Information Technology and Society
One of the requirements for the course is to read a number or articles (research papers, short stories, essays or book chapters) and keep a reflective journal.
There is about one article per week, each related to the content we are covering in the course; most will be in the COMP 3309 course pack, and some will be on-line or printed handouts. For each assigned reading you will also write a journal entry as described below.
The weekly readings are listed in the class schedule and the dates you are to hand in your journal (three times) are listed below. Your journal is worth 15% of the final grade for the course.
For each journal entry, specify the name of the article(s), the author(s), and the date of your entry. Follow that with four to five paragraphs about the reading. Generally, I would like you to reflect on the article and write about those reflections. If you find it difficult to write about a particular reading, a good way to begin is to summarize the argument of the reading in a few sentences. Of course, you should do more than just a summary.
Tell me about your impressions on the reading. Some of the questions you might address are:
• Did you enjoy it or dislike it? Why or why not?
• Do you find it relevant? Relevant to the course? Are there aspects of your own, your friends, or your family’s lives to which the readings seem particularly relevant?
• Do you agree/disagree with the author? Why or why not?
• Were there certain parts or quotes that you really found clever/interesting/wrong/boring/insane etc.?
• Would you recommend this article for students next year? Would you recommend this article to your friends or family?
• You will sometimes be commenting on more than one article. For those cases, you should also consider issues that link the articles. Why were they assigned together? How are they connected? Does one of the articles resonate more strongly with you? Did you agree more with one over the other? Or are they both making similar points?
Don’t feel that you have to parrot your professor’s opinion in the journal. Feel free to disagree with my opinions on the articles. If you can’t stand a particular reading, don’t be shy of telling me: Just be sure to tell me why you hated it.
Tip: When I am faced with this kind of work (reviewing papers, creating an annotated bibliography entry, literature reviews) I usually read the article through, then let it sit for a day or two. You have the advantage that there are 25-30 other people reading the article, so you can discuss the article with your peers or with me during this time. Then I read it again, possibly more than once, and then write my piece. It works for me.
Your journal entries are to be hand-written, and I am even providing notebooks.
The reason I would like it to be written with pen and paper is that doing so generally involves a different type of cognition than working with a word processor. One of the points of this course is to recognize and appreciate how technology changes more than just the surface of our lives and can also change modes of thinking. This journal exercise will have you reading on paper and writing using pen and paper. I hope that this will spur thinking about how reading and writing on-screen is different than the paper counterparts.