The following is a draft only. The final version will be ready the first day of class, in May.

Schedule: Weeks 11-14

WEEK 11: Research  

By now you should have done at least a scratch outline for your final paper. Make sure that your topic can clearly be derived from one of the topics listed below under Week 14. You'll also find detailed instructions for the research paper under Week 14, right before the topics themselves.

In Research you'll find the following sub-sections: "Evaluation & Research," "Things to Remember for Essay #3," "Documentation," "Non-Scholarly Sources," and "Scholarly Sources." The sub-section, "Things to Remember for Essay #3," is particularly important as it contains general guidelines for your research paper.

In class we'll go over the final essay requirements and look at several videos to spark ideas and angles (some of these will touch on Carr's arguments in "Is Google Making Us Stupid?" and "The Juggler's Brain," so you might want to look at those again and bring them along). If time permits, we'll work in small groups on narrowing topics and on constructing arguments (through consideration of counter-arguments or through development of comparative contexts).

CP “Back to the Future” (Greenfield). We won't be discussing this essay in class, yet I include it because it's helpful in thinking about the relation of Print to Net culture. Do you agree with Greenfield’s argument? Why or why not?

 

WEEK 12: Peer edit (5%)

You must bring to class a 300-word minimum, typed FULL OUTLINE of your research paper (5%). Your outline can be longer if you like. Put in bold your thesis statement and your topic sentences. The outline must be in the proper form, as in "Target Audience" (Lord of War), "Turning the Tables" (Gandhi), and "Army Boots and Romans: Atwood’s Flawed Comparisons" (Canadians: What Do They Want?"). Don't, for instance, use a thesis statement that's longer than one sentence.

In Weeks 12 and 13 you'll get into groups of 2-4, and help each other to do the following:

-- Make strong thesis statements  

Thesis statements need to be clear (terms, wording, ideas, etc.), focused (not too wide, not too narrow -- think Goldilocks!), constitute an argument (Is there a counter-argument to your argument, or is your argument rigorous and original?), and link clearly to all topic sentences.

-- Make strong topic sentences

Topic sentences need to link to, and expand on, your thesis statement, progress logically from one t.s. to the next, and reflect the main contents of the paragraphs.

-- Strengthen the body in terms of

- clarity: Are some points obscure or confusing? (for week 12 you'll need to explain your point-form ideas)

logical development: Does one idea lead to the next?

balanced tone and supporting evidence: Do you need more studies, statistics, expert opinion, etc.? Do more angles need to be explored?

consideration of contrary arguments

When you have exhausted the perspectives of your group, create a new group -- of whatever size is convenient. By the end of class, you should have talked to every student in the class. Please come to me individually so I can give comments and a mark.

 

WEEK 13: Peer edit (5%)

You must bring to class a DRAFT of at least 700 words (typed and hard-copy) (5%). Put the thesis statement and the topic sentences in bold. You don’t need to have an introduction or conclusion at this point.

You must also bring in the equivalent of two scholarly sources. These must be hard copy and a minimum of six pages each. They must be clearly relevant to your thesis, yet they don’t necessarily have to be Internet-derived; they could be books, print journals, studies, etc. If you bring in a book, you don’t need to bring in copies of the pages. You can also bring in Internet sources that aren't journals but are authoritative and contain scholarly documentation in the form of a bibliography and footnotes or endnotes.

 

WEEK 14: Research Essay (25%)

For general essay instructions, see Research. Read the specific essay instructions below very carefully.

Research essay (25%, 1000-1200 words in length), due 9:00 PM Tuesday December 4, on one of the topics listed below. I’ll be in my office (S 2806E) Tuesday December 4 from 6:30 to 9:00 PM. I suggest coming in early, just in case you need to make last-minute adjustments.

You’ll be docked 10% if the paper is handed in after 9:00 PM Tuesday December 4. You’ll be docked 10% per day late. 

- You can also leave your paper in the LLPA Drop Box before 6:30 PM Tuesday December 4. If you use the drop-box, make sure to put the two separate copies in an envelope and write “ROGER CLARK” very clearly on the front.

- There is a strict 1200 word maximum. Put a word count after the text and before the bibliography (References or Works Cited). The topic, title, and bibliography are not included in the word count. 

-  At the top of the first page, just before the title, write the essay topic in full (the topic and title are not included in your word count). Put your full name on the top right hand corner of all pages, before the page number—i.e. Roger Clark -- 3.

- Don’t use a cover page, and don’t put your paper in a folder (unless, of course, you are putting it in the assignment drop-box); merely staple the pages together. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want your paper mailed back to you (and be sure to affix sufficient postage).Or, you can pick up your paper in a subsequent term. 

- If you use pictures, photos, maps, charts, etc., provide sources. You can indicate these in an abbreviated manner below the items.

You must hand in TWO COPIES of the paper. (I ask for two copies in order to check for plagiarism from subsequent papers.)

-- The first copy includes the essay and the bibliography. -- The second copy includes the essay, the bibliography, and hard copies of every page you cite. For the hard copy source pages: 

-- Include ONLY the pages you cite; don’t include entire articles or chapters. Highlight, underline, or otherwise clearly indicate the precise location of your quote or reference on the hard copy page. Give the source at the top of the page as in the body of the paper—i.e. (Smith 23). 

 

TOPICS

Cognition and Knowledge

Note: I've embedded several videos among the topics. These are just to stimulate ideas; they're not topics, and most of them aren't scholarly.

Is the Net changing the way we think and/or feel in a radical or fundamental way?

How does accessing many points of view in rapid succession affect cognition—that is, the way we process sensory experience and ideas?

Is the Net overwhelming us with information and points of view, or is it helping us make coherent, constructive patterns?

To what degree do data visualization and other integrated sites combat the chaotic nature of the Web? You could look at one site or a number of sites—such as Google Arts & Culture, Wikipedia, or WikiGalaxy.

Is it better to read print media or use the Net if one wants to understand a topic deeply?

What impact is 1) Google, 2) Wikipedia, or 3) the Internet in general having on our ability to think for ourselves or to successfully navigate a variety of perspectives?

Take one of Carr’s main claims (in “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” or “The Juggler’s Brain”) and argue whether or not he is right.

[In coming to terms with Carr's argument, you may want to compare the model of memory presented above (which is used in a cartoon manner to explain Carr's argument) with the one below, by the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio.]

[You may also want to look at the following video, which starts with Carr's argument and then -- at 4:00 -- switches to counter-arguments by the author and actor Stephen Fry.]

How is the shift from print and TV news to online news affecting coverage or quality?

Is the Net increasing literacy? (You can look at reading or cultural literacy).

Identity

How is the Net affecting the process of individuation?

Is the Net increasing or decreasing emotional maturity?

[Note that the following videos are not scholarly. They may, however, be helpful in sparking ideas. For example, the following video is full of problems from a scholarly point of view, yet it brings up interesting avenues of inquiry.]

How is the Net affecting the relation of peer groups to individuals?

Is the Net destroying identity or invigorating it? You can look at individual, cultural, political, or national identity. Individual identity could include sexuality, spirituality, career, peer groups, etc.; cultural identity could include ethnicity, language, religion, customs, sub-cultures, etc.

Sexuality & Relationships

Is Internet addiction more damaging than television addiction?

Is the Net increasing the ratio of sex to romance, or of sex to commitment?

Is the Net increasing the divide between the way men and women see or judge sexuality?

Is the scenario in the film Don Jon (2013) a realistic one? Will porn addicts eventually realize that direct sexual experience (with real partners) is better than indirect sexual experience (on the Net)?

Is Internet porn more damaging to body image and expectations than offline porn?

As compared to for-profit sites, how do personalized, non-profit sites affect body image or sexual expectations?

Marriage & Family

Is the Web to blame for decreased interest in marital commitment (as some argue is the case in Japan)?

Is the Net helping, redefining, or harming traditional notions of trust or fidelity?

Is the Net helping, redefining, or harming communication between parents, between parents and children, between siblings, or between grandparents and grandchildren?

Is the Internet creating a generational gap in North America that is more serious than that of the 1960s? Or is Greenfield right in “Back to the Future”?

How is the Net affecting the balance between what an individual wants and what family and culture want for that individual?

Is the film Audrie & Daisie (2016, on Netflix), Disconnect (2012) or Men, Women & Children (2015) an accurate depiction of the negative effect of the Net? Take an area that one of the films explores (adolescent sexuality, peer pressure, bullying, sexual exploitation, family dynamics, criminality, freedom of information, etc.) and 1) argue whether or not the film is an accurate reflection of the effect of the Net, or 2) use the film as a starting point to make an argument about what is happening in the area you chose.

Society & Censorship

Is the Net increasing impatience, selfishness, or self-centredness? 

Is the Net increasing crime, extremism, or terrorism?

In the Fourteenth Century, Chaucer argued that one should “turn the page” if one is offended by what one considers immoral content. How successful or damaging to morality is the Net’s personally-driven version of censorship?

Does Wikileaks increase the well-being of society? Does the philosophy behind it, and the precedent it sets, increase freedom and/or justice?

Is Killswitch (2014 - on Netflix) an accurate depiction of the activities of Aaron Swartz and Edward Snowden?

The Dark Web

What is the effect of the Dark Web on privacy rights and/or crime investigation? 

Are conservative forces demonizing the Dark Web? 

What is the effect of the Dark Web and sites like Silk Road on 'the war on the War on Drugs'? 

Does Silk Road reduce drug harm?

Global Issues

Lord of War (2005) depicts the small arms world of the 1980s and early 1990s. How has the Internet affected the world of small arms dealing? 

Is the Net increasing international crime, extremism, or terrorism?

Is the Net improving our understanding of foreign cultures, or is it creating more stereotypes and prejudices?

Is the Net altering Canadian attitudes towards the US? Is the Internet accelerating Americanization?

Taking Trump as an example, what is the effect of Twitter on American political culture?