Assignments below are from STS.069 Technology in a Dangerous World.
During Class #3 you will be making notes about the technological systems you see in the video, or that are implied by what you see. We will discuss these notes in class that day. You should review and revise these notes to arrange them in a legible document, which can be a list or spreadsheet depending upon your preference, for submission as a homework assignment in Class #4.
You should try to submit this assignment ahead of class through the "discussion" function of this website. Bring a hard copy to class.
- Paragraph or two on current events pertaining to technology in a dangerous world. Just describe the significant event or events and add a few words about how it/they relate to the topic of this class.
- Write a question to ask Claude Canizares when he visits you in Class #6. The question can relate to his role as associate provost at MIT or to his scientific research work. In either case your question should elicit from him some information or perspective that relates to his experience working on the frontier between civilian and military research, or to his experience in defining MIT's responsibilities in the post 9/11 world.
Additional comments on the first assignment: Students have been asked to read The New York Times (or a similarly substantial publication) regularly to look for news relating to the topic of the class. The assignment is to write a paragraph on some current story that relates to the topic, describing what the story is and what the relationship is.
Students should go through the collection of clippings and choose one that interests them. (They are available during regular office hours). Students may also find a clipping of their own. They should write two pages (1) summarizing how the news story/commentary addresses the topic of technology in a dangerous world, and (2) suggesting ways that they could do further research into this topic. This paper might evolve into the longer paper that is due in Class #19.
The proposal due today should describe the project you intend to do as your single-authored research paper. The proposal should include the following components: one-paragraph description of the topic; one paragraph describing how you will analyze the topic using concepts we are discussing in this class; your research plan, including range and types of sources; one paragraph on anticipated contribution/findings; one paragraph on anticipated problems, either practical or conceptual; and a time-line of target dates for completion of research, rough outline, additional research, and first draft (first draft is due in Class #13). You can include anything else about the report that I need to know (e.g. if you plan anything but the standard written report format), but you must include the above information. The entire proposal will probably run about three-four double-spaced pages. In Class #8 you will give a three-minute (maximum) summary of your project to the rest of the class. Use visual aids if you wish.
The purpose of your visit is to deepen your understanding of MIT's institutional role in a dangerous world. You will focus on the exhibit about MIT education in order to do this. A guide will give you an overview of the exhibit and be available to answer your questions and to offer suggestions. First, take time to go through the entire exhibit and to find some parts of it that especially attract your attention. Then focus in on one artifact (or possibly artifacts, but try to focus) that seem to relate closely to the theme of MIT's role in a dangerous world. The artifact might suggest how MIT as an institution has tried to make the world less dangerous; it might also be an artifact that suggests how MIT (maybe unintentionally) might make the world a more dangerous place. For your homework assignment, describe the artifact (or artifacts) as carefully as you can. Focus on the object: describe it in words and if you wish in a sketch. Try to figure out everything you can about how it works, what it is made of, how it was designed, who might have designed or used it, and so forth. Then extrapolate out from the object to answer two questions: what does this object tell you about technology in a dangerous world? You should think especially hard about the relation between the artifact and the system of which it is a part. The system is implied, not visible, but try to connect the object with its larger context. Next, you should ask what this object tells you specifically about MIT as an institution. Who are the people behind the object and what can you infer about their knowledge, education, training, and goals? The full homework assignment should run about three pages (typed, double-spaced). The above questions are intended as guides, not as rigid constraints. It is more important to think deeply and to write intelligently about the artifact than anything else. The assignment will be due in Class #13 and it will be graded. In Class #13, we will discuss the museum and your assignments, and we will also begin to discuss the Castells reading. I have reduced the reading assignment so it won't be too heavy. I recommend that you get started on it now, before the museum tour, so that you can focus on the written homework assignment after the tour.