Fourth Essay Assignment: Alone Together—the Myth of Technology and Progress
Background: Our fourth essay assignment in Writing 1 is a “bridge assignment” to Writing 2. That is, it is an argumentative essay using limited research. The paper presents an argument in response to a topic discussed in Sherry Turkle’s book, Alone Together. In addition to Turkle’s book, you will identify and use four helpful and applicable outside written texts that you discover through research.
The final product will like be five to six pages long; beyond that, it will include a MLA-style Works Cited page. (See the OWL MLA web page for guidelines.) The paper will use in-text citations for quotes and paraphrases from other sources. Follow MLA format for in-text citations as well, as in the following example:
Romantic poetry is characterized by the “spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” expressed in poetic metaphors (Wordsworth 263).
Reading: In order to better understand the subject matter and the strengths and weaknesses of Turkle’s arguments in Alone Together, we’ll do the following tasks during the reading cycle of the assignment:
· Explore an article by Nicholas Carr, “The Great Forgetting,” from a recent edition of The Atlantic. Carr argues that whereas a century ago, technology was being used to reduce the amount of human physical labor in performing tasks, now we are handing off high-level thinking and skill-oriented tasks to technology. He believes that these decisions are leading to a loss of expertise among white collar workers and professionals. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/11/the-great-forgetting/309516/
· Explore an article in chapter 6 of Rereading America by Lori Andrews, “George Orwell—Meet Mark Zuckerberg.” Andrews explains how the personal information we volunteer through social media—either directly through sites such as Facebook, or indirectly through our online browsing activities, are bought, sold and evaluated. Andrews discusses the”second self” that technology constructs for each of us using this information, and “weblining”—the decision to tailor what we see on the web (news, ads, opportunities, etc.) based on the assumptions being made about us.
· Each member of the class will selected two chapters from Alone Together to comment on via the online discussion board. (This will replace the group PowerPoint assignment listed in the course syllabus.) Complete your discussion board entries by Friday, December 5 at 5 p.m.
Writing: The writing cycle will consist of work on narrowing a topic, creating an arguable thesis statement in response to one chapter of Turkle’s book, planning your argument, performing research, constructing your essay, and editing and revising your essay.
· Reviewing your own reading of Alone Together, choose one of Sherry Turkle’s claims as the general subject of your essay. Your thesis statement should either disagree fully, or disagree partially, with the claim that Turkle makes in her chapter.
· Use either the article by Nicholas Carr from The Atlantic or the articles from Lori Andrews from Rereading America to add to the depth of your argument.
· Using the Academic Search premier and JSTOR electronic databases owned by our library, find and use two additional articles that help you to strengthen your argument.
· Write a five to six page paper satisfying the three preceding bullet points. Consider your audience to be interested readers who read Turkle’s book a year ago, but who do not remember much of it.
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