Participation (Every Class Meeting)
This is not a drill-and-skill type of course. I expect everyone to be involved in class discussions, which are extremely important for critical thinking. You must contribute to class discussions. Fifteen percent (15%) of your grade is based on participation. The is no supplement for engaging in class discussions.
In-class participation means you are ready to be called on at any time to respond to a question, prompt, and/ or suggestion about the course material. Yes, I will call on you in class periodically, so be prepared to demonstrate that you’re reflecting thoughtfully on the readings. Thoughtful reflection doesn’t mean you give THE answer; instead, it means you show awareness for the complexity of our subject by describing your interpretation or asking questions that demonstrate critical thinking (as opposed to certainty). We embrace ambiguity in this course.
Taking good notes on the reading (which is required in this class) will help you recall important aspects of the text to discuss in class. Refer to the syllabus for more information on in-class participation.
In order to increase the chances of engaging, class-wide participation, I require you to take handwriting notes during class and for the readings. Use a spiral notebook or composition notebook–it can be one for other classes. You should have several (if not many) quotations from our readings each night that you can use to comment on or question an engaging question. I expect you to point to specific passages in our discussions. Be ready to do so every class period.
This is not a web development class. You are not expected to be super savvy online, but you are expected to be able to reflect upon technology. The webpage (or website) you’ll create is to showcase your understanding of our course material. In lieu of reading quizzes, I’m asking you to maintain a website that helps you reflect on what we’ve covered in class. You may already have a webpage, so create a space devoted to this class.
You may use any format you’d like, but I’ll take time to show you how to use UNCC’s system. DON’T PANIC! If you can Save As… and drag and drop with a mouse, you can maintain a website. Besides your own creative attributes, I want you to have the following items on your homepage:
- Your name or alias
- Link to our class-s homepage
- Link to your Major’s Department Webpage
- Link to a classmate’s Homepage
- Visuals and links representing or demonstrating or explaining concepts you’ve encountered (throughout the semester)
I will most likely add some more items, so stay tuned. One suggestion is to have a homepage and have separate pages you link to. For instance, this page is one of several different pages within my entire website. Each class period has its own date page.
Leading Class Discussion
I would like you to open up discussion on a reading. I don’t expect an exhaustive pontification in your discussion. Instead, I’d like you to lead the class for 20 minutes on a topic related to the reading. Although you could do a chapter from Baker & Jane, I’d prefer you introduce an reading on Canvas. You don’t need to have a formal activity for the class, but showing visuals, asking questions, and (possibly) having a webpage (or PowerPoint) devoted to your discussion (your notes) would be good. Also, different students can choose readings from the same day, but you can’t partner up (unless something strange happens with our time this semester).
Identify key quotations that summarize the author’s argument and discuss how ideology (or meaning) is embedded in the science or technology being discussed. Make connections to other examples outside of the text, and explain the significance in the connections you make.
Remember, you’re leading the discussion; you don’t have to finish it. It’s more effective to go into greater detail about a few aspects of a reading than to skim the entire reading in 20 min. I won’t let you go over 20 minutes, so practice!
|10/31||1. Weber, Rachel N. “Manufacturing Gender…”||
|11/07||1. Cowan, Ruth Schwartz. “The Industrial Revolution…”||
Technology and yourself, a reflective essay (workshop 9/26; due 10/03)
This is a personal essay, but it has to show you’re thinking beyond the function of the technologies you use. I want you to discuss your feelings, beliefs, and goals surrounding technology. It’s better to focus on a single (or a few) technologies than to try to cover many different ones. This essay is reflective and should show you’re critically thinking about the technologies you use. Don’t make surface observations or discuss how it works.
The overall goal is to identify to what extent you’re critically aware of how technology permeates your life. Remember, this essay isn’t about the function (i.e., use) of technologies; instead, I want you to reflect upon your feelings, associations, and projections (assumptions of the future) about technology. What does technology mean to you?
Below are the format logistics (I don’t take off for formatting, but I am always asked about formatting):
- Typed, double spaced (except heading), 12 pt font
- 1-inch margins all around
- Page numbers (anywhere)
- A title other than “Technology and Yourself [Essay]”
- At least seven (7) pages
- In-text citations: you must use quotations from the course readings and, if you choose, outside reading
- Works Cited/References page (if you use ANY sources)
Although this is a personal reflection, it’s not an unorganized “freewriting”; it’s supposed to be a polished work. You’ll have a chance to workshop these essays and revise. Please don’t e-mail me a draft and say “look at this.” Office hours are Mondays & Tuesdays 3:00 pm-5:00 pm (and by appt). If you’re wondering if one particular technology over another would be better suited, please ask, and I’ll offer some advice.
Social Construction of Technology Essay (workshop 10/31; due 11/07)
As you read and participate in class discussions, consider the technologies that you’ve come across. You’ll need to choose a technology and describe how it represents the society from which it comes—be that American, Western, Industrial, etc. In order to do that, you’ll need to identify a few cultural values that your technology conforms to. Also, you shouldn’t just list or state the values. You must describe (make an argument for) why you feel those values are part of a culture.
I do not expect you to go into a tremendous amount of technical or historical detail in your essays; instead, try to pick a technology that might fit our discussions regarding American values in general (of course, you may use a technology from any culture, so refer to those values). Although we might all agree that a particular value (e.g., individualism) is an American value, you must offer support for such a claim—you can’t just state it. You can also be subversive. Although Americans claim to value individualism, in reality, we’re very much herd animals that flock to trends…
After you identify and describe the values, you must describe how those values are embodied in the technology. You may use “I” and even bring in personal examples, but you have to defend your reasons for arguing the way you do. You are required to use outside sources—sources from the class reading and sources outside of our readings. A nice split would be to cite at least 6 sources from our class readings and 6 sources from outside our class readings. Below are the format logistics (I don’t take off for formatting, but I am always asked about formatting):
- Typed, double spaced (except heading), 12 pt font
- 1-inch margins all around
- Page numbers (anywhere)
- A title other than “Social Construction of Technology [Essay]”
- At least fifteen (15) pages
- In-text citations: you must have at least 12 in-text citations from the course reading and outside reading
- Works Cited/References page (I don’t care which style–MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.–you use for your paper, but please choose one)
Over the course of the semester, the above ideas should make more sense. You’ll have a chance to workshop these essays and revise. Please start thinking about a technology (historical or contemporary) you can identify as embodying values of a culture.
Please don’t e-mail me a draft and say “look at this.” Office hours are Mondays & Tuesdays 3:00 pm-5:00 pm (and by appt). If you’re wondering if one particular technology over another would be better suited, please ask, and I’ll offer some advice.
Technology Project (due 12/05)
This assignment is supposed to be your chance to be creative. I hesitate to give specific guidelines because I want you to be bold and not do a traditional type of assignment. Although I don’t have specific guidelines, you should produce something worthy of a final project for a 6000-level graduate class. It is worth 15% of your grade, so it’s a pretty big deal. I originally wanted to have you do a visual-audio type of assignment, but that could move us away from the highly theoretical things we discuss. Instead, I have some options, but they all have to do with showing your understanding of the various subjects we cover within the rhetoric of technology.
Regardless of which one you choose, you must cite all text, visuals, etc. that you use. Therefore, you must do research outside of the class readings.
A historical-rhetorical analysis of a technology. This was going to be the only choice, but I’m all for options. We’ve discussed the discourse surrounding technologies all semester, so you have models from which to work. Pick a technology and find historical information about its reception. I’m sure I’ve told you one or two stories about Marconi’s wireless and the popular press, so that can be a model for you, but we’ve also talked about other technologies in society.
Your main goal is to analyze the rhetoric of the discourse surrounding a technology. Consider how the texts communicate and adhere to the values of the time period (progress, military superiority, instant gratification, etc.). Advertising, charities, special interests, politics, sales, and media are several good places to look. Make sure you use vocabulary from our readings and cite enough sources. Page length is 8-10 pages, and this is considered the boldest option, so taking risks and being exploratory will be graded favorably.
If you aren’t finding and discussing what others say about the technologies (their reception and promise), you aren’t fulfilling this assignment’s goals. This discourse you analyze may come from interviews, newspaper/magazine articles, etc., but it should come from a historical context–before the year 2001.
Create a webpage (or webpages) that define and describe several of our concepts this semester. It can be all text, but visuals are appreciated. Comparable to a 6-page paper, but it needs to show some creativity. Don’t just put up 6-pages worth of text online and think that’s enough: use hypertext, embed videos, place images, create interactive menus, etc. Unlike the webpage I assigned all of you, this requires some Web development skills.
Do another social construction of technology essay. (This is different from Option #1 because you’ll be using more of your analysis on the technology instead of analyzing the rhetoric of others). Pick a different topic/technology and describe it as a socially constructed artifact. Remember, you have to define the values it embodies first, and then describe how the technology embodies those values.
The visual “essay.” If you’re savvy with various software, you may choose to create a project that showcases those skills and demonstrates technology from the points of view we’ve taken this semester: rhetoric and culture. You may use audio, video, images, and text to convey your message, but you must cite EVERYTHING you borrow. Consider writing a script for this option.
An essay on rhetoric in society. Advertising, charities, special interests, politics, sales, and media are several good places to look. Make sure you use vocabulary from our readings and cite enough sources. Page length the same as option #2.
Unlike option #1 where I ask you to consider a historical context, this should be an analysis of discourse after 2001. Focus on contemporary rhetoric and consider thinking about the technology from a predominantly economic point of view.
Technology Project Presentations (due 12/12)
Basically, you get up and present on your Technology Projects. I will score your presentation on a scale of 1 to 5 based of the following criteria:
- Appearance of preparation
- Eye contact
- Voice Projection
- Time—10-12 minutes (don’t under 10, and I won’t let you go over 12)
Preparation is crucial. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared for all oral presentations.