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The Culture of Information *
ENGL 25 - Spring 2007,  Alan Liu

Course ImageThe following are required assignments and exams. The reading exams cover the required materials (print or online, textual or visual) in the course; they are also designed to reward students who attend lectures on a regular basis. Note: To pass the course, students must regularly attend lectures and section meetings.

  • Four-page paper due in lecture (Class 15, May 7)

  • Midterm Reading Exam (May 9)

  • Online, revised 4-page paper (Class 23, May 30)

  • 8-page paper due in lecture (Class 27, June 8)

  • Attendance & Participation in Section Meetings

  • Final Reading Exam (June 13, 4-4:50 pm)

  • 4-page paper
    Weight: 15% of final grade
    Due: 5/7/07

    Write a 4-page critical essay on an issue or writer/artist covered in the course so far. The essay must approach its topic by way of a close examination of one or two of the works in the syllabus. "Critical essay" means that the essay cannot be only a summary, description, paraphrase, or survey of topics and works. Instead, think about the evidence so as to build an analytical, interpretive argument about the issues at stake. Some of the best critical arguments are those that study some tension, contradiction, or puzzle. That is, they do not start off with a single, inflexible thesis and then proceed to flatten everything in their path to demonstrate that thesis. Rather, they note that an issue or work seems to turn upon an important inner tension (e.g., "information wants to be free," but "information should be private") and then try to think through the implications or premises of that tension. (See Sample Topics)

      The essay should have a useful title, notes, and a bibliography. For the notes and bibliography, you are free to follow any standard reference style recognized by the humanities, social sciences, or sciences (so long as you are consistent). If you have no reason for choosing one style over another, then by default please follow the documentation style set out in the MLA Handbook (the dominant style guide for publications in the field of English literary studies; available at the bookstore). For other styles, consult the Chicago Manual of Style. For help on how to cite online resources, see our Transcriptions Guide to Evaluating and Citing Online Resources. When citing works in the Course Reader, please consult the full citations included in the reader.

      For guidelines on appropriate use of Wikipedia for citations, see Course Wikipedia Use Policy


    Midterm Reading Exam
    Weight: 15% of final grade
    Due: 5/9/07

    Exam on readings (print and online) in the course to date. The exam is "factual," and is designed to reward students who have regularly kept up with the assignments and attended lectures and sections. (Some questions will be based on material introduced only in the lectures.)


    Online, revised 4-page paper
    Weight: 10% of final grade
    Due: 5/30/07

    Revise your earlier 4-page essay in light of your TA's comments and put it online in a way that takes advantage of the medium of the World Wide Web. (You must learn how to put the essay on the Web in your UWeb space or elsewhere). (See the English 25 Technology Help page for information regarding technical assistance and resources.) This assignment can be taken to different levels depending on your technical skill:

    • Beginning Web Authors: If you are new to designing and publishing on the Web, you do not need to worry about crafting a sophisticated Web site. Put the essay online in any form and demonstrate some elementary knowledge of how to utilize the Web as a medium (e.g., create links to your notes; create links to other sites on the Web relevant to your argument; add an image).
    • More Advanced Web Authors or Designers: If you are starting with a higher level of technical skill, then please treat this assignment as an opportunity for experimentation. Put your essay online in a way that does something interesting with the Web as a medium. For example, organize the essay hypertextually; link out to an interesting set of resources; add graphics or sound; make your site dynamic or interactive. (Please try to avoid copyright infringements when adding multimedia.)

    For resources on Web authoring and design, see Guides to Transcriptions (LCI) Course Technology.


    8-page essay
    Weight: 30% of final grade
    Due: 6/8/07

    8-page critical essay due. The essay must focus on some issue or work covered in the course from Class 16 on, but it can also draw on materials from the first part of the course as appropriate. (See Sample Topics) For rules regarding the nature of a critical essay and documentation style, see the explanation for the previous short essay above.


    Section Participation
    Weight: 15% of final grade

    Regular attendance and participation in section meetings is required to pass the course and will be evaluated by your teaching assistant so as to contribute to 15% of the final grade.


    Final Reading Exam
    Weight: 15% of final grade
    Due: 6/13/07

    Exam on materials in the course (print and online) covered since the midterm. The exam is "factual," and is designed to reward students who have regularly kept up with the assignments and attended lectures and sections. (Some questions will be based on material introduced only in the lectures.) The exam will be only 50 minutes long (4-4:50 pm).



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