Tutorial Grinnell College Fall, 2008
Computers: Facts, Misconceptions, and Ethical Issues

Second Writing Assignment

Report topic to instructor: Tuesday, October 7
Paper Due: Tuesday, October 14

Much of computing has an impact on society; computers are used in many applications, because they help people solve problems. Computing tools support tasks and activities. However, technology also has the potential to go wrong, and errors can have a significant impact. The occurance of errors also can highlight issues related to technology, management, and ethics.

The Risks Digest, moderated by Peter Neumann for the ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy, documents many examples of practical difficulties that have arisen in computer hardware and software. This paper asks you to review some of this material to identify two or three major types of difficulties that can arise from the use of computers. In particular,

In this paper, you will need to define your topic clearly. Thus, you will need to make a special effort to focus your paper clearly and put your topic in context. Your paper should also discuss your topic in some depth (within the constraints of a 2-3 page paper).

Your paper should be written for others in this tutorial. Thus, your description of themes should provide adequate background for other tutorial students to understand the problems, solutions, and/or issues involved. Also, it will be necessary to keep the amount of jargon low, so that the reader will not be overwhelmed by specialized terminology.

As in all papers, the paper's introduction should indicate how your material is organized, as well as identify the main topic of the paper. Also, following normal practice, you must cite other people's ideas using in-text citations, and you must include a bibliography following APA style.

You must use word processing software to prepare your paper, you must turn in 2 copies of your paper, and your paper must be printed on a good-quality printer.

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For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at walker@cs.grinnell.edu.