Field Notes (1-2 times)

Field notes are used in a variety of professions to offer a text-based account of observations made in a setting. During this course, all students will create field notes as a part of recording relevant information about the external sites that we visit.  These notes will be posted to the course WordPress site (see here for tips on updating WordPress). The notes will then be used to inform course discussions, final projects, and presentations.

Each student will sign up to take field notes for one site visit. During many weeks, we will likely have two or more students signed up to take field notes for one site. In the event that this happens, students should coordinate to produce field notes that target different aspects of the space. The turnaround time for field notes is FAST.  Notes should be posted to the course WordPress site by 5pm on the Wednesday after the site visit (which occurs on Tuesday afternoon). This gives you approximately 24 hours to record, edit, and post the notes.

About the content of the notes

The field notes for this course should create a detailed record of observations, insights, and critiques directed at the sites that we visit during our class.  Your field notes will consist of three parts:

  • Header information: Including the name of the field note author, the event, time and date information, etc. (see below)

  • Body of the notes: The primary content of the notes should include

    • A description of the physical layout of the space(s) (sketch?)

    • Information about the people who typically come to the space (use pseudonyms or initials only)

    • Information about the activities that happen in the space

    • Reflections on the ways that the activities and material components of the space may support or inhibit learning.

Feel free to use these guidelines as headers in your notes.

  • Additional media: We encourage field notes to include, either interspersed within the notes or as appendices, photographs of the site, sketches of the site, or other illustrations that help to expand and understanding of the site’s structure and the activities that occur there.


We recommend that notes be between 500 and 750 words.

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