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

Third Writing Assignment

Several organizations (e.g., Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility and committees within the Association for Computing Machinery) consider ways in which computing relates to public policy. Other groups (e.g., the Computing Research Policy Blog) focus on the impact of public policy on computing research and development. This paper asks you to consider one area in which computing relates to public policy. In particular, for this paper, you should:

As this list suggests, part of the paper should be devoted to explaining the topic, any public-policy issues, and the perspective(s) of the organization. However, part of the paper also should include your analysis of the organization's perspective and your conclusions as to the most appropriate public policy in the field. Your conclusions, of course, may agree with the organization, but you also may have a rather different viewpoint. In any case, you will need to argue why the approach cited seems appropriate. Your paper should also discuss your topic in some depth (within the constraints of a 2-3 page paper).

Overall, you will need to define your topic clearly, place it in context, synthesize material from the organization, and present your own conclusions.

Your paper should be written for others in this tutorial. Thus, your description of algorithms or 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. Further, as in all work for this course, the paper should be well organized, clearly written, utilize in-text citations in APA format for other people's ideas, and 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 laser-quality printer.

Discussion Presentation:

Since each person in the tutorial will be considering a different topic, the classes on November 6, 11, and 13 will be devoted to brief (8-10 minute) presentations by each student concerning the material that he or she studied.

For this presentation, you will want to clearly identify your topic and highlight some of your main findings. As with the writing of a paper, you should state the topic, place the topic in context, and identify the organization of your remarks early in your talk.

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created 23 August 23 1997
last revised 3 November 2008
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For more information, please contact Henry M. Walker at walker@cs.grinnell.edu.