cs492 - Spring 2017

Societal Implications with Computer Science

Assignment 3: What Really Matters.

Due. At the beginning of class 26 June, 2017.

In class this term we are examining many ways in which computing and communications technology is co-evolving with the psychology, society and politics of people's lives. In this assignment, you are to choose which aspect of this technology will most have changed how ordinary people live. The aspect you choose need not be one of the ten taken up in the course.

During this assignment you are expected to do research beyond the course readings in order to provide concrete details of the aspect you chose and its likely effect on society.

When this assignment is due there will remain four topics not yet taken up: fake news, privacy, hacking and politics. Feel free to write your essay on one of these topics if you wish. We will take into account when marking that you have not had the benefit of listening to class discussion.

The Assignment

You are to write a 750 word essay that

What's important is not the aspect you choose but how well you describe it and how well you support what you write.

To give you facts that support your claims, we expect you to reread relevant course readings and to seek out other sources. Whatever comes from any sources other than your own head or class discussion should be referenced. (References are not part of the word count.)

A normal balance for this essay might be the following.

Somebody will want to know what "750 words" means. In this case it means "less than or equal to 750 words". Not using all your words will obviously decrease your mark for content. It will also decrease your style mark because we will see less good writing. Do not, however, pad your essay to get it up near the limit. All three of the markers dislike weak words.

Improving your Writing

We (Carolyn, Marta and I) have read a lot of your writing over the past few months, and we will -- as I write these words -- be reading more. Here are a few specific things we have noticed which can improve your writing without needing much work on your part.

Here are some tips from Carolyn.

Here are Marta's quick tips.

And here are Bill's tips. They are titled by words you may have seen written on your essays.

What We Like This Week

Marking essays is time-consuming. We like anything that makes them easier to mark. Better writing is most important, which we are working on. There are also a few concrete things you can do to help me. This week we like the following.

  1. Essays that use your personal experience or non-curricular reading as examples.
  2. Essays that use "less" and "few" correctly.
  3. Essays that minimize adverbs. Nota bene, "very" is the adverbiest of adverbs.
  4. Essays that show an active imagination at work.


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