Category Archives: Assignment Details

Final Paper Topic

Final Paper, ITP Core One

Examine at least one specific technological practice, piece of software, program, or course website in your discipline that uses digital technology to help teach and/or do research and publication. In what specific ways is this tool(s), practice, program or website effective? In what ways is it (or are they) ineffective? How might it/they be strengthened, expanded, or built upon? How might those uses of academic technology be improved and/or reconceptualized? You are encouraged to expand the analysis you began in your midterm paper to build this work, using the specific examples you choose to explicate themes you worked with in the midterm.

In your examination, you must make reference to the conceptual and pedagogical models and approaches described in at least three of our readings this semester (e.g., Dewey, Bass, How People Learn, Visible Knowledge Project, McGann, Stein, Gee, Benkler, Bogost, Keramidas, etc.). You might supplement your analysis with references to the growing body of scholarship of teaching and learning and the digital humanities in order to assess the ways in which your field might benefit from new, imaginative uses of technology in research and/or inside and outside of the classroom. You might consider technological practices like peer production and other forms of intellectual and social organization, as well as the ways in which some forms of technology-enhanced scholarship can lend themselves to adaptation as pedagogical or research tools.*

You must also couch your analysis in a broader discussion of the state of technology usage in your academic field. How does the subject of your examination compare to broader trends of technology use in the field? Which scholars and teachers in your field are pushing the edge of the envelope in their use of academic technology to teach and/or do research, and what makes their work with technology cutting edge? Also, what insights might be drawn from the uses of technology in other disciplines to help reshape the use of technology in your field?

* Online and print journals that you might consider consulting include, but are not limited to: Computers and Composition, Computers and Education, Educause Quarterly, The Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy, The Journal of Scholarship on Teaching and Learning, Kairos, Pedagogy, and Radical Teacher, as well as numerous academic blogs and educational websites. The latter tend to be more current and useful than the formal journals (even the online ones), so feel free to mix and match what you use to help bolster your analysis.

Logistical Details

Due December 21 via email. Final papers should be approximately 15-20 pages, but you are not limited to “the paper” as a medium; please talk to Michael and Lisa if you plan to pursue a different format. Co-authored submissions are allowed with permission. Requests for alternate topics, formats, and co-authoring should be made no later than Dec 7.

Midterm Paper Topics

Write a five to ten page paper on ONE of the topics listed below.

1. We began this semester by reading Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and watching Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner. Write a critical comparison of the book and the film, making certain to incorporate insights and analysis about notions of cyborgs, embodiment, and technological change from Haraway, Hayles, and Nakamura and/or Thompson and Schivelbusch in your analysis.

2. Trace one keyword, such as “cyborg,” “body,” “network,” “tool,” “machine” or “technology” across three or more of the readings we have completed so far this semester. How does each author you have chosen to analyze treat that concept? What concerns seem shared? Which author’s version of the keyword do you find most useful and/or provocative? Why?

3. Reflecting on historical perspectives of technological change, consider Marx’s, Thompson’s, Schivelbusch’s, and Rosenzweig’s analyses of particular events in the history of technology.  Discuss the theories and conclusions of these writers, paying particular attention to the ways each depicts people’s actions and responses to technologies in the past and, with the notion of human agency in mind, how their perspectives might inform our responses to new and future technologies.

4. Write a bibliographic review essay that sketches out a critical dialogue about one of the key texts we have read this semester. You might, for instance, examine the critical reaction to Haraway’s “Cyborg Manifesto,” OR research the influence that a figure like Marx has had on subsequent theorists of technological change (such as Thompson, Schivelbusch or Rosenzweig), OR consider the ways neuroscience and/or gaming have helped reshape approaches to pedagogy.  Your essay should work towards a synthesis of the critical discourse, making clear what kinds of debates, concepts, and terms delimit and define that discourse.

5. Write an essay comparing the histories of technological development (as outlined by Rosenzweig and Bush) and the American university system (as outlined by Brier, Kerr, Christensen, and Bousquet) since 1945. What are the forces that shape change in these fields? How are they alike or dissimilar? What do these histories portend for the present and the future? What do they mean for your own work, which necessarily must engage both trajectories?

6. Write a manifesto in which you argue for a more sophisticated relationship with technology than a technophilic/technophobic binary.

7. Design your own topic. You will need to have the topic approved by Lisa and Michael before you begin work.

Rationale and Guidelines
There are four main reasons why scholars write papers: 1) to develop and improve their thinking on a subject; 2) to contribute to their fields; 3) to earn all the benefits that come from publication (mercenary, but true); 4) any combination of the aforementioned. As a scholar, it is perfectly legitimate for you to write this first paper simply with the goal of improving your thinking about interactive technology and pedagogy, but we strongly recommend that you consider this an opportunity to contribute to your field and to enjoy the benefits that accompany publication.

We therefore ask you to consider exploring several journals in your field. Look at their publication guidelines and any current calls for articles they have, and look at our prompts in relation to them. If none of our prompts coincide with your interests and/or their calls, construct your own topic that does. Write with an eye toward submitting the paper to one or more of these journals. Save yourself some time now and format your papers according to their guidelines (e.g. if they want APA style, use APA style now). Consult with us for suggestions about where you might submit your work.

Unless you are submitting to a journal with different citation/formatting requirements, please default to the following formatting guidelines: double-spaced, 1″ (2.5cm) margins on all sides, 12-point Times New Roman font, and appropriate citations using MLA or Chicago 16 style (the guide to which you can find on the Mina Rees Library website). Please submit your paper as a Word document to BOTH and and upload it (if you want your fellow students to read it) to the course Group site under “Files.”

Wikipedia Assignment

Collaboration and Wikipedia: Collaboratively write one well cited paragraph of literature review that traces the reception of one of the texts from the first few weeks of class. Work only on wiki, communicating via talk pages. Draft your paragraph in the sandbox, and add it in only once completed.

  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheet
  • Blade Runner
  • Cyborg Manifesto
  • How We Became Posthuman:

Groups of two or threee will be assigned September 21st. The improved article is due October 13th (this is the day after a holiday). Turn your assignment in by posting a comment on both of our talk pages.