Final Project


Trying on the hacker work ethic: Final Project

Due Date:

Proposal: Friday March 26, noon.

Progress Reports: on-going as per my instructions and our timeline.

Final Project: TBD (see below)

Final Reflection: Sunday May 9

Weight (Graded):

5% for Proposal

20% for Project

Weight (Pass-Fail):

To get credit for graded portion, you must due reflection.

Capstone, Rise of the Network Society

Spring 2010

Bucknell University

Jordi Comas, Assistant Professor of Management

What’s The Idea?

– This is a project you will conceive and design to allow yourself to “try on” the hacker work ethic.

– Explore a theme or topic covered in class readings or discussion of particular interest to you.

– Demonstrate that interest with a project that reflects the highest level of research, communication, writing, and creative thinking skills of a Bucknell student. This is the capstone of the capstone.


– Demonstrate your hacker work ethic:

“ Hackers want to realize their passion, and they are ready to accept that the pursuit even of interesting tasks may not always be unmitigated bliss.  For hackers, passion describes the general tenor of their activity…passionate and creative, hacking also entails hard work” (Hinammen 18-19)

Hinnamen highlights three aspects of hacker ethic:

1) The work ethic is one of being passionate about the nature of that work (and not just any kind of work).

2) The individual should be able to organize time herself so as to be task-oriented, respond to creativity, and pursue some kind of a balance in one’s life.

3) Information “wants to be free.”  The hacker “nethic” focuses on access for all and freedom of expression over the Net.

–  Conceive, develop, and evolve a project.  The clock of long time, as well as Hinnamen’s description of open source collaboration, or of the “academy” are good models (66-74 in the book).  Some highlights:

1) “it begins with a problem someone finds personally significant” (67).

2) The hacker releases the solution to others.

3) Further contributions are credited.

4) Extensive testing, including from relevant judges improves solution.

5) “Despite its apparent tumult, hackerism does not exist in a state of anarchy any more than science does.”  (72).

–  Document and reflect on what and how you learn over the course of the project.

Scope and Type of Project

I am giving you the widest scope and freedom I can with this project and still feel that I can support your effort and evaluate it in the context of giving you academic credit.

I want this to be a vessel for your energy and creativity.

In the past, I have done this with students and they have produced videos, conducted viral marketing campaigns, created blogs, written case studies, or “normal” research papers.  In the Spring of 2009 students created music videos, did photo essays, created podcasts, wrote papers, conducted ethnographic research, and made a brochure extolling the idea of being a hacker accountant.

If the wide openness of this is overwhelming, I can meet with you and hand off more of a set project.



1) You will write a 300-500 word proposal for what you want to do.  You will post this on a blog I will create for these projects.  Instructions will come via email.  Your proposal should include:

▫   Title

▫   Goal or purpose of project

▫   Timeline including specific goals you feel are critical

▫   What skills or abilities you bring to the project

▫   What challenges, learning needs, or constraints you anticipate

▫   Resources (texts, people, organizations, and so on) you know about that are relevant.

▫   Criteria you think are relevant to evaluate the quality of your work

2) You will get feedback from members of the class and me over the next week.


3) You should schedule several progress reports to be made in class and on the blog.

4) Obviously, you will do the project over 6-7 weeks.  THAT IS NOT AS MUCH TIME AS YOU THINK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Final Project and Showcase:

5) Sharing is a key component of the hacker work ethic.  Therefore, we will discuss and agree as a class on some sort of a showcase for our final projects (all of them).  We discuss our goals for this showcase and how to implement it.  The final due date for your project will depend on the nature of this showcase.

Final Reflection:

6) By Sunday, May 9, you will need to submit a learning reflection that compares what actually happened to your proposal, what you feel you learned with your project, and what you would suggest to future students in this class.  I will not record whatever the grade is for your project until I have this.  In other words, not doing this will effectively give you a zero for the whole project.  This reflective essay should be at least 1,000 words.  You may submit it by email, or some other electronic format (for example, perhaps it can be folded into your project, posted on a blog, as a facebook note and so on).  If you opt for a digital publication, be sure to give me the URL.


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