Participation Assignments

Weekly Participation (15%)

Class participation is required for everyone. This means you need to engage in the class discussion at least once, in class, each week. Please note that participation means making a meaningful contribution to an ongoing discussion; simply attending class or nodding along as another student talks does not count as participation.

You have two free passes for the semester -- no explanation needed -- and of course you won't be penalized for a legitimate, excused absence (just drop me an email explaining what is happening, before class if possible). Each week of non-participation (beyond the two free passes and excused absences) will subtract a point from your class participation grade.

Group Activities (3 @ 5% = 15%)

Three times during the semester, we will engage in small group, in-class, problem-solving activities, each lasting for one week (i.e., two class sessions). Groups will be assigned at random, and topics will be announced at the beginning of the week.

You and your group will spend Monday (and whatever additional time you feel necessary between Monday and Wednesday) preparing your solution to the problem, which you will then present to the instructor and the rest of the class on Wednesday.

Each group will be responsible for presenting their own solutions, and answering questions about their decisions from the instructor and the other students. Given time constraints, group presentations will be strictly limited to five minutes each, plus three minutes for questions.

Group presentations should be visual, engaging, and as interactive as possible. Note that these presentations are in-class assignments only; you do not need to submit anything to Blackboard.

Also, while there will be one presentation per group, every group member should be involved with the presentation in some way. If you are going to miss either a Monday or a Wednesday session during a week when we have a Group Activity scheduled, please let me know ASAP.

Writing Assignments

Topic Statement (5%)

Assignment due Sunday, September 18. Please submit your assignment to Blackboard.

This is an individual writing assignment that allows you to begin the process of identifying the type of information technology (or technologies) that you will study and write about during this class. Please note that your choice here is not set in stone, and you will have the opportunity to adjust your thoughts as you proceed through the required writing assignments, based on the feedback you receive from the instructor and your peers, and as you learn more about the topic you have selected.

Based on our class discussions and your lived experiences, think about the information technologies that interest you and for which you'd like to know more about their unintended, unanticipated, or unexpected consequences. Spend some time learning about these technologies through the resources available to you, and examine how they have been or may be used in ways different from their intended purposes.

Write a paper covering the following points, in this order, using subheadings to separate each point:

  1. Identify the type of information technology (or technologies) you have selected for your topic, and provide a brief description as to what it is, what it does, or how it is used.
  2. Provide a short list of sample information technologies that relate to your chosen topic, and that you feel have the potential to serve as useful examples of its unintended consequences.
  3. Explain why you are interested in your chosen topic. Why does it appeal to you? Why does it matter? Why do you think it would be useful to explore the unintended consequences of this kind of information technology?

Submit your assignment to Blackboard under the "Topic Statement" assignment. Make sure your submission includes the name and number of the course, the instructor's name, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date submitted. Length: minimum 250 words.

Peer Review of Topic Statement (5%)

Assignment due Sunday, October 2. Please submit your assignment to Blackboard.

This is an individual peer review assignment that allows you to provide feedback to one of your classmates on the type of information technology (or technologies) they have chosen to study and write about during this class. You are not expected to critique their writing, but rather to provide useful feedback about the topic they selected, the information technologies involved, and where they might go with this topic over the semester.

You will each be provided with one Topic Statement to peer review. Using the provided rubric, evaluate each of the three required sections of the Topic Statement you have been asked to review, offering comments on each section as follows:

  1. Is the type of information technology (or technologies) selected by the student clearly identified and described? Do you have any suggestions for refining or clarifying their choice of topic?
  2. Do the sample information technologies offered by the student provide suitable examples for exploring the unintended consequences of their chosen topic? Are there other information technologies that this student might consider in addition to the ones they selected?
  3. Is the student's choice of intended topic suitably explained? Do you have any additional suggestions for why it would be useful or interesting for them to explore the unintended consequences of this kind of information technology?

Submit your assignment to Blackboard under the "Peer Review of Topic Statement" assignment. Make sure your submission includes the name and number of the course, the instructor's name, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date submitted. Length: minimum 250 words.

Annotated Bibliography (15%)

Assignment due Sunday, October 16. Please submit your assignment to Blackboard.

This is an individual writing assignment that provides you the opportunity to learn as much as possible about your selected topic -- before beginning your final paper -- by exploring what others have written about related information technologies and their unintended consequences.

Building off your previous explorations, continue to learn about the topic you have selected through the information resources available to you, and find at least ten (10) readings or resources that examine how information technologies related to your topic have been or may be used in ways different from their intended purposes. These do not need to be peer-reviewed journal articles, but should include some sort of written text.

Write a paper covering the following points, in this order, using subheadings to separate each point:

  1. Identify the type of information technology (or technologies) you have selected for your topic, and discuss any differences that have occurred to your thoughts about this topic since you originally proposed it in your topic statement.
  2. For each of the (ten minimum) readings or resources you identified related to your topic:
    • Provide a complete citation to the reading or resource. You may use any citation style you prefer or are comfortable with, but please be consistent in your use of that style for all of your citations.
    • Provide a brief annotation (approximately 50 words) explaining (a) the key issue or issues related to the unintended consequences of the information technologies described in this reading or resource; and (b) how this reading or resource will be helpful to you as you explore your chosen topic in your final paper.

Submit your assignment to Blackboard under the "Annotated Bibliography" assignment. Make sure your submission includes the name and number of the course, the instructor's name, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date submitted. Length: minimum 750 words.

Draft of Final Paper (15%)

Assignment due Sunday, November 13. Please submit your assignment to Blackboard.

This is an individual writing assignment that allows you to explore the type of information technologies you selected in detail, and develop a solid understanding of their unintended, unanticipated, or unexpected consequences.

Building upon the research you have already done, continue to learn about these technologies through the resources available to you, and examine how they have been or may be used in ways different from their intended purposes. Think carefully about the key issues, questions, and concerns related to your chosen topic, and consider where the unintended consequences of this technology may take us in the future.

Write a paper covering the following points, in this order, using subheadings to separate each point:

  1. Identify the type of information technology (or technologies) you have selected for your topic, and provide a brief description as to what it is, what it does, or how it is used. Discuss the significance of this topic for our modern society, and explain why you believe it is important for us to develop a better understanding of the unintended consequences of this type of information technology.
  2. Find at least ten (10) readings or resources that examine how information technologies related to your topic have been or may be used in ways different from their intended purposes (these can be the same resources you identified in your annotated bibliography). Use these resources to identify, analyze, and discuss the key issues related to the unintended consequences of your selected topic for our modern society. Please organize this section thematically, using subheadings to group the key issues you identify into different themes. While each of your 10 (or more) readings or resources should be cited at least once in your paper, please do not organize this section around the readings themselves; a good literature review is an analysis of research organized thematically, not a series of individual "book reports."
  3. Identify a major issue, question, problem, or concern that you feel has a great potential to disrupt our modern society in unexpected, unanticipated, and unintended ways. This can be one of the issues you discovered in your research, or a new issue that you believe has not been suitably addressed in the readings or resources you found. Discuss what you have learned about this issue, and explore its significance. Why does this issue matter? What are the implications -- positive and negative -- of this issue for humanity as a whole? What are the unintended consequences we have witnessed so far, and where might those unintended consequences take us in the future? Please cite the readings or resources you found as necessary during your discussion.
  4. Discuss what you feel could (or should) be done to mitigate the worst of these unintended consequences and accentuate the positive ones. What are the steps (if any) that we can (or should) take as a society to address this issue? What recommendations do you have that we should consider as we move forward with these information technologies to ensure the outcomes are positive? Please cite the readings or resources you found as necessary during your discussion.
  5. Include a bibliography that provides a complete citation to each of the readings or resources you cite in this paper. You may use any citation style you choose as long as you are consistent (and provide sufficient information for someone to locate the resources you used).

Submit your assignment to Blackboard under the "Draft of Final Paper" assignment. Make sure your submission includes the name and number of the course, the instructor's name, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date submitted. Length: minimum 2500 words.

Peer Review of Draft Paper (10%)

Assignment due Sunday, November 27. Please submit your assignment to Blackboard.

This is a peer review assignment that allows you to provide feedback to one of your classmates on the type of information technology (or technologies) they have chosen to study and write about during this class. You are not expected to critique their writing, but rather to provide useful feedback about the topic they selected, and their analysis of the unintended consequences of the information technologies involved.

You will each be provided with one Draft Paper to peer review. Using the provided rubric, evaluate each of the five required sections of the paper you have been asked to review, offering comments on each section as follows:

  1. Is the selected type of information technology (or technologies) clearly identified and described? Is the significance of this topic for our modern society discussed? Do you have any additional suggestions about why it is important for us to develop a better understanding of the unintended consequences of this type of information technology?
  2. Does the student identify at least ten (10) readings or resources? Does the student use these resources to analyze the key issues related to the unintended consequences of the chosen technology? Were these key issues discussed thematically (i.e., grouped into different themes)? Do you have any suggestions for additional key issues related to the topic the student might want to explore?
  3. Does the student identify a major issue, question, problem, or concern that has the potential to disrupt our modern society in unexpected, unanticipated, and unintended ways? Does the student explore the significance of this issue, and its importance for the future of humanity as a whole? Do you have any additional suggestions of unintended consequences the student might want to consider?
  4. Does the student discuss what could or should be done to mitigate the worst of these unintended consequences and accentuate the positive ones? Does the student provide recommendations we should consider as we move forward with this type of information technology? Do you have any additional suggestions for steps our society could or should take to address this issue?
  5. Does the student provide a bibliography listing the readings or resources cited in the paper? Are all the works cited in the paper included in the bibliography? Are the citations internally consistent, and do they provide sufficient information for someone to locate the works cited?

Submit your assignment to Blackboard under the "Peer Review of Draft Paper" assignment. Make sure your submission includes the name and number of the course, the instructor's name, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date submitted. Length: minimum 500 words.

Final Paper (20%)

Assignment due Sunday, December 11. Please submit your assignment to Blackboard.

This is an individual writing assignment that allows you to complete your final paper, respond to the feedback you have received, and wrap up your exploration of the unintended, unanticipated, or unexpected consequences of the type of information technologies you selected.

Based on the feedback you have received from your peers and the instructor, revise / edit / re-write your draft paper, addressing the concerns or issues raised. Make sure you have completed all parts of the assignment (as detailed above).

Along with your final paper, please include (either at the beginning or end of your paper, or as a separate file) a brief explanation that describes the changes you made to your paper, and explains how you incorporated the suggestions you received in your revisions. You should not feel obligated to make changes that you feel are inappropriate, so should you disagree with a suggestion, please explain this in your document as well.

Submit your assignment -- the final version of your paper AND your explanatory document -- to Blackboard under the "Final Paper" assignment. Make sure your submission includes the name and number of the course, the instructor's name, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date submitted. Length: minimum 2500 words.

Procedures for the Papers

Assignments are due by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (EDT or EST, as appropriate) on the dates indicated above. Late assignments will not receive full credit. If you have extenuating circumstances, please contact me ASAP before the due date.

When the papers are marked, points will be assigned based on the assumption that you have carefully followed, read, and understood the assignment descriptions. Please do not hesitate to ask for clarifications!

Papers should be submitted to Blackboard as individual word processing files (PDF is preferred, but RTF, DOC, and DOCX are also acceptable). Please make sure your surname is part of the filename (e.g., marty_paper1.pdf).

All submissions must include a title page (or section), listing the name and number of the course, the name of the instructor, YOUR NAME, the name of the assignment, and the date you are handing it in.

You are required to use headings and subheadings to make the organization of your paper clear to the reader. The main headings in your paper must correspond to the main sections of the assignment descriptions, as listed above. You should then subdivide each section to reflect its content as necessary.

Papers must be demonstrably spell-checked, grammar-checked, and proofread for nonsense; failure to do so will result in a lower grade.