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Media Theory, Interns: Spring 2022

Assignment 1A: Algorithmic Unreliability

The IDH has become increasingly concerned about the use of algorithms in employment decisions.  (I.e., they got robots deciding who does -- or doesn't -- get hired for a job.)  The IDH Research Division has already started this project -- with NCU Prof. Marci Exted and Creighton University Prof. Tom Freeman -- but we want to know what you all think.  (And create some community education videos and assets.) 

For Assignment 1A: We just want to make sure you have -- or remember -- three essential skills for the Media Theory class (a) you can, on your own, find an example of an algorithm we want to study; (b) you can incorporate existing IDH research into a paper; (c) you can apply the IDH's methodology for studying the unreliability of algorithms.

Step One: Find an example of an employment algorithm in the news.

Step Two: Review the IDH's existing research on employment algorithms here

Step Three: Per the instructions provided on Moodle, write a 1-2 page paper on the ethical issues of the employment algorithm you located AND the general problem with using employment algorithms. 

Pro tip: Mae sure you are exploring all three parts of the Axis of Unreliability (a) factual unreliability; (b) bias (race, class, gender, ability, age); or (c) the problems with replacing human hiring decisions with algorithmic decision-making.  

Note:The IDH will be delighted if someone figures out how religious discrimination could be a factor in employment algorithms.

Good luck.  See you next week.

Kairos Project Assignment, Part One

For this semester's Kairos Project Assignment, you will be assisting the IDH with its research 
on EMFs, ADHD, and the Attention Economy.

  • Step One: Make sure you watch/listen to the IDH discussion on EMFs and ADHD (on Moodle.)

  • Step Two: Make sure you review the IDH article draft on EMFs and ADHD.  That is located here.

  • Step Four: Watch Dr. McKain and Sydney explain the Kairos Project this semester.

  • Step Three: Following the directions -- on Moodle -- complete the Kairos Project Assignment, Part One.  Your teams are as follows:

    • Group One: The Connection Between Lead and Childhood ADHD.  (Hint: Do background research on the Flint Michigan water crisis.)

      • David O. and Caleb M​

    • Group Two: The Connection Between Social Media and ADHD.

      • Candance and Rachel and Tony​

    • Group Three: Neurological or Health Effects of EMFs?

      • Jalen and Nick and Richard and ​

    • Group Four: What are the Effects/Costs (i.e., "Harms") of ADHD on Society?

      • Isabell and Erica​

    • Group Five: What Are the Negative Long Term Effects of ADHD Medication?

      • Kristen and Rylee

  • REMEMBER: We are only interested in peer-reviewed academic research.  No cranks, weirdos, or hot takes.  Actual research only.

Assignment 7A: Ethos Project Research

Your Privacy Teams (and the folders to find existing research and upload your researcgh) are below).  Pro Tip: For all topics beside Employment Data, read the existing annotations already in your folder.  That will give you a start on your topic.

Ethos Project Assignment

For your data privacy team/topic, use the Christian principles and social media campaign hashtags to complete (a) a sermon on your topic and (b) five social media posts.  

Some guidance on sermons is here.  Put your sermon in this folder.

Upload your social media posts to the IDH Workout room and Moodle.

  • Team One: Student Data Privacy

    • Christian Principle: Grace​​​

    • Social Media Campaigns:

      • #digitalgrace​​

      • #studentdataprivacy

  • Team Two: Employment Data Privacy​

    • Christian Principle: Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged​

    • Examples of harms: Workplace surveillance, companies using criminal history, consumer history, health data, old social media posts, etc.​

    • Social Media Campaigns:​​

      • #LestYeBeJudged​

      • #NUNYA

      • #EmploymentDataPrivacy

  • Team Three: Health Data Privacy​

    • Christian Principle: Golden Rule/Do Unto Others

    • Social Media Campaigns

      • #GoldenRule

      • #DoUntoOthers

      • #HealthDataPrivacy

  • Team Four: Criminal Data Privacy​

    • Christian Principle: Forgiveness

    • Social Media Campaigns:

      • #ForgiveandForget​

      • #RobotsDon'tForgive

      • #criminaldataprivacy

Ethos Project Assignment

Internship Openings for Spring 2021

IDH Internship Postings
Spring 2021

The IDH is seeking interns for Spring 2021.

These can be “on call” or five hour a week appointments.
(“On call” appointments means that we put you on a list of people to reach out to with project work.  You accept or decline.  But you can only claim resume credit for completed projects.)
Scheduling is flexible. 
But: Two strikes and you are out.
(When working with outside clients, there isn’t time for ghosting.  If you miss two assignments, we have to let you go.  But you can always re-apply.)

To apply:
Submit a brief (1 page max) cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position.
Reference the portfolio materials indicated on the specific job opening.
Additional materials can also be submitted.

Label your application materials:
“Last Name, Specific Job Posting, Cover Letter.”  


Social Media Intern(s)

The IDH is seeking a social media intern to assist with curation and expansion of its Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram channels. This intern reports directly to our Director of Public Relations and SECA Marketing team. 

For Spring 2021, the already known campaigns are: An art exhibition (on race and technology) with local partners, community education materials on post-COVID mental health, and a social media campaign focused on facial recognition, predictive policing, and privacy.

Necessary Qualifications: 
Strong writing ability, understanding of translating information to diverse audiences,  policy debate method, and axis of unreliability.  For Instagram, basic visual argumentation ability.

Portfolio Items to Reference in Cover Letter:

  • Policy debate and axis of unreliability: One video from Kairos Project

  • Social media examples: Two posts from Ethos Project

  • Graphic Design: Two zine pages from Pathos Project


Put your submissions here: Social Media Submission Folder

Research (and Writing) Interns

The IDH is seeking a policy analyst intern for Spring 2021 to (a) assist with the curation of news stories on free speech, algorithmic discrimination, and digital privacy issues and (b) help with the writing of web, academic, and public articles.  This intern reports directly to our Director of Research.

Necessary Qualifications:  Strong writing ability, understanding of translating information to diverse audiences,  policy debate method, legal analysis method, and axis of unreliability.

Portfolio Items to Reference with Cover Letter:

  • Policy debate and axis of unreliability: Any assignments or project from Kairos

  • Legal analysis: Any assignments or project from Pathos unit that shows FIRAC.

  • Translating information: Any assignments or project from Logos unit.

Put your submissions here: Research and Writing Submission Folder

How to Submit Portfolios

Congratulations on completing 175 (and the IDH intern training)!

Now we want to see how you did.  Not on your first try.  (First draft.)  But when you had a chance to think and work.

To do this, put all of the polished, final versions of your project assignments --


the Kairos Project Infomercial and Robot Court

the Ethos Project podcast and social media

the Logos Project article or video
the Pathos project zines --


Name all the documents: "Last Name, [Kairos, Pathos, Ethos, Logos] Project."

(if your project has multiple parts or files, number them
i.e., McKain, Kairos Project, Robot Court or McKain, Pathos Project, Zine 1).

Dr. McCormick's Reflection Piece


In your Final Portfolio, include a document of at least 300 words reflecting on what you're taking away from COMM 175. In that document, you may choose to answer any of the following questions. These particular questions are just options, not requirements. Please do not try to answer all of them--choose a few that make sense to you.


  1. As a communications professional, what media skills do you want to continue to work on? Which assignment are you most pleased with as an example of your skill as a media specialist, and why? Which assignment represents a skill that you'd still like to improve, and why? (In other words, reflect on your technical skills, including audio, video, and written arguments in any way that makes sense to you.)

  2. What did you learn about algorithms in the class, their potential and their limitations? (You could refer to theoretical discussions in Big Data, for instance, or you could talk about algorithms you discussed in your assignments.)

  3. What did you learn about legal practice (e.g. FIRAC, writing briefs) or the basics of constitutional law (e.g. court cases involving free speech or privacy issues) that seem worth remembering?

  4. As a Christian, how can you imagine using some of the skills you learned in your future professional and faith-based life?

  5. Anything else you would like to share!


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