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Week 11: Where are the boundaries between humans and technology? What ethical concerns should inform our technological work?

Last night’s class, especially the Green Team / Red Team Review, struck me as very productive. I hope you felt the same way. And I hope the slight modifications I made to some of our due dates, our reading assignments, and our blogging requirements will help you focus on your two big projects between now and the end of the semester. To reiterate what I said last night, if you’re struggling with any aspect of this class, the time to come talk to me about it is right now, not during finals week.

At this point in the semester, we’re juggling several projects, big and small, but I’ve tried to arrange our schedule to help you make incremental progress on a few fronts each week. Next Wednesday, Lenny and KT will be our discussion superheroes, and Lenny and Jenny will teach us how to use Evernote. In class, we’ll finish up our fourth book, I’ll demonstrate a couple of tools for organizing your academic research (install Zotero and/or Mendeley before class, if you’re interested), and we’ll have some unstructured workshop time to help you make progress on your electronic portfolios (so bring your laptops!).

To read before class:

  • Digital Literacies for Technical Communication, Part 3 (pp. 147–256). In class, we will focus specifically on the chapters by Longo and Katz & Rhodes, but if the other two chapters relate to your individual research, you may want to read them, too.
  • Embarrassments of Riches: Managing Research Assets,” by Miriam Posner

To do before class:

  • Make significant progress on your ten bibliography entries for the Research Design project. As we discussed last week, I have extended the due date for this checkpoint assignment to April 12, but please don’t put off your work on this assignment until the last minute.
  • Add several pages (either by HTML-ifying documents you have previously written or by drafting new text) to your electronic portfolio site. We’ll be working on our portfolios in class, and you should have some real content to work with, not just placeholder text.

Bonus reading (as time and interest permit):

All three of this week’s “bonus” articles connect to last week’s class discussion about Dave Clark’s review of technological “instrumentalism.” I think several of you will really enjoy these:

As always, please let me know if you have any questions about your individual projects, or about where we’re headed in class. If you’re feeling lost or behind schedule, stopping by during my office hours (T 1–4; W 9–12) is a great way to get back on track.