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The first is a short writing assignment from the first unit. Though short, it is vital for setting the context from which the class will operate throughout the semester.
The next two assignments are both formal essays, from the second and third units. Throughout the discussion that follows, I have tried to go beyond summarizing a particular assignment in order to situate each one within my course goals, and I reflect on chal- lenges I have faced with each of them. Assignment 1: Keeping a Technology Journal The purpose of the first writing assignment is to use writing to help students deroutinize their daily technology use. As a class, the students must begin making visible the taken-for-granted impact of technology on everyday life.
During initial class dis- cussions, students hear the word technology and think of their cars or of the computers in dorm rooms and labs.
Students must carry a notebook with them for two separate two-hour periods over a COURSE DESIGN weekend. In this notebook, they must record every incident or act in which they use a technology and the time of that use. Students need to be told that we do not expect completeness with this journal, but rather that they use their judgment about the level of descriptive detail. I do suggest an approximate number of pages for the two time peri- ods, but beyond that each student has to figure out his or her own way to keep such a journal.
During the follow-up class, students begin for the first time to deal with the question of how to define what counts as technology and how to make technologies visible in their daily routines.
To begin, students break into groups, share their technology journals, and draft a working definition of what it means to identify something as a technology. As a whole class, we use the board (or a text-sharing software program if we are in a computer classroom) to create a mega-list.
The process of mak- ing the taken-for-granted more visible begins as we list items from the more obvious, such as cars, dorm keycards, computer sys- tems, and stereos, to the less obvious, such as walking paths, toothbrushes, shoelaces, aspirin, and buttons. As a result of keeping a journal and the culminating class dialogue, two related points about the impact of technology on everyday routines come to light for the students. This is the second point of realization: what comes to light are the ways in which technologies are not just objects but processes or practices. Once, for example, a student had me add social security numbers to our list of technologies, but there was a mumble of disapproval among his classmates. Now it is with him daily, allowing him access to the library, dorms, the gym, food service and so on. Through this kind of class discussion, students come to their own understand- ing of the Foucauldian concept that technologies and their power in our daily routines are not centered on objects but in the ways those objects are used and in the actions of people and institu- tions.
Your audience for this essay will be write my essay for me no plagiarism who can help me write an essay future first-year students, people who have not attended col- lege or been on the Penn State Altoona campus before. This assignment is ultimately an act of analysis of the cultural codes that operate to define their experiences as college students on our campus. The objects or practices that students have cho- sen to write about have write my essay for me no plagiarism included student ID cards, bus routes, parking regulations, e-mail accounts, phones, registration proce- dures, campus coffeehouses, the clock tower, pizza delivery, study lounges, and the duck pond that was built in the center of our campus. As a result, I have decided that, while students can write write my essay for me no plagiarism about a specific software application such as e-mail or a specific online Web site such as the advising site, they cannot write about computers in a generic way.
The prevalence of popular narratives in which com- puters, like a fairy godmother, act as a force of good are so pow- erful that it is a rare first-year student who can resist using them as the beginning and ending of their analysis. The most important lessons in rhetorical analysis with this assignment occur for students as they deal with distinctions be- tween the intended purposes of particular technological objects or practices and the actual uses of them. This assignment specifies the Internet as the focus of analysis because of its currency and because it will increasingly play larger roles in our lives.
In fact, my Web site review assignment grows out of a now - 18 - Reexperiencing the Ordinary common assignment asking students to develop a rhetorical help starting an essay analy- sis of visual media such as advertising images. Like those assign- ments, this one asks students to consider visual as well as textual content and the meanings implied by them. In the past, students have used garden- ing, poetry, music, wrestling, day trading, and politics, to name a few, as the starting points for their Web site reviews. The lens of the Internet encourages new levels of reflection on these topics of their own choosing. With this assignment, they play out some of their very real questions about how the Internet will shape their futures.