Final Projects

Final Project and Paper Overview
MACS265 – Innovation Illinois
Presentation: 12/8 (in-class presentations at 11am, email slides by 9am) 
Paper Due: 12/15 @11:00am (submit to


  • September – Your project is born – begin formulating and planning
  • October – Class survey design; Conduct your interviews
  • Before Thanksgiving – Compile your research and draft outline
  • After Thanksgiving – Get feedback on your project, present, make final edits

Students will develop a research project that explores innovation’s multidisciplinarity, and survey creative innovation practices across UIUC’s campus. In class, students will support the development of surveys that gather feedback on what inspires, supports and fosters innovation practices in diverse settings across the campus – and will gather resources from archives to develop insights on relevant past innovation practices. All projects will incorporate materials/draw analysis from the University Archives, coverage from news sources (e.g. The Daily Illini or other Illinois news resource), online data, and data from an interview conducted with a campus expert/contact/leader from UIUC’s past or present. Interviewees can include:

  • A relevant leader/contact from a key campus organization (including those covered in class, such as DRES or the BSA)
  • A representative/contact from any of our site visits: a DRES coach, a University and Student Life Archivist, an Alice Campbell Hall Exhibit Curator, etc.
  • A contact from a key report or document found in the archives (who might have been part of a student or campus organization)
  • A contact from a key report or document from an organization relevant to your topic area
  • A contact from a contemporary campus actor who represents “innovation” practice related to your topic 
  • Others, just check with us!

Students will also design an outreach and communications strategy for the survey we’ll design together in class as part of the project deliverable. This should map a multi-pronged plan that can gather 10 or more individual responses for the survey. Your outreach plan should be included with your final paper’s submission as an appendix.

Students will write a research paper (8-10 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font, 1-inch margins) that summarizes insights from the survey process and results on your Subject Area, drawing on readings from the syllabus and resources from the class and assignments to put your findings in dialogue with past innovation practices, and any other appropriate secondary resources. (ie. Wikipedia doesn’t count, although: feel free to use to find secondary resources) 

Final papers should present a bibliography of sources, properly incorporated and cited (in a citation style of your choosing; for information on citation, Purdue OWL is highly recommended). Include 3 sources from the syllabus and at least five additional primary and secondary sources (at least 2 of which should be secondary, and at least 3 of should be primary: ie. materials from the archives, photos, external reports, etc).

Students will present their work in class with a visual presentation (8-10 minutes, with additional time for questions) at the end of the semester. You’re welcome to use a standard slideshow format, but if you’re inclined toward multimedia contexts, you may create something unique with instructor approval (examples include: use of creative visualization techniques, videos, podcasts, archives, apps, etc.). 

Paper Checklist:
_____ 8-10 written pages* (double-spaced, 12-point Time New Roman, 1-inch margins)
_____ Integration of your interview
_____ Integration of survey data
_____ Your own visualizations (i.e. from Excel or Tableau)
_____ Reference at least one reading/text/film/documentary/etc. from class (either primary or secondary)
​​​​​​_____ Reference at least one additional primary source (e.g. archival texts, photos, etc.)
_____ Reference at least two additional secondary sources (e.g. articles or books)
_____ Bibliography (citing primary and secondary sources, our class Survey, your interview with date)
_____ Consent form for your interview (attached at the end as an appendix)*
_____ Original 1-page transcription of your interview (attached at the end as an appendix)*

* keep in mind: your paper should include 8-10 pages of written analysis. Images, bibliographies, and outreach plans do not count towards paper length.

Presentation Checklist:
_____ Presentation of 8-10 minutes (approximately 5-10 slide slideshow or multimedia format w/ prior instructor approval).
_____ Your own survey data visualizations (i.e. from Excel or Tableau, or Word Cloud tool like or Voyant)
_____ Representation of your interview (i.e. key quotes)
_____ Representation of visual materials from the archives or other historical source (like an interviewee)

*Email your slides or visual presentation to the teaching team by 9am on Tuesday 12/8 – presentation day. 

*Final paper is due to on 12/15 @11:00am