov. 7.
  6. Storyboarding Layout: For this step, you'll want to design your own template or customize an existing template in iBooks Author. iBooks Author comes with a number of useful templates, but you'll likely find that you need to change elements, such as background images. You should create a sample page template for each of the types of pages in your book (page with text only, page with image or illustration, page with video, etc.). Due: Have your storyboards for each of your pages ready for review by Nov. 1
  7. Full Draft: The full draft of your iBook should be ready for a thorough peer review in-class on November 13 and should include all the content that you plan to include, with the understanding that fine-tuning will be needed before the book is ready for publication. Due: Nov. 13.
  8. Final Draft and Poster: This will be the version to be presented at the iBooks showcase at the end of the semester, tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6. For the showcase, you'll be able to show your iBook on an iPad in the 1941 Studio, and you'll also need to print some sample pages for a display poster, which should provide some context for the book and your process of creating it.

In all cases, you will work closely with your peers and me to complete your project. During the process, you should keep a Project Log in your course blog (tag: project log). Starting this week (Week 4, ending Sept. 14), post a project blog entry that follows the guidelines for Project Logs. These entries can be informal but should include a record of your progress, goals, milestones, and challenges along the way.


Your individual project is worth 30% of your course grade. Your work will be evaluated for the quality of the deliverables, whether you met all milestones in a timely way, and the consistency of your engagement with the project over the course of the semester. You will need to complete all the steps in the process to earn credit for the project, including presentation of your book at the Showcase at the end of the semester. It won't be possible to complete your individual project successfully if you don't work at it regularly, meet all (self-imposed) deadlines, and create high quality deliverables on time.